Former poker dealer Ashkan Razavi reckons it’s “amazing” to win the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Re-entry event #9 at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old poker pro from British Columbia picked up his first gold bracelet, as well as $781,398, after outlasting 3,403 other starters in the Amazon Room of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. He now has $893,033 from WSOP cashes. But can he break through the $1 million mark this series?
The Iranian-born Canadian – who moved to North America aged 13 – showed amazing stamina and skill to ultimately defeat Philadelphia’s Amanda Musumeci in a heads-up battle that saw the runner-up collect $481,643 as she just missed out on becoming the first women an open tournament since Brooklyn’s Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst pocketed $227,965 for taking down the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event #19 in 2008.
Biggest $1,500 Field Since 2008
Razavi, however, deserved his success after besting the biggest $1,500 buy-in tournament at the WSOP for four years, as well as overcoming a tough final table that included Musumeci, Derrick Huang (third for $347,228), Ryan Olisar (fourth for $252,379) and Brian Rast (sixth for $137,632).
The champion was obviously delighted to win his first gold bracelet after many years of trying, but also stressed that he
never put extra pressure on himself to secure his first win – preferring to concentrate on
doing well in events.
However, Razavi did add that, while aiming
to go deep in events, he considers himself
lucky to be the winner of the bracelet – that’s definitely an added bonus.
Mini-Van First Item on Winner’s Must-Buy List
But Razavi won’t be splashing the cash on anything particularly glamorous as his girlfriend has only recently had a baby, meaning they
desperately need a mini-van, while the latest winner emphasised that playing poker is
all about the money as he strives to ensure his
family’s well-being and financial security.
Razavi – who has been around the poker scene for a few years now – saw off New York’s Huang to take a massive chip lead of 13,100,000 to 2,200,000 into his head-to-head with rising star Musumeci.
But Musumeci did not appear concerned by this as she continued to battle, even managing to double-up when winning a dramatic race. However it wasn’t long before she was again all-in, with the outcome quite different this time.
Amanda Musumeci Falls Short
Razavi opened for 200,000 and big blind Musumeci moved all-in for her last 1.8 million. Razavi made the call to show the dominating K♥ 10♦ against the Q♦ 9♦ of Musumeci.
The 7♦ 10♠ 2♣ flop left Musumeci needing help. The 4♦ arrived on the turn to hand Musumeci a flush draw, but the river was the K♣, so ending the tournament. While clearly disappointed not to collect her first WSOP crown, Musumeci did have the consolation of securing her largest ever cash.
The final table started quickly as Washington’s Dien Le was left crippled when his pocket eights couldn’t stay ahead of Huang’s all-in move with king-queen. Le never recovered from that loss and hit the rail soon after in ninth place for $59,969.
Benjamin Reinhart Out in Eighth
Indiana’s Benjamin Reinhart was next to go in eighth place for $78,259 after he got involved in a raising battler with Musumeci that led to the former five-betting all-in while holding A♦ K♣. Unfortunately, Reinhart found himself dominated by Musumeci’s A♣ A♥ and didn’t improve. Musumeci, on the other hand, moved into the chip lead with that elimination.
The very next hand witnessed another exit when Canada’s Greg ‘FBT’ Mueller hit the rail in seventh place for $103,258. The Vancouver native, in the cut-off seat, moved all-in with Q♥ 10♦, only to discover that Huang had pocket kings. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Mueller gained a little hope with the A♠ Q♦ K♦ flop as it gave him backdoor diamond outs as well as a jack to make a Broadway straight. But the turn and the river were no good to him, confirming his elimination.
Brian Rast Exits in Sixth Place
Vegas-based Rast – who won the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship last year for $1,720,328 – struggled at the final table and was knocked out in sixth place for $137,632.
Rast – another two-time WSOP bracelet winner – shoved all-in with A♥ 8♠ but was thrashed by the A♦ K♥ of Razavi, while the eventual champion then disposed of Honolulu’s Duy Ho in fifth place for $185,378. Ho shoved for about 3.7 million with pocket threes against the kings of Razavi. The kings stayed ahead to give Razavi a stranglehold on the event.
Start-of-day chip leader Olisar, from Illinois, exited as the fourth place finisher for $252,379 when he and Musumeci were all-in nearly even in chips. Olisar showed A♦ Q♥ to race against the 5♦ 5♥ of Musumeci.
Ryan Olisar Takes Fourth Spot
Musumeci hit trips on a 5♠ 2♠ 8♣ flop before sealing the knockout when the 2♣ arrived on the turn as she now had a full house. Olisar just survived that pot, but hit the rail after the next hand.
Third place and $347,228 went to Huang when Razavi opened to 200,000 and small blind Huang moved all-in. Razavi quickly called to show K♠ K♥ while Huang tabled the 7♦ 7♣. The kings held to provide us with the Razavi v Musumeci heads-up.
WSOP 2012 Event #9 Top 10 Payouts
1. Ashkan Razavi (Canada) – $781,398
2. Amanda Musumeci (USA) – $481,643
3. Derrick Huang (USA) – $347,228
4. Ryan Olisar (USA) – $252,379
5. Duy Ho (USA) – $185,378
6. Brian Rast (USA) – $137,632
7. Greg Mueller (Canada) – $103,258
8. Benjamin Reinhart (USA) – $78,259
9. Dien Le (USA) – $59,969
10. Aviraham Lovton (USA) – $46,413