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Ray Dehkharghani Wins First Card Player Poker Tour Event of Year

$5,000 Wynn Main Event Draws $1 Million Prize Pool

by Diana Cox |  Published: Apr 17, 2013


Ray DahkharghaniThe title of 2013 Card Player Poker Tour Wynn Las Vegas champion went to Ray Dehkharghani. The high-stakes cash game player began the official ten-handed final table as the chip leader and went through some ups and downs before ultimately defeating Sam Stein during a heads-up match that lasted just seven hands.

The $235,931 score and title was easily Dehkharghani’s biggest no limit hold’em win.
“I have won two small limit tournaments at the WSOP along the way, but this is my biggest no-limit score without question,” he said.

As a predominately limit hold’em and mixed-game cash player, Dehkharghani had to not only adjust to a new form of the game, he had to switch to tournament style play.

“I played the Bay 101 tournament a couple of weeks ago and I’ve caught a little bit of the tournament bug,” Dehkharghani said. “I’ve been working with Nick Schulman, my guru and closest friend who is a fantastic player, on my no-limit hold’em game.”

Schulman also played in the tournament but was eliminated on Day 2.

Dehkharghani also found himself seated with players he had not played with in the past. Those factors, coupled with the fact he had been suffering from insomnia and nearly missed the buy-in deadline, made Dehkharghani’s win all the more sweeter.

“I was at a big experience deficit and the guys at the final table, especially Sam and Tom (Marchese), they are both very accomplished players. I just basically had a good day. I learned a lot from them, they are very technically proficient and it was just a great learning experience,” he said.

When the 207-player field with a $1,003,950 prize pool had been whittled down to just three players, Dehkharghani, Stein and 2011 Card Player Player of the Year Tom Marchese, the soon-to-be champion held more than half of the chips in play.

Marchese, who held a massive chip lead when only four players remained at the final table, was eliminated as the third-place finisher when he got his last 740,000 into the middle with 7Club Suit 7Diamond Suit. Dehkharghani snap-called with 10Club Suit 10Diamond Suit and the board ran out ASpade Suit QDiamond Suit 6Heart Suit 9Spade Suit 8Heart Suit.

After Marchese’s exit Dehkharghani held a nearly 2-to-1 chip advantage over Stein and the final play of the tournament came down to K-K versus A-10. Dehkharghani raised to 215,000 from the big blind and Stein moved all in from the small blind. Dehkharghani snap-called and the tournament hinged on the upcoming board. The dealer spread 10Spade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Diamond Suit 5Heart Suit 7Diamond Suit and the short-lived heads-up battle was over.

For the win, Dehkharghani earns 720 Card Player Player of the Year points.

The official final table was set with the elimination of EPT Champion and online pro Sorel Mizzi, who moved all in with ASpade Suit KSpade Suit on a QHeart Suit 9Heart Suit 4Spade Suit board and was called by Soon Hwang with KClub Suit QDiamond Suit. The board completed 3Diamond Suit 5Club Suit to send Mizzi home as the 11th-place finisher and set the official final table.

The final day of play got underway with action happening almost immediately, most notably when Stein turned a full-house and eliminated WPT Champion Olivier Busquet and Hyoung “Tom” Chae in a single hand just after play began.

Busquet raised to 20,000 from middle position and Stein called from the cutoff. A short-stacked Chae moved all in for his last 27,000 from the big blind and Busquet went all in over the top for 450,000. Stein snap-called and showed QHeart Suit QClub Suit, Busquet flipped over KSpade Suit KHeart Suit and Chae revealed 10Club Suit 9Heart Suit. A flop of ASpade Suit QSpade Suit 9Spade Suit put Stein ahead with a set of queens but Busquet picked up the flush draw. The 9Club Suit on the turn gave Stein a full house and left Chae drawing to the final nine in the deck and Busquet looking for one of the two remaining kings. Neither appeared on the river, instead it was the 8Spade Suit, and both players were eliminated while Stein took the early chip lead.

Hwang was the next to go as the eighth-place finisher, Ray Qartomy followed in seventh and WSOP Circuit champion Kevin Calenzo went out in sixth. Online pro Ben Palmer was the fifth-place finisher and Gheorgui Martov finished in fourth for his largest career cash.

The five-day tournament began March 17 with 86 players turning out for Day 1A of which 29 returned for Day 2. Chae had amassed a large stack during the evening hours of play and looked good to end the night as the chipleader, but Marchese ended up with a decent amount of Chae’s chips and knocked him down the leader board. Marchese finished the night second in chips, only behind Hollywood writer, producer and director Mars Callahan. Marchese and Chae both made the final table, Chae busting out in 10th and Marchese third. Callahan was eliminated on Day 2 without making the money.

Forty nine of the 120 players who showed up for Day 1B joined the 29 players who made it through Day 1A for a 78-player field for Day 2 with James McCarrel holding the chiplead. McCarrel held on to his stack long enough to make the money, but finished in the 19th spot for $14,055.

A piece of the more than $1 million prize pool went to the final 23 players and the bubble was burst with the elimination of Erick Lindgren by Marchese. Marchese moved all-in on a board of 8Diamond Suit 7Club Suit 4Spade Suit JDiamond Suit KHeart Suit and Lindgren called for less. Marchese held 10Club Suit 9Club Suit for the jack-high straight and it was enough to best Lindgren’s pocket kings.

Cary Katz, Loren Klein, Brad Booth and Christina Lindley finished in the money but did not make the final table.

Other notables who showed up but finished out of the money included Eli Elezra, David Williams, Schulman, Phil Collins, Eric Baldwin and former Wynn Classic champions Tim West and Keith Ferrera.

A 200-plus player field filled with big names and a prize pool of more than a $1 million was a big improvement for the tournament which has been steadily growing each year.

“We’re really happy to improve on the turnout year over year,” said Wynn Las Vegas director of poker operations Joe Vigurs, “and we are excited to have built the prize pool to over a million dollars.”

Here are full final table payouts:

1 Ray Dehkharghani $235,931
2 Sam Stein $170,672
3 Thomas Marchese $115,454
4 Georgui Martov $82,324
5 Benjamin Palmer $58,229
6 Kevin Calenzo $43,672
7 Ray Qartomy $32,628
8 Soon Hwang $27,609
9 Olivier Busquet $24,597
10 Hyoung Chae $20,079