Event 32: Pot-Limit Hold'em. Jason Lester Finally Wins A WSOP Gold Bracelet And $550K First Prize.Official Results and Report from the 2006 World Series of Poker.
Event 32: Pot-Limit Hold'em with Buy-in of $5,000.
When Jason Lester walks into any poker room, everyone seems to recognize him. He's been playing in poker tournaments for twenty years. He's cashed 16 times at the World Series of Poker, and made six final table appearances. He was part of poker's biggest story ever when Chris Moneymaker rocked the world and won the 2003 championship event. Lester finished fourth that year. Had a few key hands gone the other way, perhaps it would have been Lester's day and he'd be a champion. But alas, that's poker.
In fact, it's more of a surprise to learn that Lester did not have a gold bracelet - at least not until the midnight hour on June 24, 2006. The Miami-based investor finally accomplished his breakthrough victory when he topped a highly- competitive field of 378 players and won the $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold'em event at the World Series of Poker, presented by Milwaukee's Best Light.
Lester added his name to this year's memorable list of tournament winners - players who had previously been members of the WSOP's supporting cast, while others got the starring roles. Sammy Farha, David Williams, Chip Reese, Mike Sexton, John Gale, and now Jason Lester have all slain the poker demons of years past with gold bracelet victories.
The Pot-Limit Hold'em championship was played over a three-day period. It took two long days to eliminate 369 players. The nine finalists returned to the Rio poker stage on Day Three. The final table consisted of several players with high-stakes experience. However, none had previously won a WSOP title.
Name Chip Count Seat
Michael Tedesco $278,000 1
Jason Lester $222,000 2
Tony Hartmann $163,000 3
Stuart Fox $214,000 4
Alan Sass $431,000 5
Emad Tamtouh $97,000 6
Kirill Gerasimov $124,000 7
Gregg Turk $122,000 8
Tommy Smith $238,000 9
Kirill Gerasimov was the first player to go out. The Russian poker player, who was making his second final table at this year's World Series, was eliminated when his ace-king was booted by Emad Tahtouh's pocket queens. A queen flopped, which improved to a full house, putting the Russian out in the cold. Gerasimov collected $35,532 for ninth place.
Next, Tommy Smith got the axe. The 21-year-old college student took a tough beat with set-over-set holding pocket sixes. After Alan Sass re-raised on the flop with pocket queens, Smith called instantly with trip sixes. Smith's joy turned to anguish when Sass tabled a set of queens. The lone six in the deck which would have saved Smith remained concealed. Eighth place paid $53,298.
Emad Tahtouh was the next player to exit. The Australian poker player hoped to join his fellow mate Joe Hachem as a gold bracelet winner, but came up short. A little-known fact is that Tahtouh is the sole reason Hachem decided to come and play at last year's WSOP. Tahtouh had won his entry to play in the main event, and Hachem decided to come to Las Vegas along with his friend. And the rest, as they say - is history. Tahtouh became "history" when his suited king-five failed to make a pair. The Aussie collected $71,064.
Gregg Turk went out next. The investment advisor from suburban-Washington, DC tanked with ace-queen suited to Lester's pocket eights. All small cards meant a sixth place finish for Turk. He received $88,830 in prize money.
Fifth place went to Michael Tedesco. The second-most famous poker player from Menlo Park, CA (Phil Hellmuth, Jr. lives up the road) went out holding a dominant hand, ace-queen versus ace-eight. Stuart Fox (A-8) caught an eight and eliminated Tedesco. The investment banker who specializes in mergers and acquisitions cashed out for what amounted to $106,596.
Tony Hartmann is another longtime tournament player with a long record of accomplishments, but no WSOP gold bracelets as of yet. "The Big House" went out holding ace-king versus Alan Sass' pocket nines. The middle pair held up, which meant a fourth-place finish for Hartmann. He was paid $124,362.
Stuart Fox, a.k.a. "Foxy," got bitten next when Jason Lester (with ace-nine) re-raised all-in after Fox attempted a pre-flop steal with king-three suited. Fox was pretty much pot-committed and was forced to call. Neither player made a pair, which meant the ace-high played. Fox ended up as the third-place finisher - which paid $142,128.
When heads-up play began, Jason Lester enjoyed a sizable chip lead. "I did not want to gamble," he explained later. "I was not going to give my opponent any chips when I did not have to....and I was not going to make any calls in marginal situations."
Alan Sass had the backing of a rowdy cheering section of a few dozen friends and supporters. But that was not enough to defeat a very determined Lester. The final hand of the night was deal when Sass tried to make a clever move with six-four suited after the flop came 9-3-2. Sass held an inside-straight draw and moved all of his chips into the pot on a semi-bluff. However, Lester had nine-seven, good for top pair. Sass was all-in and missed on the final two cards giving his opponent the victory.
Alan Sass, a.k.a. "The Usher" was the runner up. The 23-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas collected $284,256.
"I'm so happy, it's such a relief to win this," Lester said in a post-tournament interview. "I've been playing at the World Series for twenty years and to finally win this it's such a validation for all those years and all those beats, and all the times where I think I could have won a gold bracelet."
Lester collected $550,746 in prize money. "My background in game theory is really what got me here," Lester answered when asked to assess his reasons for victory. "It's my strategic skills. I play backgammon, chess, and other games and I eventually got into poker because it became so big. My win here really is the summation of all those things that came together - from experience, knowing the math, from my own style."
"I will be playing the main event next week," Lester concluded. "Now, when I sit down, I am going to have more confidence and a renewed table presence. That's what winning (a WSOP gold bracelet) does for you."
1. Jason Lester Miami, FL $550,764
2. Alan Sass Las Vegas, NV $284,256
3. Stuart Fox Birmingham, UK $142,128
4. Tony Hartmann Minneapolis, MN $124,362
5. Michael Tedesco Menlo Park, CA $106,596
6. Gregg Turk Sterling, VA $88,830
7. Emad Tahtouh Melbourne, Australia $71,064
8. Tom Smith St. Cloud, MN $53,298
9. Kirill Gerasimov Moscow, Russia $35,532
10. Nam Thien Le Huntington Beach, CA $21,319
11. Benjamin Arnold Santa Ana, CA $21,319
12. Chau Giang Las Vegas, NV $21,319
13. Laura Fink New York, NY $17,766
14. John Shipley Solihull, UK $17,766
15. Tonio Scali New York, NY $17,766
16. Cyndi Violette Los Angeles, CA $14,213
17. Kevin O'Donnell Scottsdale, AZ $14,213
18. Rami Boukai Laguna Hills, CA $14,213
19. Nick Schulman New York, NY $10,660
20. Alexander Kravchenko Moscow, Russia $10,660
21. Jon Knauf Garland, TX $10,660
22. Greg Mascio Brea, CA $10,660
23. Jeff Buffenbarger UK $10,660
24. Ayaz Mahmood Houston, TX $10,660
25. Garth Derbyshire London, UK $10,660
26. Nick Guagenti Westerville, OH $10,660
27. Joe Beevers London, UK $7,106
28. Daniel Alaei NA $7,106
29. James Romptz Cordova, TN $7,106
30. Constantine Moustakis Danvers, MA $7,106
31. Lonnie Heimowitz Monticello, NY $7,106
32. Jamieson Pickering Surfers Paradise, Australia $7,106
33. Mark Tehscher London, UK $7,106
34. Erik Seidel Las Vegas, NV $7,106
35. George Abdallah Houston, TX $7,106
36. Patrick Antonius NA $3,553
37. Mark Gregorich Las Vegas, NV $3,553
Source: www.WorldSeriesOfPoker.com, by Nolan Dalla
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