Volume 31 • Number 2 • April 26, 2000
previous event Razzo's Videos@pokerpages.com   pokersearch.com   Andy Glazer@poker.casino.com next event

2000 Champion


Event #2 Results
Limit Texas Hold'em
$2000 Buy-in
$2000 in chips
1. Hieu 'Tony' Ma$367,040
2. Roman Abinsay188,480
3. Hung Tran92,240
4. Ray Dehkharghani59,520
5. David Stearns44,640
6. Jimmy Athanas34,720
7. Kevin Lewis24,800
8. Reinhold Schmitt19,840
9. Scott Brayer15,875
10. Michael Wu Ma11,905
11. Jim Bechtel11,905
12. Victoriano Perches11,905
13. Yoshio Nakano9,920
14. Jonathan Lemone9,920
15. Sunny Yi9,920
16. Steve Zolotow7,940
17. Robert Wasmund7,940
18. Matti Kourtti7,940
19. Jan Murray Stein5,950
20. Stanley Singer5,950
21. Geno Davis5,950
22. Paul Eggers5,950
23. Kirk Schneider5,950
24. Skip Wilson5,950
25. George Rohme5,950
26. Rafael Perry5,950
27. Mohammad Gomrokchi5,950

Total Prize Pool: $992,000
Number of Entrants: 496

Entries to Date: 605
Prize Money to Date: $1,046,500


By Mike Paulle

It's been eleven long months coming. Ever since Noel Furlong turned over those pocket 5's last May to win the World Championship, poker players have had to wait for a real tournament to begin. It's here, it's now. The World Series of Poker is back. All that waiting is over. Let's play for some REAL money, let's make some REAL poker history. Let's Get It On!

There were 496 entrants in the $2,000 Buy-In, Limit Hold'em for a total prize pool of $992,000. 3 tables were paid, a total of 27 players.

You know it's a World Series event when you have to be a former World Champion to make it onto the Notables list. Nine former champions showed up for the $2,000 Limit Hold'em. Only one got into the money. Jim Bechtel was one card away from this Final Table. Bechtel had pocket Queens, an overpair to the board, and shoved nearly all his stack into the pot. Bechtel slammed his handful of chips on the table when Hung Tran, with pocket Jacks, spiked a Jack on the river. Hung Tran could now take a substantial chip lead into Tuesday's Final Table action.

THE FINAL TABLE: 3 mins left of 1 hr. The blind are $4,000 and $8,000
PlayerHometownChip Count
Seat 1David StearnsGrover Beach CA$118,000
Seat 2Roman AbinsayStockton CA$103,500
Seat 3Jimmy AthanasSt Louis MO$102,000
Seat 4Scott BrayerTucson AZ$53,500
Seat 5Reinhold SchmittPforzheim, Germany$36,000
Seat 6Ray DehkharghaniLas Vegas NV$144,000
Seat 7Kevin LewisAuburn CA$51,500
Seat 8Hung 'David' TranInglewood CA$244,000
Seat 9Hieu 'Tony' MaS El Monte CA$142,000

The tension is palpable as the Tournament Director Bob Thompson introduces the nine players one by one and they stride past the barrier protected my a burly security guard into the Final Table area. Only one player is missing. Where is Kevin Lewis? Minutes go by until a sheepish-acting Lewis walks in and jokes, "I thought it was tomorrow." The laugh the gag line got broke the tension and we could begin to play poker.

There are three relatively short stacks as we start. One of these three is almost sure to be the first one out. The chip leaders aren't going to let these guys breath, if they can help it. Scott Brayer is the most active of the three. This can be good, it can be bad. In the early stages the prize money doesn't go up that much with each place, so it's definitely the time to gamble. After folding a couple of hands after seeing the flop, Scott's break looks like it's arrived when he goes all-in with pocket Queens and is called by Jimmy Athanas with pocket 8's. The Queens hold up for Brayer and Scott can last for a while. But instead, Scott takes his new chips and tries to buy Tony Ma off a pot with A J. Brayer chooses the wrong guy to try to bluff. Ma maybe the best reader of player's hands in the game at the moment. Tony shows no hesitation in calling Scott all the way down to the river with A K and a King on board. Brayer's stack is decimated. Scott goes all-in from the small blind with his last $9,000 and an A 7. $9k is pocket change to the chip leader Hung Tran. Tran calls with A 9 and the 9 plays. Scott is a Brayer without a prayer in 9th.

A journalist from Germany, Reinhold Schmitt came over to cover the tournament for German media and ended up at the Final Table. Only by the grace of the poker gods was Reinhold here. On Monday night he had to go all-in repeatedly to survive. Usually, Schmitt had an Ace rag and an Ace hit the board. Today, Schmitt was getting the rags but not the Aces. In a desperate last attempt to get some chips, Reinhold goes all-in with the best hand he's seen, the K Q of Spades. Hung Tran is having no trouble finding big hands. Tran three-bets with the A K of Hearts to get head up with Schmitt. There are two hearts and a spade flop, all small cards. A spade hits the turn and suddenly Reinhold Schmitt is poised for yet another miracle survival. One more spade or a Queen on the river and Reinhold becomes a force in this game. The dealer lays down a blank on the river to send Schmitt back out into the media pool in 8th.

There are amazing coincidences in every tournament, but in the World Series they become incredibly magnified. Kevin Lewis is a salesman for a small company in Auburn CA. Of the 496 players that started this event, one is Kevin's boss in this small company. There are countries that didn't get two players into the money today, but Kevin's little company did. Lewis' boss finished 21st. Kevin goes all-in from the small blind with Q J. He becomes pretty hopeful when a Q J flop. Not much to worry about when Hung Tran shows an A 8. But wait! When you are running as good as Tran is, anything can happen and does. There was an 8 on the flop with that Q J and wouldn't you know another 8 comes on the turn to turn Lewis loose in 7th.

When Jimmy Athanas lost with those pocket 8's to the all-in Scott Brayer's pocket Queens it didn't seem that big a deal. It was. Athanas never recovered. Jimmy's only significant win afterward was against Hung Tran when Athanas got Hung to hang up on a hand for a change and fold. With his chips nearly gone, Athanas goes all-in under the gun with A 8. When Roman Abinsay sees an A K in his big blind it's an easy call. An Ace flops and Roman's King kicks Jimmy Athanas out of the tournament in 6th.

'Steamroller' is David Stearns' nickname. Today he was a little of both. Steamed and Rolled. Taking beats at the Final Table of a World Series event can play on a man's mind. Perhaps because he was steamed Stearns raises and reraises the chip leader Hung Tran from under the gun with pocket 6's. Tran is in the small blind with yet another A K and isn't going anywhere. Stearns is right he had the best hand before the flop, but David doesn't count on Hung Tran dreaming cards all day. When an Ace turns, Stearns is rolled out in 6th.

With four players left, a deal is agreed to that gives Hung Tran the most money. Normally with the money spoken for, this would end a regular tournament. But not the World Series of Poker. There is something very special that can't be negotiated in a deal. Money comes and goes, but a World Series bracelet is forever. Of the four players, only Tony Ma had one. And the other three wanted their first. For over three hours the fighting for the bracelet was as fierce as for millions of dollars. In a series of hands that included quads, full houses, nut flushes and straights, each of the four players took over the chip lead at one time or the other.

"I was very confident," Tony Ma said "even when I was low in chips." Tony Ma is the 1999 Player of the Year according to Card Player Magazine. It would be hard to dispute that he's the best player in tournament poker at the moment. When all the others fell by the wayside, it was Tony Ma who prevailed. At the start of heads up play with Roman Abinsay, Tony was down 3-1 in chips, but the outcome seemed inevitable. Tony just wears you down. By the end, Roman Abinsay was so tired he could barely see straight and actually seemed relieved when the last hand was played out. After 21 hours over two days, Tony Ma was as fresh as when he started and all the others were dragging. "I love tournaments." Tony Ma wrote in his bio for this event. And tournaments love Tony Ma.

Tomorrow, 7-Card Stud. This is the World Series, baby. Let's get it on, again!

Super Satellite Update

The third Super Satellite at the WSOP for the $10,000 Final Event on Sunday was won by: Jerri Thomas (Hamilton OH), Mark Ervin (Las Vegas NV), JC Pearson (Nashville TN) and Steve Meyerson (Poquoson VA).

Monday, four more players won their Super Satellite: Raymond Beck (Tulsa OK), Richard Tatalovich (Scottsdale AZ), Allen Cunningham (Rialto CA) and Hassan Kamoei (Indio CA).

The two-a-day Super Satellite schedule started on Tuesday. In the early Super, Alex Papachatzakis (Torrance CA) and Bob Walker (Las Vegas NV) got into the Big Dance. In the late one, four players won seats. They were Louis Asmo (Columbus OH), Anastassios Lazarou (Las Vegas), Capt. Tom Franklin (Gulfport MS) and George Bartlett (Clinton MD).

Internet coverage of the 2000 World Series of Poker is brought to you as a service of ConJelCo with the full and active cooperation of Binion's Horseshoe. ©2000 Binion's Horseshoe • some portions © 2000 ConJelCo