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Event #38, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, Final Results
The 2009 World Series of Poker $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em champion is Marc Naalden, from Antwerp, Belgium.
Naalden is a 40-year-old professional poker player. Prior to pursuing his poker career, Naalden worked as a derivatives trader on the options exchange for ten years.
Naalden earned his college degree in economics.
Naalden lives in Antwerp, which is located near the Dutch border. But Naalden is actually a citizen of Holland. Accordingly, his victory is to be counted as a win for his native country of Holland.
Naalden in fluent in multiple languages – including Dutch and English.
Naalden has won nearly $800,000 playing tournament poker, with most of his winnings taking place in Europe. He has three major tournament wins – including The Master Classics (Amsterdam). Naalden was also the Belgium No-Limit Hold’em Champion in 2006.
This is the fourth year Naalden as attended the WSOP. Prior to his victory, he estimates that he played in about 65 WSOP tournaments. He has entered about 13 events so far this year.
Naalden collected $190,770 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
According to official records, Naalden now has 1 win, 2 final table appearances, and 6 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. He has also accumulated $303,488 in career WSOP winnings.
Naalden cashed in the 2007 WSOP Main Event, finishing in 406th place.
Naalden became only the second player from Holland to win a WSOP gold bracelet. The first was Rob Hollink, who accomplished his breakthrough victory last year in the Limit Hold’em World Championship.
Naalden will have the Dutch national anthem played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.
Winner Quotes (Marc Naalden)
On how he became a professional poker player: “I stopped working when I was 31. I decided I wanted to become a professional poker player. I found a new career in poker. 2005 was the first year I really did it full time. Before that, I was mostly (a recreational player).”
On European players not being Limit Hold’em specialists – preferring Pot-Limit and No-Limit instead: “I play a lot of Limit Hold’em online. I also play in tournaments. So that helped me. I also travel the European circuit and I play. But I think playing in the cash games on the Internet helped me the most.”
On coming into the final table with a decisive chip lead and his chances to win: “Yeah, you tend to over-exaggerate your chances because you have a big chip lead. But (I) only had 25 percent of the chips in play. So, I have only about a 25 percent chance of winning. And, plus the fact there are quite a few strong players – so I thought to myself, don’t get too excited. But I went on a big heater.”
On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet: “It’s great. This is my fourth WSOP. I have played in a lot of events….and third place was my best finish. It is very hard to win a WSOP event. Finally, after all of those efforts, it feels fantastic.”
The Final Table
The final table contained two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Ian Johns (1 win) and Rep Porter (1 win).
Three of the nine finalists were from Seattle, WA.
The runner up was Steven Cowley, from Richmond, VA. He is a former civil engineer-turned-poker pro. This marked his seventh time to cash at the WSOP and was his best finish ever. As the runner up, Cowley collected $117,902.
The third-place finisher was Ian Johns, from Seattle, WA. Johns got the most out of his money at the final table, since he arrived as the lowest stack and made it all the way to third place. Johns won his WSOP gold bracelet in 2006 in the $3,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event.
The fourth-place finisher was Tam (Tommy) Hang, from Seattle, WA. This was his tenth time to cash at the WSOP. Hang’s best previous finish was third place in last year’s $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em World Championship. In fact, this was his fifth time to cash in a Limit Hold’em tournament at the WSOP since 2007 – the most of any player within that time frame.
The fifth-place finisher was Alex Keating, from Saratoga, CA. This was his second time to cash at this year’s World Series.
The sixth-place finisher was Danny Qutami, from Redwood City, CA. He has now made three WSOP final tables.
The seventh-place finisher was Jared O’Dell, from Seattle WA. He works as a social worker. This was O’Dell’s first time to cash at the WSOP.
The eighth-place finisher was Jameson Painter, from Goodfield, IL. This was Painter’s first time to cash at the WSOP.
The ninth-place finisher was Rep Porter, from Woodinville, WA. He won his WSOP gold bracelet in 2008 in the $1,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event.
Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Ian Johns, Rep Porter, Phil Hellmuth, Rafe Furst, Daniel Negreanu, Alexander Kravchenko, and Diego Cordovez.
Phil Hellmuth’s in-the-money finish (17th) gives him 72 cashes for his career, the most in WSOP history.
Daniel Negreanu’s in-the-money finish (26th) gives him 39 cashes for his career, which currently ranks in a tie for 21st place on the all-time list.
Alexander Kravchenko finished 35th. He has more WSOP cashes than any other Russian player (15).
The defending champion from 2009 was Daniel Negreanu, from Las Vegas, NV. Last year’s win gave Negreanu his fourth WSOP gold bracelet . He entered this event and cashed in 26th place.
Odds and Ends
During the 1990s, Limit Hold’em tournaments routinely attracted the largest fields of any WSOP tournament. Some tournaments even drew twice number of entrants as the Main Event.
Limit Hold’em made its debut at the 1983 WSOP. The first Limit Hold’em champion was Tom McEvoy. He went on to win the WSOP Main Event that same year.
Limit Hold’em’s initial 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. 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, due to No-Limit being the dominant game. Attendance for this event declined by about 7 percent from last year.
The list of former Limit Hold’em champions is quite an accomplished group. Former Limit Hold’em champions include – Tom McEvoy, Berry Johnston, Humberto Brenes, Johnny Chan, Mickey Appleman, David Chiu, Jay Heimowitz, Daniel Negreanu, and Farzad Bonyadi.
The ESPN broadcast stage was dark on this day. Six 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.
Limit Hold’em Leaders
The player with the most WSOP gold bracelets (wins) in Hold’em events (all variations) is Phil Hellmuth, currently with 11.
The player with the most WSOP cashes in Hold’em events (all variations) is Phil Hellmuth, currently with 44.
The players with the most WSOP gold bracelets (wins) in Limit Hold’em are Phil Hellmuth and Erik Seidel, currently with 3 each.
The player with the most WSOP cashes in Limit Hold’em events is Erik Seidel, currently with 12.
The $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em championship attracted 446 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $811,720. The top 45 finishers collected prize money.
The tournament was played over three consecutive days.
At the end of Day One, the chip leader was David Baker, from Katy, TX. He finished 14th. The eventual winner Marc Naalden was ranked 17th out of 107 players who made the cut at the end of the first day.
The chip leader at the start of the final table was Marc Naalden. He never lost his lead during any point on Day Three.
Naalden’s toughest adversary was clearly the runner up Steve Cowley. It took about three hours to eliminate the players who finished third through ninth. It took another two hours to eliminate Cowley.
The final hand of the tournament came when Cowley was low on chips and had A-5. Naalden had Q-8. Cowley was all-in pre-flop and saw his hopes of making a comeback vanish when the final board showed Q-9-10-4-10. Naalden’s pair of queens (and tens) dragged the final pot of the tournament.
The tournament officially began on Friday, June 19th, at noon. The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 21st, at 8:15 pm.
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