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WSOP 2009

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Event #40, $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship, Final Results

Official Report
Event #40
World Championship
Pot-Limit Omaha
Buy-In: $10,000
Number of Entries: 295
Total Net Prize Pool: $2,773,000
Number of Places Paid: 295
First Place Prize: $679,402
June 20-22, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Matt Graham Wins His Second WSOP Gold Bracelet
  2. Las Vegas Poker Pro Stages Incredible Heads-Up Comeback after Being Down 9 to 1 in Chips
  3. Star-Studded Final Table Attracts Big Crowd – Five Former Gold Bracelet Winners Make the Top Nine

The Winner

The 2009 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha world champion is Matt Graham, from Las Vegas, NV.

Graham is a 25-year-old professional poker player. He was born and spent most of his life in New Orleans, LA before moving to Las Vegas prior to the start of last year’s WSOP.

Before he became a poker pro, Graham was a pre-med student. He dropped out of college to play poker and has enjoyed tremendous success on the tournament circuit and at the WSOP the past five years.

Among Graham’s successes have been a win at the World Poker Open and in a $5,000 buy-in event at the Bellagio.

Graham’s first WSOP gold bracelet came in last year’s $1,500 buy-in Limit Shootout event.

Graham collected $679,402 for first place. He was also awarded his second WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Graham now has 2 wins, 2 final table appearances, and 7 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

With this victory, Graham became the 128th player in WSOP to earn in excess of $1 million in World Series winnings.

Graham may very well be poker’s new “Comeback Kid.” When he won his first gold bracelet last year, Graham overcame an 8 to 1 chip disadvantage against Jean-Robert Bellande. This year, Graham overcame a 9 to 1 chip disadvantage when playing heads-up against Vitaly Lunkin.

Winner Quotes (Matt Graham)

On the excitement of one of this year’s best final tables: “It was both fun and stressful. It was very exciting and a dream, at the same time.’

On his roller coaster ride at the final table: “I was never too far behind before heads-up play started. I was not really in a rush. I am perfectly okay with someone else throwing in a few raises and busting a few people. I’m just going to sit there and wait. Wait until we get short-handed and then pick up the pace a little. I wasn’t worried about (being short) on chips.”

On overcoming the 9 to 1 chip disadvantage: “I was thinking I was just going to continue playing my best. No matter how good you play, it was a long shot in that situation. So, you just have to do all that you can to come back and hope the cards cooperate.”

On winning a second gold bracelet and how the win compares to his first victory: “I think I feel better about this. I am more excited about this one. It’s really weird. But just the fact this was a $10,000 buy-in PLO and triple the prize money. This was more exciting.”

The Final Table

The final table contained five former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Josh Arieh, Matt Graham, Vitaly Lunkin, Richard Austin, and Barry Greenstein.

There were players from five different nations represented at the final table – including Australia, England, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

The runner up was Vitaly Lunkin, from Moscow Russia. Lunkin came extremely close to winning his third WSOP gold bracelet. He has an amazing record in WSOP play – with three final table appearances, ending up with two firsts and a second. At the 2008 WSOP, Lunkin won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship (Event #39), where he pocketed $628,417. Earlier this year, he won the $40,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship, worth $1,891,012 in prize money.

The third-place finisher was Van Marcus, from Melbourne, Australia. He is a student and software engineer. Marcus has done well in many international tournaments, perhaps most notably final tabling the Asian-Pacific Poker Tour (PLO) Championship earlier this year. Third place paid $278,409.

The fourth-place finisher was Robin Keston, from London, England. He made it to the final table of last year’s WSOP-Europe championship, taking seventh place. Keston tended to be the tightest, but most selectively-aggressive player of the final nine. He played in few pots, but was a constant thorn in the chip leader’s (Lunkin’s) side most of the night. Keston ran out of chips about seven hours into the finale.

The fifth-place finisher was Ferit “Fear It” Gabriellson, from Huddinse, Sweden. He made the final table of this same event four years ago, finishing seventh in the 2005 PLO world championship. Gabriellson, who was the most aggressive player during his nine hours at the final table, is also the reigning Swedish No-Limit Hold’em champion.

The sixth-place finisher was Stefan Mattsson, from Stockholm Sweden. He ran into a big hand when chip leader Vitaly Lunkin had A-A-x-x double suited. Lunkin scooped the pot with two pair, knocking out Mattsson. The Swede went deep in two recent WSOP Main Events – finishing 57th in 2006 and 22nd in 2007.

The seventh-place finisher was Josh Arieh, from Atlanta, GA. He is a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. Arieh also finished third in the 2004 WSOP Main Event (won by Greg “Fossilman” Raymer). He also won the $2,000 level Pot-Limit Omaha event in 2006.

The eighth-place finisher was Richard Austin, from Jeffersonville, IN. He won a gold bracelet in the $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event, which ended three days ago. He is the only player to make the final table of both of the largest PLO events on this year’s schedule.

The ninth-place finisher was Barry Greenstein, from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Greenstein was a 2 to 1 favorite when all his chips went into the pot, but lost the huge hand to Vitaly Lunkin and became the first player eliminated. Greenstein has won three WSOP gold bracelets, and cashed for the fifth time at this year’s World Series.

In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Barry Greenstein, Josh Arieh, David Williams, Richard Austin, Chau Giang, Howard Lederer, Vitaly Lunkin, Erick Lindgren, and Matthew Graham.

With his ninth-place finish, Barry Greenstein cashed for the 42nd time at the WSOP. This currently ranks 16th on the all-time cashes list.

Chau Giang cashed for the 16th time in a Pot-Limit Omaha event, the most by any player in WSOP history.

Tony Cousineau continues to add to his distinctive record. He holds the record as the player with the most cashes in WSOP history, without ever winning a gold bracelet. Cousineau cashed again in this event, his 40th career in-the-money finish. This was also his sixth cash this year, which places him in a tie for the lead.

The defending champion from 2009 was Nenad Medic, from Niagara Falls, ON (Canada). He entered this event but did not cash.

Odds and Ends

  • The $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha world championship was the opening event at last year’s WSOP. This year, the tournament was moved to the middle of the WSOP schedule.
  • This is the 27th of 40 tournaments completed thus far at this year’s WSOP, with more than a $1 million prize pool.
  • The final table was played out on ESPN’s main stage. Coverage was broadcast live over the Internet. Five 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.

Pot-Limit Omaha Leaders (WSOP History)

The players with the most WSOP gold bracelets (wins) in Omaha events (all variations) are – T.J. Cloutier, Scotty Nguyen, and Phil Ivey (tie), currently with 3.

The player with the most lifetime WSOP cashes in Omaha events (all variations) is Brent Carter, currently with 21.

The players with the most WSOP gold bracelets (wins) in Pot-Limit Omaha are – “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey (tie), currently with 2.

The player with the most lifetime WSOP cashes in Pot-Limit Omaha is Chau Giang, currently 16.

The Event

The $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha world championship attracted 295 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $2,773,000. The top 27 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

At the end of Day One, the chip leader was Nate Lindsay, from San Francisco, CA. He ended up finishing in 17th place.

The chip leader at the start of the final table was Matt Graham. He ended up winning the tournament.

The final table chip distribution was one of the most even of any finale played this year. It took nearly three hours to bust out the first player. Furthermore, during the first five hours of play, players were separated by small margins. Vitaly Lunkin’s elimination of Barry Greenstein gave him the chip lead, which he held during the majority of play.

The heads-up match between Vitaly Lunkin and Matt Graham was as entertaining as any finale played at this year’s WSOP. Lunkin had his opponent on the ropes several times, but was never quite able to put Graham away with a knockout punch. The American managed to overcome the feisty Russian’s 9 to 1 chip lead and staged a dramatic comeback. In the midst of doubling up three times and taking a slight chip lead, Graham won every hand of consequence during the final 45 minutes of play. The key hand of the match took place on the final hand of the tournament when Graham’s flopped set of tens held up against Lunkin, who missed a flush draw with two cards to be dealt. Two blanks on the turn and river gave Graham his second WSOP victory and the title, “2009 Pot-Limit Omaha World Champion.”

The final table lasted about ten hours.

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 20th, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Tuesday, June 23rd, at 4:45 am.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Graham, Matt $679,402 Pearland TX
2 Lunkin, Vitaly $419,832 Moscow Russia
3 Marcus, Van $278,409 Blossom Park Australia
4 Keston, Robin $196,993 London United Kingdom
5 Gabriellson, Ferit $148,438 Hyddinge Sweden
6 Mattsson, Stefan $118,462 Stockholm Sweden
7 Arieh, Joshua $99,855 Marietta GA
8 Austin, Richard $88,680 Jeffersonville IN
9 Greenstein, Barry $82,746 Rancho Palos Verdes CA
10 Doudney, Nathan $61,837 Rockwall TX
11 Giang, Chau $61,837 Las Vegas NV
12 Lederer, Howard $61,837 Las Vegas NV
13 Podgurski, David $46,225 San Diego CA
14 Parkinson, Padraig $46,225 Dublin Ireland
15 Schwartz, Noah $46,225 Bay Harbor Islands FL
16 Williams David $34,551 Las Vegas NV
17 Lindsay, Nate $34,551 Nantucket MA
18 Medic, Nenad $34,551 Niagara Falls ON, Canada
19 Vengrin, Matt $25,816 Red Hook NY
20 Golser, Marcus $25,816 Woodland Hills CA
21 Taylor, James $25,816 Cumming GA
22 Cousineau, Tony $25,816 Las Vegas NV
23 Dos Santos, Rodrigo $25,816 Sao Paulo Brazil
24 Barlow, Todd $25,816 Scottsdale AZ
25 Kettunen, Henri $25,816 Lieska Finland
26 Entin, Jonas $25,816 Granada Hills CA
27 Lindgren, Erick $25,816 Las Vegas NV

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