In winning the WPT Season 7 Legends of Poker at The Bicycle Casino in ashy Bell Gardens, Calif. tonight, he certainly proved that.
Phan won two bracelets at the 2008 WSOP and made a final-table appearance at the World Poker Tour's first televised tournament this season a few weeks later. Even making a second WPT final table in a row here in L.A. shows he runs good and is good, but he did so much more tonight.
His luck started a day earlier with an epic suck-out against Layne Flack that propelled him into the final table second in chips. That time he cracked Layne's aces, flopping a set and turning quads, but it got even better and luckier as the final table played out.
Once things got rolling in the final six just after 4:30 p.m. PT, it would take more than a dozen hands before we saw the first flop and with it the first elimination.
John Phan raised, Zachary Clark came over the top and Kyle Wilson four-bet all-in. Phan tanked for a while, but could not make the call, leaving a priced-in Clark to decide Wilson's fate.
Clark made the call and his ace-jack bested the young Canadian's kings when an ace flopped.
Trong Nguyen came in as the short stack, but looked to be making his move when he doubled through chip leader Amit Makhija. However, his fate was sealed on the very next hand when he shoved with K-Q suited on a raggedy board and Makhija called with a small pair. The pair held and Trong "Mike" Nguyen was sent home fifth.
The next to go was online vet Paul Smith, who looked to be making a huge mistake when he called the clock on the eternally tanking John Phan. The hand played out with Phan raising and Smith shoving. But before Phan could collect his thoughts and make a decision, Smith asked for the clock.
Phan must have sensed weakness because he made the call with pocket eights and was in the lead heading to the flop against Smith's A♠ 7♠. Smith sucked out huge on the flop when two sevens and a nine showed up, but learned quickly that you cannot out-luckbox the tour's biggest luckbox.
John picked up the open-ender with a ten on the turn and resucked when a six came on the river giving him the straight.
While Makhija had built himself a big lead on a foundation of solid play, Phan began to inch ever closer to contention during three-handed play, taking a huge pot off Zach Clark by flopping a set of deuces and convincing Zach to pay him off.
As it was, three-handed play went a good two hours before two massive hands played out back-to-back sending the tournament heads-up. First John Phan got Amit Makhija to double him up with aces versus tens and took the chip lead. Then Zach Clark pulled a squeeze play with king-deuce and was snapped off by Makhija and his suited ace.
Going into heads-up with all of Clark's chips, Makhija had taken the lead back with $6.4 million to Phan's $4.7 million. Amit kept his foot on the gas pedal from the start, but he may have overdone it a little by pushing into a Phan reraise with just deuces.
Phan took his time about it, but made the call with big slick and proved his luck had no end by spiking a king on the river to take a stranglehold on the Legends title.
It wasn't long before Makhija doubled up to stay in it, spiking an ace on the river after being outflopped by Phan. Suddenly John's luck seemed to be turning around and Makhija could feel it.
"You can't luckbox this whole tournament, John," he said at the time.
A few hands later he shoved into a K♠ 7♠ 4♦ flop with a flush draw and Phan made the call with top two looking to lock up the title. But while the spade never came, Makhija managed to go runner-runner to make a straight and take the lead once again.
The heads-up battle lasted another couple of hours with Phan coming back to take the lead and continually pounding on Mikhaja. The latter doubled up time and time again, but in the end, could not beat Phan, who made a huge call with pocket threes, and thereby managed to fade two overs and win the Legends title.
Lucky or good, it seems a fitting title for John Phan to win. He is a true legend of poker.