The story of Christian Pham is captivating. The current chip leader with 35 players left in the Main Event sits on 23,200,000 chips, putting him in pole position to win $8,150,000 in just a few days time. However, just a few days ago things were looking very different for the Vietnamese born St. Paul, MN resident. 

“This tournament is such a surprise to me. I ran out of money, and I played a qualifier of $575, and I won a seat. So, I was lucky to get into the tournament. Now I have a lot of chips, and I’m so happy about that.”

Back in 2015, Pham won his first and only World Series of Poker bracelet in the $1,500 2-7 No Limit Single Draw, a game he had never played until the first hand in that event was dealt. Recalling that win for $81,314 makes Pham laugh.

“In 2015 when I won the bracelet I was playing the wrong tournament, and I had never even played that kind of poker before.”

Upon arriving at his starting table in that tournament, Pham was caught by surprise when he got dealt five cards. When trying to unregister failed as he had received cards, Pham decided to make the most of it, he picked up the game fast and went wire-to-wire defeating the likes of Huck Seed and Mike Leah at the final table.

Christian Pham after winning his first WSOP bracelet in 2015

Pham’s tournament earnings total $563,439, but he made clear that things haven’t been going his way before this tournament.

“Without the qualifier, I don’t think I would play the Main Event. I played so many games, and it did not happen for me, I had a lot of bad luck, I ran very bad and Sometimes in poker that happens, but in this tournament, I run good,” Pham said, as his laughter filled the ever hollower Brasilia room.

Coached by Young Phan – winner of $2.3 million in live tournaments and the coach of last year’s Main Event winner Qui Nguyen – Pham emphasizes that he’ll do things a bit differently if things go his way in the upcoming days.

“The first thing I would like to do is write a book about my ten years of experiences in poker,” Pham said when asked what he’d do if he were to win this tournament. 

“I don’t feel pressure. I’ve played poker for a very long time, and a lot of final tables. This is a normal game for me, and I’m excited about my situation. Chip leader in the Main Event; I’m very happy about that.”

“I hope to win, but we need some more luck,” the continuously smiling Pham added before rushing off to do more interviews, as his star rises steeply in the world of poker.