Volume 31 • Number 6 • April 29, 2000
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2000 Champion


Event #6 Results
OMAHA (Pot Limit)
$1,500 Buy-in
$1,500 in chips
1. Johnny Chan$178,800
2. Josh Arieh89,400
3. Howard Greenspan44,700
4. Willie Tann26,820
5. Frederic Wrang20,115
6. Jack Duncan15,645
7. Jim Bechtel11,175
8. Greg Hopkins8,940
9. Jim Lester7,155
10. Chris Bjorin5,365
11. Chau Giang5,365
12. O'Neil Longson5,365
13. Jon Brody4,915
14. Roger Easterday4,915
15. Chris Truby4,915
16. Paul Sheer4,470
17. Erik Seidel4,470
18. Roy Thung4,470

Total Prize Pool: $448,500
Number of Entrants: 156 (143 Rebuys)

Entries to Date: 1,367
Prize Money to Date: $2,394,000


By Mike Paulle

In the history of poker there are only a very few players who seem to be so far into the game that they are looking out at the rest of us from the inside of it. How do you beat those players? You usually don't.

There were 156 entrants and 143 rebuys in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha for a total prize pool of $448,500. 2 tables were paid, a total of 18 players.

Talk about your all-star cast! The player who finished one off the Final Table, Chris Bjorin, has 22 cashes in the WSOP and a bracelet. Chau Giang in 11th has two bracelets and O'Neil Longson in 12th has one. So how tough was THIS final nine lineup?

THE FINAL TABLE 49 mins left of 80. The blinds are $800/$1,500

PlayerHometownChip Count
Seat 1 Greg HopkinsRedondo Beach CA$68,600
Seat 2 Frederic WrangStockholm, Sweden$27,700
Seat 3 Willie TannBovingdon UK$51,400
Seat 4 Jim LesterCincinnati OH$35,100
Seat 5 Jack DuncanLas Vegas NV$9,600
Seat 6 Johnny ChanLas Vegas NV$54,400
Seat 7 Josh AriehAtlanta GA$44,500
Seat 8 Howard GreenspanMinneapolis MN$57,700
Seat 9 Jim BechtelGilbert AZ$100,100
Pot Limit Omaha is a game where you flop the nuts and pray. Even heads up, with only one other player in the hand, your made hand probably is only a slight favorite against a nut draw held by your opponent. Jim Lester won his first all-in when his two Aces found another on the board. The second all-in Lester wasn't so lucky. Again he flopped the best hand with his pocket Kings. Jim had trip Kings on the flop, but this time the draw against him got there. Howard Greenspan had two Aces with the A 10 of Diamonds and got a third diamond on the turn to give Lester 9th place.

In one of the biggest hands of his poker life, Greg Hopkins got a surprise. Hopkins has won everywhere he's played but this was his first WSOP cash. Starting 2nd in chips, Greg didn't have to gamble at such low blind levels but he chose to and paid for it. When Howard Greenspan raised on the button, Hopkins reraised from the big blind with A A K T. Greenspan had plenty of chips and flat called with Q J 9 8. The flop came Q 10 9. Hopkins didn't want to give Greenspan a free card with such a dangerous flop for two Aces. Greg bet $32,000. Howard came over the top all-in. Hopkins felt the need to call when he could have been drawing dead to a K J. The surprise to Hopkins was that Greenspan would call with only two pair. Greenspan rivered a straight with the Jack as the key card Hopkins didn't have. Greg's once formidable stack was down to $600. Raising all-in later with $7,000 under the gun with the A 9 of Spades, Hopkins went out a disappointed 8th when Johnny Chan showed him Jacks.

Former World Champion Jim Bechtel couldn't catch a cold this afternoon. Repeatedly, Jim would take a shot at a pot only to have someone else flop a big hand on him. Infrequently could Bechtel even call a bet after raising before the flop. His chips in freefall from the outset, Bechtel took his last beating when he raised with two Kings and an Ace. Josh Arieh had two Queens and called. This time Bechtel flopped an overpair to the board. But Arieh had a flush draw and a backdoor straight draw with his high wrap. The board came perfect perfect for Arieh and sent a stunned Jim Bechtel straight out in 7th.

What are the odds of a player with $9,600 outlasting a former World Champ with $100,100. Not good, probably. But that's what happened. 'Cactus' Jack Duncan was as prickly as his name. No one could get near him. Either he'd bet and on one would call or he'd flop a monster all-in and stay alive. Finally all-in once again, in the big blind with Aces of course, Johnny Chan had the courage to call Jack and Chan rivered the nut flush to play Mac Beth to Duncan in 6th.

Another player with such a tight table image no one wanted to call him was Frederic Wrang. The poor guy could get no action on his bets. But since he was so disciplined a player he wouldn't bluff enough to get any chips. It took another player having Aces to get Wrang all-in. Frederic had Aces, to no one's surprise. Amazingly, Wrang's 7 was a good kicker on the turn with his Aces but Arieh caught a trey on the river for a wheel. Almost any other card would have given them a split pot at least. Wrang moved up to 5th on a strong performance.

With four players left, a deal was agreed to that gave Howard Greenspan a slight premium over the other three. $10,000 was given to the dealers, $13,000 and change would go to 1st and $10,000 to second. The play had been tight until the deal. Now with most of the money gone, it got real loose. Willie Tann was the first to gamble. Tann went all-in with flopped Aces. Johnny Chan had the nut flush draw that got there on the river.

Now it was Howard Greenspan's turn to have his Aces rivered. Josh Arieh needed perfect perfect for his straight with a 10 8. That's what came and we were two.

Head up The Kid (Josh Arieh is 25) and the Champ (Johnny Chan won his first World Championship when Josh was 12) were dead even in chips. Josh took an early 3-1 lead when Chan's flopped set got crushed on the river. But as someone wisely sat on the rail, the only player that can beat Johnny Chan is Johnny Chan.

With five bracelets and the all-time lead in money winnings at the WSOP with $2.3 million, what motivates Johnny Chan to win? "I have five bracelets and six kids," Johnny said. "I'm serious!" He was serious. With Arieh smelling blood, Chan turned the tables on him. "I switched gears. He's a good tight player." Chan started "chopping him up." The last hand was a formality as Arieh went all-in with only $12,000 more than his big blind. Johnny had completely taken the play away from the kid with the sixth sense that only a few possess, a sixth sense that got Johnny Chan his sixth bracelet.

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