Record Poker Payout
Las Vegas — Swedish player Martin Dekenijff won the biggest-money event in poker history Friday night, collecting 2.7 million USD when he captured the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
Dekenijff’s pair of 10s beat the Ace-high hand held by Downey, Calif., player Hasan Habib in the 8.34 million USD prize-pool, no-limit Texas hold’em event.
The Stockholm resident’s win passed the 2.5 million USD prize collected by 2003 World Series of Poker championship event winner Chris Moneymaker. The top slot will likely be short-lived, as this year’s WSOP champion is expected to collect at least 3 million USD.
The tournament was held in Bellagio’s Fontana Bar, a move MGM MIRAGE executives said was intended to provide spectacular images for the event’s tape-delayed broadcast on the Travel Channel. One taped sequence had the Lake Bellagio fountains perform to the WPT TV show’s music theme while the camera shot looks across the lake and through the wide open doors of the Fontana Bar, to the tournament’s final table.
Habib collected 1.3 million USD for his second-place finish. Bronxville, N.Y., native Matt Matros took third place and 706,903 USD. Las Vegas resident Richard Grijalva finished fourth, collecting 457,408 USD; Maryland’s Russell Rosenblum was fifth, getting 332,660 USD; and Reno’s Steve Brecher finished in sixth place, winning 232,862 USD.
Meanwhile, at Binion’s Horseshoe not a single Nevada player made it to the final table of the World Series of Poker’s first open-to-the-public event, the 2,000 USD buy-in no-limit Texas hold’em tourney that kicked off Friday and ended Saturday night.
London’s James Vogl conquered the 834-player field, winning 400,000 USD and beating a nine-person final table that included five Californians.
Las Vegas got some redemption in the next event, the 1,500 USD buy-in Seven-card Stud tourney that concluded Sunday night, as Bellagio cash-game specialist Ted Forrest won 111,440 USD to beat the event’s 258-player field.