Back to back? Reigning WPT Australia champ David Tang on defending his title

He returns to the Gold Coast this month as defending champion but Melbourne’s David Tang is tempering his ambitions when it comes to another deep run in the 2023 WPT Australia Main Event.

“I’ll be happy with any cash in the main event!” he laughs when asked if he can go back-to-back.

It is now almost a year since Tang became the first ever WPT Australia Main Event champion when he topped a field of 710 entries to cement the $647,470 first prize and the biggest score of his career.

Speaking with PokerMedia Australia ahead of the one-year anniversary of that memorable win – one which may never have been had he stuck with his original plan to stay home so he could attend the AFL Grand Final – Tang recalls having very few expectations heading into the Main.

“To be honest, I didn’t have any goals … I definitely didn’t think I’d go all the way,” he says. “[It was] probably midway through day three [when I realized I had a chance]. I don’t remember too many key hands, I just made hands when I needed to and won a few flips when I was all in.”

While Tang – recounts being “extremely nervous” heading into the final table, his nerves were helped by the fact he was, for much of that final day, nursing a short stack which left little time to worry about the opportunity ahead.

“I was always one of the short stacks if not the shortest for a lot of the duration of the final table, so the payouts weren’t playing on my mind so much,” he explains. “I was happy with whatever result I got at that point. The pay jumps were quite sizeable, just tried my best to think my decisions through and take it one hand at a time.”

Victory, he adds, was “a lot to process as it all happened so fast. I went from being the short stack 3-handed to winning it in the next two. There was so much going on and no time to process any of it in such a big moment! 

“I’m not sure how to describe it, a mixture of relief and rush of adrenaline at the same time.”

Tang says his life hasn’t changed a whole lot in the 12 months since, other than a “bit of travelling and a bit of poker here and there”.

And while another deep run would be welcome, he is even keeping his schedule tight with plans to join only the tailend of this year’s series for the Main Event and the $10k World Championship Warm-up.

The full festival schedule can be viewed here.

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