California psychologist Jerry Yang pounced when he sensed weakness.
Yang began playing poker only two years ago, but he quickly jumped from eighth in chips at the final table and won the World Series of Poker's main event.
He used his dominant position to knock out seven challengers and take home an $8.25 million payday and poker's most coveted bracelet early Wednesday morning.
"I study my opponents very carefully, and when I sensed something, when I sensed some weakness, I took a chance," said Yang, 39.
"Even if I had nothing, I decided to raise, re-raise, push all-in or make a call."
When play got down to heads-up, the ethnic Hmong immigrant from Laos faced another refugee from South Asia, Tuan Lam, a 40-year-old Vietnamese Canadian online poker pro from Ontario.
Yang had 104.5 million in chips to Lam's 23 million and it took several hands for both players to get into an all-in confrontation. Lam made his move with an ace and queen of diamonds and Yang called with pocket eights, the AP reports.
When a queen, five and nine came on the flop, it looked like Lam, waving a Canadian flag, would be on the verge of an unlikely comeback. But a seven on the turn and a six on the river gave Yang a straight, sealing a win.
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