Allen Bari declared “I’m the best” a few moments after emerging from a field of 865 competitors to lift the $5,000 no-limit hold’em title at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas last night and secure a gold bracelet and $874,116.
Bari, from West Orange in New Jersey, held off the challenge of Maria Ho – the first woman to make a final table at this year’s WSOP with $540,020 – as the pair got down to heads-up action to claim his first WSOP victory, and biggest cash win ever, that takes him to approximately $1.7 million earnings from live poker events.
The 26-year-old – who worked with AIG and Morgan-Stanley on Wall Street before being made redundant due to the recent economic recession – reckons that his “swagger” is deserved.
The Rutgers University graduate said that, as he has “been playing poker a long time” – since high school – and has “been working hard at it….putting in the hours and learning”, he does not reckon he is “arrogant in terms of everything – just poker” because he is “just better than most people”.
Now in his sixth year of attending the WSOP, Bari – whose big breakthrough came in 2008 at the WSOP Circuit, when he won the main event at Caesars in Atlantic City – lived up to his own hype.
Certainly, he wasn’t ever really troubled at the final table, having amassed about two-thirds of the chips when just four players were remaining.
The final hand saw Ho – who was massively outchipped by about six to one – find A-4 to get all her chips in against Bari’s eights. With the board running blank, however, Bari emerged victorious.
This was Bari’s 11th WSOP cash, taking his total in Las Vegas to $1,089,653 from his victory, three final table slots and 11 cash finishes.
Six-year pro Ho, meanwhile, was disappointed with her runner-up spot, as, although she “won a lot of money and should be proud”, the 28-year-old from Arcadia in California stated that “there is a point in every poker player’s career where you want that bracelet” because “it’s so tough” getting to a final table.
The leading 81 finishers were awarded cash, with the likes of Mike Wattel, Scott Montgomery, JC Tran, Carlos Mortensen, Farzad Bonyadi and 2009 event winner Brian Lemke in the prize money.
Final table finishes and payouts from the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event:
1. Allen Bari (USA) – $874,116
2. Maria Ho (USA) – $540,020
3. Sean LeFort (Canada) – $348,128
4. Nicholas Blumenthal (USA) – $255,028
5. Thomas Ross (USA) – $189,574
6. Ricky Fohrenbach (USA) – $142,821
7. Jesse Chinni (USA) – $108,914
8. Mikhail Lakhitov (Russia) – $84,033
9. Farzad Bonyadi (USA) – $65,535