It took 16 hours of poker but the tenacious Jerry Yang would not be denied. Yang came into the day as one of the short stacks and proceeded to rampage his way through the competition. By the end Yang had left countless players in his dust and proved he could be a champion. This is the PokerListings.com recap of the final hours of poker at the 2007 WSOP Main Event:
After exceptionally fast play in the early part of the day (check here for the Tuan Lam was proudly flying the flag of the True North. There was a large group of South Africans wearing "Everybody Loves Raymond" T-shirts rooting for Rhame and of course there was a gaggle of vodka-drinking men draped in Russian flags behind Kravchenko. Finally there were chants of "USA, USA" every time Yang raked a pot.
Alexander "The Barnacle" Kravchenko lived up to his newly awarded nickname and simply did not release his grasp on the final table. He was forced all-in several times and always managed to come out the winner.
After approximately seven hours without an elimination Kravchenko was finally given his ticket back to Russia. Of course it was Jerry "The Eliminator" Yang who did the busting.
Yang pushed all-in with 8♥ 8♣ and Kravchenko had to call with A♠ K♦. The flop was a disaster for Kravchenko as it went Q♦ 9♥ 8♠ giving Yang a set of eights. The turn came 4♣ and Kravchenko was drawing dead.
Kravchenko mentioned in his exit interview with PokerListings.com that he had felt he had a real chance to win the entire thing especially when he got up to $22 million.
The stoic Russian earned $1.8 million for his efforts and the respect of all his peers for a truly exceptional run at the 2007 WSOP.
A little less than an hour later it was South African Rahme who was facing off against Yang.
In the hand Yang raised to $2.5 million preflop and Rahme re-raised to $6 million from the big blind. Yang made the call and the flop came A♦ J♥ 8♥. Rahme checked to Yang who bet out a cool $10 million. Rahme grabbed his entire stack and pushed it into the middle. Yang tanked it for a good five minutes trying to get a read on Rahme.
"Just play your hand," said Rahme.
"My decision, huh?" said Yang. "I think you're on a draw."
Yang eventually made the call and showed A♣ 5♠. Rahme shook his head and showed K♥ K♠ meaning he was behind. The crowd gave a hearty cheer for Yang while the South Africans were silenced for what felt like the first time. The turn card came 3♠ which was no help for Rahme who was looking for a king. The river card went 2♦ and Rahme took his place on the rail. There's no shame for Rahme who earned $3 million for his third-place finish.
It all came down to Canada vs. USA in the finale, the dominator Yang against the relatively quiet Lam. The chip ratio was stacked in Yang's favor as he carried $104 million into heads-up play while Lam had a meager $23 million.
The first twenty hands saw Lam fold pretty much everything. Lam apparently really wanted to pick the spot for his final stand. Eventually when Lam was depleted to under $10 million he made his move. The Canadian pushed all-in from the button and Yang made the call showing A♣ 9♥. Lam flipped over a severely out-gunned 4♦ 3♦. It appeared the poker gods had sided with Lam when the board (K♣ 8♠ 4♥) paired his four. The turn went 6♥ and the river fell K♠. Although Lam had doubled up, he was still far behind his rival with only $18 million compared to Yang's $109 million.
Lam appeared to have been revitalized by the win. He started pressuring Yang more and more. After a few all-in pushes momentum seemed to be going his way.
That all changed on hand 36 of heads-up play.
Yang raised to $1.5 million and Lam re-raised all-in immediately. Yang called very quickly and the crowd was on their feet cheering. Yang showed pocket eights while Lam flipped over A♦ Q♦. Chants of "USA, USA" were heard echoing throughout the Amazon Room and the tension in the room was palpable as we went to the flop.
The flop came Q♣ 9♣ 5♠ and the Canadian cheering section was rife with euphoria. It appeared Lam might be on his way to another double up. Apprehension filled the room as the dealer turned 7♦ giving Yang a boatload of outs.
With the championship on the line the dealer flipped over 6♥ and the crowd was sent into a cheering frenzy. Yang had made a nine-high straight and won the 2007 WSOP Main Event!
Yang was mobbed by his friends and family as screams of "USA! USA!" and "Jerry! Jerry!" were heard in the background.
Second place finisher Lam had an amazing tournament and will take home a substantial $4.8 million but for the moment all eyes are on Yang.
Yang put on a dominating performance at the Main Event final table and tied Jamie Gold's record of knocking out seven of eight players. Yang's feat is considerably more impressive because he entered play near the bottom of the chip stacks. Through his strong aggressive play Yang was able to make his claim on poker history.
In other words Yang completely wrecked shop and has a shiny bracelet and a truckload of cash to show for it.
Congratulations to the 2007 WSOP Main Event Winner!