. This is the third World Series title for Appleman, who also has claimed titles from several other major poker tournaments. A professional competitor since 1973, Appleman previously worked as the coordinator of an alcohol treatment program in Harlem. He has been playing poker since childhood.
. "I'd like to make two comments," Appleman said. "First, I think Humberto is a first-class player and person. Also, I've had a lot of frustrations over the last couple of years. I got close but couldn't win. You don't get many opportunities to win something like this, and it's very gratifying. Aside from the money, I have a sense of satisfaction and completion."
. Appleman came to the final table with a substantial chip lead, but by the time heads-up play began, runner-up Humberto Brenes had the advantage by 3-to-2. Over the next hour, the two men traded chips back and forth, then Appleman seized a solid lead when he caught a nine on the river to make a straight, snapping off Brenes' two pair and taking down a pot worth $280,000. A few hands later, it was all over when Brenes raised before the flop with K-10 and Appleman, who held Q-9, called. The flop came 10-9-3, giving Brenes the lead with top pair, and when a five fell on the turn, he went all in. Appleman called, and again the river brought him a nine, giving him trips to win the pot and his third WSP title.
. "I didn't win this one, but I'm going to win the big one," stated Brenes, who received $134,550 for placing second in the limit Hold'em event. A 44-year-old recreational poker player from Miami Lakes, Florida, Brenes has three WSP titles to his credit, as well as several titles from other major competitions, including the Hall of Fame Poker Classic and the Diamond Jim Brady tournament. He has been playing poker since childhood and is the owner of a TV station and a coffee factory in Costa Rica.
. Winning third place and taking home $70,200 was Tom McCormick of Fargo, North Dakota. A 45-year-old engineer and the president of Northern Improvement Company, McCormick has previously cashed in several other major competitions, including the Queens Poker Classic, Foxwoods World Poker Finals, and the Gold Coast Open. He has been playing poker for 15 years.
. McCormick was eliminated from the Hold'em tournament when he raised before the flop with A-6 and was called by Brenes, who held A-9. The flop came 6-5-3, and when an ace fell on the turn, McCormick went all in with top two pair. Brenes called, and the river brought him a nine to win the pot with a higher two pair.
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