Event #29 Pot-Limit Hold’em, Buy-In: $2,500 Official Results

2006 World Series of Poker        
Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas
Official Results and Report
Event #29
Pot-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $2,500
Number of Entries: 562
Total Prize Money: $1,292,600
Official Results:
John Gale
Bushey, UK
Maros Lechman
Columbia Station, OH
Kevin Ho
Gainesville, FL
Joe Hachem
Melbourne, Australia
Alex Jacob
Parkland, FL
Lee Grove
Superior, NE
Jeffrey Roberson
Rolla, MO
Lee Markholt
Eatonville, WA
Greg Alston
Miami Beach, FL
Aaron Bartley
Las Vegas, NV
Theo Tran
Las Vegas, NV
David John
Las Vegas, NV
Emanual Santiago
Vega Alta, Puerto Rico
Nick Guagenti
Westerville, OH
Joshua Van Duyn
San Diego, CA
John Hansmeyer
Lethbridge, Canada
Iwan Jones
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Thomas Smith
St Cloud, MN
Alex Brenes
San Jose, Costa Rica
Zachary Stewart
Santa Monica, CA
Ernesto Celedon
Grand Prairie, TX
Gregg Turk
Potomac Falls, VA
Craig Gray
Portland, OR
Chris Howard
London, UK
Jonathan Turner
Las Vegas, NV
Gary Parsons
Perth, Australia
Carlo Citrone
Newcastle, UK
Efrain Lopez
Miami, FL
Richard Redmond
Lee Watkinson
Long Branch, WA
Ariel Schneller
Blacksburg, VA
Thomas Fuller
Boulder, CO
Randel Brown
Little Rock, AR
Matthew Matros
Brooklyn, NY
Michael Dueloth
Cohasset, CA
McLadan Ivin
Blackheath, Australia
Scott Auerback
Holmdel, NJ
Daniel Negreanu
Las Vegas, NV
Spiro Mitrokostas
W. Yarmouth, MA
Robert Neary
Granite Bay, CA
Gary Rabin
Eric Tomberlin
Jacksonville, FL
Ralph Porter
Woodinville, WA
Jonathan Hewston
John Shipley
North Ireland
Kathy Liebert
Las Vegas, NV
Mke Sexton
Las Vegas, NV
Karl Mahrenholz
Laura Fink
New York, NY
Thieu Phan
Jeffrey Aebischen
Barngate, NJ
Jean-Robert Bellande
Hollywood, CA
Steven Powsner
Brooklyn, NY
Adam Nilsson
When Good Things Happen to Nice People
Gentleman John Gale Wins a WSOP Gold Bracelet
After losing Pot-Limit championship in 2005, gracious Englishman comes back and earns hard-fought victory
Las Vegas, NV –The real test of character is not watching someone during a time of celebration. Rather, it is watching someone in a time of despair. Anyone can behave politely when things are going good. But what about during the bad times? What do they do? How do they act? This notion brings about the old saying, “adversity introduces a man to himself.”
            The 2006 Pot-Limit Hold’em championship concluded on July 21, 2006. But the story of John Gale and his inspiring gold bracelet-winning victory started more than a year earlier. 
At last year’s World Series of Poker, Gale had his last opponent down to the felt and drawing slim. ESPN cameras and the entire poker world were watching as Gale, one of poker’s most gracious gentlemen, was about to win the $5,000 buy-in Pot Limit Hold’em championship. But poker is all about the unpredictable. Gale not only lost the key hand that would have won him a WSOP title, he proceeded to lose several more vicious hands (usually as the favorite). Brian Wilson ended up making a stunning comeback in heads-up play, eventually seized the chip lead, and ended up as the winner. Instead of acting bewildered or angry, Gale extended his hand and then warmly embraced the winner. He smiled and moved off of the stage to allow Wilson his moment of glory.     
            In what has been a year of retribution at the 2006 World Series of Poker, presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, John Gale added his name to the illustrious list of tournament winners who had previously been shunned by the poker gods in years past. Sammy Farha and David Williams, who were runners up in the championship event in 2003 and 2004 respectively, each captured a gold bracelet. After decades of unofficially being tagged as “the world’s best all-around poker player,” Chip Reese won the biggest buy-in event in WSOP history and finally validated the designation. Then, there was poker ambassador Mike Sexton, who started this year’s tournament off with a resounding victory in the Tournament of Champions.
            John Gale’s victory was all the more pleasing to watch because he so genuinely wanted the gold bracelet – far more than the monetary value of the $374,849 in prize money. It’s often a cliché to mention that a WSOP gold bracelet means more than the money. But in Gale’s case, it’s truthful.
            “It’s every poker player’s dream,” Gale said. “It means so much more now because I came so close (last year). I really do feel bad for anyone that gets close and does not win. But, to now come back and enjoy this moment makes it all the sweeter.”
            After 553 players had been eliminated over two long days, nine players took the final table on the Rio poker stage. The nine finalists comprised a very tough lineup, most notably Joe Hachem the reigning world poker champion.  When play began, John Gale was a distant third in the chip count, trailing by more than 3 to 1 to the chip leader, Alex Jacob.
Chip Count
Lee Markholt
Maros Lechman
Joe Hachem
Jeffrey Roberson
John Gale
Lee Grove
Alex Jacob
Kevin Ho
Greg Alston
            Greg Alston was the first player to go out. On his final hand, Alston tried to steal the pot with a pre-flop re-raise holding king-four. But the initial raiser, Kevin Ho, had more than enough chips to make the call, and did so holding king-seven. Ho made two pair to a board of K-10-6-7-9, and Alston was eliminated. Alston, who had been playing tournament poker for nearly a decade, including the last six years at the WSOP, collected $25,852 for ninth place. 
            Lee Markholt went out next. Once again, Kevin Ho was the hatchet man. The Washington State-based poker player went all-in with ace-seven against Ho’s king-deuce. When the final board showed Q-3-2-8-9, a lowly pair of deuces had eliminated Markholt. Eighth place paid $38,778.
            Jeffrey Roberson finished in seventh place when he was severely short-stacked and moved all-in under the gun holding queen-three. Kevin Ho eliminated his third consecutive opponent when he called the raise with pocket aces, which crushed the weaker hand. Roberson, a home builder from Missouri, received $51,704.
            Lee Grove was down to his last 20,000 when he moved in with ace-seven. Joe Hachem called the small raise and flipped over king-five. The final board showed J-J-6-K-3, giving Hachem a pair of kings. Grove collected sixth-place prize money totaling $64,630.
            Many thought this was Alex Jacob’s tournament to lose. He arrived with a sizable chip lead at this, his second final table this year, but suffered through a horrific final hour which knocked him out a disappointing fifth. After losing most of his chips on a number of crippling hands, Jacob went out with a pair of nines against Joe Hachem’s pocket queens.  Jacob, a graduate of Yale University, received $77,556.
Down to four players, there was a hand that was as enlightening as it was dramatic. World champ Hachem was all-in against Kevin Ho and was in serious trouble. He was down to a single card. With his tournament life on the line, the entire room standing and holding their collective breaths, a queen spiked on the river and saved Hachem -- at least temporarily. As the crowd roared, Hachem made what unfortunately an all-too rare revelation of overt sportsmanship. As he heard the cheers around him, Hachem saw his opponent looking down and dejected. With the wave of his arm, Hachem asked for stillness from the crowd. It was a respectful and dignified gesture that reveals more about Hachem as a champion and as a person than any million dollar prize or gold bracelet.  
Sadly, Hachem’s good graces did not translate into what could have been his second WSOP victory. He went out a short time later on a horrible beat. On the key hand, Hachem moved all-in holding king-nine after the flop came K-4-3. John Gale had ace-three and called with the small pair. The turn brought a blank, but an ace on the river stunned the crowd, knocked out the champ, and rocketed Gale up into the chip lead.  
“Sorry Joe,” John Gale would say later in a post-tournament interview. “I knew I did not have the best of it when I called. But I decided to gamble to have the chance to knock out a great player.” For Hachem, fourth place paid $90,482.
            Kevin Ho went out in third place when he was all-in with an outside straight draw holding jack-nine to the flop -- which came A-10-8. John Gale had ace-jack, for top pair. Two blanks sealed Ho’s fate – which paid $103,408.
Heads-up play between John Gale and Maros Lechman lasted 89 hands. The chip lead changed four times. Both players had decisive chip advantages at various points, up 5 to 1 at times. But neither player could hold the lead for long. Finally after three hours and 45 minutes of intense play, Gale caught a rush of cards and had his stubborn opponent down to the felt.
            The final hand of the tournament came when Lechman’s ace-six lost to Gale’s king-nine. The final board showed 10-9-7-5-2. Gale’s pair of nines won the pot. Maros Lechman finished the tournament in second place and earned $197,768.
            Had he won, Maros “Premier” Lechman would have been the youngest player ever to win at the WSOP. At 21 years and three weeks of age, Lechman would have eclipsed Jeff Madsen’s record (set earlier this week) by 20 days. 
Gale was tearful after his well-deserved, crowd-pleasing victory. He hugged many well-wishers in the stands and it took several minutes for Gale to compose himself for the post-tournament festivities. True to his genial nature, Gale complimented his opponents -- especially Lechman in heads-up play.
Poker is a game of peaks and valleys. Many valleys, in fact. Only one player in each tournament can see the winner’s view from the summit. As Gentleman John Gale discovered, wallowing in the World Series valley for a while makes the summit’s view all the more magnificent when it finally comes. Oh, and how magnificent the view is.
by Nolan Dalla