Yes Ash Kan! Canadian Poker Pro Ashkan Razavi Wins Biggest 1500-Level Tournament in Four Years
Female Gold Bracelet Famine Hits 230 Open Events
Las Vegas, NV (June 6, 2012) – Ashkan Razavi, a 30-year-old professional poker player from Maple Ridge, BC (Canada), won his first WSOP gold bracelet tonight at the Rio in Las Vegas. His moment of triumph came in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em title, for which he collected a whopping $781,398 in prize money.
Razavi’s victory was as challenging as it was well-deserved. He overcame the largest turnout for a $1,500-level buy-in event at the WSOP in four years, outlasting a monster-sized field of 3,404 entries in what turned out to be a grueling four-day grind.
The payoff came on the last day, when Razavi defeated a formidable final table lineup that included some seasoned veterans as well as hungry newcomers to the WSOP final table scene. One of the most notable finalists was Amanda Musumeci, who continues to solidify her reputation as one of tournament poker’s brightest up-and-coming new stars.
Musumeci burst upon the scene in last year’s WSOP Main Event Championship, when she finished 62nd -- which was in the top one-percent given the 6,865-player field. The Philadelphia poker pro then proved she was no flash in the pan by cashing ten times on the WSOP Circuit, this past season. She collected a memorable consolation prize at this final table: a runner-up finish and a payday amounting to $481,398 in prize money in what many will consider to be another breakthrough advance for the young pro.
Other notable moments at the final table included dueling two-time gold bracelet winners, who came up far short of would have been their WSOP-victory trifecta. Brian Rast (1500 Pot-Limit Hold'em in 2011 / 50000 Poker Players Championship in 2011) took sixth place. Greg Mueller (10000 Limit Hold'em in 2009 / 1500 Limit Hold'em Shootout in 2009) finished seventh.
Also of note was Jonathan Duhamel's deep run. The 2010 world poker champion finished 21st. This marked his third time in the money, since his $8,944,310 victory two years ago.
However, the day, the night, and ultimately the gold bracelet belonged to a new champ -- Razavi, an Iranian-born Canadian, who has been around the poker scene for several years, linked to many of the game's best players. He dragged the final pot of the tournament when he made two-pair -- kings and tens -- which turned out to be the richest pot of his poker life That put his rail for rabid followers into ecstasy, as his barrage of backers jumped onto the stage, many of them wearing t-shirts made especially for the occasion -- which read "Ash Can Do It."
Indeed, "Ash did it." Razavi's victory gives him his first WSOP title, to go along with four cashes, and nearly $900,000 in total career WSOP earnings. He also rockets onto the leaderboard in the 2102 “WSOP Player of the Year” race.
MEET NEW WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION – ASHKAN RAZAVI
Name: Ashkan Razavi
Birthplace: Tehran (Iran)
Childhood: Immigrated to Canada at age 13
Current Residence: Maple Ridge, BC (Canada)
Marital Status: Single (girlfriend)
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Previous Occupation: Poker Dealer
Number of WSOP Cashes: 4
Number of WSOP final-table appearances: 2
Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP finish: Fifth (1500 Pot-Limit Omaha in 2010)
First-Place Prize Money: $781,398
Total WSOP Earnings: $846,433
WINNER QUOTES (POST-TOURNAMENT INTERVIEW)
QUESTION: Let’s talk about the T-shirts, whose idea was it and how did that happen?
RAZAVI: That was my friends Brian and Ken. They had this idea and they did it. Brian flew in last night Ken was here, and they went somewhere to the remote outskirts of Vegas to find a place that prints t-shirts and they did it this morning at like 8 am, before the tournament started. Everybody wore them and it was awesome.
QUESTION: What did it mean to you when you hear them cheering and can you comment on if you think poker is really a spectator sport. Does it really help you?
RAZAVI: Yes, it boosted my confidence definitely, to know that people support me and I just feel a lot of love from my friends.
QUESTION: You’ve been coming around here for a while. Seeing some of your friends win bracelets, does that create some pressure like it’s about my time to do something?
RAZAVI: I’ve always been pretty confident myself that my time will come. I never put an extra pressure on myself to win a bracelet. I just like doing well in events. The bracelet is obviously nice, but it’s not really my number one goal. I just want to do well to go deep in events. I am lucky to be the winner of the bracelet that’s definitely an extra added bonus.
QUESTION: This is one of the biggest prizes of the summer. How nice does it feel to break through in this specific event?
RAZAVI: It’s amazing with such a large field and being a $1,500 event -- there are more mine fields to dodge to get to this place. Also, being in the final 30 was unbelievable – especially for a $1500 hundred event -- the field was really though, there were a lot of good players, a lot of known pros. They were amazing. I feel very fortunate to have been able to go through on the whole field. It’s amazing.
QUESTION: What’s something you intend to buy with the prize money?
RAZAVI: Me and my girlfriend just had a baby and we are desperately in need of a mini-van. With kids, we have to get a mini-van as soon as we get home.
QUESTION: Tell us about your life before you took poker seriously.
RAZAVI: I was born in Tehran (Iran). Me and my mom and my brother moved to Canada actually, when I was about 13-years-old. I finished high school. Then, I went to school and finished my school, got my degree and ended up getting a temporary job in a casino as a dealer because I had a connection there. One thing led to another. I was playing poker on the side and making more money than I could get as entry-level job in like computer programming. So, I just stuck to it and it’s been about six years now.
QUESTION: What about future goals and poker?
RAZAVI: To me it’s a job. It’s all about the money. It’s my family’s well-being and financial security. That’s what motivates me.
-- by Nolan Dalla