Woo-ing WSOP Gold: The David Woo Interview

But Woo stopped wooing a World Series bracelet tonight and finally sealed the deal, taking down the 2008 WSOP Event 39, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em.

Following the win he sat down with PL.com and a gaggle of other media types to discuss how this all came to pass. Herewith, the transcript of the joint press conference.

What did you do before you started playing poker?

I had a family-owned coffee shop. For coffee I would have to be there early in the morning and I'd be playing poker all night. So the coffee shop kind of got in the way of my poker. I was starting to make some money and then I was selling coffee for $1.15 and working all day so I quit the coffee gig and picked up poker full time/part time.

How long have you been playing professionally?

You know, I don't even know what a professional is, but I've been playing poker for about seven or eight years. I've been at the World Series since 2005, maybe 2004 ... I'm terrible with dates.

What's more important to you, the money or the bracelet?

You know, it's crazy. I had a buddy of mine who won a [ring] in Tunica and the money wasn't a big deal over there, something like $87,000. But when they brought that [ring] out it was like the realization that he had really done something.

But the amount of money here is so significant that it's got to be the money over the bracelet in the end. But the bracelet is a huge validation. It's kind of crazy to say, but it's not a validation for me, because I always thought I was capable and a lot of my friends did to. I think for me it validated poker [laughs] because you run into so much bull crap in poker, to finally win it - it's definitely a good feeling.

It sounds like you've been playing in the WSOP for a few years. Was last year's final table your best result to date?

As far as cashes, yes, but in the 2006 WSOP [Main Event] I was the chip leader on Day 4. I played a huge hand and if [I'd won] that hand that was basically a coin flip, [I'd have] got second in chips to Jamie Gold.

I eventually ended 132nd and that's poker, but if [I'd won] that I would have been right there with Jamie Gold. If [I'd won] that I would have gone to the final table, I had so many chips at that point.

At what point at this final table did you really start to see the finish line?

When the day started. Yesterday I was the chip leader for a while going into the nine-handed session. I had $1.7 million, got down to $600,000 and got back up to $1.1 million that I started the day with. Not to brag, but with these guys I really felt like I was the best player.

I would have been sick with anything but first place, just like I was last year. It was about the same situation. If you get a table full of pros you are just hoping to win. Here I expected to win.

How much did the experience of the Main Event and last year's final table make you more comfortable coming in here?

Every time you play poker it's a learning experience. Last year like it was such a crapshoot and they did change the structure this year so there is more play at the final table. Last year it was just ugly. For like five hours we didn't see a flop, I'm exaggerating, but it was all-in, all-in, all-in and it just knocked everybody out.

But like I said with the amount of chips we had and the blind structures the way they were I guess I wanted to play a lot of small pots and not get into a coin flip. I never wanted to get into a coin flip. I don't like big-stack poker; I just want to play a lot of small pots. I want to play big-stack poker against a table full of good players because your edge is very marginal. But against these guys I feel like I can read them, I can outplay them, etc., etc.

You did limp with ace-king in that massive hand where you flopped the nuts and knocked two players out at once. What was your thinking there?

I play so many hands differently. I raise with junk, I limp big hands. I was just hoping right there somebody makes a move pre-flop and I can come over the top. If they make a huge move then I'm going to have a decision but if they make it small then I can reraise and hopefully they will fold.

As it turned out everybody limped, I flopped the stone-cold nuts and I was scared for my life because I knew people were on tremendous draws. I faded the draws and it turned out to be a real big hand.

When you play these tournaments with such massive fields you are going to have to get lucky sometime. Were there a ton of spots where that was the case for you?

David Woo
Woo hoo!

It's really crazy and I probably wouldn't believe it, but I didn't suck out one time in the whole tournament. It's ridiculous. You are right, most of the time in these tournaments you have to suck out several times, but fortune smiled on me and I didn't. Like I said, I don't like playing that kind of poker where I'm flipping and flipping and stuff like that.

So what's next?

I guess this is my fourth or fifth tournament this year and I've cashed in one. I always try to play. I love the $1,500 events on the weekends where you get everybody wanting to play. I do plan to play a couple more events. My main goal this year was to play a bunch of these and then the Main Event and I'm going to do that.

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David Woo got over the hump tonight, winning WSOP gold for the first time. Take one look at his game and it's a good bet it won't be the last.

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