Tran Takes Premier League III

J.C. Tran added another notch to his belt yesterday as the winner of PartyPoker.com’s Premier League III tourney. For his performance in the event, Tran raked in a respectable $300,000 first-place pot on top of the checks sponsors Asian Poker Tour and PKR are likely to send him.

 Tran began the day ahead with $450,000 in chips, but faced stiff resistance from the final table’s five other players, including poker aces Tony G, Juha Helppi, Roland de Wolfe and Tom “Durrr” Dwan, as well as 2008 WSOP champ Peter Eastgate. Durrr came out swinging, re-raising $21,000 pre-flop on a suited Q, 4(c) against Tony G’s off-suit 10, 9. At the flop – 4d, Jc and 10c – Durrr was set up and forced Tony G to push on a mid pair with a second, $43,000 bet. But, after calling the re-raise, Durrr’s flush draw spun out on a 3h turn and Kh river, adding a sizeable $434,000 chunk to G’s stack.

Yet, despite his newly minted short-stack status, Durrr didn’t bow out until after Eastgate and Wolfe were sent packing. Eastgate, who came to the table second in chips, shoved on a suited K, 9 (s) against Tran’s coolly held bullets with the board showing J, K, 5, J and A. Wolfe, meanwhile, met his end cradling a pair of kings after Helppi’s off-suit A, Q found a second ace on the flop.

By the time someone did look Durrr up again, he was already assured a top-five finish. And, poetically enough, it was G who finally showed him the door, stacking an off-suit J, 8 against Durrr’s off-suit 8, 6. The ensuing 7, 8 and 5 mixer left both players grasping for trump, and after a less-than-stellar backend, G pulled out the win. He then turned his attention to Helppi, handing the Premier League I champ a third-place finish with double mommas.

Now in heads-up, G had amassed $1.15 million in chips to Tran’s $780,000 and began bearing down on the Asian Poker Tour ambassador. The winds shifted, however, when G raised $170,000 on a pair of sixes, then folded after Tran rallied with two pair. Tran then called G’s shove on an off-suit K, 8 with a scrubby 9, 7. And, when G’s straight failed to materialize on the J, 2 backend, Tran’s flopped pair of sevens was more than enough to make mincemeat of the “Mouth from Down Under.”

In a post-match interview, Tran called the win “brilliant,” saying, “Until this week I had never played in Europe before…. Perhaps I should move here.”

- Phill Provance