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World Series of Poker -- Brian Rast Wins $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em Event

Rast Tops Allen Kessler Heads Up at a Quick Final Table

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Brian RastThe final table of Event No. 15 ($1,500 pot-limit hold’em) has come to a close at the 2011 World Series of Poker and the champion is Brian Rast. He took home $227,232 in prize money and his first gold bracelet for topping a field of 765 players. His career earnings now stand at $1,363,517. The cash-game specialist almost didn’t participate in the event. After returning from a two-month vacation in Brazil at 9 a.m. on the first day of the tournament Rast ran into one of his neighbors at the Panorama Towers just minutes away from the Rio. That neighbor was Antonio Esfandiari, who offered to fully stake Rast in the tournament for a piece of his action. Rast took Esfandiari up on the offer and then made good on the backing by winning the tournament. Esfandiari was present at the final table to cheer him on and then celebrated the win with Rast after play ended.

Rast was all smiles after the win, and in the post-final table press conference he had this to say about the significance of the win. “You know, I haven’t been a hardcore tournament player during my career. But at this point after seven years, I’ve racked up a decent number of tournaments between the 10k WPTs and WSOP events. So yeah, it means a lot to me that I was finally able to take one down. Even though I’m up in terms of cashes, I had a really big one in the 40k event, it was nice to win. It’s different because you’re almost always disappointed in tournament, unless you win. So, you know it’s hard the way the payouts jump so much in the end. Say I came in 12th, it was like 120k, which is great — but the thing is it starts jumping more and more where first place is like $2 million. It can get a little demoralizing to go through it again and again. Honestly, I’ve played cash games where I’ve lost more in a pot then I have in this tournament. So it’s not really about the money. I like winning the money, but for this tournament the bracelet really does mean a lot. It’s something I’ve finally accomplished in my poker career. I feel like I’m pretty well known in the poker community of professionals who respect my game, but now maybe people who haven’t heard will recognize me. I think respect from your peers is pretty important and everyone wants respect from people within their profession and a bracelet kind of gives you that recognition.”

Rast defeated Allen Kessler heads up for the bracelet after the final table quickly played down to the final match. The end of the tournament came quickly as well. Kessler flopped two pair but Rast had flopped a heart flush, so when Kessler decided to move all in it was all over for the Chainsaw. Other notables at the final table included Ali Eslami and Ronald Lee.

Here is a look at the elimination hands from CardPlayer.com’s live updates:

Ronald LeeRonald Lee Eliminated in 9th Place ($17,928)

Lee started the official nine-handed final table as the short stack with just 25,000, and almost as quickly as it began, Lee moved all in before the flop and got three callers.

John Gordon, Allen Kessler and Dajuan Whorley all checked to the river on a board of 10Heart Suit 6Heart Suit 5Club Suit 6Club Suit 7Diamond Suit. Whorley turned over 10Spade Suit 7Spade Suit for two pair and Ronald Lee was eliminated in 9th place ($17,928).

Ted Lawson Eliminated in 8th place ($22,183)Ted Lawson

Ali Eslami raised to 45,000 from under the gun, Ted Lawson moved all in from the button for 165,000 and Eslami called.

Eslami turned over JDiamond Suit JClub Suit for the lead while Lawson showed AHeart Suit QSpade Suit for the draw.

The board came 10Heart Suit 10Club Suit 3Spade Suit 8Heart Suit 2Club Suit, no help to Ted Lawson who was eliminated in 8th place ($22,183).

John Gordon Eliminated in 7th Place ($28,741)

Dajuan Whorley doubled through John Gordon early in the level, leaving him with 200,000, or just over eight big blinds. Gordon continued a downward spiral this level, managing to double through chip leader Brian Rast at one point to stay alive, but finally met his fate on this last hand.

Down to his last big blind, John Gordon button-shoved for 24,000 before the flop and Mika Paasonen called.

Gordon was ahead with ASpade Suit 6Heart Suit against Paasonen’s KHeart Suit 4Diamond Suit.

The board came QClub Suit 9Diamond Suit 5Club Suit JClub Suit 10Heart Suit, giving Paasonen a king-high straight on the river. John Gordon was eliminated in 7th place ($28,741).

Ali EslamiAli Eslami Eliminated in 6th Place ($37,654)

Ali Eslami raised to 105,000 from the cutoff and Brian Rast called from the big blind.

The flop came KHeart Suit 7Heart Suit 2Spade Suit, Rast shoved and Eslami called all in.

Rast showed KClub Suit 7Club Suit for two pair and was ahead of Eslami’s big-slick.

The turn was the 7Diamond Suit, giving Rast a full house. Eslami was drawing dead to the river and was eliminated in 6th place ($37,654).

Mika Paasonen Eliminated in 5th Place ($49,902)

Mika Paasonen raised to 60,000 before the flop, Brian Rast three-bet him all in and Paasonen called.

Rast showed AClub Suit KDiamond Suit for the lead against Paasonen’s KClub Suit 10Diamond Suit.

The board came KHeart Suit 8Club Suit 2Spade Suit 9Club Suit 3Heart Suit, giving both players top pair on the flop, Rast of course with the better kicker. Mika Paasonen was eliminated in 5th place ($49,902).

Daisuke Endo Eliminated in 4th Place ($66,994)

Daisuke Endo open-shoved the button for about 100,000 and Allen Kessler called from the small blind.

Kessler turned over KHeart Suit 10Diamond Suit for the lead against Endo’s QSpade Suit JHeart Suit.

The board came KClub Suit 6Spade Suit 5Spade Suit 2Heart Suit 8Club Suit, giving Kessler top pair on the flop. Daisuke Endo was eliminated in 4th place ($66,994).

Dajuan Whorley Eliminated in 3rd Place ($91,219)

Allen Kessler raised to 70,000 before the flop and Dajuan Whorley called from the big blind.

The flop came 9Spade Suit 8Club Suit 3Heart Suit, Whorley checked, Kessler bet 80,000, Whorley check-raised to 175,000, Kessler shoved and Whorley called all in.

Whorley showed JSpade Suit 9Heart Suit for top pair against Kessler’s AHeart Suit ADiamond Suit.

The turn and river were the 7Heart Suit and the 5Club Suit, no help for Dujuan Whorley who was eliminated in 3rd place ($92,219).

Allen Kessler Eliminated in 2nd Place ($140,309)Brian Rast

Brian Rast returned from the dinner break with a chip lead of 2,040,000 to Allen Kessler’s 1,405,000. Kessler managed to chip up a bit and narrow the gap, but it wasn’t long before Kessler was all-in in a 3,000,000 pot.

Brian Rast button-raised to 90,000 before the flop and Allen Kessler called from the big blind.

The flop came AHeart Suit 5Heart Suit 3Heart Suit, Kessler checked, Rast bet 90,000, Kessler check-raised to 200,000, Rast three-bet to 500,000, Kessler four-bet all in for just over 1.4 million and Rast insta-called.

Rast turned over KHeart Suit 9Heart Suit for the nut flush while Kessler showed 5Club Suit 3Club Suit for bottom two pair. Kessler would need to catch a five or a three to win with a full house, or catch a running straight flush on the board to chop.

The turn and river were the 7Heart Suit and the 7Diamond Suit, and Allen Kessler was eliminated in 2nd place ($140,309). Brian Rast wins Event #15 capturing the gold bracelet and the $227,232 grand prize.