The last few days were a weekend of firsts and historical moments in Oklahoma, as Poker Night in America made it’s first trip to the south to bring three days of high stakes cash game filming and a $1,000,000 guaranteed Main Event to Choctaw Casino Resort. After those cash game sessions, the focus of the Choctaw poker community turned to the PNIA Choctaw Main Event final table and, eventually, to their most recent champion.
Nguyet “Kim” Dao was the chip leader coming into today’s five-handed final table and even though she stumbled coming out of the gate, she quickly regained her footing and chip lead. Once she did that, it was just a matter of time until the rest of her opponent’s fell and after a grueling heads up battle with Hasan Haq, she claimed her first major tournament title.
This wasn’t just any tournament title either, as there was the better part of $1,500,000 up for grabs after 1,064 players built up the biggest PNIA Main Event field in history. Not only did Dao outlast a massive, and stacked, record breaking field, she also became the first female player to ever win a Choctaw Main Event. Throughout the weekend we’ve referenced the banners hanging from the Grand Theater rafters celebrating past champions and Dao is the first female player to join that group.
While history might not have been on her mind before, during or after the final table, we can’t blame her, as she came into this event with just over $2,000 in career tournament earnings. That didn’t seem to matter though, as she navigated the field with perfection to claim just over $286,000 for her PNIA Choctaw Main Event title.
Her friends and family were on the rail throughout the final table and when she hit her flush on the turn, to send Haq out in 2nd place, the emotion from the entire group was palpable. From small stakes tournaments, to the biggest PNIA Main Event of all-time, to Choctaw Poker history; Nguyet “Kim” Dao is a name we’re certainly not going to forget any time soon.
That concludes our coverage of the PNIA Choctaw Main Event and previous updates from this event can be found here.