HIEU 'TONY' MA
Event #2 Results
|1. Hieu 'Tony' Ma||$367,040|
|2. Roman Abinsay||188,480|
|3. Hung Tran||92,240|
|4. Ray Dehkharghani||59,520|
|5. David Stearns||44,640|
|6. Jimmy Athanas||34,720|
|7. Kevin Lewis||24,800|
|8. Reinhold Schmitt||19,840|
|9. Scott Brayer||15,875|
|10. Michael Wu Ma||11,905|
|11. Jim Bechtel||11,905|
|12. Victoriano Perches||11,905|
|13. Yoshio Nakano||9,920|
|14. Jonathan Lemone||9,920|
|15. Sunny Yi||9,920|
|16. Steve Zolotow||7,940|
|17. Robert Wasmund||7,940|
|18. Matti Kourtti||7,940|
|19. Jan Murray Stein||5,950|
|20. Stanley Singer||5,950|
|21. Geno Davis||5,950|
|22. Paul Eggers||5,950|
|23. Kirk Schneider||5,950|
|24. Skip Wilson||5,950|
|25. George Rohme||5,950|
|26. Rafael Perry||5,950|
|27. Mohammad Gomrokchi||5,950|
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
|Seat 1||David Stearns||Grover Beach CA||$118,000|
|Seat 2||Roman Abinsay||Stockton CA||$103,500|
|Seat 3||Jimmy Athanas||St Louis MO||$102,000|
|Seat 4||Scott Brayer||Tucson AZ||$53,500|
|Seat 5||Reinhold Schmitt||Pforzheim, Germany||$36,000|
|Seat 6||Ray Dehkharghani||Las Vegas NV||$144,000|
|Seat 7||Kevin Lewis||Auburn CA||$51,500|
|Seat 8||Hung 'David' Tran||Inglewood CA||$244,000|
|Seat 9||Hieu 'Tony' Ma||S 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!
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).