John “The Razor” Phan cut through the competition yesterday to win his first ever World Series Of Poker bracelet in Event #29, the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em. Phan beat out an outstanding final table which held, among others, Alex Bolotin, Matt Vengrin, and David Singer. Phan took home the bling along with an impressive $434,789 first prize.
Despite all the stellar competition of the full final table, perhaps the most interesting part of the match was the heads-up portion between John Phan and Wisconsinite Johnny Neckar. Neckar, a significantly less experienced player than Phan, didn’t seem to understand that he was suppose to be easily beaten by the seasoned pro – a misunderstanding that lead to a wild heads-up battle that lasted over 6 hours.
Whatever Neckar was doing, it turned out to be the perfect defense for the aggressive Phan, creating a stalemate type situation which seemed to frustrate the players and the audience alike. At one point Phan and Neckar, perhaps out of desperation, tried to end the stalemate by agreeing to move all-in blind.
Amazingly, Neckar and Phan gambled this way numerous hands in a row, only to continually have the short stack double up each time. Eventually, and perhaps inevitably, the more experienced John won out, leaving Neckar to content himself with second place and $277,452. A mighty impressive finish for Neckar, which would have had a good chance of making it onto Madison’s local news, if only they hadn’t just run a story about fellow Madisonian Phil “OMG ClayAiken” Galfond.