Event #28: Limit Hold'em Championship
Location: Rio, Las Vegas
Number of Entries: 269
Total Prize Money: $1,264,300
It's been said that Texas Hold'em originated over a century ago. It was first played on the ranches and open prairies of the Lone Star State, where cattlemen driving their livestock to market would spend their evenings playing poker. Legend has it that one evening during a particular cattle drive, so many cowboys wanted to play poker that each player in the game was dealt two down cards (instead of five) and shared the community cards flopped up in the middle. Thus, Texas hold'em was born.
Given the game's history, perhaps it's fitting that the 2005 Limit Hold'em world championship was won by a native Texan. Dan Schmiech, who was born in Brownwood, TX and currently lives in Houston, stampeded over a large field of 269 players.
The entry fee was $5,000 per player, meaning a total prize pool of well over $1.2 million. Players were eliminated in the following order:
9th Place: Greg "FBT" Mueller, $25,285
Greg "FBT" Mueller was the first player to exit. "FBT" reportedly stands for "Full Blown Tilt." But it wasn't the tilt factor that eliminated Mueller early on Day Three. Despite moving all-in with 9-9 versus Young Phan's 8-8, the final board showed K-7-5-5-6. That gave Phan a straight and Mueller a one-way ticket off the ESPN main stage.
8th Place: Young Phan, $37,930
What goes around comes around, as Young Phan discovered the hard way. He lost a few pots then committed his final few chips with A-3. Gabe Kaplan called from the blind with 10-3 and caught a ten to take out Phan.
7th Place: Jeff Shulman, $50,570
Jeff Shulman is best-known in poker circles as the Publisher of "Card Player" magazine. Shulman just missed making it to the final table of the main event five years ago (seventh place in 2000 - only six players made it to the finale that year). This was his first appearance at a WSOP final table since that time. Shulman was the low stack, and finally went out when Annie Duke made a flush.
6th Place: Luke Neely, $63,215
Gabe Kaplan appeared to be the next player on his way out. But he went on a rush, and Luke Neely finished in 6th place.
5th Place: Joe Sebok, $75,860
Annie Duke was the low stack, but then she too staged a comeback. Meanwhile, Joe Sebok's stay at the final table was about to be cut short. Sebok moved in with 3-3 and Duke called with K-7. A king flopped and Sebok was gone.
4th Place: Annie Duke, $88,500
Annie Duke was the only player at this table with a gold bracelet. She won the 2004 Omaha High-Low championship. Duke's bid for a second WSOP title ended when she was desperately low on chips and committed herself with Q-J suited. Dan Schmiech had an ace, which was enough to call. The ace-high played and Duke went out.
3rd Place: James Kwon, $113,785
Schmiech had the chip lead, and after James Kwon lost a few big pots, he was on life support. Kwon was in a great spot to get back some chips when he was all-in with A-J versus Schmiech's A-5. Then a five flopped and Kwon was crushed.
Runner up: Gabe Kaplan, $222,515
When heads-up play began, Schmiech enjoyed a 4 to 1 chip lead over Gabe Kaplan. Fixed betting limits were 20,000-40,000 and Kaplan had about 240,000. That essentially meant that losing one big pot to Schmiech would end the tournament. It took 40 minutes, but that's exactly what happened. On his final hand, Gabe Kaplan missed a draw and Schmiech ended up with two pair. Schmiech was declared the winner, and Kaplan ended up in second place.
Gabe Kaplan is popularly known for playing "Kotter," a Brooklyn-based high school teacher in the 1970s sitcom smash, "Welcome Back Kotter." Kaplan has been involved in the World Series of Poker for more than 25 years. He first started playing poker in Las Vegas during the late 70s. He finished in 7th place in the main event in 1980 (the first year Stu Ungar won a world championship).
1st Place: Dan Schmiech, $404,585
Dan Schmiech is a 44-year-old professional poker player from Houston, TX. Prior to playing poker, Schmiech worked in sales. He admits that he has been working on his tournament strategy recently and plays regularly on the internet.
Schmiech stated that his initial goal was to make it into the money. Once that objective was accomplished, he vowed to make it to the final table. His final goal was to win.
"I'm pleased with the way I played tonight," Schmiech said afterwards. "I think I played really well. I also caught some cards, so it worked out both ways."
View final results.
Tournament reporting by Nolan Dalla / worldseriesofpoker.com