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2003 World Series Of Poker
Wed-Thu April. 16-17, 2003
Event #2
Limit Texas Hold'em
$2,000 BUY-IN $2000 in chips

Players: 422
Prize Pool: $784,920

1. Mohamed Ihrahim Long Beach, CA $290,420

2. Jon Brody Davie, FL 149,140
3. Todd Ostrow Las Vegas, NV 74,560
4. Adam Schwartz Canada 47,100
5. Jay Helfert Venice, CA 35,320
6. Farzad Bonyadi Aliso Viejo, CA 27,480
7. Danny Qutami S. San Francisco, CA 19,620
8. Richard Brendel Las Vegas, NV 15,700
9. Joseph Cordi Indian Wells, CA 12,660
10. Tuan Nguyen Richmond, CA 9,420
11. Ralph Grantham Central City, CO 9,420
12. Don Barton Pahrump, NV 9,420
13. Juha Helppi Finland 7,840
14. Raymond Yee Sacramento, CA 7,840
15. Dat Tran El Monte, CA 7,840
16. Perry Shenkman Las Vegas, NV 6,280
17. Robert Drew MacGregor Calgary, Alberta 6,280
18. Yuegi (Rich) Zhu Rowland Hts., CA 6,280
19. James Allen Glendale, CA 4,700
20. Warren Karp Lake Forest, CA 4,700
21. Frank Giammarinaro San Marcos, CA 4,700
22. Teresa McMillan Las Vegas, NV 4,700
23. Nhut Tran Scottsdale, AZ 4,700
24. Phi Nguyen Santa Ana, CA 4,700
25. Brian Cunningham Sunnyvale, CA 4,700
26. Kathy Liebert Las Vegas, NV 4,700
27. Russell Hendricks Redlands, CA 4,700

Mohamed Ihrahim, Professional Poker Player from
Long Beach, CA Wins $2,000 Limit Hold'em Event
at 2003 World Series of Poker

I'm going to show you how to win this tournament the hardest way possible,"

-- Mohamed Ihrahim (the newest World Series of Poker champion to a friend,
when down to just a couple of chips on the first day)

Egyptian-born Mohamed Ihrahim, a professional poker player now living Long Beach, California won the $2,000 buy-in Limit Texas Hold'em event at the 2003 World Series of Poker, which was held at Binion's Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas. Ihrahim, outlasted an extremely competitive field of 422 players to capture his first-ever World Series of Poker gold bracelet. He also collected a colossal stack of cash piled up high on the final table, amounting to $290,420. Not bad for two days of work.

But this one didn't come easy. "Early in the tournament I was down to just two chips ($200) once, and four chips ($400) a couple of times," explained a thrilled, but obviously exhausted Ihrahim following the 9-hour marathon finale. "A lot of players usually give up in that spot when they get really down low on chips. But I hung in there early on and clawed my way back. Then, I made the money, and ended up making it to the final table. Finally, look what happened. I'm sitting here with a gold bracelet."

The key early hand came for Ihrahim when he was down perilously low on chips at the second level, and made a flush draw on the river against an opponent's pocket nines. That critical pot lit a fuse which catapulted Ihrahim into a late first-day chip lead -- which he took into the final table on day two. Ihrahim arrived at the final table with a 9 to 5 chip advantage over his closest competitor.

The final table provided an interesting mix of poker personalities and backgrounds: The finalists ranged from experienced poker professinals like Mohamed Ihrahim and Farzad Bontadi; to two casino dealers -- Todd Ostrow and Tuan Nguyen; two businessmen -- Joseph Cordi and Jay Helfert (a former billiards pro); a consultant -- Adam Scwartz; an equity trader -- Jon Brody; and finally, a gambler -- Richard Brendel.

At no point during the final table -- which lasted from 2 in the afternoon until close to midnight -- was Ihrahim in serious danger of getting busted. However, there were many dramatic moments for the packed gallery in attendance and a live feed broadcast over the Internet, including one of the most phenomenal up and down swings in recent poker history.

This was Todd Ostrow's first time to ever play in an event at the World Series of Poker. Incredibly, with six players remaining, Ostrow was down to just two chips ($2,000) -- an almost insignificant number of chips given Ihrahim's massive stack (over $200,000 at the time). It looked as if Ostrow would be the next player to hit the rail. Amazingly, Ostrow then went on an astounding roll which lasted nearly three full hours. He went from $2,000 in chips to around quarter of a million at one point (nearly a third of the total chips in play!). But the rush finally ended and Ostrow could not maintain his momentum. When the action became three-handed (versus Ihrahim and Jon Brody), Ostrow was gradually worn down -- despite surviving two all-ins and making another slight comeback -- and ended up departing in third place, good for $74,560.

That left Ihrahim heads-up with a 5 to 1 chip advantage against Jon Brody, an experienced tournament player who also "gambles" full time as a stock trader in Florida. Brody made a move on Ihrahim during one stage and drew to within 3 to 1 in chips. But in the end -- Ihrahim prevailed in the duel by virtue of a lethal combination of forces at any poker table… aggressive "attack" mode, and a favorable rush of devastating cards which pummeled the opposing stack to the felt -- one chip at a time.

The final hand came when Brody was dealt A-Q versus Ihrahim's 9-9. The flop came 3- K - 10, with two clubs. Ihrahim still had the lead, but Bordy had outs. The turned was the 4 of clubs. That put three clubs on board and Brody held the ace of clubs -- potentially good for the nut flush if he could catch another club. Brody could also catch either an ace or a queen to make a higher pair. The crowd rose to it's feet. The dealer flipped over a card. It was a harmless 10 -- which amputated Brody from the final table in second place with $149,140 and jettisoned Ihrahim into part of World Series history.

"He definitely has more final table experience," explained Brody afterwards. "I'm more of a cash-game player. The fact of the matter is -- I lost to a very good opponent. Fortunately, there are also 27 more events (at this year's World Series)," a clear indication that Brody took the loss in stride and expects to do very well at this year's championship.

Ihrahim is married, with five children. He has won several other major events on the tournament trail over the last 16 years, when he first turned pro. However, "nothing is close to the prestige and prize money of the World Series of Poker," he said. Ihrahim was cheered on by many friends, family, and well-wishers in the crowd. When asked what he plans to do aside from poker, he truly seemed to have his priorities straight. "I want to spend more time with my kids and my family," he said.

"I started playing poker at the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles in 1987," Ihrahim said. "From the first time I played poker, I really enjoyed it. The challenge of it is really that thing that motivates me the most to become a better player. That -- and the money."

When it comes to playing poker tournaments -- Ihrahim is a firm believer in both mental and physical preparation. "Many players think that they can start preparing for the World Series of Poker a few weeks earlier, and some don't even bother to prepare," explained Ihrahim. "But I believe in getting yourself ready three to four months in advance. This year, I quit smoking, and stopped my leaks one at a time. Now, I feel much better and it all paid off for me."

According to Ihrahim, we can expect to see more success from him at this year's World Series. In fact, if at least one prediction comes true -- the next world poker champion may already be a foregone conclusion.

"My good friend Billy Gazes (another top Los Angeles area-based pro) told me he thinks I'm going to win a title at the World Series this year. That gave me a lot of encouragement -- especially coming from Billy."

When it comes to joining the elite class of poker players with World Series of Poker gold bracelets, Mohamed Ihrahim, is a most deserving champion. He has paid his dues for many years playing in tournaments and cash games. He prepared himself mentally and physically. And, he fought and triumphed in an event which has traditionally been one of the toughest to win.

-- by Nolan Dalla

2003 World Series of Poker

Event 1 Event 2 Event 3 Event 4
Event 5 Event 6 Event 7 Event 8
Event 9 Event 10 Event 11 Event 12
Event 13 Event 14 Event 15 Event 16
Event 17 Event 18 Event 19 Event 20
Event 21 Event 22 Event 23 Event 24
Event 25 Event 26 Event 27 Event 28
Event 29 Event 30 Event 31 Event 32
Event 33 Event 34 Event 35 Event 36
Event 37 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Day 4 Final Table    




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