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South Korea native wins $226,000 at WSOP

5 Jun 2019

Daniel Park

Daniel Park (photo by WSOP)

Name: Daniel Park
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Current Residence: Bayside, New York
Age: 38
Number of WSOP Cashes: 5
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 9th at 2018/2019 WSOP Circuit - Harrah's Resort Atlantic City Event #10: $1,700 Main Event ($11,693)
Total WSOP Earnings: $240,665

Daniel Park, a South Korean native and U.S. citizen living in Bayside, New York, has outlasted a giant 2,452-player field to win Event #12 at the 2019 World Series of Poker, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Super Turbo Bounty. Park, 38, earned $226,243 for the win, along with his first career WSOP gold bracelet.

Park survived an up-and-down final-table ride before pulling out the win. At one point during his final table run, he was down to just a single 100,000 chip after posting his blind, before surging to the win.

Park's final foe was the most experienced player in this final, prior bracelet winner Erik Cajelais. Cajelais, of Montreal, Canada, survived his own all-in moments, then climbed to the lead before falling to Park's final surge. Cajelais collected $139,731 for second.

Oklahoma's Jennifer Dennis, who had previously logged a solo WSOP Circuit cash for $924, finished in third for $102,010.

Australia's Emil Tiller finished in fourth place to earn $75,149 in his first-ever WSOP cash. Brazilian native and current resident of Italy, Marcelo Giordano Mendes, finished fifth for $55,869.

An ecstatic Park admitted that winning a bracelet was something he'd always dreamed of doing. "I can't believe it right now. It's so unreal," he said. The native of Seoul, South Korea arrived in the United States at age nine, and he became a naturalized American citizen not long after. When asked about his future WSOP plans, he wasn't exactly sure, but it will include next month's Main Event, even if he has to return from New York to play it. He said, "I wasn't thinking about playing the Main Event but this is going to force me to play it. I've always wanted to play the Main Event. I always used to watch it on TV, I thought it was like a TV, I never thought I would actually be able to play it."

As for what ran through his mind after the huge pot against Cajelais that left him at one point with just a single chip, he said, "I'm gonna take fourth. What is that, $75,000? I would have probably been happy with it."

As with many players, Park wanted to be aggressive and stay that way, though, as he admitted, "But sometimes bringing that into action is pretty hard." Yet he succeeded well, collecting 18 bounties to top off his life-changing payday.

Tuesday's big-field bounty tourney drew 2,452 entries by the time registration closed, with the goal to play all the way down to a winner. Nearly 12 hours of play elapsed before Roberto Valdez's bustout set the official final table, which was led by Park's 9.2 million in chips. However, Park was soon overtaken by other players, including Tiller, Travis Sargent and Cajelais, before coming back for the win.

The super-turbo pace ensured plenty of action and rapid bustouts, with Turkey's Ferit Bulutoglu exiting in ninth. Bulut got the last of his chips in ahead against Emil Tiller, and he led all the way to the river of the runout. The three-outer sealed Bulutoglu's $18,731 payout.

Eighth went to Lian Lui, who exited in the wake of cracked aces. Lui opened to 900,000 from the cutoff and big-blind Park called. Park moved all in, and Liu called for less. Park had middle pair but trailed Liu's hand. The turn gave Park two pair, and the river sealed the knockout.

After an early final-table surge, Sargent busted in seventh, exiting in harsh fashion. After losing a huge pot to Tiller when his hand couldn't top Tiller's pocket nines, the two squared off again for Sargent's remaining chips. The flop moved Sargent ahead and the turn was a blank, but the river paired Tiller's queen and ended Sargent's night.

Sixth went to Arizona's John Yelaney, who battled hard but couldn't overcome dry cards and a short stack. Yelaney finally pushed in his 1.6 million stack, calling a raise from Dennis. No help arrived and Dennis's eight kicker played, trimming the field to five.

That soon became four after Giordano Mendes came out on the wrong end of a series of pots against Cajelais, including one where an all-in Cajelais rivered a needed four to double through. Giordano Mendes made his last stand, and it was no match for Park's hand on the runout.

That set the stage for a huge hand between Cajelais and Park for more than half the chips in play. Cajelais opened for 2.0 million from the cutoff, Park jammed for nearly 15 million, and Cajelais called at once for his last 12.2 million. Cajelais' hand led Park's, and though there was some excitement, Cajelais' hand won out.

In the next hand, Park was all in for less than his small blind, and he won, the first of several straight pots he won that shoved his stack back up to 10 million. Instead of his exit in fourth, that spot went to Tiller, who tried to steal the blinds with an all-in jam from the button. Small blind Dennis thought it over but passed, but Park called and showed, which was well ahead of Tiller's hand. Tiller never caught up as the board ran out, sending him off for fourth-place money.

Dennis's career-best run ended in third when she ran into Park in another big pot. Dennis moved all in from the button for about nine million, and Park, in the small blind, called. The board was two pair, tens and deuces, by the turn, and a river jack sent Dennis to the cashier to collect a six-figure payday.

That left Park with a healthy lead entering his heads-up duel against Cajelais, and the end arrived quickly. The chips went in after the flop, and Cajelais showed the flush draw, while Park had middle pair. Cajelais couldn' connect with the turn or river, which finished off Park's comeback win.

Event #12, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Super Turbo Bounty, attracted 2,452 entries and generated a $1,471,200 prize pool. 368 players made the money, with each guaranteed at least a $1,000 min-cash on top of any bounties they collected.

Other notables
Among those cashing in Event #12 were James Obst (15th, $11,483), Dan O'Brien (50th, $4,014), Dan Zack (62nd, $3,354), Alex Bolotin (79th, $2,415), Daniel Lowery (125th, $1,598), and Nadya Magnus (136th, $1,598).

Final table payouts
1st: Daniel Park, $226,243
2nd: Erik Cajelais, $139,731
3rd: Jennifer Dennis, $102,010
4th: Emil Tiller, $75,149
5th: Marcelo Giordano Mendes, $55,869
6th: John Yelaney, $41,920
7th: Travis Sargent, $31,748
8th: Lian Lui, $24,271
9th: Ferit Bulutoglu, $18,731

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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