. This is the first World Series title for Earle, who also holds a title from the Poker Hall of Fame and has cashed in several other major tournaments. A family practitioner in minor emergency, Earle has been a poker player for 15 years. "I started right at the top in a no-limit game in Houston," he said.
. Earle came to the final table as a chip underdog. But after doubling through twice against Tom McEvoy and then eliminating O'Neil Longson to win a $235,000 pot, Earle had most of the chips on the table and dispatched his two remaining opponents in short order. In the final hand, runner-up Ron Graham was all in before the flop with A-9-4-2. Earle held A-J-10-8. When the last card was dealt, the board showed K-J-2-K-7, giving Earle top two pair to win the pot and his first World Series title.
. Soon after the tournament was over, Earle took the microphone from Jack McClelland and announced, "I'd like to dedicate my win to my pal who was one day a lion but for eternity is a champion -- Jack Straus." It was a heartfelt -- and fitting -- tribute to the legendary 1982 World Champion of Poker. Earle also paid tribute to his fellow finalists in the pot-limit Omaha competition. "It's one of the greatest pleasures I've had in poker to play at the final table tonight," he said. "I was in the presence of some great players."
. For his second-place finish in the pot-limit Omaha event, Ron Graham of Las Vegas received $71,700. A 44-year-old professional player, Graham has cashed in a number of major poker competitions. "I've been playing poker a long time, and it's been a struggle," he commented.
. Tom McEvoy, the 1983 World Champion of Poker, finished in third place for $38,850. A 50-year-old professional player from Las Vegas, McEvoy has to his credit four World Series of Poker titles, plus numerous titles from other major competitions. His latest award brings McEvoy's total WSP earnings to $958,245, and he currently ranks No. 12 on the roster of all-time World Series money winners.
. Finishing in fourth place for $23,303 was 1994 defending pot-limit Omaha champion O'Neil Longson of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was knocked out of the tournament when he reraised before the flop with A-K-8-7 and Earle, who held A-A-3-2, kicked it up again. Longson called all in. On fourth street, the board showed 8-6-5-7, giving Longson two pair to take the lead. But a second five fell on the river, bringing Earle a higher two pair and the monster $235,000 pot.
. Mansour Matloubi, the 1990 World Champion of Poker, finished eighth in the pot-limit Omaha event and pocketed $7,170. With total World Series earnings of $1,148,310, Matloubi ranks No. 7 on the list of all-time WSP money winners.