Thirty-five-year-old Chiab “Chip” Saechao of Visalia, California has become the champion of the first event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the Casino Employees Championship. The Casino Employees Championship, open to all casino employees from around the world, attracting a field of 732 players, was played over two days and two nights.
As the winner, Saechao, a blackjack dealer at the Tachi Casino in Lemoore, earned the cash prize of $70,859, as well as a WSOP gold bracelet, his first bracelet as a poker player.
“I will pay off a lot of my debt,” Saechao said of his intentions with his winnings. “And, I will give some of it to my wife so she can buy some nice things.”
Admiring his gold bracelet, Saechao said, ”I plan to wear it and show it off. Not too many can come over here to Las Vegas and go back home with this.”
Saechao began playing poker two years ago and won a WSOP seat through a WSOP qualifier. He had already played in WSOP Main Events before participating in the Casino Employees Championship, and said that he usually plays low-stakes poker as well as low buy-in tournaments.
Patricia Baker, who works as a poker dealer in Little Torch Key, was the runner-up of the event and received a cash prize of $43,754.