- Chad Holloway | May 29, 2009 at 2:55 am
Event #1 ($500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em) resumed play Thursday with the remaining 81 players of a 867-player field. When the day was done the first bracelet of the 2009 World Series of Poker had been awarded with N9NE Steakhouse bartender Andrew Cohen taking home the jewelry and the $83,778 first place prize.
The day’s action started loose and fast as 20 players, many who had entered the day with stacks approximately 10x the big blind, were eliminated within the first 38 minutes of the tournament. As players busted, tables broke and new seating assignments were given. When five tables remained, table #3 became the center of attention with some of the largest chips stacks in the room. Ivas Abrahim, a cashier at the Palomar Club in San Diego, was also at the table as one of the short stacks. Luckily for him, he managed to get his stack all-in with pocket aces against his opponent’s K-Q.The Aces held up and Abrahim managed to hang on. Things didn’t go so well for Ramy Zakaria, Abrahim’s friend and co-worker, who was among the chip leaders throughout day one. Zakaria found himself in a pot with Casey Kuhn and another player. Both Kuhn and Zakaria called the all-in bet of the third player as the flop came 7 Q 4. Kuhn, who had the most chips of the three, pushed all-in and Zakaria quickly made the call. Kuhn showed 7 7 for middle set, Zakaria 4 4 for bottom set, and the third player was way behind with Ax Kx. The 7on the river gave Kuhn quads and left both his opponents drawing dead; however, to add insult to injury the river brought the 4, sendingZakaria home with losing quads!
Play continued for the next couple hours as more and more players were eliminated. Abrahim joined his friend on the rail in 26th place; similarly, the last woman remaining, Stephanie Donahue, met her end finishing in 19th place. After the dinner break, a string of eliminations occurred that ultimately lead up to the final table:
- Tuni Rafaele (18th- $3,153)
- Alan Adler (17th- $3,153)
- Jesse Duangrudeesawat (16th- $3,153)
- Felix Karli (15th- $4,088)
- Aaron Medrano (14th- $4,088)
- Jeffrey Von Alst (13th- $4,088)
- Osmel Fernandez (12th- $5,503)
- Cesar Chavez (11th- $5,503)
- Jon Williams (10th- $5,503)
The final table, which was surrounded by spectators eager to watch the action for the first bracelet of the series, got underway with the following seat assignments and chip counts:
- Paul Peterson (Las Vegas, Nevada; 26) - 126,000
- Bobby Rooney (Oakland, California; 39) - 360,000
- Ferdinand Boleski (Las Vegas, Nevada; 42) - 175,000
- Jun Dulay (Las Vegas, Neveada; 43) - 297,000
- Andrew Cohen (Las Vegas, Nevada; 39) - 408,000
- Sammy Porter (Bullhead City, Arizona; 55) - 303,000
- John McAvoy (Chandler, Arizona; 40) - 227,000
- Casey Kuhn (Bettendorf, Iowa; 24) 392,000
- Grant Yasui (Waipahu, Hawaii; 25) - 205,000
The first elimination of the final table came when Porter, who had lost most of his chips, moved all-in for his remaining 46,000 with [Ah[ 8. McAvoy called with A Q only to have Rooney push all-in over the top for 68,000 more with pocket Jacks. McAvoy made the call and the board ran out 3 2 9 J 4, giving Rooney the pot and making Poter the 9th place finisher for $7,782. A big hand developed when Boleski pushed all-in with the A J and was called by Matvoy's Q Q. The board ran out [10c] 7 5 5 3 and Boleski, the table games dealer from Las Vegas, was eliminated in 8th place for $8,866. Matvoy’s fans, who seem to be lined along the rail, cheered as their man became the new chip leader. Unfortunately, the celebration was short lived as McAvoy doubled-up a few opponents and lost the chip lead. This lead to a hand where he was all-in with A 7 and behind Dulay’s Q Q. The board provided no help for McAvoy and just as quickly as he became chip leader, he was sent packing in 7th place for $10,545.
Rooney, a casino floorman, left himself short stacked when he doubled-up Peterson; as such, he decided to push all-in when action was folded to him in the small blind. Dulay made the call from the big blind with K 8 and was ahead of Rooney’s 6 5. The board came A Q 7 J [10d] and Rooney became the 6th place finisher, earning $13,125. Action stalled for a couple hours before Dulay called a Cohen all-in with 8 8. Cohen was in the lead with J J and took down the sizeable pot when the board came [10h] 5 9 K K. Dulay took home $17,127 for his 5th place finish. A few hands later, Cohen raised to 45,000 from the cutoff and was reraised by Yasui to 145,000. Cohen made the call as the flop came Q 6 6, causing Yasui to move all-in only to have Cohen snap call with 5 5. Yasui turned over A 9 as both the turn and river blanked. Yasui finished the tournament in 4th place for $23,483. The next elimination came when when Cohen raised the pot to 48,000 and was called by Kuhn. Cohen bet out 75,000 on the 3 K 5 flop only to have Kuhn push all-in. Cohen made the call and revealed the 5 2 for middle pair but was behind Kuhn’s K 4. The turn changed everything when the 5 fell, giving Cohen three-of-a-kind. The 4 blanked on the river and Kuhn became the 3rd place finisher, which was accompanied by a $33,923 payday.
Heads-up play began with Cohen holding an approximately 5-1 chip lead over Peterson. Things didn’t last long when Peterson found himself all-in with A Q against Cohen’s 6 6. The board ran out [10d] J 4 [10h] 7 allowing the sixes to hold up and giving Cohen, a bartender at the N9ne in Las Vegas, the victory. Peterson finished in 2nd place for $51,787. Cohen’s friends, including poker pro Alex Outhred, burst into cheers on the rail. The 39 year-old Cohen, who has a wife and daughter, became the first bracelt winner of the 2009 WSOP by outlasting 866 players and taking down the Casino Employees $500 No-Limit Hold’em event and took home the $83,778 first-place prize.