Chino Rheem capitalized on his final table chip lead to win the 2013 World Poker Tour World Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Rheem went into the final table with a big chip lead, which he never relinquished as he stormed to his second World Poker Tour Title.
However, he was made to work for it by the resurgent Erick Lindgren, requiring three hours to put the two-time WPT champion away in heads-up despite starting with a three to one chip advantage.
The victory was Rheem’s fourth tournament payday of more than $1 million but he said this win meant the most to him.
“It is special because this is the WPT World Championship and its full of stacked players and every table that you look at always has three or four top pros that you recognise,” Rheem said.
Rheem has been dragged into a number of controversies in recent years but he is hopeful this victory will let him concentrate on his poker and leave his issues in the past.
“Hopefully I can have a better mindset and outlook on life,” Rheem said.
“The World Series is right around the corner and this gives me my swagger back and a big confidence boost going into the World Series this summer, so I’m really just going to try and crush.
“I’m definitely not going to try and be as careless or reckless as I have been in the past and I’m going to try to take my time when I’m thinking and not be so impulsive when making decisions.”
Lindgren has been through a number of controversies of his own in the last eighteen months and Rheem wanted to send a message to members of the poker community who have been highly critical of Lindgren.
“You can read and hear a lot of things but don’t judge unless you really understand or you know,” Rheem said.
“Erick is a great guy and a great person; he has had some ups and downs in his life but who hasn’t, who hasn’t made mistakes?
“At least he can be a man and come out and be clean about it and admit it.
“He is just trying to make better with his life doing what he is very good at doing.”
Rheem wasn’t the only player to seal a big win on the weekend with Hollywood Producer Matt Salsberg securing the WPT Player of the Year Award from Paul Volpe and Paul Klann.
The World Poker Tour may be over for another year but it’s almost time to get ready for the 2013 World Series of Poker!