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Mo Abedi-Arani Wins Card Player Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event Abedi-Arani Scores $220,626 First-Place Prize

by Diana Cox |  Published: Sep 04, 2013


Season 1 of the 2012-2013 Card Player Poker Tour (CPPT) came to an end with the CPPT Choctaw tournament series, a 54-event series which included no-limit hold’em and H.O.R.S.E. events, a seniors event and the very first ever Choctaw hold’em event, a tournament in which players are dealt three hole cards, must turn one up postflop and can combine their hole cards with the five cards on the board to make the best five-card hand.

“It was the first time that game has even been dealt,” Jeramey Standridge, Choctaw Table Games Manager said. “People liked it. We got over 100 players.”

Many of the preliminary tournaments doubled or tripled their guarantees, pleasing players and tournament staff alike. Six-time WSOP bracelet winner T.J. Cloutier added another win to his long resume when he took down a $120 no-limit hold’em event with $100,000 guaranteed, for $49,615, bringing his lifetime winnings to more than $9.8 million.

Other winners of the preliminary events included Bill Donnelly, who won the $440 no-limit hold’em $150,000 guarantee for $33,737. Donnelly then went on to make the final table of the $1,500 main event. Steven Gordon took down the $550 no-limit hold’em $200,000 guarantee for $55,662. Both Donnelly and Gordon earned Card Player Player of the Year (POY) points for their wins. Stephen Brown won the kickoff event, the $340 no-limit hold’em $50,000 guarantee and Buell Jones bested the field in the final event of the series, the $120 no-limit hold’em $5,000 guarantee.

The highlight of the series, the $1,500 buy-in $500,000 guarantee main event, drew 735 entries and amassed a prize pool of $1,103,091, shattering the guarantee. Notables included 2012 WSOP October Niner Rob Salaburu, Oklahoma-native Alex Phahurat, Tommy Vedes, Cloutier and WSOP bracelet winners Chance Kornuth, Larry Wright, Grant Hinkle and Blair Hinkle. Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, coming off a win at the CPPT Venetian main event, made a second consecutive deep run toward a title, finishing 19th for $9,343.

Defending CPPT Choctaw champion Maxx Dansky and runner-up Miguel Hernandez also showed up for a second try at the title. Local heroes Doug Paxton — a two-time Oklahoma State Championship of Poker champion, who finished 25th in the main event, Sebastian Tejada, who picked up his second career win in a $340 no limit hold’em $20,000 guarantee and Justin “Choctaw” Kruger were also in the field.

By the time day 2 came to an end, only nine players of the 96 who started the day remained, setting the official final table in motion for day 3, the championship bracelet and $220,626 in first-place prize money. Blair Hinkle was the obvious standout in the final nine with four career titles and more than $3.3 million in career live and online winnings. However a fifth title was not in the cards for Hinkle at Choctaw as he suffered from bad luck at the final table. Hinkle was eliminated in seventh place, adding $33,475 to his lifetime earnings.

Bruce Guin began the final table as the short stack with a mere 285,000, or five big blinds, but battled back and held on long enough to pick up a fourth-place finish for $74,734. Lou Barlow, who began the final table as the chip leader, made it all the way to a third-place finish for $100,271.

Choctaw regular Allan Farber, who began the final table with five cashes in the series, four final tables and one win, finished runner up. Farber was not the only CPPT Choctaw title holder to make the final table. Matthew Ludlow won the $100 no limit hold’em earlier in the series and made his exit from the final table as the fifth-place finisher for $56,445.

When the final card was dealt, it was cash-game specialist Mo Abedi-Arani who received the chips, the title and the money after overcoming a heads-up chip deficit that was at one point 6-to-1.

The final hand began when Farber raised to 260,000 from the button and Abedi-Arani called from the big blind. The flop was dealt 6Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit 2Heart Suit, Abedi-Arani checked, Farber fired out a bet of 300,000 and Abedi-Arani called. The turn was the 6Diamond Suit and Abedi-Arani checked again. Farber bet one million, Abedi-Arani raised to 2 million and Farber moved all-in. Abedi-Arani had him covered and called. Farber showed ADiamond Suit JDiamond Suit for a flush draw, but Abedi-Arani was ahead with 7Diamond Suit 6Club Suit for trip sixes. The river was the 4Spade Suit, and Abedi-Arani was crowned the final winner of the 2012-2013 Card Player Poker Tour.

“It feels great, but it still hasn’t hit me,” Abedi-Arani said of his title. “Blair (Hinkle) was on my left the whole time and he busted early, so that was lucky. Then everything else just worked out the entire time. It felt good.”

Abedi-Arani has one other live tournament win to his name — a $550 no limit hold’em event at the 2009 Hard Rock Poker Open — where he outlasted a field of 92 players for $10,645. His CPPT Choctaw win marks his first major live win, his 18th career cash and his first six-figure cash.

“It’s nice. The bracelet is nice, the money is nice,” he said. “Obviously I’m happy. It’s great because now I can play a little bit bigger. It helps a lot.”

It was also at Abedi-Arani’s hands that a very recent 2012-2013 CPPT champion would not repeat. Fresh off her win at the CPPT Venetian in July, Shulman was among the final three tables when she tangled with the would-be winner. Shulman raised to 30,000, Abedi-Arani reraised to 80,000. Shulman announced she was all-in for more than 350,000 and Abedi-Arani snap-called. The former champ turned over pocket aces but her challenger in the hand held ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit. Abedi-Arani took the vital hand down, making a flush on the board of 9Heart Suit 7Diamond Suit 3Diamond Suit 2Club Suit JDiamond Suit.

When Abedi-Arani returned for day 3 he held only 1,115,000 in chips, the third smallest stack in play, but he quietly chipped his way up and let his opponents take care of each other, much as he had done throughout the tournament.

“A couple of times I got short, but I was never all-in for my tournament life,” he said.
The win was also much sweeter for the final winner of the season as he amassed a large rail full of fellow poker pros and friends.

“I live an hour away, so all my friends were here,” Abedi-Arani said. “They all played the tournament with me and they were all here supporting me.”

Here’s a look at the final table results.

1. Mo Abedi-Arani — $220,626
2. Allan Farber — $136,011
3. Lou Barlow — $100,271
4. Bruce Guin — $74,734
5. Matthew Ludlow — $56,445
6. Donald Thurman — $43,186
7. Blair Hinkle — $33,457
8. Bill Donnelly — $26,243
9. Thao Truong — $20,837

For more information about future tournament stops on the Card Player Poker Tour, visit ♠