Chris Gros, Casino Employee, becomes Event Champion for the first time at the WSOP

Chris Gros wins the first bracelet in the Casino Employee Event
Chris Gros is all smiles after winning the first bracelet of this year's WSOP

The first bracelet in the 2006 World Series of Poker has been awarded to Chris Gros, who defeated Bryan Devonshire in heads-up play to win the Casino Employees Hold'em event. caught up with Gros shortly after his victory, and the new champion was kind enough to give us his thoughts on the final table and how he's going to spend that cool $127,616.

How long have you been playing poker?

Eleven years.

Are you a dealer?

Yes, I am. I'm a poker dealer at Caesars Palace. I've been dealing for about three years.

Is this your first WSOP event?

Yes. It's the first time I've been in Las Vegas while the World Series is going on, so I haven't had a chance [before this]. Now I live here, now I'll be able to play more. This is my first major event.

Why don't you run us through what happened at the final table?

In the final? Let's see. That's tough. Right now I can't think of the particular hands. I got lucky in the last hand. I flopped trip threes, and thought that [Devonshire] might bite if I raised. I got blocked in on that one.

On the hand before I tried to bluff him. I figured I had the best hand before the flop, and I flopped nothing. But I figured, even if he does have the eight, I had a king. I figured as soon as I saw his bet, I'd call, and he folded to my bet of $35,000 after the river. But those were, I guess, the turning points.

Before that, he was the chip leader, and I had about half the amount of chips that he did. I raised pre-flop, 8-10, and he had K-10. He called me and the flop comes 10-8-3. So I bet $40,000. He raised me - he raised me all-in, actually.

And then, this was my mindset: he couldn't possibly have 10-3 or 8-3, so the only possible hands he could have at this point were pocket threes, pocket eights, pocket tens, something like that. I figured that the only thing I'm worried about is 10-8, and I'll take that chance. It turns out he was holding K-10, and I took down the pot. And that was the major turning point. Because before that, I only had maybe like $60,000 in chips.

So what went through your head when the turn came and you knew you'd won?

(laughs) I don't think you can record that. It was "blank, blank, blank, blank, blank" and "Oh my God, I don't have to worry about a mortgage payment for a looong time."

Is that where the money's going?

It's not going to go there, because it would be silly to put money in the house when I can invest in other things-like poker.

Thanks, Chris. Congratulations.

Thank you.

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