Poker Player Christian Pham Wins $81K in Tournament He Didn't Mean to Enter

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2015

Christian Pham celebrates during a bracelet ceremony after he won the World Series of Poker No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Draw tournament Friday, June 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. Pham accidentally entered the No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Draw tournament while trying to register for another. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Mistakes can be costly. But for poker player Christian Pham, a simple miscue turned out to be very profitable.

In fact, he made $81,314 from it. 

The 40-year-old entered a World Series of Poker event last week. While he thought he had signed up for no-limit Texas hold 'em, he instead wound up in a no-limit deuce-to-seven lowball draw tournament for a $1,500 entry fee.

The games are just a little different.

Unfortunately—which is now fortunately—for him, he didn't realize he was in the wrong tournament until it was too late.

"I thought I had registered for the $1,500 limit hold 'em," Pham said, per PokerNews' Remko Rinkema. "I would've unregistered if I knew what the event was."

With no chance to withdraw, Pham gave it a shot. It may not have been a huge issue if he had known how to play. But that wasn't the case.

“We don’t have this game in Minnesota [where Pham lives],” he said, per “I learned the game at the table. I was figuring out what to do as I went along, and I also got lots of good cards. That helped, too."

Thanks to somebody at his table, he picked up the rules quickly—and well enough to win the tournament.

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Pham ended both the first and second days as the chip leader, and at the end of the third day, he was the proud owner of a brand-new World Series of Poker bracelet and a cash prize. 

“Now, I love this game,” Pham said, per

Considering that he made more than $81,000 his first time playing, it's easy to see why.

[World Series of Poker]