Ramdin Wins $1.3 Million at Foxwoods Poker Classic
Having the most tournament experience at the final table of the April 9th Foxwoods Poker Classic No Limit Hold'Em Championship gave 38-year old Victor Ramdin enough of an edge to grab the title and $1.3 million prize. Ramdin had two top-25 finishes in 2005, placing 24th at the Bellagio World Poker Tour (WPT) World Poker Championships III and 23rd at the Commerce Casino L.A. Poker Classic, but outlasting 430 entrants at Foxwoods is the highlight of his self proclaimed semi-professional career.
It took Ramdin 19 heads-up hands against 21-year old Internet guru Alex Jacobs to finally find a winning hand. When the final river card hit the felt and Ramdin knew his A-J had won against Jacob's K-J, the Bronx, NY resident raised his hands in triumph and embraced the table.
"Oh my God I was stunned," a smiling Ramdin said about winning. "I was so focused on not seeing a King fall that it took me a minute to realize I'd won. When it hit me, all I could do was lay on the table and celebrate."
Ramdin donates most of his winnings to charity and this huge prize purse will be no exception. His donation to Guyana Watch will sponsor open-heart surgeries for five needy children in his native Guyana.
"I'm so happy for the children," Ramdin said. "The charity is really important to me and I've never had a chance to help out this much."
Final table play took more than six hours to complete as the six finalists from the four-day event squared off in the Grand Pequot Ballroom. The field was quickly narrowed to four as the table lost short-stacked participants Bruce Cater and John Russell in 18 hands. Another player didn't fall for 80 more hands.
Ed Jordan, who was the chip leader going into the final day, took control early, using his large chip stack to bully around the other players and build up a sizeable lead. In the early levels, both Ramdin and Jacobs were short stacked.
Then things changed.
Jacobs took a stand after Russell was knocked out, going all-in for the first time. He used this move dozens of times from that point on, scaring away raisers and picking up enough blinds and antes to make the final two.
His strategy was so effective, Jacobs didn't show down a hand until the 100th hand of play. When he finally showed his hole cards, he had top two pair, filled up on the turn, and knocked Jordan from the game.
Jordan placed third and received $417,520 for his effort.
The fourth place finisher was Larry Klur, a 64-year old crowd favorite who was playing in his second $10,000 tournament. Recently married, Klur plays mostly in his native Florida, but said after the tournament that this was his last tournament now that he has a wife on which to focus his attention. She was out of town for the weekend so Klur decided to give the major poker tournament a try.
Fourth place netted Klur $292,264.
When the tournament came down to the final two, the tension in the Grand Ballroom was thick. Ramdin and Jacobs both picked each other as the person they'd least like to play heads up. Neither player got their wish.
Jacobs continued his pressure tactics, moving all-in on nearly every hand, stealing the blinds and antes and building his chip lead.
After facing a dozen all-in moves from Jacobs, Ramdin found a hand to play when he looked down and saw pocket nines. He moved all-in and Jacobs quickly called with A-K suited. The race was on.
When the flop came 9-2-4, the crowd erupted and Ramdin knew he had doubled up through his opponent. The first signs of concern showed on Jacobs face after he lost that hand, but the youngster rebounded quickly after a few shouts of encouragement from supporters in the crowd.
Jacobs chose to go all-in two hands after losing the race to Ramdin. It proved to be the final hand of his amazing run, but after the tournament, WPT commentator Mike Sexton said he's sure the poker world will see Jacobs again.
Jacobs, an Internet phenom, majors in math and economics at Yale University and is just months from graduating. He is well known in the online world and had he won, he would have been the youngest WPT champion ever. He was just one flop away.
"What a player that kid is," Ramdin said. "I saw early in the tournament that he was going to be dangerous and man was I right."
Clearly disappointed at the result, Jacobs lingered around the final table for a few moments before finding his girlfriend and giving her a big hug. She told him how amazing he had played and for the first time all day, the serious and calculating young player cracked a smile. He is now $655,506 richer.
"I tried to play my best game," Jacobs told Sexton. "It didn't work out in the end, but second place is still pretty good."
During the money presentation just before heads-up play began, WPT announcer Linda Johnson asked Ramdin if this would be his biggest win. He quickly responded yes, and then changed his mind, telling Johnson his biggest win was when he met his wife.
After the tournament Sexton told Ramdin his wife proved to be his lucky charm. He smiled and agreed; hugging his wife and telling her he had finally done it. She nodded her approval and never stopped smiling at her husband.
Next up for Ramdin is the WPT World Championships on April 18th at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In addition to his winnings, Ramdin gets an automatic $25,000 a fee entry at the Bellagio main event for a chance at over $2 million in first place money.