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Final Table Takedown: Hamid Izadi Scores Two WSOP Circuit Rings In Three Days

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Oct 04, 2023


Hamid Izadi is originally from Iran. He moved to the United States in 1998 and has been living in Marietta, Georgia ever since. Izadi first started playing poker with cash games in 2006, mostly at local home games. Then in 2010 he started playing the occasional tournament, always working to improve his game and fix any leak he discovered while maintaining his day job as the owner of a construction company.

Izadi has since become a regular tournament grinder, traveling about 10-15 days out of each month to compete in a different city. He has found particular success on the World Series of Poker Circuit, where he has earned five rings. Izadi also has five runner-up finishes, four third-place showings, and 25 final tables overall.

Other victories on his résumé include two on the Heartland Poker Tour, and several at the WSOP in daily deepstack events. Izadi now has career tournament earnings of nearly $1.5 million.

Izadi’s most recent two WSOP Circuit rings came in a span of just three days, taking down event no. 11 and event no. 13 at the Hard Rock Tulsa series in August. Card Player caught up with him to talk about a few key hands he played on his way to the winner’s circle.

Event: WSOP Circuit Tulsa Event No. 11
Buy-In: $400
Entrants: 167
Prize Pool: $55,110
First-Place Prize: $13,840

Craig Tapscott: You said that you are always working on your tournament game. What were some of the major leaks you had in your game that have been plugged?

Hamid Izadi: The main one was that I tended to act and make my decisions too fast. That was my main leak. I’ve learned through experience to think through the hand history in front of me more thoroughly now before acting.

One of my biggest improvements was adjusting my game based on players. I’m more of an instinctual and feel-type of player, so I now pay closer attention to every player at my table and recognize their mistakes as well as my own.

CT: What do you find are the biggest mistakes you come across from your opponents during a tournament?

HI: The biggest weakness I see is players taking the game too personally and being too emotional regarding the results of any given hand. As poker players, we have to know this game has variance and bad beats will happen. We can play our best game in each tournament and still lose. But it’s essential that we keep our composure no matter what on the felt.

Stacks: Hamid Izadi – 245,000 (122 BB) Villain – 230,000 (115 BB)
Blinds: 1,000-2,000 with a 2,000 Big Blind Ante
Players Remaining: 58
Players: 9

HI: We were getting closer to the money, with 26 players getting paid. This hand made me one of the chip leaders and helped me cruise to the final table. They moved me to a new table and there was only one other player who had a close size stack to myself. The rest were much shorter stacks.

Action: Izadi raised from mid-position to 4,500 holding ASpade Suit 5Spade Suit. The villain three-bet from the small blind to 11,500, and Izadi called.

Flop: 10Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit 2Spade Suit

The villain bet 6,500, and Izadi called.

CT: What range of hands did you put him on?

HI: I first put him on two high cards, something like K-J, K-Q. Maybe a hand like A-J or A-Q.

CT: He also could have connected with this board, c-betting with a hand like pocket eights or nines, or even an overpair?

HI: I thought about it. He might have [a big hand] like an overpair, sure. I think I’m pretty familiar with a lot of local players as I travel to play [in Tulsa] often, and I knew this player’s style well from my past experience.

I decided to call to see what he did on the turn.

Turn: 7Spade Suit

Villain bet 27,000, and Izadi called.

CT: That seemed like a pretty big turn bet sizing.

HI: I called because to me that bet did not seem like a value bet, but one that was trying to get me off my hand. It helped that I had picked up the nut flush draw with my pair as well, which added equity and value to my holding. I wasn’t snap calling on either the flop nor turn, but after 2-3 minutes of processing the hand in my mind, I made the call.

River: AHeart Suit

Villain moved all in.

CT: Now that’s a big overbet shove.

HI: I didn’t understand this move. If he had just given up on the hand, he would have had about 90 big blinds left. But he had already made his decision.

CT: It was still a tough call.

HI: Yes, it was, even if he shoved a little too fast. It would have been harder for me to call him on the river if I hadn’t improved to two pair, but two pair made it much easier.

Izadi called, and the villain showed K-Q offsuit. Izadi won the pot of 464,000.

HI: When I reached the final table, I was sitting with a middle of the pack chip stack. When we got down to five players I went on a heater and dominated the table. When we got to heads-up, I was pretty much raising every hand because my opponent was folding so often. The final hand I shoved 10Heart Suit 8Heart Suit from the button and he called with K-J offsuit, I hit an eight on the flop and held for the win.

Event: WSOP Circuit Tulsa Event No. 13
Buy-In: $250
Entrants: 238
Prize Pool: $47,600
First-Place Prize: $10,910

CT: Did you feel like you were carrying the momentum of your win into this event?

HI: I was in my comfort zone, for sure. I realized when you are playing your best game and paying attention to the table and players, and make no [unforced] mistakes or rush your decisions, it helps you to get deep in tournaments. Of course, winning flips and your hands holding helps a lot. (laughs)

Stacks: Hamid Izadi – 155,000 (26 BB) Villain 1 – 115,000 (19 BB) Villain 2 – 175,000 (29 BB)
Blinds: 3,000-6,000 with a 6,000 Big Blind Ante
Players Remaining: 36
Players: 9

CT: Please set up the dynamics at this table?

HI: We were in the money. Most of the players were decent, but passive.

Villain 2 was actually the player who I played heads-up with in the first event, and I could tell he was a little emotional about that loss. He had seen me bully tables with a big stack in the past, and it appeared like he was trying to play pots with me to knock me out (which goes back to what I said earlier about being too emotional and taking the game personally).

Action: Izadi raised from UTG+1 to 13,000 holding QSpade Suit QClub Suit. Villain 1 moved all in for 115,000, and villain 2 moved all in behind for 175,000.

HI: This player had a loose-aggressive style. He had tried very hard to beat me in every hand since the start of this tournament. Because of that dynamic, I decided to make a call with queens.

Izadi called. Villain 1 revealed AClub Suit JSpade Suit, and villain 2 showed JDiamond Suit JHeart Suit.

Board: 10Spade Suit 3Heart Suit 8Club Suit 3Diamond Suit 9Heart Suit

Izadi won the pot of 440,000.

HI: This hand is what catapulted me to the final table.

CT: How much was the dynamic between you and villain 2 influenced by you beating him heads-up for the previous title a few days ago?

HI: I was playing my game against him just like any other player at the table. By the end of the hand, I was just happy to beat both of them and accumulate a very good stack for the final table.

This tournament was a turbo with only 20-minute levels and most of the stacks were shallow. It would be hard to fold Q-Q. In a larger structure format with deeper stacks, I might have considered folding it, but not with this structure.

Stacks: Hamid Izadi – 2,400,000 (80 BB) Villain 1 – 1,200,000 (40 BB) Villain 2 – 675,000 (22 BB) 
Blinds: 15,000-30,000 with a 30,000 Big Blind Ante
Players Remaining: 7

HI: We were at the final table for this hand. I had been very aggressive and opening a lot of pots.

CT: Did you do have any plan of attack for the final table?

HI: I usually adjust my game and strategies based on players at each table. This table had two very aggressive and active players. I felt like I was in good shape against the field and was playing my game. I was being patient and was sure to not put my whole stack at risk at any given time.

The chip leader at start of the final table was second on my right opening every hand. I decided to three-bet him when I was going into pots with him. The mistake he made was flatting my three-bets out of position. I had won every pot we played till he got short with seven players left, and this was the very next hand.

Action: Izadi raised to 65,000 from UTG holding ASpade Suit 8Spade Suit. Villain 1 called from UTG+1. Villain 2 called in the big blind.

HI: Villain 1 had been calling wide all day long, and villain 2 in the big blind was the player who used to be the chip leader. He was getting frustrated.

Flop: 10Spade Suit 5Spade Suit 2Heart Suit

CT: That’s a pretty good flop for you.

HI: Yes, I had flopped the nut flush draw.

Villain 2 checked, and Izadi bet 400,000.

CT: Can you share your thoughts of why you overbet the pot here?

HI: I was letting my opponents know that I was committed. I had a strong holding with the nut flush draw and over card. I wanted to put pressure on villain 1 and get him out of the hand. I had seen him call preflop with a lot of marginal hands, and I thought if he had any legit holding, he would have three-bet me preflop. I figured he just held a hand like two face cards.

The villain in the big blind, however, was short enough and would have to go all in if he wanted to continue in the hand. And of course, I’m never folding the nut flush draw for his stack size.

Villain 1 folded. Villain 2 moved all in, and Izadi called.

Turn: JHeart Suit

River: 6Diamond Suit

HI: It was only another 180,000 to call off. I missed my draw and doubled him up.
Villain 2 showed 10Diamond Suit 8Club Suit and won the pot of 1,260,000.

CT: You had no choice but to call there. You can’t be results oriented.

HI: Nothing else I could do. But I was able to bounce back.

When we played down to four players, I ended up knocking him out in fourth. When we got down to heads-up play, I had 3,500,000 of the 4,400,000 chips in play and ended up winning within three hands.

CT: How did it feel to win back-to-back events?

HI: It felt great. I had won three rings [overall], but I had never won two rings in one series. Especially considering I was there for only four days and played three events. I have been runner up many times in tournaments, and I’m never happy about it. Winning rings, or any trophies, are the huge achievements I value in my poker career. This event made me more confident on my poker game overall. ♠