Event #26 (B) Pot-Limit Omaha (with Re-Buys), Buy-In: $1,500 Final Report

2006 World Series of Poker        
Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas
Official Results and Report
Event #26 (B)
Pot-Limit Omaha (with Re-Buys)
Buy-In: $1,500
Number of Entries: 158
Number of Re-Buys: 472
Total Prize Money: $908,100
Note: Event #26 was split into two tournaments. Both are Pot-Limit Omaha events. 26-A is single-elimination. 26-B is with re-buys. Both are official WSOP gold bracelet events. For reporting purposes, they are listed as 26-A and 26-B.  
Official Results:
Eric “E-Fro” Froehlich
Washington, DC
Sherkhan Farnood
Kabul, Afghanistan
Chau Giang
Las Vegas, NV
Kevin O'Donnell
Scottsdale, AZ
Bruno Fitoussi
Paris, France
Matt Overstreet
Henderson, NV
Richard Freire
Miami, FL
Rafi Amit
Holon, Israel
Ayaz Mahmood
Houston, TX
Robert Wisiak
Queens, NY
Davood Mehrmand
Frankfurt, Germany
Daniel Harmetz
Sacro, CA
Antanas Guoga
Peter Costa
Jeffrey Lisandro
Santa Barbara, IT
David Halpern
New Orleans, LA
Greg Worker
Onsteo, MI
Galen Kester
Senatobia, MS
“E-Fro” Puts on a Show
Eric Froehlich Becomes the Youngest Two-Time WSOP Winner in History
22-year-old poker pro wins Pot-Limit Omaha (with re-buys) championship
Las Vegas, NV –Move over Phil Ivey. Move over Daniel Negreanu. Move over Allen Cunningham. There’s a new kid in town. Eric Froehlich, aged 22-years and four months, became the youngest player to ever win two WSOP gold bracelets. Last year, “E-Fro” won his first championship and became the youngest WSOP winner ever. However, earlier this week, an even more youthful Jeff Madsen eclipsed Froehlich as the youngest gold bracelet winner (by two months) – making “E-Fro” the forgotten man, at least for a few days.
             Froehlich topped a tough field of 158 players and won $299,675 in the Pot-Limit Omaha championship. A whopping 472 re-buys pushed the total prize pool close to a million dollars. The special re-buy event was added to this year’s schedule at the World Series of Poker, presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light. 
            After 149 players had been eliminated, nine players took the final table on the Rio stage. The nine finalists comprised a very tough lineup, including three former gold bracelet winners – Chau Giang (3 previous wins), Rafi Amit (1 previous win), and Eric Froehlich (1 previous win). Players were eliminated in the following order:
            Ayaz Mahmood, a Pakistani-born poker pro now living in Houston, has been a common sight at final tables in recent years. Mahmood wasn’t able to generate much momentum in this group however, as he went out with A-J-9-6 to his opponent’s 7-7-5-4. The final board showed 9-6-3-Q-5 giving O’Donnell a straight. Mahmood received $18,162 in prize money.
            Israeli-born Rafi Amit went out next. His 8-6-5-2 lost to A-7-4-3 when the final board showed J-4-2-4-3. Kevin O’Donnell caught runner-runner to make a full house, putting Amit out in eighth place. This was his second trip to the final table at this year’s WSOP. Amit was paid $27,243.
            Richard “Knucklehead” Freire made things interesting for the crowd. By far the most animated player at the table, Freire made it seem he was playing in his weekly home poker game. He repeatedly stood up from the table and jokingly exchanged words with his rivals. But no amount of personality could save Knucklehead when his Q-5-3-2 was hammered by Chau Giang’s Q-Q-6-4. The final board showed 8-4-2-7-Q, giving Giang trip-queens. Seventh place paid $36,324.
            Matt Overstreet went out next when his Q-Q-9-3 was dominated by Giang’s K-K-J-5. Giang ended up making trip-jacks this time when the final board showed A-J-2-A-J. Overstreet, a recent University of Mississippi graduate, hit the bricks with $45,405 for sixth place. Overstreet also cashed in the main event last year. 
            Parisian poker player and club owner Bruno Fitoussi was eliminated when his K-8-7-5 lost to Kevin O’Donnell’s A-J-8-3. The final board showed J-9-5-6-4 with three diamonds to go with the two diamonds in O’Donnell’s hand. Fitoussi, who won the World Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2001 did not get a chance to go one-on-one in this event. However, he did receive $54,486 for fifth place.
            Kevin O’Donnell enjoyed the chip lead, but then suffered a devastating serious of blows that knocked him out of the tournament. O’Donnell tried to make a move with a straight and a flush draw when he re-raised all-in on the turn holding K-Q-J-2 (with two clubs). The board showed 10-8-7-4 with two clubs. Sherkhan Farnood called the large raise holding a very vulnerable straight (A-9-6-5), which held up. O’Donnell pocketed $72,648 for fourth place.
            Chau Giang has been a master of Pot-Limit Omaha for over a decade. The three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner was shooting for win Number Four, but came up short. The Vietnamese-born poker pro (of Chinese decent) who frequently plays in the highest-limit cash games in the world, was knocked out when his A-8-4-2 was topped by Eric Froehlich’s mediocre 10-7-6-4. Giang did not have many chips left on his last hand, so Froehlich made the right call and then won the hand when the final board showed A-5-4-3-8 – good for a straight. Giang’s take from the event amounted to $90,810.
            Eric Froehlich won his second WSOP gold bracelet at 3:17 am in front of a sparse crowd gathered around the final table. Given the late hour and so many other games and tournaments held in recent days, it’s understandable that few people were around to witness his second win. Yet, they may have very well witnessed the second chapter in what could prove to be a very long and highly successful poker career.  
            Froehlich’s moment of glory came when he was dealt Q-7-7-6 against Sherkhan Farnood’s K-K-6-3. Froehlich flopped a set and then made a full-house when the final board of the night showed 10-7-5-J-J.
             Sherkhan Farnood finished as the runner up. Certainly Afghanistan’s most accomplished poker player, Farnood works as a banker. He deposited $165,274 for second place. Meanwhile, Eric Froehlich took center stage for the second time in two years.
            When asked which of the two victories is sweeter, Froehlich reminisced back to last year’s win. “The first one is sweeter,” Froehlich admitted. When asked if a second WSOP win puts him into the same class with similar youthful champions such as Ivey, Negreanu, and Cunningham, Froehlich was more modest. “They are all great players,” he said. “Sure, I would like their respect and to be in that class as a player. But I still have a long way to go to earn that.”
            Nevertheless, Froehlich says that is determined to make poker history in the years ahead. “I’m looking to pass Johnny (Chan) and Doyle (Brunson) in nine years,” Froehlich said half-jokingly. Chan and Brunson are currently the all-time leaders in most WSOP wins, with ten each.
by Nolan Dalla