2006 World Series of Poker - Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas: Official Results and Report

Event #29
Pot-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In:  $2,500
Number of Entries:  562
Total Prize Money:  $1,292,600

Official Results:

1. John Gale Bushey, UK $374,849
2. Maros Lechman Columbia Station, OH $197,768
3. Kevin Ho Gainesville, FL $103,408
4. Joe Hachem Melbourne, Australia $90,482
5. Alex Jacob Parkland, FL $77,556
6. Lee Grove Superior, NE $64,630
7. Jeffrey Roberson Rolla, MO $51,704
8. Lee Markholt Eatonville, WA $38,778
9. Greg Alston Miami Beach, FL $25,852
10. Aaron Bartley Las Vegas, NV $14,219
11. Theo Tran Las Vegas, NV $14,219
12. David John Las Vegas, NV $14,219
13. Emanual Santiago Vega Alta, Puerto Rico $11,633
14. Nick Guagenti Westerville, OH $11,633
15. Joshua Van Duyn San Diego, CA $11,633
16. John Hansmeyer Lethbridge, Canada $9,048
17. Iwan Jones Cardiff, Wales, UK $9,048
18. Thomas Smith St Cloud, MN $9,048
19. Alex Brenes San Jose, Costa Rica $6,463
20. Zachary Stewart Santa Monica, CA $6,463
21. Ernesto Celedon Grand Prairie, TX $6,463
22. Gregg Turk Potomac Falls, VA $6,463
23. Craig Gray Portland, OR $6,463
24. Chris Howard London, UK $6,463
25. Jonathan Turner Las Vegas, NV $6,463
26. Gary Parsons Perth, Australia $6,463
27. Carlo Citrone Newcastle, UK $6,463
28. Efrain Lopez Miami, FL $4,524
29. Richard Redmond NA $4,524
30. Lee Watkinson Long Branch, WA $4,524
31. Ariel Schneller Blacksburg, VA $4,524
32. Thomas Fuller Boulder, CO $4,524
33. Randel Brown Little Rock, AR $4,524
34. Matthew Matros Brooklyn, NY $4,524
35. Michael Dueloth Cohasset, CA $4,524
36. McLadan Ivin Blackheath, Australia $4,524
37. Scott Auerback Holmdel, NJ $3,878
38. Daniel Negreanu Las Vegas, NV $3,878
39. Spiro Mitrokostas W. Yarmouth, MA $3,878
40. Robert Neary Granite Bay, CA $3,878
41. Gary Rabin NA $3,878
42. Eric Tomberlin Jacksonville, FL $3,878
43. Ralph Porter Woodinville, WA $3,878
44. Jonathan Hewston NA $3,878
45. John Shipley North Ireland $3,878
46. Kathy Liebert Las Vegas, NV $3,232
47. Mke Sexton Las Vegas, NV $3,232
48. Karl Mahrenholz NA $3,232
49. Laura Fink New York, NY $3,232
50. Thieu Phan NA $3,232
51. Jeffrey Aebischen Barngate, NJ $3,232
52. Jean-Robert Bellande Hollywood, CA $3,232
53. Steven Powsner Brooklyn, NY $3,232
54. Adam Nilsson Sweden $3,232

When Good Things Happen to Nice People

Gentleman John Gale Wins a WSOP Gold Bracelet

After losing Pot-Limit championship in 2005, gracious Englishman comes back and earns hard-fought victory

Las Vegas, NV – The real test of character is not watching someone during a time of celebration.  Rather, it is watching someone in a time of despair.  Anyone can behave politely when things are going good.  But what about during the bad times?  What do they do?  How do they act?  This notion brings about the old saying, “adversity introduces a man to himself.”

The 2006 Pot-Limit Hold’em championship concluded on July 21, 2006.  But the story of John Gale and his inspiring gold bracelet-winning victory started more than a year earlier. 

At last year’s World Series of Poker, Gale had his last opponent down to the felt and drawing slim.  ESPN cameras and the entire poker world were watching as Gale, one of poker’s most gracious gentlemen, was about to win the $5,000 buy-in Pot Limit Hold’em championship.  But poker is all about the unpredictable.  Gale not only lost the key hand that would have won him a WSOP title, he proceeded to lose several more vicious hands (usually as the favorite).  Brian Wilson ended up making a stunning comeback in heads-up play, eventually seized the chip lead, and ended up as the winner.  Instead of acting bewildered or angry, Gale extended his hand and then warmly embraced the winner.  He smiled and moved off of the stage to allow Wilson his moment of glory.

In what has been a year of retribution at the 2006 World Series of Poker, presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, John Gale added his name to the illustrious list of tournament winners who had previously been shunned by the poker gods in years past.  Sammy Farha and David Williams, who were runners up in the championship event in 2003 and 2004 respectively, each captured a gold bracelet.  After decades of unofficially being tagged as “the world’s best all-around poker player,” Chip Reese won the biggest buy-in event in WSOP history and finally validated the designation.  Then, there was poker ambassador Mike Sexton, who started this year’s tournament off with a resounding victory in the Tournament of Champions.

John Gale’s victory was all the more pleasing to watch because he so genuinely wanted the gold bracelet – far more than the monetary value of the $374,849 in prize money.  It’s often a cliché to mention that a WSOP gold bracelet means more than the money.  But in Gale’s case, it’s truthful.

“It’s every poker player’s dream,” Gale said.  “It means so much more now because I came so close (last year).  I really do feel bad for anyone that gets close and does not win.  But, to now come back and enjoy this moment makes it all the sweeter.”

After 553 players had been eliminated over two long days, nine players took the final table on the Rio poker stage.  The nine finalists comprised a very tough lineup, most notably Joe Hachem the reigning world poker champion.  When play began, John Gale was a distant third in the chip count, trailing by more than 3 to 1 to the chip leader, Alex Jacob.

Name Chip Count Seat
Lee Markholt $128,000 1
Maros Lechman $101,000 2
Joe Hachem $64,000 3
Jeffrey Roberson $24,000 4
John Gale $134,000 5
Lee Grove $66,000 6
Alex Jacob $524,000 7
Kevin Ho $287,000 8
Greg Alston $80,000 9

Greg Alston was the first player to go out.  On his final hand, Alston tried to steal the pot with a pre-flop re-raise holding king-four.  But the initial raiser, Kevin Ho, had more than enough chips to make the call, and did so holding king-seven.  Ho made two pair to a board of K-10-6-7-9, and Alston was eliminated.  Alston, who had been playing tournament poker for nearly a decade, including the last six years at the WSOP, collected $25,852 for ninth place.

Lee Markholt went out next.  Once again, Kevin Ho was the hatchet man.  The Washington State-based poker player went all-in with ace-seven against Ho’s king-deuce.  When the final board showed Q-3-2-8-9, a lowly pair of deuces had eliminated Markholt.  Eighth place paid $38,778.

Jeffrey Roberson finished in seventh place when he was severely short-stacked and moved all-in under the gun holding queen-three.  Kevin Ho eliminated his third consecutive opponent when he called the raise with pocket aces, which crushed the weaker hand.  Roberson, a home builder from Missouri, received $51,704.

Lee Grove was down to his last 20,000 when he moved in with ace-seven.  Joe Hachem called the small raise and flipped over king-five.  The final board showed J-J-6-K-3, giving Hachem a pair of kings.  Grove collected sixth-place prize money totaling $64,630.
Many thought this was Alex Jacob’s tournament to lose.  He arrived with a sizable chip lead at this, his second final table this year, but suffered through a horrific final hour which knocked him out a disappointing fifth.  After losing most of his chips on a number of crippling hands, Jacob went out with a pair of nines against Joe Hachem’s pocket queens.  Jacob, a graduate of Yale University, received $77,556.

Down to four players, there was a hand that was as enlightening as it was dramatic.  World champ Hachem was all-in against Kevin Ho and was in serious trouble.  He was down to a single card.  With his tournament life on the line, the entire room standing and holding their collective breaths, a queen spiked on the river and saved Hachem -- at least temporarily.  As the crowd roared, Hachem made what unfortunately an all-too rare revelation of overt sportsmanship.  As he heard the cheers around him, Hachem saw his opponent looking down and dejected.  With the wave of his arm, Hachem asked for stillness from the crowd.  It was a respectful and dignified gesture that reveals more about Hachem as a champion and as a person than any million dollar prize or gold bracelet.  

Sadly, Hachem’s good graces did not translate into what could have been his second WSOP victory.  He went out a short time later on a horrible beat.  On the key hand, Hachem moved all-in holding king-nine after the flop came K-4-3.  John Gale had ace-three and called with the small pair.  The turn brought a blank, but an ace on the river stunned the crowd, knocked out the champ, and rocketed Gale up into the chip lead. 

“Sorry Joe,” John Gale would say later in a post-tournament interview.  “I knew I did not have the best of it when I called.  But I decided to gamble to have the chance to knock out a great player.”  For Hachem, fourth place paid $90,482.

Kevin Ho went out in third place when he was all-in with an outside straight draw holding jack-nine to the flop -- which came A-10-8.  John Gale had ace-jack, for top pair.  Two blanks sealed Ho’s fate – which paid $103,408.

Heads-up play between John Gale and Maros Lechman lasted 89 hands.  The chip lead changed four times.  Both players had decisive chip advantages at various points, up 5 to 1 at times.  But neither player could hold the lead for long.  Finally after three hours and 45 minutes of intense play, Gale caught a rush of cards and had his stubborn opponent down to the felt.

The final hand of the tournament came when Lechman’s ace-six lost to Gale’s king-nine.  The final board showed 10-9-7-5-2.  Gale’s pair of nines won the pot.  Maros Lechman finished the tournament in second place and earned $197,768.

Had he won, Maros “Premier” Lechman would have been the youngest player ever to win at the WSOP.  At 21 years and three weeks of age, Lechman would have eclipsed Jeff Madsen’s record (set earlier this week) by 20 days.

Gale was tearful after his well-deserved, crowd-pleasing victory.  He hugged many well-wishers in the stands and it took several minutes for Gale to compose himself for the post-tournament festivities.  True to his genial nature, Gale complimented his opponents -- especially Lechman in heads-up play.

Poker is a game of peaks and valleys.  Many valleys, in fact.  Only one player in each tournament can see the winner’s view from the summit.  As Gentleman John Gale discovered, wallowing in the World Series valley for a while makes the summit’s view all the more magnificent when it finally comes. Oh, and how magnificent the view is.

by Nolan Dalla

Note:  All content in this report may be re-printed by media.

Overall Tournament Statistics (through end of Event #29):

Total Entries to Date:     25,994

Total Prize Money Distributed:  $ 54,079,307


For official news and latest updates from the 2006 World Series of Poker, please visit:  www.worldseriesofpoker.com

For official photographs from the 2006 World Series of Poker, please contact Eric Harkins (Image Masters PDI) at:  image22@aol.com
Or visit:   http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/photo_store/

For additions news and information from the 2006 WSOP, please contact:  nolandalla@aol.com


World Series of Poker Commissioner – Jeffrey Pollack

Director, Sponsorship and Licensing -- Ty Stewart

Director, Communications and Operations – Gary Thompson

Director, Broadcasting and New Media – Craig Abrahams

Vice President of Specialty Gaming -- Howard Greenbaum

WSOP Tournament Director – Robert Daily

WSOP Tournament Director / Director of Poker Operations for Harrah’s Entertainment – Jack Effel