How Jerry Yang Won $8.5 Million at Poker

Jerry Yang’s story should inspire anyone to put boots on, take on life, and win big time. In the 1970s, he was a refugee from Laos and spent four years in Thailand in a migrant camp. After he found his way to California, he picked up a master’s in health psychology and became a psychotherapist. Even after that he continued to be a winner.

Jerry’s Path to the 2007 World Series of Pokerdownload (1)

Jerry played his first poker game after he turned 38. This confirmed his talent for taking on competition. Two years later, he qualified for the 2007 World Series of Poker, after acing a $225 satellite game at Pechanga Resort in Temecula, California. The total prize pool for the big event was $59,784,954 and the action was already becoming extreme.

The Big Night at the Pechanga Resort and Casino

All subsequent events took place at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas under careful oversight of Harrah’s Entertainment. For the first time, the organisers required all players to double up on the amount of chips they bought. There was some puzzlement at the main event because some chips were similarly coloured. Jerry Yang realised this was his opportunity to sow confusion.

He knocked seven of the eight players out in the last game of the competition, accumulating a huge chip lead almost guaranteed success. Twelve hours later he was the winner, and scooped the $8.5 million prize after wearing down his last opponent. When asked for his secret, he said he took a chance when he intuitively sensed the others’ weakness.

There were times when his hand was almost worthless, he added, yet he raised, re-raised, pushed all in, and made a call. He became more and more aggressive as he sensed his opponents’ desperation, until he was the winner of the 2007 World Series of Poker. Then Jerry Yang gave ten percent of his $8,437,435 prize to charity, as ‘thanks to the powers above’ for the good cards the game gave him on that day.