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Event #13, $2,500 No Limit Holdem, Final Report
The 2009 World Series of Poker $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Keven Stammen, from Celina, Ohio.
Stammen is a 23-year-old professional poker player.
Stammen was born in Coldwater, OH.
Stammen has been playing poker since he was a child. He started out playing in friendly games with friends and became a regular in many private games around the Dayton area by his teen years. He now plays poker full-time, both in private games and online.
“My life is pretty crazy,” Stammen said. “I play a lot of cash games and have done that ever since I can remember.”
When Stammen turned 19, he began playing in casinos in Windsor, ON (Canada), since the legal age is lower in some Ontario Casinos than elsewhere.
“I’ve always been a poker player,” Stammen said.
“Ever since I was like 15 or 16, I played poker in the clubs in Ohio,” Stammen stated. “I used to play in some of the small tournaments they had when I was younger.”
During the post-tournament interview, it became obvious that Stammen quite simple lives and breathes poker. He was queried about several key hands and was able to remember, in excruciating detail, every single hand, bet size, and action that developed.
Stammen collected $506,786 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Stammen has now cashed seven times at the WSOP, all since 2007. He also had three WSOP Circuit cashes.
“It’s good to have a bracelet,” Stammen said. “Last year I came out here and cashed four times. I got close a few times. But I took a few beats. This (win) sure makes up for it.”
The Final Table
The final table was comprised of no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. This was the sixth of 14 finales held so far this year with no former winners -- which guaranteed a first-time winner.
Five of the final nine players were aged in their 20s.
This was the first event played this year (other than the Casino Employees tournament) with an all-North American cast. There were six Americans, two Canadians, and on Mexican among the final nine.
The runner up was Angel Guillen, from Mexico City, Mexico. Guillen came close to becoming only the second national of Mexico to win a WSOP gold bracelet. In 2006, Victor Perches became the first Mexican ever to win. Mexican-born Luis Velador also won a gold bracelet last year, but he resided in California at the time of his victory.
The third-place finisher was Shawn Glines, from Las Vegas, NV. He is a 29-year-old poker pro.
The fourth-place finisher was Bahador “Baha” Ahmadi, from Burnaby, BC (Canada). An interesting side note about this player: Ahmadi, who was born in Iran, played college football at Holy Cross.
The fifth-place finisher was Torrey Reily, from New Orleans, LA.
The sixth-place finisher was Antoine Berube, from Quebec City, Quebec (Canada).
The seventh-place finisher was Todd “Turkish” Altinbas, from Miami, FL. Note: In some player profiles, this player is listed as “Oktay Altinbas.”
The eighth-place finisher was Matt Lynn, from San Diego, CA.
The ninth-place finisher was Gregg Merkow, from Plano, TX. He won the WSOP Circuit Main Event at the Tunica Grand (Mississippi) in 2005.
The final table was played in a lightening-fast 4:05. With a one-hour dinner break omitted, actual play lasted just over three hours, or 70 hands. This was the shortest final table, by far, at this year’s WSOP.
Other In-the-Money Finishers
There was considerable interest in Phil Ivey’s performance in this event. Just three days ago, Ivey won WSOP gold bracelet number six. He came into Day Three with a short stack and exited in 18th place.
Nikolay Evdakov, from Moscow, Russia finished in 94th place. This marked Evdakov’s third cash already this year. In 2008, Evdakov set a new WSOP record with most cashes in a single year – with ten. He is currently on pace to match that record and could break it, with a few extra events added to this year’s schedule. An interesting side note is that Evdakov’s highest finish remains 12th.
The defending champion in this event was Duncan Bell, a.k.a. “Pumper,” from Vancouver, BC (Canada). He did not enter the event this year.
Odds and Ends
The tournament was played over three days. On Day Three, the final table was dealt out on ESPN’s “secondary” stage. The “feature table,” located adjacent to the secondary area, hosts the other finale played on the same day. This year at the WSOP, most days will include two final tables.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room (Amazon) and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to both public and media. Video and photography of the ceremony is permitted.
The $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship attracted 1,088 entrants. This created a prize pool totaling $2,502,400. The top 117 finishers collected prize money.
So far, the pace at most final tables at this year’s WSOP has been slow. Due to very favorable structures, players are getting more play for their tournament investment. That said, the first 90 minutes of this final table progressed at an unprecedented bust-out rate. From the time play consolidated to ten players, it took just 33 hands to eliminate five players.
The final hand of the night came when all of Guillen’s chips went into the pot after a flop of 9-8-2 with two hearts. Guillen had J-9, good for top pair with a jack kicker. But Stammen had an overpair holding pocket jacks. The higher pair held up, giving Stammen the victory.
The tournament officially began on Friday, June 5th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 7th, at 8:45 pm.
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