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James Gorham Wins $1.5K No-Limit Hold'em Bracelet

2006 WSOP Crowns Another First Time Champ

On the eve of the $10,000 Main Event, nine players gathered for the $1,500 no-limit hold'em final table. While tomorrow's tournament boasts a field of 8,000 entrants, today's participants were survivors of 2,803 starting field.

The chip counts coming into final table action were as follows:
1. Osman Kibar - $796,000 (Seat 6)
2. Nick Ronyecz - $789,000 (Seat 4)
3. James Gorham - $717,000 (Seat 1)
4. Peter Dalhuijsen - $477,000 (Seat 9)
5. Miff Fagerlie - $367,000 (Seat 8)
6. Age Spets - $316,000 (Seat 3)
7. George Christian - $262,000 (Seat 2)
8. Jason Strasser - $254,000 (Seat 7)
9. Mohammad Ilyas - $252,000 (Seat 5)

With a gold WSOP bracelet and $765,226 first place prize on the line, the first cards hit the air at 2:27 p.m. PDT and featured $8,000 - $16,000 blinds and $2,000 antes.

The first elimination of the final table came a mere seven minutes after the start time. Peter Dalhuijsen moved over the top of a Osman Kibar raise on a AdiamondQheartJdiamond9heart board and Kibar called. Dalhuijsen's Aspade Qclub gave him top two pair, but Kibar had him dominated with the Jclub Jspade flopped set. No help arrived with the 10diamond river and Dalhuijsen bowed out of action in ninth place ($72,313).

The win put Kibar well over the million dollar chip mark. While Jason Strasser did not have the same kind of stack as Kibar, he did have enough to make George Christian the next elimination.

Strasser, on the button, called an all in raise by Christian before the flop. A classic race situation developed as Christian showed 4club 4diamond and Strasser flipped over Adiamond Qheart. A spiked queen on the river gave Strasser the win and Christian an eighth place finish ($89,531).

The bouncer soon became the bounced when Strasser's pocket jacks ran into the pocket aces of James Gorham. The Aclub7heart2spade flop all but ended any hope for Strasser and he ended the day as the seventh place finisher ($108,661).

The day's second race situation featured Miff Fagerlie's 9heart 9spade versus Mohammad Ilyas' Aclub Jspade. All in before the flop, Fagerlie exited tournament play in sixth place ($128,174) after the Adiamond6spade3heart2heart2spade board paired Ilyas' ace.

The next elimination featured a battle of three pocket pairs. After an Age Spets all in raise, and a 9club6diamond5club flop, Nick Ronyecz also pushed all in and Kibar called. Spets flipped over Kdiamond Kspade, Kibar showed Qheart Qspade and Ronyecz turned over Jclub Jspade. Spets' kings held, tripling him up, and Kibar's queens knocked Ronyecz to the rail in fifth place ($153,044).

Age Spets lost the majority of his chips to an Ilyas' ace-high straight; he then pushed the rest of his stack in with the Kclub Kdiamond and appeared to be in good shape to double up when Kibar called with the 10spade 9club. The 9diamond4heart4diamond2club board gave Spets a dominant two pair, but a nine spiked on the river, and Kibar eliminated Spets in fourth place ($$178,296) with a full house.

Twelve minutes after the players returned from the dinner break, the field narrowed down to the final two. With a series of raises between them, Ilyas pushed all in on Gorham preflop. Gorham's Qdiamond Qheart gave him the lead over Ilyas' Aspade Jheart. The Kspade10club9diamond6heart3heart board sealed Ilyas' fate and finished the tournament in third place ($228,800).

The pot loaded Gorham with nearly $3,000,000 in chips, putting him well ahead of Kibar's $1,220,000.

After six hands that failed to go beyond the flop, Kibar fired a $90,000 bet and Gorham called. A 10spade6heart6spade flop drew a $150,000 bet out of Kibar, and he moved all in on the 7heart turn. Gorham immediately made the call. Kibar flipped over pocket kings for two pair, but Gorham trumped him with the 7diamond 6diamond, giving him a full house. The Qheart that fell on the river proved to be the last card of the $1,500 no-limit hold'em event.

Kibar's second place finish was good for a $420,870 payday.

Gorham, the San Diego native with $27,063 in life time winnings, earned $765,226 dollars and took home his first WSOP bracelet.

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