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WSOP -- Steve Billirakis Wins the Hammond Circuit Event

Billirakis Leads the Entire Way at the Final Table

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The World Series of Poker circuit stop at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino attracted 165 players for the $5,000 no-limit hold’em championship that began on Friday, Oct. 31. This created a total prize pool worth $788,250 and a first-place prize worth $208,885. The top 18 players got paid on the play down to the final table of nine that took place on Sunday, Nov. 2. Here is what the final table looked like when things began:

Steve BllirakisSeat 1: Thomas Koral -- 351,000
Seat 2: George Dietz -- 174,000
Seat 3: Gary Leibovitz -- 156,000
Seat 4: Steve Billirakis -- 754,000
Seat 5: Sameer Al-Dbhany -- 253,000
Seat 6: Ravi Raghavan -- 213,000
Seat 7: Jason DeWitt -- 651,000
Seat 8: Dustin Woolf -- 419,000
Seat 9: Kyle Schertz - 325,000

Steve Billirakis took over the tournament during the last pot on day 1, when he called all in holding Q-10 on a 7-3-2-10-6 board to double up to 295,600 and take the chip lead. From that point forward he never lost the chip lead during the course of the tournament and cruised into the final table holding 754,000.

George Dietz doubled up through Dustin Woolf on the first hand at the final table; and Woolf became the first players to hit the rail in ninth place ($21,677) 20 minutes later. It then took almost two hours for the next player to fall when Jason DeWitt busted in eighth place ($25,618). The next three eliminations fell quickly thereafter as Ravi Raghavan (seventh -- $31,530), Sameer Al-Dbhany (sixth -- $39,413), and George Dietz (fifth -- $49,266) fell in succession.

Four-handed action represented another lethargic lull at the final table, and it took almost three hours for Kyle Schertz to fall in fourth place ($63,060). It took just five minutes after that for Billirakis to eliminate Gary Leibovitz in third place ($80,796). Billirakis made an ace-high flush to dominate the pocket sixes that Leibovitz had decided to pin his tournament hopes on. This pot took Billirakis past the 2-million mark. Here were the chip counts at the start of heads-up play:

Steve Billirakis: 2,085,000
Thomas Koral: 1,215,000

The heads-up match lasted just under a half hour. Koral struck the first blow, but Billirakis held too strong of a lead for him to overcome. On the final hand Koral raised to 100,000 preflop from the button and Billirakis made the all-in call. Their cards:

Billirakis: A 8
Koral: 9 9

Board: J 8 4 Q 9

Koral was eliminated in second place ($126,120) and Billirakis won $208,885 in prize money for his first-place finish. He also took home a WSOP circuit championship ring and a seat in the 2009 WSOP main event. Billirakis eliminated three of his opponents at the final table, but much more impressive was the feat he accomplished in retaining the chip lead all the way from the end of day 1 to the final hand of the tournament. Billirakis also set a record, becoming the youngest WSOP circuit event winner in history.

The next WSOP circuit event will take place at Harvey's Lake Tahoe from Nov. 7-17. The $5,000 no-limit hold'em championship is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 14 - Sunday, Nov. 16.