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Math Master Class.

5/7/2006
Poker is basically a game of calculations, symbols, and measurements. So it’s easy for a PhD in mathematics to savor the overlap and take advantage of the burgeoning field of competitive poker. William Chen is usually the biggest brain in any room but is low-key enough to be a main threat at this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP). The 414 opponents he conquered and divided in the $3,000 buy-in limit hold’em event can certainly vouch for his genius.

This second limit hold’em event of this year’s WSOP, held at the Rio, was Chen’s first WSOP title and he walked with $343,618. No-limit might be the main draw, but both limit events so far have exceeded last year’s attendance records.

After two agonizing days, nine finalists pulled up to the final table. Karlo Lopez had high hopes with an impressive chip lead at the beginning. But like an IHOP short-stack, Lopez finally bowed out when Chen flopped two pair.

The battle was intense with three hours of heads-up play, but Chen was the more aggressive player and made the most of every situation, usually winning.

Yueqi “Rich” Zhu was dealt 10-5 versus Chen’s A-4 in the final hand. The flop came 7-4-3 giving Chen middle pair and Zhu an inside straight draw. Zhu’s final bet went into the pot on a semi-bluff, but he failed to connect with either a pair or the straight draw. And Chen became the one common denominator.
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