Mark Vos has won the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, taking home $803,274 and a WSOP bracelet. After outlasting a field of more than 1,900 players, Vos was put to one final test in his head-up match with the formidable Nam Le. After the chip lead was traded back and forth in a series of all-in confrontations, Mark built up his stack by winning a few key hands. The final nail was driven into Le's coffin when Vos had Le all-in after the river. Le held wired sixes which fell victim to the set of ladies that Vos had made on fifth street. I caught up with both Mark and Nam after the dust had settled and they gave me their thoughts on how it all went down.
Mark, you've just won a WSOP bracelet, how do you feel?
I feel really good, really happy, really satisfied, like I've done something good.
You finished eighth at this year's Aussie Millions, is there anything you've done since then to sharpen your game, is there anything you've changed?
Yeah, I had a good cash there but I don't think I've changed anything too much. I played well there, and I feel like I've played well for most of this tournament as well. I've been playing around the world a little bit. I played a tournament in France recently and a couple events in England, so I've been getting some practice.
Have you had a chance to play much online?
Yeah definitely, I play about 35 hours a week on Full Tilt Poker.
What kind of preparation do you do for an event like this?
Nothing really, my preparation's actually pretty terrible. I go out way too much when I'm on these sorts of poker holidays, which is what this is, so I didn't get much sleep the day before we started, but I got into the groove as the game went on.
What kind of support do you get from friends and family when you're out here playing in these events?
Well I've got a few friends out here. I'm from Australia, so there's not that many Australians out here. I've got some friends in the Full Tilt crew like Perry Friedman who's a really good guy, he supports me all the time. I've also got a few friends here cheering me on.
Could you take us through the heads-up match with Nam Le?
Well he started off with quite a dominant chip lead, he had a 2.8-to-1 lead. I know him as being a very good player and he played very well leading up to the heads-up. I was fairly intimidated by his stack and by his play, but after a few hands, I became very comfortable.
Did you feel like you had a good read on the way he was playing?
Yeah, heads-up I felt like I knew what was going on, and also he didn't put that much pressure on me. He limped a lot of his buttons and allowed me to see a lot of cheap flops. He didn't really put me in a lot of pressure situations, I felt like I was the one putting him in pressure situations, so it was more likely to work out in my favor.
Did you feel like Nam wasn't playing at 100% when you were heads-up with him?
I don't know. As far as I know, Nam is predominantly a live player and when you play live you don't play that much heads-up. I've got tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of hands heads-up, so maybe I'm more experienced than him, in the full ring he's probably got the experience on me.
Do you credit that to the time you've spent playing at Full Tilt Poker?
Yeah definitely, that's were I've been playing for the last year and a half. That's where my game got good.
All right, thanks a lot Mark and congratulations on your win here tonight.
I spoke with Nam Le as well to find out his side of the story. Even though he came in second and won't get to take home a bracelet, he did outlast more than 1,900 players and earned himself more than $400,000 in the process.
Nam, you just finished second in this event, how do you feel about your play today?
I'm pretty disappointed actually. My play through the entire tournament, if I had to give it a grade then A+ but when I got heads-up, I - I'm so sick - I gave it away. I believe I made about six or seven mistakes. I let him dictate the pace and I let him get away with the tournament.
What do you think of Mark as a player?
I think he's great. He got me guessing, and that's one of the hardest things to actually do. Every time I'd try to make a re-raise, he'd cover his face. Every time I'd try to slow down he'd play fast.
Do you play a lot of online poker as well as live?
I play a lot of tournaments, but I also play a lot online. I learned to play in the casino, but I fine-tuned my game online.
Do you have a preference in terms of cash games versus tournaments?
I do play a lot of tournaments but I like to play heads-up online, I think that's improved my game dramatically. It's probably the fastest and the best way to learn.
Thanks a lot Nam and we hope to see more of you before this WSOP is finished.
So although Le does have experience in heads-up play, he was unable to bring that experience to bear on tonight's match. Both players showed a lot of respect for each other and their abilities and engaged in what proved to be an exciting battle that was by no means one-sided.
Unfortunately, in the end there can be only one winner, and even Le conceded that there were flaws in the way he conducted this one on one war. Vos was successful in exerting pressure on Le and eventually got all the chips in the middle when he was holding the best hand.