After an all-out, seven-day battle, a new World Champion has been crowned: 39-year-old Californian Jerry Yang.
And his reward, besides a monumental and life-changing victory and at least a year in the international poker spotlight: a tidy $8.25 million.
Yang toppled a field of 6,358 players who put up the $10k for the Main Event this year, with the end finally coming down to a heads-up battle between the American Yang and Tuan Lam, a 40-year-old poker pro from Toronto, Canada.
The Laos-born Yang had a convincing chip lead against the Vietnamese-born Lam when the heads-up match began, with Yang at $104 million and Lam holding just $24 million. Quickly taking advantage of his lead, Yang played ultra-aggressive against the more conservative Lam, and after 36 hands it was all over.
The decisive hand - at roughly 4 a.m. and after 16 hours of play - went down like this: Yang raised to $1.5 million and Lam immediately pushed all-in. He was quickly called by Yang, holding pocket eights against Lam's Ad-Qd. It was virtually a coin flip, and the crowed went wild cheering for the two combatants.
The flop came Qc-9c-5s and Lam took a commanding lead with his top pair. The 7d on the turn gave Yang an inside straight draw and he needed an eight or a six to win.
This was Yang's day, and the 6h on the river filled his inside straight, making him the new World Champion of Poker and over $8 million dollars richer.
Lam earned $4,840,981 for his second-place finish, and Raymond Rahme from South Africa came third, taking $3,048,025 for his efforts.
Your new World Champion is a 39-year-old psychologist and father of six who won his seat to the Main Event in a $225 satellite. He grew up under tough conditions in the mountains of Laos and has publicly pledged to give 10% of his winnings to charity.
The PokerListings.com team was tableside for the full 16 hours yesterday, providing live real-time reports, articles and interviews with all the final table participants, including the excited and appreciative champion Yang, and you can find all of the intimate details in our Live Tournaments Section.