Event #28 of the 2015 World Series of Poker, the famed $1,500 buy-in Monster Stack – the seventh-largest poker tournament in history with 7,192 entrants – saw the final nine players return Wednesday night to battle it our for a share of the $9,709,200 prize pool, and when the dust settled a 25-year-old Florida poker dealer name Perry Shiao emerged victorious to capture the $1,286,942 first-place prize. He also captured a gold bracelet in what was only his second WSOP event.
A month back, Shiao won $7,500 in a tournament in South Florida – where he has dealt for the past seven years – which gave him the necessary funds to come to Vegas.
"This is the first time I've been to the WSOP. This is absolutely amazing," said Shiao, who speaks three languages (Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English). "We came out here for 20-something days because I won a tournament in Florida that gave us the funds to come here and play four or five bracelet events here. Never in a million years I would think I would be the winner of the Monster Stack."
Shiao's win was made all the more impressive that it came over such a tough final table, one that included bracelet winners Hoyt Corkins and Asi Moshe. To top it off, Shiao, who celebrated his birthday on Day 1 of the Monster Stack, did it after beginning the final table as the second-shortest stack and in what PokerNews' own Marty Derbyshire deemed a bad seat.
Still, Shiao persevered and made it all the way to heads-up play, which he began at a 3-1 chip disadvantage, against 31-year-old Canadian investor Eric Place.
"I stayed sharp," said Shiao. "He obviously knocked out somebody and chipped up. I didn't look much into it that he had a bigger advantage than me. I believe I'm a great heads-up player and as you can see I put a lot of pressure on him."
Indeed he did. Shiao managed to erase the chip deficit and pulled out to a lead of his own. In what would be the final hand of the tournament, which happened in Level 44 (1,000,000/2,000,000/300,000) on Hand #139 of the final table, Place opened for 4 million and Shiao called to see a flop of . Shiao led out for 4.5 million and then wasted little time in calling when Place shoved all in.
Place flopped top pair, but he needed to dodge the flush draw of Shiao. That proved easier said than done as the dealer promptly burned and turned the to seal the deal.
"It's the best birthday present I ever gave myself," Shiao joked about the hand.
Immediately after winning the tournament, Shiao's rail — his wife, friends, and various dealers from around the country – swarmed their man in what can best be described as pure jubilation.
"My phone's been blowing up," Shiao said 20 minutes after the win. "I've been having support. Whatever country you can think of, I'm having support from. They're calling me, they're texting, it's been absolutely amazing."
As for what he'll do with the money, Shiao doesn't have too many plans.
"I don't know," he said before thinking for a moment. "I currently invest in properties, so I'll probably buy more properties. I'm definitely going to play more poker. I probably don't have to go back to work for a little bit."
Final Table Results
|1||Perry Shiao||Pembroke Pines, FL||$1,286,942|
|2||Eric Place||Willington, NS, Canada||$796,834|
|3||Asi Moshe||Tel Aviv, Israel||$594,397|
|4||Kevin Kung||Newport Beach, CA||$445,166|
|5||Christian Rodriguez||Boynton Beach, FL||$335,938|
|6||Josh Wallace||Somerville, MA||$255,351|
|8||Caio Toledo||Campinas, Brazil||$150,783|
|9||Hoyt Corkins||Glenwood, AL||$117,092|
Congratulations to Perry Shiao, the Monster Stack champion and the latest WSOP-made millionaire!
*Lead photo courtesy of WSOP.com