WSOP 2009 $2500 PLH/PLO
• The 2009 World Series of Poker $2,500 Mixed – Pot-Limit Hold’em / Pot-Limit Omaha event champion is Rami Boukai, from San Diego, CA.
• Boukai is a 26-year-old professional poker player.
• Boukai was once a student at UC-San Diego.
• Boukai was born in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. He is believed to be the only Saudi Arabian-born WSOP gold bracelet winner in history. Previous WSOP winners have come from the Middle East, including Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Israel.
• It should be noted that although Boukai was born abroad, he came to the United States at the age of one. Boukai’s father was Lebanese. His mother is a native-born American. Boukai has never visited Saudi Arabia. His father worked there in the 1980s on construction projects.
• Nevertheless, Boukai’s online poker player screen name is “Arabian Night.”
• Boukai has played in three WSOP events so far this year, making the third time a charm (victory).
• This marked Boukai’s seventh time to cash at the WSOP. His best previous finish was a 14th-place showing in 2007. This was his first final table appearance.
• Boukai collected $244,862 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
• Boukai’s combined career tournament winnings now total about $570,000.
• The final table was comprised of no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. This was the fourth event of ten held this year which guaranteed a first-time winner.
• This was one of the more cosmopolitan final tables played so far this year. The nine finalists represented five different nations, including:
United States (3)
• Consistent with the “cosmopolitan” theme, two of the Americans were born abroad – one in Romania and the other in Saudi Arabia.
• The runner up was N. Shaun Bennani (sometimes listed as Najib Bennani). He is a 26-year-old former accountant-turned-poker pro.
• The third-place finisher was Ben Grundy, from London, England.
• The fourth-place finisher was Romanian-born Cornel Andrew Cimpan, who now lives in League City, TX.
• The fifth-place finisher was Daniel Makowsky, from Zurich, Switzerland. He finished as the runner up in a WSOP event held last year.
• The sixth-place finisher was Paul Parker, from London, England.
• The seventh-place finisher was Pawel Andrzejwski, from Park Ridge, IL. This marked his fifth cash at the WSOP.
• The eighth-place finisher was another Englishman, John Kabbaj, from London. He also finished as a runner up in a WSOP event, back in 2004. Kabbaj won the European No-Limit Hold’em Championship in 2006.
• The ninth-place finisher was Sigi Stockinger, from Salzburg, Austria.
• Former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included – Jan Sorensen, David Sklansky (3 wins), Rob Hollink, Daniel Negreanu (4 wins), and Hoyt Corkins (2 wins).
• The defending champion in this event was Max Pescatori, from Milan, Italy. He entered this tournament, but did not cash.
Odds and Ends
• This is only the second time this event has been included on the WSOP schedule. While many “mixed game” tournaments have taken place in the 39-year history of the WSOP, these two games had not been combined together exclusively until 2008.
• Pot-Limit poker is more popular in Europe than the United States and elsewhere. Many of the top players in England, Ireland, France, and elsewhere specialize in this form of poker. Not surprisingly, 6 of the 9 finalists were Europeans. In fact, 14 of the 45 players who cashed in this tournament were Europeans.
• The tournament was played over three consecutive days. On Day Three, the final table action took place on the secondary stage, near the ESPN feature table area, which was simultaneously dealing out the conclusion of the $1,500 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event.
• The $2,500 Mixed – Pot-Limit Hold’em / Pot-Limit Omaha event attracted 453 entrants. This created a prize pool totaling $1,041,900. The top 45 finishers collected prize money.
• Last year’s Mixed event, played in the identical schedule slot, attracted 457 players.
• The final hand of the night came when Boukai had the best hand pre-flop, lost the lead on the flop, then improved on the turn and dragged the final pot of the tournament. Boukai had pocket nines. His tough adversary N. Shaun Bennani had Q-J. Bennani was in the lead when the flop came A-K-Q. But a nine on the turn gave Boukai a set of nines, which held up.
• The tournament officially began on Tuesday, June 2nd, at 12:00 noon. The tournament officially ended on Friday, June 5th, at 2:02 am.
• Through the conclusion of Event #10, the 2009 WSOP has attracted 13,804 entries. $24,180,105 in prize money has been awarded to winners.
• Through Event #10, nine Americans have won gold bracelets. One Russian player has won. No other nations have been represented at the WSOP gold bracelet ceremony so far, which takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm.
• Here is a list of all entrants into WSOP events so far, through Event #14. Note that each entry is counted. So, if one player from Nevada enters two events, that is counted as two entries – even though it is the same player. Also note that Canadian provinces are listed:
South Africa 7
Dominican Republic 5
United Kingdom 3
Cayman Islands 2
New Zealand 2
Costa Rica 1