Brian Hastings is already known as one of the top players in poker, whether you’re talking about online or live, cash or tournaments.
Now, his World Series of Poker numbers are beginning to back up that reputation, as Hastings captured his second WSOP bracelet by winning the 2015 Seven Card Stud World Championship.
The $10,000 buy-in event featured 91 players, including many of the world’s best. Players like David Chiu, Mike Gorodinsky and Rep Porter cashed short of the final table, while Stud specialists like Oxana Cummings and all-around stars like Dan Kelly challenged Hastings at the final table.
In the end, Hastings faced off against two-time bracelet winner Scott Clements, who was making his second bid at a $10,000 Championship bracelet this year (he had previously finished fourth in the Omaha Hi/Lo Championship).
But Hastings won a huge pot on the second-to-last hand of the tournament to cripple Clements, and won by making a flush on the final hand.
The win earned Hastings $239,518, while Clements took home $148,001 for second place.
For Hastings, though, there were a couple of reasons to win the tournament that meant more than the prize money. First, there was the literal fact that he had more money on the line in side bets with other players on whether he would win a bracelet.
“It’s about twice what the top prize money was for this event,” Hastings said of the bet after his win. “But I won’t say who it was with.”
There was also the fact that the Seven Card Stud Championship is one of the toughest events of the year, featuring some of the stiffest competition anyone will see at the WSOP this summer.
“This tournament is more meaningful because it’s what a lot of the older, more established players played for many years,” Hastings said. “Anytime you win, it feels good.”
But while beating a world-class field is impressive, it may not compare with winning a tournament in a game you aren’t even sure how to play. That’s exactly what happened to Christian Pham when the Minnesota pro accidentally registered for the wrong event last week.
The mistake happened thanks to the fact that the buy-ins for the two tournaments were the same. Rather than a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, Pham ended up in a No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event; he only realized his mistake when he was dealt five cards rather than two on the first hand.
“They had started dealing already, so I couldn’t do anything,” Pham told WSOP.com . “If they had not started dealing, I would have told the floorman and asked to be unregistered.”
Pham watched a few hands and asked his tablemates for some basic advice. That, combined with his general tournament poker acumen, was enough to get him through the first day as chip leader.
That was about all Pham needed to get on a roll. A night of study left him far more prepared for Day 2, after which he still held the chip lead, and on the third day, he won his first ever WSOP bracelet and $81,314.
Predictably, Pham now says that he might be willing to give Deuce-to-Seven Lowball a second chance.
“We don’t have this game in Minnesota,” Pham said. “I learned the game at the table…now, I love this game.”