Jerry Yang is a true rags to riches story. Following in the tradition of previous World Series of Poker champions, Jerry turned $225 into more than $8.2 million. Bursting onto the poker scene in extraordinary fashion, Yang controlled the nearly 16 hours of final table play from start to finish. He emerged with the coveted WSOP bracelet as 2007 Main Event Champion.
Born in Laos, Jerry Yang grew up poor in a politically unstable environment. His humble upbringing has helped him keep his new stature as WSOP Champion and millionaire in perspective. Yang told ESPN in a post-match interview: “The day the American government called my father’s name and said, ‘Hey, you can come to America,’ that was the happiest day of my life. My winning today also means a lot to me, because I know that I can use this money to do a lot of good for other people out there.” Socially conscious, Jerry is determined to give something back. He pledged 10% of his winnings to three different charities − the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Feed the Children, and the Ronald McDonald House.
Final Table Play
Friend of the online poker room Full Tilt Poker, Yang was the wild card when final table play began, but quickly took control. Displaying nerves of steel, he built up a huge chip stack and proceeded to dominate the action, knocking out seven of his eight opponents.
When it came down to heads-up play, the 2007 WSOP winner called his opponent’s all-in bet with pocket eights. His opponent turned over A-Q off-suit, and the race was on. The flop brought a Queen and Jerry fell behind, but the turn gave him some outs as he’d developed a gut-shot straight draw. The miraculous river card – a 6 – completed his straight, and Jerry let out an ecstatic scream as he was crowned champion of the Main Event. After making a victory lap around the table and celebrating with his friends and family, Jerry made sure the dealer didn’t get left out, giving her a giant hug as well.
Outside of Poker
Yang now lives in Temecula, California. Jerry Yang is more than a poker player − he is a psychologist and social worker with a Masters Degree in health psychology. He is married with six children, and always makes sure to kiss a picture of his kids before he goes all-in.