Seat 1: Ben Ponzio (Elmwood Park, Illinois) 113,000
Seat 2: Shun Uchida (Las Vegas, Nevada) 200,000
Seat 3: David Sklansky (Las Vegas, Nevada) 78,000
Seat 4: Gioi Luong (Westminster, California) 291,000
Seat 5: Robert Mizrachi (Las Vegas, Nevada) 215,000
Seat 6: John Phan (Stockton, California) 294,000
David Sklansky came in with under eight big blinds and was going to have his work cut out for him if he was going to win his 4th WSOP bracelet. Unable to get any cards (or at least any cards that he thought were playable), he was all in before the first draw against Robert Mizrachi. The players each took two cards on their first draw. Sklansky took one on his second draw while Mizrachi took two. On the third and final draw, Sklansky again took one but this time Mizrachi stood pat. Mizrachi showed 2-3-5-7-8 and Sklansky revealed his first four cards, 2-3-4-6. Sklansky could only win with a 7 or 8, but it was another 6. David Sklansky finished in 6th place winning $20,528.
Ben Ponzio had a tumultuous final table that saw him nearly double up in chips before his propensity for being unable to hit draws when he needed to hit them slowly leaked chips out of of his stack. Down to under 50K, Ponzio three bet John Phan before the first draw. Phan drew two, and Ponzio one. Phan checked and called Ponzio's bet and both players drew one. Phan led out for 12K which was enough to set Ponzio all in and was called. Phan and Ponzio both took one last card. Each player turned over their other cards to reveal what was needed. Phan had 3-4-7-8 and Ponzio had 2-4-5-7. Ponzio asked Phan to go first and pleaded with him to help him out here. Phan didn't oblige, however, as his card was a deuce, giving him a 2-3-4-7-8. Ponzio would need a 3 or 6 and would not get it. Ben Ponzio finished in 5th place winning $28,739.
Robert Mizrachi had a hellish run at the final table. It seemed every time he raised or made a bet, someone would re-raise him. More times than not, Mizrachi would release his hand and stare quietly at his depleted stack. He would survive enough times to give himself fleeting hope that he might be able to make a comeback, but eventually time ran out on the elder Mizrachi brother. Mizrachi got all his chips in after the 2nd draw against Gioi Luong. Luong stayed pat and Mizrachi drew one. Luong showed 2-4-5-6-10 and Mizrachi showed his first four... 2-4-6-8, meaning he needed a 3, 5, 7, or 9 to win the pot. His last card was a jack though putting an end to his tournament. Robert Mizrachi finished in 4th place winning $41,055.
John Phan started the final table on a massive rush and built a commanding chip lead, but no lead is ever safe in deuce to seven and in a matter of under 30 minutes, Phan had gone from nearly 700K in chips to 150K. Tensions were high between Phan and Luong, whom Phan was angry at for what he thought was apparent angle shooting. After one hand in which the floor had to settle an angry dispute between the two when Luong tried to change one of his discards, the two flung chips into the middle like schoolboys swinging fists at one another in the playground. Luong bet every draw while staying pat, and Phan stood pat after taking three cards on the first draw. Luong called a hand and then showed his cards, 2-4-6-6-7. “He called the wrong hand!” Phan proclaimed as he turned over 2-3-6-7-9 to take the huge pot.
It would only be fitting that it would be Phan who would deliver the last blow to Luong. Luong raised from the small blind and Phan three bet it, prompting a call from Luong who took two cards while Phan stood pat. Luong checked and Phan splashed his bet into the pot, a bet that was large enough to set Luong all in. Luong made the call. Luong stood pat, and in a sudden change of strategy, Phan broke his hand and drew two. The same action occurred on the third draw with Luong staying pat and Phan drawing two. Luong turned over a monster... 2-5-6-7-8 and Phan slowly peeked at his cards one by one knowing he would need a miracle to better Luong's hand. Phan stood up, shouted, and revealed his cards... 2-4-5-6-7. He had done it! He had knocked out his arch-rival. Gioi Luong finished in 3rd place winning $61,583.
Heads up play started with the two players dead even in chips. Phan went to work right away on Uchida, picking up small pot after small pot. It seemed that Uchida only wanted to play if he had a good starting hand and Phan was taking advantage of this. Down to 127K in chips, Uchida re-raised over the top of Phan for a total of 75K. Phan called and Uchida drew two while Phan drew three. Uchida bet, Phan raised, and Uchida re-raised his last 2K. Uchida drew one and Phan stood pat, eliciting cheers from his supporters. Uchida took one more again and showed 3-5-6-7-8 but he had been drawing dead as Phan had drawn a number two... 2-3-4-6-7. Shun Uchida finished in 2nd place winning $95,795.
In the beginning, it looked like nothing would stop John Phan from collecting his 2nd bracelet in under a week but then the momentum shifted and Phan saw himself fighting just to survive. Survive he did, and by using relentless aggression with an uncanny ability to get the right cards at the right time Phan was able to take home the title. Phan becomes the first multiple bracelet winner at the 2008 WSOP and moves into 3rd place in the Player of the Year standings behind only Jacobo Fernandez and David Benyamine. For his victory, Phan won $151,911. Congratulations on the win John!