Event #24: No-Limit Hold'em Championship
Location: Rio, Las Vegas
Buy-in: $2,500
Number of Entries: 1,056
Total Prize Money: $2,428,800

Farzad Bonyadi topped a huge field of 1,056 players in the $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event, held at the Rio in Las Vegas. Bonyadi, an Iranian-born poker player who now lives in Laguna Beach, CA, reigned supreme at the final table, which consisted almost entirely of newcomers to the World Series of Poker. The finale was taped for later broadcast on ESPN.

This is not to say Boyadi didn't face serious challenges along the way. In fact, he arrived fourth in the chip count. The initial chip leader was Danish player Lars Bonding, who enjoyed a decisive 5-2 lead over everyone else when play began on Day Three. After Jan Sorensen's win in the previous event, the relatively small nation of Denmark was going for its second straight win here at the World Series. Players were eliminated in the following order:

9th Place: Larry Watson, $48,575
Short-stacked Larry Watson didn't have much time to wait for a hand. When he found 8-8 that was good enough to move all-in. Joe Zappia, with five times as many chips, covered the raise with A-10 and caught a ten on the flop. That put Watson, an Oklahoma-born retiree now living in Las Vegas, out quickly.
8th Place: K. J. Jordan, $72,865
Chip-leader Lars Bonding continued to dominate play at the final table. K. J. Jordan, a real estate investor from Myrtle Beach, SC, noted Bonding's aggressive play and decided to respond accordingly. That turned out to be a mistake, as Jordan was dealt K-Q suited versus Bonding's 5-5. Jordan re-raised to 300,000 before the flop and Bonding didn't hesitate calling with the small pocket pair. Jordan failed to catch a pair, and Bonding raced up to over a million in chips.
7th Place: Jason Tate, $97,150
Another odd turn of events took place when the second-largest stack coming into Day Three busted out. Jason Tate, an independent contractor from Tennessee, decided to move his last 200,000 into the pot with A-K and Robert Doyle called with J-J. Doyle didn't need to improve but when a jack fell on the river, the trips blew Tate away.
6th Place: Joe Zappia, $121,440
Joe Zappia, who goes by the name "The Hammer" went out next when he tried to make a move with J-10 and lost his last 130,000 in chips. Robert Doyle's ace-high played as the winning hand.
5th Place: Mayan Grigorian, $145,730
If Chris Grigorian is "the Armenian Express," then his cousin Mayan is most certainly the bullet train. Unfortunately, Mayan Grigorian (a.k.a. "MG"), a stockbroker from southern California, ran out of steam about midway through the finale. He went out on a bizarre hand. Short-stacked, MG moved in, trying to steal with 7-6 and was called by Glynn Beebe with 7-5 (a great situation for MG). The board came with four diamonds and Beebe had the only diamond.
4th Place: Robert Emmett Doyle, Jr., $170,015
Robert Emmett Doyle, Jr. was the next player to exit. The self-employed poker player from N. Palm Beach, FL was eliminated when he was low on chips and ended up losing to Farzad Bonyadi's pair of kings.
3rd Place: Glynn Beebe, $194,305
Glynn Beebe made a nice run but ended up going out in 3rd place. The business owner from Austin, TX was down to his last 200,000 in chips and faced two opponents with over 1,000,000 in chips each. Both big stacks seemed content to let Beebe go out before going to war. Beebe went out with J-9 after the flop came 5=6=7. With a straight draw and two overcards, Beebe missed. Lars Bonding had pocket 10s and that was all for Beebe.

Runner up: Lars Bonding, $317,625
The kamikaze at this final table was Lars Bonding. He completely dominated play, firing the first half of the seven-hour finale. But as players were slowly eliminated, Bonding would inevitably have to face the most talented and experienced of opponents in a showdown. Bonding was not able to push around Bonyadi, and it showed on the final hand of the tournament. After about an hour of heads-up play, Bonding was down 3-to-1 in chips and hoped to steal the pot with Q-10. He moved all-in after the flop came K=3=2. Bonyadi called the stone-cold bluff with top pair (K-6). The pair of kings held up and Bonding was eliminated as the runner up.

1st Place: Farzad "Freddy" Bonyadi, $611,145
Farzad "Freddy" Bonyadi played a masterful tournament. He allowed Bonding to establish a dominant table presence and watched as other players were gradually eliminated. Coveting a heads-up confrontation, Bonyadi got what he wanted, then gave Bonding just enough freedom to choke himself on the final hand.

Bonyadi, age 46, now has three gold bracelets (lifetime) at the WSOP. He captured his first title in 1998 in the $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em event and won the Deuce-to-Seven championship in 2004. This was his largest payday ever -- $594,960.

With the victory, Farzad Bonyadi moves into at least two elite categories. He became the 49th player in WSOP history to win at least three bracelets. Bonyadi also moved into the WSOP "Millionaires Club." He now has won over one-million dollars in lifetime earnings at the world's longest-running and most prestigious tournament.

View final results.

Tournament reporting by Nolan Dalla / worldseriesofpoker.com