First-time player wins WSOP tournament: He never played the game before

They say poker is a game of skill. That’s what all the big online poker proponents argue in their case to make sure playing their favorite card game remains legal in the United States. But the latest story out of the 2015 World Series of Poker defies the “poker is a game of skill” statement in a big way.

When most players make their way to Vegas to play in the world’s richest poker tournament, they hone their game to the max online and off. But Christian Pham of St. Paul, Minnesota didn’t have much of a chance to do that. That’s because he entered a No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw Lowball tournament at the Rio for $1,500. But as it turned out, he had never played that game before. And here’s the kicker. He won the tournament.

innerpham115062015It happened last Thursday when the Minnesota professional poker player tried to register for a No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament but accidentally signed up to play No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw Lowball tournament.

In that game, the goal is to have the lowest poker hand with no straights or flushes. And if you do end up holding a pair, you’re better off with a pair of twos. That runs contrary to No Limit Texas Hold’em where the goal is to have the best possible hand.

A big difference in the game is noticeable a few seconds after the cards hit the felt. In regular Hold’em, every player gets two cards. Pham noticed something was awry when the dealer continued dealing around the table and everyone received five cards.

After quickly panicking, he observed the game quietly and figured out what to do. He told some players he made a mistake and asked for advice on what beat what. Naturally, those players assumed he was pulling their leg, but eventually realized he was telling the truth.

innerwsop15062015The event lasted two days, so Pham used the break between days to figure out the ins and outs of the game. And when he returned the next day, he continued to play like a pro, winning the tournament to the tune of $81,314 and earning a coveted gold bracelet.

Pham’s success story proves that with a little perseverance and a bit of luck, you can succeed at any game. It also proves that playing online can be helpful, especially if you play for free. Pham used his break to hone his skills at an online poker site between days. You could do the same at Slots of Vegas.

No, we don’t offer online poker (though you will find lots of video poker). But we do offer lots of table games like Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Baccarat. If a game is new to you, Slots of Vegas is a great place to start. That’s because you can play as much as you want for free. All you need is a free account to access our collection of no-cost games on your Mac or PC. And many games even work on the go, so if you need a quick refresher between shoes at the Blackjack tables in Vegas, just fire up your smartphone and go to town.

Colin Jones

Colin Jones is a born and raised Chicago writer specialized on topics related to the casino and gambling industry. Having years of experience on the field, Colin will keep you in touch with the latest news and advances on the casino industry.


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