On this Valentine’s Day weekend, millions of couples around the world will celebrate their devotion to one another with flowers, candy or romantic nights out. However after poker pro La Sengphet’s win at Ring Event #8 at Harrah’s Tunica, she and her boyfriend, David Clark marked the annual commemoration of love with jewelry - matching WSOP Circuit Event gold rings.
Sengphet, the first woman to win a WSOP Circuit Event ring since Daphne Turner at Harrah’s New Orleans last May, beat out 283 opponents to claim victory, worth 32,394 and a coveted piece of WSOPC hardware to call her own.
Clark, who won Ring Event #1 at the WSOP Circuit in Choctaw only weeks ago, found himself on the other side of the rail cheering his girlfriend on as the Team Pokerati pro played masterfully throughout the final table.Sengphet, along with the starting final table chip leader, toy store owner and poker author Kelli Mix, made being a guy tough for the remaining seven players at the table with strong aggressive play throughout the night.Heads up play began at 7:15 pm with Nguyen holding a slight lead over Sengphet. Nguyen was able to distance himself to a 2-1 chip lead over his opponent which he increased to nearly 8-1 by the end of the level.
A few hands after blinds moved up to 12,000/24,000, Sengphet was able to double up with pocket sixes vs. Nguyen’s [As][3s] and again with [Qd][Kd] vs. Nguyen’s pocket fives to put herself at nearly a 5-1 lead.
The final hand of the night saw Nguyen lead the betting through a board of [Ts][Qc][6c][8h] before moving all-in after a [Qh] on the river. Sengphet called and showed [7s][8d] which was good enough to eliminate Nguyen, who turned over pocket fours.
Nguyen, a poker player from Dallas, TX, took home $20,019 for his runner-up finish.
Sengphet also hails from Dallas, TX and incredibly, she and Nguyen are friends who travelled together to Mississippi. Along with Clark, the three made their way to Harrah’s Tunica only a couple of days ago from their hometown.
“Unreal, just unreal, “said Sengphet after the win. Me and Andy were kidding around at the start of the final table that we were going to go heads up, but I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
“I had middle pair gutshot,” said Sengphet of the decisive key hand between she and Mix earlier in the night, which would have left her crippled had it gone the other way. Sengphet went on to explain that because of her opponent’s large chip stack and wide range of opening hands, she put Mix on a flush draw to the river after she checked-called the turn.
Sengphet, who final tabled the ladies event at the 2010 World Series of Poker, collected $32,394 for her win, 50 points toward the WSOPC National Championship and a Circuit Event gold ring to match her boyfriend’s.
For the couple, it could not have been a more fitting start to the Valentine’s day weekend. Sengphet said that she met Clark in a poker room and that her aggressive style balances Clark’s more conservative MO... both on and off the felt.
As far as her poker plans for the future, Sengphet says she has her eye on the 2011 WSOP Ladies Event bracelet.
When asked if Clark had plans to put a ring on the one finger that counts, she shot a playful glance over a Clark and said, “You’re going to have to ask him. I’m 35 and he doesn’t have much time, that’s all I’m saying. Tick Tick Tick.”
Clark, who conveniently had his eyes focused on his smartphone, could only respond with a sheepish chuckle.