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WSOP 2009

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Event #26, $1,500 Limit Hold'em, Final Results

Official Report
Event #26
Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $1,500
Number of Entries: 643
Total Net Prize Pool: $877,695
Number of Places Paid: 63
First Place Prize: $197,509
June 12-14, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Tomas Alenius Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet
  2. Sweden Joins Gallery of Champion Nations with WSOP Victory

The Winner

The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em champion is Tomas Alenius, from Stockholm, Sweden.

Alenius was born in Stockholm, as well.

Alenius is a 33-year-old professional poker player. He worked as a blackjack dealer before pursing a poker career.

Alenius worked inside small casinos scattered throughout Stockholm while in his 20s. He started playing poker online seven years ago and eventually made more money at his recreational activity. He started dealing blackjack less and playing poker more, which led to full-time status as a poker player.

Alenius intended to play in several events at this year’s WSOP, concentrating mostly on the lower to middle buy-in tournaments. After this win however, Alenius says he intends to play in more tournaments.

When home in Sweden, Alenius plays mostly online poker.

Alenius becomes only the second Swedish WSOP gold bracelet winner in history. However, he is arguably the first to win poker’s most coveted prize. Two-time gold bracelet winner Chris Bjorin is Swedish. However, Bjorin lives in London, England.

Alenius collected $197,509 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to the official records, Alenius now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 3 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

Alenius best previous WSOP finish was 21st place in a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event in 2006.

Alenius currently has $210,638 in WSOP winnings.

Alenius’ first recorded major cash in a tournament was 2005. He won nearly twice as much money in this tournament as his combined career winnings from all previous cashes.

Winner Quotes (Tomas Alenius)

On making a comeback during heads-up play after being down 3 to 1 in chips: “It’s not that much to do, really. Catch some hands and take over the game. You need to hit flops.”

On winning a Limit Hold’em gold bracelet: “It’s a lot of luck involved for sure, and I ran good.”

On his thoughts about opponent Al Barbieri, who was the chip leader during most of the finale: “I think he played too loose when it went from six players down to four. Then, he started to tighten up. He lost some of his confidence, for sure….you need to be aggressive and pick up the pots when you have the chance.”

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet: “It’s awesome. It’s what you dream about.”

On what explains so many Scandinavians (including Swedes) being excellent poker players: “We probably are very well educated, about the game. It’s the mentality.”

The Final Table

The final table contained only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Rep Porter ( 1 win)

Four different nations were represented at the final table – including Canada, Holland, Sweden, and the United States.

The runner up was Jason Tam, from Markham, Ontario (Canada). He is an orthodontist, who plays poker recreationally. He concentrates on short-handed games and heads-up play online.

The third-place finisher was Al Barbieri, a.k.a. “Sugar Bear,” from Philadelphia, PA. Barbieri has come close to victory a few times at the WSOP, but so far as not achieved the top prize. Barbieri participated in one of the longest final table matches in WSOP history, when he finished third to O’Niel Longson in the 2005 Razz event.

The fourth-place finisher was Glenn Engelbert, from Gloucester Township, NJ. He is a recycling coordinator and part-time poker player who regularly plays in Atlantic City. This was Englebert’s best showing ever at the WSOP. He previously finished tenth in a Seven-Card Stud event in 2005.

The fifth-place finisher was Demetrios Arvanetes, from Las Vegas, NV. He is a former Wall Street trader and golf instructor. Arvanetes cashed in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.

The sixth-place finisher was Dominik Kulicki, from Amsterdam, Holland. He holds a Masters Degree in business administration. Kulicki made a final table at last year’s WSOP playing No-Limit Hold’em. He also cashed in last year’s Main Event.

The seventh-place finisher was Rep Porter, from Woodinville, WA. He won his gold bracelet in last year’s Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship. Prior to playing poker for a living, Porter was an equity options trader.

The eighth-place finisher was Kim-Phong Duong, from Port Perry, Ontario (Canada).

The ninth-place finisher was Cole Miller, from Auburn, CA.

In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Rep Porter (7th), Matt Keikoan (22nd), Phillip Tom (25th), Paul Darden (31st), Bill Chen (35th), and Barry Greenstein (53rd).

This was Barry Greenstein’s fourth time to cash at this year’s WSOP. He now has 41 in-the-money finishes which ranks 16th on the all-time list.

The defending champion from 2008 was Jimmy Shultz, from Lewis Center, OH. He entered this year’s event but did not cash.

Odds and Ends

During the 1990s, the Limit Hold’em championship routinely attracted the largest fields of any WSOP tournament. For several years, this tournament had twice number of entrants as the Main Event. It was traditionally the first open event offered during the first weekend of the WSOP.

Limit Hold’em first made its debut at the 1983 WSOP. The first Limit Hold’em world champion was Tom McEvoy. He went on to win the Main Event that same year.

The start of Limit Hold’em’s popularity can be traced back to California’s legalization of flop games (including Hold’em) in 1988. Prior to the late 1980s, Limit Hold’em was spread in only a few small Las Vegas casinos and underground games, located mostly in the American South.

Limit Hold’em was king during most of the 1990s, except in the Northeast where Seven-Card Stud was the dominant form of poker. In fact, finding a No-Limit Hold'em game was next to impossible. In 2003, things began to change. No-Limit Hold'em gradually became the most popular form of poker played not only in the United States, but abroad. Today, Limit Hold'em tournaments have become less common. Confirming fears that Limit Hold'em’s popularity remains stagnant, turnout for this year's $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold'em championship declined for the fourth consecutive year. The 2006 tournament attracted 1,069 entries. In 2007, the number declined to 910 players. Last year, the final tally was 883. This year, there were 643 entries.

The list of former Limit Hold’em champions is quite an illustrious group. Former Limit Hold’em champions include – Tom McEvoy, Berry Johnston, Humberto Brenes, Johnny Chan, Mickey Appleman, David Chiu, Jay Heimowitz, and Farzad Bonyadi.

The ESPN broadcast stage was dark on this day. Fifteen more events are scheduled, which are split between ESPN 360 and Bluff Media. For a complete broadcast schedule of all events, go to:

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 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 public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

The Event

The $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em event attracted 643 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $877,695. The top 63 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

The chip leader after Day One was Jon Van Halle, from Hamburg, Germany who did not cash.

The chip leader at the start of the final table was Al Barbieri, a.k.a. “Sugar Bear.” He ended up finishing third.

When the final table began, eventual winner Tomas Alenius was ranked third out of nine players.

The final table lasted about five hours.

Al Barbieri held the chip lead most of the way. But he played aggressively throughout the finale, and bled away chips late when he was up against better hands. Once Barbieri lost the chip lead, he was never able to recover.

When heads-up play began, Jason Tam enjoyed a 3 to 1 chip advantage over Alenius. But the Swede defeated the Canadian in the duel, which lasted about an hour.

The final hand of the tournament came when Alenius won the last pot with ace-high. But the biggest pot of the night came earlier when Alenius bested Tam with a full-house busting a flush. Alenius made eights-full-of-sevens. Tam lost with the nut flush. That hand essentially decided the outcome of the tournament.

The tournament officially began on Friday, June 12th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 14th, at 8:25 pm.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Alenius, Tomas $197,509 Stockholm Sweden
2 Tam, Jason $121,999 Markham ON, Canada
3 Barbieri Al $80,072 Philadelphia PA
4 Engelbert, Glenn $55,575 Gloucester Township NJ
5 Arvanetes, Demetrios $40,681 Las Vegas NV
6 Kulicki, Dominik $31,324 Amsterdam Netherlands
7 Porter, Rep $25,312 Woodinville WA
8 Phong Duong, Kim $21,415 Port Perry ON, Canada
9 Miller, Cole $18,931 Auburn CA
10 Brodie Richard $13,542 Kirkland WA
11 Dickenson, Ken $13,542 Cypress TX
12 Li, Yan $13,542 Las Vegas NV
13 Kerstine, Andrew $10,075 Orange CA
14 Schiffman Mike $10,075 Henderson NV
15 Varner, John $10,075 Beauercreek OH
16 Burner, Dale $7,706 Los Angeles CA
17 Corning, Douglas $7,706 Portland OR
18 Yu, Benjamin $7,706 Henderson NV
19 Argyros, Vasilios $5,994 Melbourne Australia
20 Seber, Billy $5,994 Houston TX
21 Lopez, Jacinto $5,994 Grand Prairie TX
22 Keikoan, Matthew $5,994 San Rafael CA
23 Horrocks, John $5,994 Henderson NV
24 Burkart, Alexander $5,994 Heilbronn Germany
25 Tom, Philip $5,994 Las Vegas NV
26 Boeken, Noah $5,994 Amsterdam NL
27 Rood, David $5,994 Brantford ON, Canada
28 Morgan, Douglas $4,871 Martinez CA
29 Levine, Joshua $4,871 Portland OR
30 Bonomo, Justin $4,871 Las Vegas NV
31 Darden, Paul $4,871 Las Vegas NV
32 Eichel, William $4,871 Parker SD
33 Buckley James $4,871 Los Angeles CA
34 Tam, David $4,871 San Diego CA
35 Chen, William $4,871 Lafayette Hill PA
36 Yek, Kuong $4,871 Woodbury MN
37 Harris, Nicole $4,046 Oceanside CA
38 Cowley, Steven $4,046 Midlothian VA
39 Smith Jason $4,046 Chandler AZ
40 Von Halle, Jan $4,046 Hamburg Germany
41 Bromberg, Corey $4,046 Tarzana CA
42 Cicconi, Guy $4,046 Las Vegas NV
43 Hart, Daniel $4,046 Las Vegas NV
44 Defusco, Mark $4,046 Mesa AZ
45 Manfrede, Karen $4,046 St Louis MO
46 Meek, James $3,405 Mississauga ON, Canada
47 Blanco, Cristiano $3,405 Roma Italy
48 Chi, Qi $3,405 Las Vegas NV
49 Ramdin, Annand "Victor" $3,405 Bronx NY
50 Reed, Michael $3,405 Export PA
51 Clemento, Jack $3,405 Philadelphia PA
52 Devonshire, Bryan $3,405 Henderson NV
53 Greenstein, Barry $3,405 Rncho Pls Vrd CA
54 Ebenhoeh, Timothy $3,405 Chesaning MI
55 Damany, Paul $2,896 Beckenham United Kingdom
56 Drucker, Linda $2,896 Las Vegas NV
57 Cordone, Joseph $2,896 Las Vegas NV
58 Ellis, Michael $2,896 Culford Gardens London
59 Harroch, Richard $2,896 San Francisco CA
60 Thomas, Larry $2,896 San Leandro CA
61 Price, Craig $2,896 Phoenix AZ
62 Dunning, Jerry $2,896 Sarasota FL
63 Shamseddin, Soheil $2,896 Houston TX

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