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Maryland poker player collects biggest WSOP win of career

27 June 2016

Jiaqi Xu

Jiaqi Xu (photo by WSOP)

Meet the latest WSOP gold bracelet champion
Name: Jiaqi Xu
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Age: 50
Current Residence: Columbia, MD
Marital Status: Married
Children: None
Profession: Poker Player / Businessman
Number of WSOP Cashes: 8
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 12th (2009)
Total WSOP Earnings: $255,627
Personal Facts: Listened to Queen's "We are the Champions" prior to playing at final table

If there's a music soundtrack to the latest WSOP gold bracelet victory, it's most certainly Queen's epic anthem, "We are the Champions."

"I listened to that on the way to the final day, when I was driving in," Xu said moments after achieving his first WSOP victory. "I was pumped up and determined to win."

The amateur poker player from Columbia, MD in the northern Washington, DC suburbs won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha, which was played over three days and nights and just concluded at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Xu collected $212,128 in prize money, making this the biggest win of his career.

The latest champion has previous cashed eight times at the series, dating all the way back to 2009. However, other than a 12th-place finish in his first event, Xu hadn't really demonstrated anything that revealed the expectation he'd emerge from a big and tough field as the latest WSOP champion. Indeed, perhaps it was the music.

"The cards fell my way at the right time," Xu said. "I knew that if I could get deep I would have a chance and things went right for me."

Xu won his victory by coming out on top at a final table which included an international consortium of touch opponents from five different nations – including Great Britain, Australia, Norway, France, and the United States. The moment of triumph came when Xu scooped the final pot of the tournament against Brit, Jeffrey Duvall who finished as the runner up. His consolation prize amounted to $131,073.

This tourney attracted 776 entrants which created a prize pool totaling $1,047,600. The top 117 finishers collected prize money.

Aside from the winner, here's a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Jeffrey Duvall, from Royal Herbert, U.K. finished as the runner up. He's only had two cashes at the series, including this deep run and a showing in the money back in 2010. Duvall collected $131,073.

Third Place: Pallas Aidinian made the most of her WSOP final table debut by coming in third place, which paid $91,369. She had not cashed before, so this was quite a feat. Other than a second-place finish in Event #1, no female, other than Lisa Meredith (Event #14) who also finished third, has finished as high at this year's series.

Fourth Place: Joshua Pham, from Sydney, Australia came in fourth. He had not previously cashed in a WSOP event, until this tournament. Pham pocketed $64,654.

Fifth Place: Tommy Le, from Tustin, CA posted his highest WSOP finish in nine WSOP cashes, including three final table appearances with this fifth-place showing. He collected $46,452.

Sixth Place: Richard Austin, from Jeffersonville, IN came in sixth. He won a gold bracelet back in 2009. He won the $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event that year. Austin received $33,895.

Seventh Place: Jon Ho Christensen, from Oslo, Norway cashed for the fourth time at the WSOP with this nice showing, which paid $25,123.

Eighth Place: Thibaut Klinghammer, from Lamperthiem, France took second place in this event back in 2010. He made another deep run coming in eighth, which paid $18,922. This marked his fourth time to cash at the series.

Ninth Place: Bryce Eckhart, from Auburn, WA cashed for the first time in a series event and also made a final table. He pocketed $14,484.

This was the 37th official event on this year's schedule. This leaves 32 gold bracelet events still to be played at the 2016 WSOP.

Other notable in-the money finishers:
Doug "Rico" Carli, the all-time leader in cashes on the WSOP Circuit, with 107 in-the-money finishes, cashed for the 35th time at the WSOP in Las Vegas. He came in 30th place.

Daniel Negreanu, a six-time gold bracelet winner and member of the Poker Hall of Fame, cashed in 34th place.

Tyler Patterson, a gold bracelet winner, finished in 60th place.

Athanasios Polychronopoulos, a two-time gold bracelet winner, cashed in 70th place. He now has more than $1.5 million in WSOP earnings.

Jordan Smith, a gold bracelet winner, took 77th place. His WSOP winnings now total more than $1.6 million.

Tom McEvoy, the 1983 world poker champion and a four-time gold bracelet winner cashed for the first time at the series since 2011 by coming in 93rd place. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013.

Mickey Appleman, a poker legend and four-time gold bracelet winner, came in 100th place.

Rich Zhu cashed in this tournament, his 52nd time in the money. He ranks fourth all-time among players with most cashes without a WSOP gold bracelet victory.

Max Pescatori, a four-time gold bracelet winner, min-cashed.

Fun facts:
The ages of participants ranged from 21 to 81. The eldest player in the field was Howard "Tahoe" Andrew. The average player was 39.

The breakdown of player nationalities for this event was 554 Americans and 222 players from elsewhere. The top five nations represented was the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, and Russia.

The breakdown of participants by gender was 536 males (96.8 percent) and 18 females (3.2 percent).

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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