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Event #45 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em

Day 1
Buy-in: $10,000
Players: 275
Prize pool: $2585000 for the top 27

Event #45 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em will have all players begin with 30,000 chips each with opening blinds of 100/200 and levels lasting 60 minutes each. Coming to the tables looking for a treasure chest with a gold WSOP bracelet inside were John Kabbaj, Billy Kopp, Brandon Adams, Issac Haxton, Burt Boutin, Justin Young, Erik Seidel, Luke Staudenmaier, J.C. Alverado, Eugene Todd, Alex Popov, Russell Rosenblum, Nenad Medic, Terrance Chan, Bill Chen, Vanessa Rousso, Bill Edler, Neil Channing, David "The Dragon" Pham, Bertrand Grospellier, Juha Helppi, Toto Leonidas and Thomas Wahlroos.

With the high chip stacks and low blinds, it was a while before anyone went out. Of the notable players, Amit Makhija was gone 3 1/2 hours into the fray. Amit had made a full house (4's/Q's), but Howard Lederer made a larger full house (Q's/10's) to send Amit to the sidelines. Next to go was Chau Giang after meeting the two pair (A's and Q's) of Brandon Adams. Vanessa Rousso gained a straight to beat Eric Froehlich, ending the chance for another player with a dream of a bracelet. Vitaly Lunkin who has done so well this WSOP, could not sustain the whipping given by the pocket J's of his opponent, and is now gone from the tables. Following Lunkin were Joe Sebok, Ted Lawson, Bill Edler, Jared Hamby, Abe Mosseri, Gary Benson, Barney Boatman, David Singer and Ivan Demidov.

There were 85 left that will see seats on Day 2. Here are the top 9 with chip counts:
  1. Michiel Brummelhuis -- 330,200
  2. Toto Leonidas -- 241,100
  3. Kirill Gerasimov -- 213,200
  4. Darryll Fish -- 209,100
  5. Masaaki Kagawa -- 194,900
  6. David Pham -- 187,500
  7. Kwang Lee -- 182,400
  8. Michael Kamran -- 180,000
  9. Tim Kahlmeyer -- 178,300

Day 2

Some who are seeing a seat on Day 2 are Chris Moore 126,700, Ludovic Lacay 120,800, John Kabbaj 176,800, Luke Staudenmaier 114,200, Eugene Todd 105,500, Alex Jacob 111,200 and Bobby Firestone 102,200. At 2:00 PM the competition continued as blinds were 1200/2400 for the players.

Among the early exits, Patrick Bruel didn't make the flush he was after and lost to the 10 kicker of Darryll Fish and is now gone. Neil Channing soon followed when Luke Staudenmaier levitated the balance of his chips over to his side when Luke made a flopped straight. Burt Boutin was finished thanks to the full house (A's/6's) belonging to Davidi Kitai. Juha Helppi lost to the pocket Q's of Nam Le, and is no longer at the tables. And Kathy Liebert was on her way out of the Amazon room for the night. Many other players went to the door because of the fact that John Kabbaj turned up the heat on everyone. He finished the night with over two million chips! By the time the night ended there were 14 for Day 3.

Payout Schedule for final table:

  1. $633,335
  2. $391,369
  3. $259,534
  4. $183,638
  5. $138,375
  6. $110,431
  7. $93,085
  8. $82,668
  9. $77,136
Here are the top 9 for Day 3:
  1. John Kabbaj -- 2,226,000
  2. J.C. Alvarado -- 924,000
  3. Billy Kopp -- 772,000
  4. Eric Baldwin -- 713,000
  5. Issac Haxton -- 660,000
  6. Davidi Kitai -- 581,000
  7. Kirill Gerasimov -- 550,000
  8. Ken Lennaard -- 467,000
  9. Darryll Fish -- 368,000

Day 3 -- Final Table

Below is the event summary from the WSOP:

The 2009 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em world champion is John Kabbaj. Kabbaj attended college for a few years, but decided to forgo his formal education to play poker for a living. He has essentially supported himself by playing poker all of his adult life. Kabbaj also enjoys betting on sports. Aside from poker, his passion is soccer (football). His favorite team is Tottenham Hotspur. He also supports Watford F.C., because he lives near the stadium. Kabbaj has always enjoyed gambling. He started playing poker and betting as a teenager. Kabbaj has been attending the WSOP every year since 1996. Kabbaj collected $633,335 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet. Kabbaj becomes the 129th player in WSOP history to win more than $1 million in tournament play. The defending champion from 2008 was Nenad Medic. He entered this year’s event, but did not cash.

John Kabbaj came to the final table on Day Three ranked first in chips, by a sizable margin. But he gradually lost his lead and was behind Kirill Gerasimov when heads-up play began. The most critical hand of the match took place when Kabbaj was down by a more than 2 to 1 margin. He got into a race for all his chips holding A-4 versus Gerasimov’s 3-3. Kabbaj made a full house, seized the lead, and went on to win the tournament. The final hand took place when both players tried to outfox each other and Kabbaj ended up on top. Kabbaj was dealt A-A. Gerasimov was dealt K-K. Both players slowplayed their big pairs and once the flop came with three small cards, all the chips went into the pot with a flurry of raises and re-raises. Kabbaj tabled his pocket aces which held up and dragged the final pot of the tournament.


John Kabbaj

  1. John Kabbaj -- $633,335
  2. Kirill Gerasimov -- $391,369
  3. Eric Baldwin -- $259,534
  4. David Kitai -- $183,638
  5. J.C. Alvarado -- $138,375
  6. Jason Lester -- $110,431
  7. Eugene Todd -- $93,085
  8. Isaac Haxton -- $82,668
  9. Darryll Fish -- $77,136