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Baker earns second WSOP gold bracelet

3 Jul 2019

David Baker

David Baker (photo by WSOP)

Name: David "ODB" Baker
Nationality: American
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut
Current Residence: Sahuarita, Arizona
Age: 46
Profession: Poker pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 91
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 19
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 2
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st at 2012 WSOP Event #37: $2,500 8-Game Mix ($271,312)
Total WSOP Earnings: $3,225,690

Veteran poker pro David “ODB” Baker has earned the second gold WSOP bracelet of his career by winning Event #66 at the 2019 World Series of Poker, $1,500 Limit Hold'em.

Baker, 46, of Sahuarita, Arizona, rolled to a relatively easy winner's payday of $161,139 in this fixed-limit event, which drew 541 entries, leading for the entirety of Days 3 and 4. The big cash boosted his career WSOP winnings to $3,225,690, earned in 91 WSOP cashes.

Baker's final-table rout was complete with the elimination of Walnut, California's Brian Kim. Kim collected a WSOP-best $99,564 for his runner-up performance.

Los Angeles, California's Dominzo Love placed third for $68,353. This was Love's first-ever WSOP cash.

Tuesday's final six in Event #66 were rounded out by Japan's Ruiko Mamiya (fourth, $47,747), Chris Ferguson (fifth, $33,948), and California's Chicong Nguyen ($24,574).

Baker, whose “ODB” nickname means “Original David Baker,” to differentiate from another notable pro, David “Bakes” Baker, cruised to one of the easiest final-table wins of this year's series. In doing so, he cracked a seven-year dry run in bracelet terms, though he's been an in-the-money fixture in the 2019 WSOP, just as in other recent years.

A relieved Baker said, “It was a huge burden. All my friends have more bracelets than me; I've been really wanting to get No. 2 for some time, and I finally did. I'm thrilled.

“I think it's pretty obvious that I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to the World Series and how much it means to me. I'm one of the people who will really, really care about it. I do, and I don't make an apology for it. Hopefully I'll only have two for a short period of time!”

Baker hasn't giving up on reeling in current Player of the Year Dan Zack for that honor, either. “I'll play everything,” he said. This doesn't change anything. I was going to play everything before, and I'm going to play everything now. Next up for me is the $10K limit hold'em that started a couple of hours ago. I'm going to get a bite to eat, then come back and register probably in an hour and a half or two hours, and get back to building more towers.

“This is cash nine or ten [for me] and I have a first and a third,” he added, weighing his chances of catching Zack. “But I have to put another bracelet on the board.”

Baker also had extra confidence on his side after dominating Days 2 and 3 in this event, to the point that he may have tried not to knock out his opponents too early. “My hope was, honestly, I wanted to keep people. No disrespect to any of my opponents, but [second-place finisher Brian Kim] was the one person I was worried the most about coming in. I've played with him a lot, and he's got very good hold'em skills.”

Baker's metagame thoughts were that the other shorter stacks still being in play would mean more pressure on Kim's mid-sized stack than on his own. “Having people hang around a little bit, I just wanted to chip up and have them grind down. As it was, Baker closed out the win with such relative ease that the secondary game plan barely factored in.

Six players returned to an originally unscheduled Day 4 in this event, with Baker continuing to hold the lead he brought into Day 3 as well. Three other players made the official final table in this event but were eliminated late on Day 3. Those three were Kenneth Donoghue (seventh, $58,918), Danny Woolard (eighth, $45,551), and Greg “FBT” Mueller (ninth, $35,950).

Two early bustouts quickly trimmed the final to four. On just the day's sixth hand, Campbell, California's Chicong Nguyen busted in a hand against Kim. Nguyen opened the hand by raising to 50,000 from the cutoff, Kim three-bet from the big blind, the remaining players folded, and Nguyen called. Kim bet the flop and Nguyen called. Kim bet again on the turn, and Nguyen called for his last 14,000. When the river came, Nguyen was out in sixth for $24,574.

Ferguson exited 13 hands later after getting the last of his chips in before the flop against Baker. Ferguson trailed Baker. Ferguson found no help on the runout and he exited to a fifth-place $33,948 cash.

Tokyo, Japan's Ruiko Mamiya finished in fourth for $47,747 in just her second ever WSOP cash. Mamiya began Day 4 in second place behind Baker but suffered through a cold stretch of cards, then busted in a hand against Kim, where the two exchanged raises on multiple rounds until Mamiya was all in on the turn. Kim had top pair, while Mamiya had the overcard and the open-ended straight draw. Mamiya needed help, but the river instead ended her run in this event.

California's Dominzo Love made a four-day run out of his first in-the-money WSOP event before busting in third for $68,353. Love dropped a pair of large pots, one each to Baker and Kim, that pushed him to the brink, and he then busted in another hand against Baker where Love was all in and drawing dead after the flop. Love started ahead against Baker, but the board ran out through the turn, when Love called all-in to Baker's bet, but Baker already had the straight and the river was moot.

Then Baker began whittling down Kim's remaining stack The final hand saw the two trade post-flop raises on the flop until Kim was all in. He had top-pair/top-kicker, but that was still in trouble against Baker's hand. The turn and river failed to improve Kim's hand and poker's “ODB” had his second career bracelet.

Event #66, $1,500 Limit Hold'em, pulled in 541 entrants and built a $730,350 prize pool. 82 players made the money and a min-cash was worth $2,239.

Event #66 cashers also included Nick Pupillo (10th, $8,132), Tyler Bonkowski (13th, $6,473), Matt Gantz (15th, $6,473), Roland Israelashvili (18th, $5,258), Daniel Negreanu (20th, $4,360), and Eric Froehlich (25th, $4,360).

Final table payouts:
1st: David “ODB” Baker, $161,139
2nd: Brian Kim, $99,564
3rd: Dominzo Love, $68,353
4th: Ruiko Mamiya, $47,747
5th: Chris Ferguson, $33,948
6th: Chicong Nguyen, $24,574
7th: Kenneth Donoghue, $18,118
8th: Danny Woolard, $13,609
9th: Greg “FBT” Mueller, $10,418

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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