LAS VEGAS -- The winner of the Limit S.H.O.E. championship was Dao Bac, from Garden Grove, CA. He is a 51-year-old professional poker player. This was his first victory ever at the World Series of Poker.
was born in Vietnam and arrived in the United States in 1989. He is married and has two children.
During much of the tournament, Bac read from a leather-bound book when he was not involved in a hand. Bac is a practicing Buddhist. He read from a book on prayer and meditation, he said “to keep him calm during the tournament.” Whatever was written in the book must have worked, as Bac remained cool throughout the three-day event and eventually collected $157,975 in prize money.
Bac is the first Vietnamese poker player to win a gold bracelet at this year’s World Series. Vietnamese-born poker players have enjoyed perhaps the highest per capita WSOP wins and earnings of any nationality. However, this year has been a relative drought for the nation that produced the likes of Men Nguyen, David Pham, Tony Ma, and others.
This was Bac’s ninth tournament entry this year. He had yet to cash until this moment. Bac did cash twice last year, with winnings totaling just $5,000. Since 1990, Bac has been playing mostly cash games at casinos around San Diego and Los Angeles. He played $3-6 hold’em for many years and gradually became good enough to move up to middle-limit games. Bac has won major tournaments elsewhere and has multiple cashes.
Bac was cheered on by a large entourage, which included family and friends. When asked about his plans to celebrate, he said he will go out to a nice dinner later in the evening. He will give the gold bracelet to his wife, Hanh Nguyen.
S.H.O.E. is a rotation of poker which includes four games – Seven-Card Stud, Limit Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, and Stud Eight-or-Better. It has been part of the WSOP menu intermittently for the last decade. It was originally a marketing-driven initiative when the WSOP was played at what was formally Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. In fact, a H.O.R.S.E. event routinely preceded the S.H.O.E. tournament, thus making for the duo of events which spelled out “Horseshoe.”
Poker writer Michael Craig made his second final table appearance this year. He ended up going out in 7th place. Craig is the author of two books, “The Professor, the Baker, and the Suicide King,” as well as “The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide – Tournament Edition.”
Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Pat Poels was the 9th-place finisher. The Mesa, AZ poker player’s bid for win number three came up short. Had he won, Poels would have won gold bracelets in each of the last three years.
Other former WSOP event winners from the past who cashed included Diego Cordovez (24th), Doug Saab (36th), and Erik Seidel (66th).
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