Event 19 at the WSOP – the Limit Hold´em /Six Handed Championship – saw more British success in the shape of 888poker pro Darren Woods. Darren, the ex-accountant who turned his numeracy skills to poker, triumphed in a tense heads-up conclusion against American female player Kim Nguyen, to become the third UK poker player this series to collect a WSOP bracelet. Darren also added a first prize of $213,431 to the cashes he made at the WSOP in 2009 and 2010.
Overcoming a field of 354 players – dominated by Americans – the final table of this $2,500 buy-in tournament had a strong international feel to it. France, Russia, the Czech Republic, America and Cleethorpes all had representatives on the well natured final table, and Darren maintained a good position throughout – eliminating Andrey Zaichenko (5th), Alexander Kuzmin (4th) and Samuel Golbuff (3rd) – to set up an engrossing finale with Nguyen, herself aiming to become the first woman to collect a WSOP bracelet in an open event since Vanessa Selbst in 2008.
Darren grabbed the early initiative in the Heads Up – coming from a slight chip disadvantage (1.5 million / 1.15 million) to take a million chip lead over the American. For a while it appeared that the two players were content to exchange chips and compliments at the table, but with the blinds at 15,000 / 30,000, Darren caught a gutshot straight on the river to open up a substantial chip advantage – one he was never going to relinquish.
The key hands came in Level 26 when Darren found two pairs twice in successive hands, and extended his chip advantage to 2.2 million / 400K. Despite seeing her chip stack dwindle, a sunglasses-clad Nguyen kept smiling and was a gracious loser as Darren chipped away at the remainder of her stack to claim the title of Limit Hold´em Six Handed Champion.
Described by a commentator at the 2010 WSOP as an unknown, Darren Woods has now accumulated cashes in WSOP, WSOPE, EPT and Aussie Millions events, and looks like a live poker player with a fantastic future.