Anyone who started the final table today had to be looking at Isaac Haxton's chip stack and thinking, "Well, what am I going to do up against that?" Haxton had around half the chips in play.
As it turned out, there was, indeed, a way to win, and Ryan Daut figured it out. over the course of the day, he picked his spots well, made a few good calls, and got heads up with Haxton. Haxton had a 3-1 chip lead going into heads up play, but in just the first few hands, Daut drew even. Then over the course of the next hour, Daut slugged away and carved giant hunks out of Haxton's stack. Finally, Daut had a huge chip lead and found AT. He set Haxton all in. Haxton called with Q8 and couldn't find a way to win the hand.
Suddenly, Ryan Daut, a man with dreams of being a poker professional, had won the first major poker tournament of the year, and more than $1.5 million. (For a complete live blog of the final table, read the 2007 PCA Final Table live blog).
2007 PCA Final Table Results
1. Ryan Daut--$1,535,255
2. Isaac Haxton--$861,789
3. Robert Ford--$550,980
4. Robert Mizrachi--$409,703
5. Jonathan Little--$317,873
6. Frank Rusnak--$247,234
Ryan Daut's poker story
There was a time when the only game Ryan Daut cared about was StarCraft. He was competitive and it satisfied his need to do battle. Back in 2004, some of his friends told him about he could make some easy money playing poker. So, he depositied $45 and started playing the lowest fixed limit tables he could find. He turned into a grinder and turned than $45 into $600 over the course of a year.
Ryan Daut playing at the 2007 PCA
Two summers ago, he ended up with a seat to the World Series of Poker. The thing was, he hadn't played much no-limit poker, and in his words, "I kind of freaked out."
"I picked up the game pretty fast," he once wrote. "In that month and a half, I learned a lot, and by the time I went out to Vegas, I had about a 2k roll and I was a 100nl grinder, a real nit."
After Vegas, he went on a rollercoaster bankroll run and ended up taking a break from poker. Over a spring break, he didn't have much to do. So he concentrated on his game and by the time he graduated, he had a $10,000 roll. Since then, he's started playing even biggers and going through the swings that high-volume no-limit players face.
He ended up buying directly into the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this year. He's now in grad school with the goal of getting a PhD in math. That said, he really plans to be a pro poker player. Already a Supernova on PokerStars, he was well on his way. Now, he has $1.5 million and a WPT title under his belt.
That's a pro, folks.
Note: A word of thanks to the entire PokerStars crew who worked without regard for their health or welfare for the last eight days. It's been a real pleasure, folks. Also, to all the players, I know full well that the PokerStars staff thanks you for making this another fabulous PCA.