It was another Brooklynite win in A.C. at The World Series of Poker circuit main event at Caesars this weekend as player Brian Ali took the tournament and a $139,284 cash.
As you might expect, the boxing metaphors are running hot and heavy with Ali “knocking out” his “heavyweight” competition and so on. Fortunately, we aren’t above that sort of thing.
So Ali KO’d a field of 442 entries in the event with a prize pool of $633,110.
Those numbers are actually pretty good, up substantially over the 174 players that played last year’s Caesars circuit main event. Of course, The WSOP reorganized this year setting all circuit main events at a $1,500 buy-in. Last year’s Caesars main event was a $4,900 buy-in played during lousy weather.
More applicable was the $1,500 main event at Harrah’s Resort in December (as opposed to the event’s $10K regional championship), which attracted only 352 players.
Ali earned the “knockout” references precisely because that’s what he did in a dominant performance that sent several opponents to the canvas, er rail.
“This is so exciting for me to win this,” Ali told the WSOP in a post-tournament interview. “I was just thinking about this last night that I could win the same amount of money buying a lottery ticket or something like that. But it would not mean the same at all. This victory is something I really had to earn. I had to beat some really, really tough poker players, not just here but over the past three days. So, I’m flying high right now.”
It’s been a good week for Ali who had a third place finish in event 1 of the circuit events, good for $19,627 and also a 15th place at The Borgata $500,000 Deepstack event held March 5, good for a $4,861.
Ok, that’s a pretty good run.
Second place went to John Andress of Doylestown Pa., who wins $86,071.
Here’s the final hand recap from the WSOP:
When heads-up play began, Ali enjoyed about a 5 to 2 chip lead over Andress. The challenger Andress managed to double up once, which brought him very near to Ali in chips. But that was as close as Andress would get to what turned out to be an elusive tournament victory.
The final hand was played out as follows:
Ali – 7h, 4c
Andress – Kh, 6d
Flop – Kc, 6h, 5h
Turn – 8s
River – 3s
All the chips went into the pot on the turn. Ali modestly bet out 200,000, with a completed straight. Andress shoved all-in with two pair. Ali immediately called. A brick on the river ended the tournament. Ali ended up winning with an eight-high straight. Andress had two pair – kings over sixes. Ali was declared the champion.
Ali, 51, was awarded an automatic seat valued at $10,000 into the season-ending National Championship finale, which is to be televised from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in May.