Belize’s Championship Finalist Busts Out – Pius Heinz Increases His Chip Lead

Add Belize to the mix of countries which now have their world championship dreams shattered.

Bob Bounahra (a.k.a. Badih Bou-Nahra), from Belize City, Belize became the third player to exit from the WSOP Main Event Championship final table, following Great Britain’s Sam Holden (9th place) and Anton Makiievskyi (8th place).  Amazingly, after nearly four full hours of playing action and no eliminations, three players went bust within a 16-hand period (about 40 minutes).

Bounahra was clearly one of the crowd favorites and came into the finale with the right attitude.

“I came here to play poker and have fun,” the 49-year-old amateur poker player stated moments after coming up short in a fateful hand against the Czech Republic’s Martin Staszko.  “Having fun is what it’s all about.  This was the experience of a lifetime and I have no regrets,” Bounahra added.

The odds were stacked against Bounahra from the start.  He arrived at the finale ranked sixth in chips, down by more than 2 to 1 to the chip leader.  Even more of a challenge was his status as the finale’s only non-pro.  Hoping to join the ranks of some similar former champions who pulled off monumental upsets in the world championship – Robert Varkonyi, Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer to name a few – Bounahra shed the jitters that normally affect players on poker’s grandest stage.

Chomping on an unlit cigar during his nearly five-hour stay, Bounahra was finally knocked out when he lost his final hand against Martin Staszko.  Accordingly, the Belize amateur joined the ranks of 6,858 other (eliminated) players who entered this year’s championship, the third largest live tournament ever, who are now forced to look forward to next year, and beyond.
 
Bounahra was eliminated on the 67th hand played at the final table.  The fateful hand came as follows:
 
Bob Bounahra:     
Martin Staszko:     
Flop:       
Turn:   
River:   
 
Bounahra moved all-in pre-flop with what many would consider a marginal hand.  But severely short-stacked, he was in a position where he had to make a move in an attempt to double up.  His raise was called by Staszko, who had his opponent well covered many times over.  Neither player made a pair, but the nine played for Staszko, giving him the 12,000,000 pot.

Nonetheless, Bounahra could certainly take great pride in what was a remarkable accomplishment.  He collected his biggest poker payout ever, $1,314,097 for seventh place.  This marked only his second time to cash in a WSOP event, following an in-the-money finish three years ago.  Had Bounahra managed to win, he would have become the first Central American poker champion in history.  He thus joins Humberto Brenes (Costa Rica) as the only player in history to make it to the Main Event finale from that region of the world.

With six players remaining, there is a still lot more poker to be played.  Final table action is expected to last most of the day and will likely play deep into the night (Sunday).  Play will be suspended once the final three players have been determined.  The last three players will return to the same stage at the Rio on Tuesday night, with the final stage of poker’s world championship starting at 5:30 pm.

For the first time in history, poker players and fans everywhere can tune in and watch all the action live.  Comprehensive coverage with expert analysis also includes player hole cards being shown to viewers – a WSOP first.

CLICK HERE to watch live WSOP Main Event final table action.  For those who prefer to read a written account of the action, CLICK HERE to see the live log of every final table hand.

To see the latest chip counts of all remaining players, CLICK HERE.  Updates will be posted regularly as players are eliminated and chip counts change.  

The official report of the entire tournament, complete with statistics, historical information, records, and quotes from each of the nine players will be posted to WSOP.com at the conclusion of the tournament.