in 2005 World Series of Poker
July 15, 2005
With only a handful of players left in this years World Series
of Poker chamionships in Las Vegas, there were two Iranians who
were still in the
field as of
Wednesday. My favorite Bonyadi finished 41st and won $235,000.
Shahram "Sean" Sheikhan finished 11th and won $600,000.
You are probably unaware of this,
but this is a HUGE money tournoument. Total prize money is $52
Million! More than 5,000 entrants paid
$10,000 each to compete. All but a few have been eliminated so
far. First place gets $7.5 million (plus just as much in ad revenues),
anybody who makes it the final table (top 10) will get at least
$1 million. Poker is growing so fast that it is now bigger than
professional tennis and golf combined!
Another thing you may not know is that Iranians are quite active
and quite successful in professional poker these days. And, why
not? Poker has its root in an ancient Persian card game called "aas
naas". Here's where they stand in world rankings today before
the end of this year's WSOP:
7th- Amir Vahedi: Sherman Oaks, California.....
8th- Amir "Antonio" Esfandiari: San
Francisco, California..... $459,246
12th- Farzad Bonyadi:
Aliso Viejo, California..... $748,490
Mehrmand: Frankfurt, Germany
101st- Fred Lavassani: Burbank,
120th- Reza Payvar:
Tarzana, California..... $360,225
Vahedi and Esfandiari get the most attention, but in my opinion,
Bonyadi is the best Persian player year-in and year out. Aside
from Skill and nerves, he also has great patience, chip management
and a champion's intuition, i.e., he can read his opponent well.
On Tuesday, he made an exceptional play against last year's
champion Greg Raymer to separate himself from the field. Raymer
chip leader at the time and had been on an unbelievable lucky streak.
Every one was staying away from him. Here's how Bonyadi played
the hand that could've easily ended his run:
Cardplayer.com wrote: "With the board showing J-5-5-A-5,
Bonyadi bets out $80,000. Raymer raises to $230,000. Bonyadi then
reraises $400,000 more, and Raymer finally folds. Bonyadi shows
the King high bluff. "
Bonyadi didn't really bluff. He doesn't
do that much. He just knew Raymer was bluffing. Still, that's
a scary board, and a scary player, to bet most of your chips into.
By the way, if Bonyadi
or Sheikhan had won the world championship, it would not have been
a first for an Iranian. Mansour Matloubi
was the first to win in 1990, and Hamid Dastmalchi won in 1992.
WSOP started in 1970).