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Tryba wins WSOP Mixed Hold'em event, $210,107

22 June 2012

When poker players fantasize about winning a coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet, the dream sequence usually goes something like this.

Hero gets dealt a big hand. Villain gets dealt a big hand also, but not quite as good a hand as the hero. Hero makes a straight flush. But first, it’s the villain’s turn to act. Villain pushes all-in. The crowd rises to its feet. Hero seems to be pondering his decision. Holding the stone-cold nuts, the hero milks the moment for full dramatic effect and then calls for a WSOP title.

Fists pump into the air. Screams of joy are heard. Crowd goes wild.

Only in a dream, right?

Well, this dream actually came true for Chris Tryba, who has been one of poker’s consummate grinders over the past three years. The always talkative and occasionally bombastic touring pro earned his biggest career victory to date on Wednesday night, topping the $2,500 Mixed Hold’em event, which combined both limit and no-limit Hold’em.

Tryba earned $210,107 in prize money. But dollar figures were the last thing on Tryba’s mind as he held up the cylinder of gold and beamed for cameras, photographers, reporters, and poker fans gathered on the ESPN Main Stage. Indeed, the poker player known for his trademark white t-shirt and worn out baseball cap more than earned this victory.

His dues were paid the hard way, the old-fashioned way, and the way poker rounders used to hustle to make a living, bouncing from town-to-town looking for the next possible score.

Prior to this WSOP, most of Tryba's previous tournament experience consisted of traveling around the United States, playing at each of the 17 WSOP Circuit stops that run from September through May. During the last two years, he's spent nearly half his time in hotel rooms (150 days a year, according to his estimate), although he somehow called Las Vegas his "home."

This is not to say however, that Tryba lacks big-time tournament experience. He’s played in dozens of gold bracelet events over the past four years and has posted 10 cashes. In fact, this was Tryba’s third cash at this WSOP, following 10th- and 17th-place showings over the past two weeks. Tryba has also cashed 24 times on the WSOP Circuit, making him one of the top 25 of all-time.

Despite the six-figure payout and some pretty impressive jewelry, don’t expect Tryba to change much, if at all. To get some perspective of exactly who this new poker champion is and how obsessively practical he has become, consider the revealing explanation of why he chooses to wear white T-shirts every single day, at virtually every poker tournament.

Tryba explained that some time ago he was shopping at a discount store. He noticed that white 100-percent cotton T-shirts (size XXX-L) were on sale for three bucks each. So, in one massive swoop -- like a big grizzly bear pawing at a school of salmon -- Tryba emptied out the store's entire rack and stacked a shopping cart full of white t-shirts. He says that he hasn’t had to buy a single shirt since.

Next time Tryba visits the discount store, he may want to add one more item to his shopping list -- and that's some gold jewelry polish.

Of course, knowing Tryba, once he eyes the gold polish -- he'll swipe off the entire shelf once again, confident that he's going to have more jewelry to clean for many more years to come.

Tryba may have started the final table of the $2,500 Mixed Limit Hold'em event in the middle of the pack and flying under the radar, but by the time the last card was dealt, no one in the Amazon Room had to question who had won the latest WSOP gold bracelet.

The event came to an abrupt halt when Cajelais shoved all-in on the river holding the nut straight only to have Tryba give a smile and a nod before calling, screaming out to his fans on the rail, "Straight flush, baby!"

"I was looking over at my buddy and I knew (Cajelais) was going to raise," Said Tryba. "I was looking at him and I knew he wasn’t looking at me. I was like, 'This is it. It’s all going in right here and I know he can’t beat me. This is awesome. This is unbelievable that this is going to happen.'"

Cajelais can't regret this mis-timed move too much; he went home with $129.766. Other final table finishers included: Salman Behbehani (third), Joep van den Bijgaart (fourth), Michael Gathy (fifth), Samuel Golbuff (sixth), Brent Wheeler (seventh), Phil Ivey (eighth), and Michael Foti (fifth.)

The final table was Ivey's fifth of the summer.

The top-45 players in the field of 393 finished in the money. Notable players who made the money but did not make the final table included: James Dempsey (11th), Shannon Shorr (16th), Huck Seed (19th), David Baker (33rd), Randy Lew (36th), Jeff Lisandro (38th), Gabriel Nassif (43rd), and Dan Harrington (45th).

Last year, this event drew 580 players. The field this year shrunk by more than 32 percent.

Modified from tournament notes provided by WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla.

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