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Toto Leonidas, Wins $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Event
by , published on Monday, April 21 2003
Printable version

Fame and fortune is not really important to me. Winning a poker tournament, even the World Series of Poker, does not change who I am. -- Toto Leonidas (after winning the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud event
at Binion's Horseshoe)

EVENT #3  Seven-Card Stud
Buy-in -- $1,500
Total Entries -- 177
Total Prize Pool -- $246,915

1.   Toto Leonidas  Arleta, CA   $98,760
2.   Peter Rallis                 Monroe, CT  49,380              
3.   Wing Wong              Rowland Hts., CA 24,700        
4.   Rodney Pardey  Las Vegas, NV  14,820
5.   Gerald Cheatham  Newark, NJ  12,340
6.   Jennifer Harman  Las Vegas, NV  9,880
7.   Brian Strahl    Staten Island, NY 7,400
8.   Jan Sorensen   Denmark   4,995
9.   Scotty Nguyen  Henderson, NV  3,700
10. Huck Seed   Las Vegas, NV  3,700
11. Thor Hansen   El Segundo, CA  3,700
12. John Juanda   Marina Del Rey, CA 3,700
13. Daniel Negreanu  Las Vegas, NV  2,460
14. Karina Jett   Las Vegas, NV  2,460
15. Tino J. Lechich  Australia   2,460
16. Charles Bolton  Scottsdale, AZ  2,460

April 17th was Good Friday.  Since Good Friday traditionally marks an
occasion to give thanks, the first thing professional poker player Toto
Leonidas did on this day was attend mass at a local church in Las Vegas.
He stayed at the church until well past noon.  Leonidas was almost late
for the start of the final table of the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud
event, where he held an impressive chip advantage against seven very
talented opponents.  For Leonidas, once the cards were dealt, "Good"
Friday turned into "Great Friday."

Leonidas was born 42 years ago in Bacolod City, Philippines.  "I wanted
to be a basketball player," joked Leonidas -- who stands no more than 5'
7". He started playing poker following his arrival in United States,
mostly in the Los Angeles area where he continues to reside.  Over the
years, Leonidas improved his poker skills and progressively built up a
bigger bankroll.  Finally, his hard work and dedication to poker paid
off when he burst upon the tournament scene a few years ago and quickly
became one of game's most respected yet reserved players.

During the entire final table, which lasted about six hours, Leonidas
never once said a word to his opponents, preferring instead to let his
cards do all the talking.  The final table provided an interesting mix
of poker personalities and backgrounds, including players with no final
table experience to seasoned poker pros like Jennifer Harman (winner of
two World Series of Poker gold bracelets).

After the six players were eliminated, the two finalists traded the chip
lead back and forth in a grueling battle for the world title.  Leonidas
went "all in" on at least two occasions and managed to survive both. It
looked as though Peter Rallis, from Monroe, CT might win the tournament
that point, but he was never quite able to close the victory.  The
heads-up match lasted three full hours until Leonidas clobbered Rallis
on one key hand:

RALLIS --  (K-J) 10-9-2-2 (9)
LEONIDAS --  (A-4) 3-2-5-Q (10)

Leonidas won that hand with a wheel, overwhelming his opponent's two
pair -- 9s and 2s.  By this time, the blinds and antes had escalated so
high to $10K-20K that a winning big hand could devastate an opponent and
perhaps even alter the winner of the final table.  That's precisely what
happened when Rallis was forced to go "all in" short stacked.  The final
hand of the tournament was held 19 hours after the start of the two-day
event.  Leonidas' two pair -- kings and fives topped Rallis' no pair.

When asked about his thoughts while in the church just before playing at
the final table of the World Series of Poker in what was one of the
biggest moments of his pro career, Leonidas was quite introspective
about the experience.  "I only thought a little bit about the final
table," Leonidas said.  "I was mostly thinking about my family and
myself, not the fame and fortune of being here (at the final table)."

Remarkably, Leonidas' first World Series of Poker victory took place
nearly a year to the day he finished second in this same event at last
year's tournament.  But this time there was a different ending.  In the
end, Leonidas was blessed with his first gold bracelet and $98,760 in
prize money.

(A full list of prize winners was sent out in your WSOP Bulletin #2.)

Printable version
Chris Ferguson Wins his Fourth Bracelet
Like two boys playing catch, the chip lead for much of tonight's Omaha hi-lo final table was tossed back and forth between Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Barry Bindelglass.
Read full story

Toto Leonidas, Wins $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Event
Fame and fortune is not really important to me...
Read full story

WSOP News Bulletin 2
Seven-Card Stud
$1,500 Buy-in
177 Entrants
$246,915 Prize Pool

Read full story

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