With WSOP $25K Heads-Up Title, Chanracy Khun Joins Elite Company

After winning the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship at the 2023 World Series of Poker, Chanracy joins an exclusive club of players that owns both a World Poker Tour title and WSOP bracelet.

Tim Fiorvanti
Jun 4, 2023
Chanracy Khun added a WSOP bracelet to his list of major titles by winning the 2023 WSOP $25K Heads-Up Championship. (photo courtesy: WSOP)

Chanracy Khun doesn’t play too many tournaments every year at the World Series of Poker. One staple is the WSOP Main Event, which he plays every year and cashes at an astounding clip; he reached the money in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022, with a pair of top-100 finishes.

The other can’t-miss event? The WSOP Heads-Up Championship.

“I really want to play the heads up because there’s more action and it’s like a chess game, whereas other games, it’s, it’s a bit more, I wouldn’t say less challenging, but maybe a little bit less action,” Khun said.

Khun carved his way through the field of 64 in this year’s $25K edition of the Heads-Up Championship, last defeating three-time WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk despite a rowdy, Polk-heavy crowd in ‘The Mothership’ at The Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. With the win, Khun takes home the $507,020 first-place prize and his first gold bracelet.

“It’s not every day that you get that opportunity,” Khun said of the environment. “So for sure, the pressure, it can really get to you. And it did get to me because I did have a couple of mistakes. Fortunately, it didn’t add up being big mistakes, but it was still mistakes that I normally wouldn’t do in a normal environment. But I tried my best to keep my composure, and it ended up well.”

With that win, Khun joined exclusive company as the owner of both a World Poker Tour title (Khun won WPT Barcelona in 2013) and a WSOP bracelet. It’s a club that includes Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Carlos Mortensen, Darren Elias, Scotty Nguyen, and more of poker’s top names.

“It feels amazing,” said Khun. “It’s hard to find words. Right now, it’s just so many emotions. It’s three days that you don’t sleep that well, and you’re excited. So maybe tomorrow, I’ll know more how I feel. Right now, I just really feel relief.”

The match swung on a big call by Khun with third pair. Khun limped the button with Spade 8 Club 6 and Polk checked with Diamond Q Diamond 4. The flop was Diamond 6 Club 5 Heart 3, and Polk check-called a bet of 160,000. The turn was the Club K, Polk checked, Khun bet 250,000 and Polk raised to 900,000. Khun called, and the river was the Heart 9

Polk put Khun all in, and Khun ultimately called off 2,340,000. Polk showed his busted straight draw, and Khun suddenly held a lead of almost 3-to-1.

“For sure that hand was the game changer,” said Khun. “If I’m right, I’m probably winning 90% of the time. If I’m wrong, I’m losing. So I just went with my guts.”

He soon got the last of Polk’s chips in as a 3-to-1 favorite preflop and held. His win over Polk was the culmination of a run that also saw Khun dispatch Marko Grujic, WSOP $25K 6-Handed Championship winner Alexandre Vuilleumier, Gabor Szabo, Landon Tice, and Sean Winter.

The result was a victory in one of the highest-profile events of the summer at the WSOP. The $25K Heads-Up Championship attracts high rollers, poker legends, and heads-up specialists alike. And while money is obviously a big part of the equation for almost any poker player, this particular title carried special meaning for Khun.

“I wanted to win this bracelet more than the money because it’s such a prestigious tournament,” said Khun. “You’re playing against the best players in the world and I was just lucky enough to be able to beat them. For sure I’m probably not as skilled as most of the pros, but sometimes you get luckier than other people.”