1996 World Series of Poker

Texas Hold'em (Limit)

$5,000 Buy-in
Entries: 118
Total Prize Money: $590,000

1995 Champion: Mickey Appleman

1996 Champion: Hieu "Tony" Ma

The Winners

1. Hieu "Tony" Ma $236,000
El Monte, CA
2. John Bonetti $135,700
Houston, TX
3. Peter Vilandos $70,800
Houston, TX
4. Johnny Chan $41,300
Las Vegas, NV
5. Phongtytep "Tab" Thiptinakon $32,450
Downey, CA
6. Trai "Danny" Dang $26,550
Los Angeles, CA
7. Steve Kopp $20,650
Las Vegas, NV
8. T.J. Cloutier $14,750
Dallas, TX
9. Dick Davis $11,800
Radford, VA

The Showdown

Binion's Horseshoe, May 12, 1996 -- Hieu Tony Ma, a 40-year-old professional poker player from South El Monte, California, topped a record field of 118 entrants last night to win the 22nd event of the 27th annual World Series of Poker at Binions Horseshoe Hotel and Casino. For his first-place finish in the $5,000 buy-in limit Texas Holdem competition, Ma was awarded $236,000 and a custom-designed 14-karat gold bracelet to commemorate his victory.

"I'm so happy to win a World Series event here at the Horseshoe", Ma said. "At the final table, I felt confident that I could win this tournament." This is the third in-the-money finish at the World Series for Ma, who holds two titles from the California State Poker Championship tournament and has cashed in several other major competitions. He came to the United States from his native Vietnam in 1975 and has been playing poker seriously for just four years.

Placing second in the $5,000 buy-in limit Holdem event and winning $135,700 was John Bonetti of Houston, Texas. A 67-year-old retiree from the property management business, Bonetti has to his credit three World Series of Poker titles, as well as numerous titles from other major competitions, and currently ranks 17th on the World Series roster of all-time money winners. He began playing poker on a serious level when he moved from New York to Texas 18 years ago.

Peter Vilandos, a 55-year-old recreational poker player from Houston, Texas, won third place and $70,800. The owner of three auto repair shops, Vilandos holds one title from the World Series of Poker and several titles from other major tournaments. He began playing poker 36 years ago in his native Greece.

Finishing in fourth place for $41,300 was Johnny Chan, a two-time World Champion of Poker (1987, 88) and the only player to accumulate earnings of more than $2 million at the World Series of Poker. He ranks No. 1 on the tournament roster of all-time money winners.

The 1996 World Series of Poker continues at the Horseshoe through May 16. The $1,000 buy-in Womens Seven Card Stud event begins today at noon, followed by the Press Invitational Tournament at 6 p.m.

The $10,000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Texas Holdem competition is slated to begin at noon tomorrow and will run four consecutive days, ending on May 16 and concluding the 1996 World Series of Poker. More than 270 players are expected to compete in the championship event, including reigning World Champion Dan Harrington, and $1 million is guaranteed to the winner.

More than 4,000 entrants -- representing at least 20 countries -- are expected to participate in this years World Series, and the total money distributed is anticipated to be in excess of $11 million.

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Page last modified: 5-12-96