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Houston's Mahmood wins WSOP Heads-Up title, $625,674

22 Jun 2010

Ayaz Mahmood defeated Ernst Schmejkal in final match of the $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em championship at the World Series of Poker on Monday to win $625,674.

Mahmood is a 38-year-old former furniture retailer-turned poker pro now living in the Houston suburb of Sugarland, Texas. He became the first Bangladesh-born WSOP gold bracelet winner in the 41-year history of the WSOP.

"I am a pot-limit Omaha player," said Mahmood. "This is the first time I have participated in the $10,000 Heads-Up championship. It seemed I was very successful the first few rounds. All of the rounds are full of very tough players. I just played my game and was very successful. I'm very, very happy to beat such a very tough field."

Mahmood won nine straight heads-up matches spread out over four days and nights to achieve his gold bracelet victory. The final match with Germany's Schmejkal — a best two-out-of-three format — proved to be the most grueling test. The first match in the heads-up finale lasted a mind-numbing 6 hours and 20 minutes, making it the third-longest heads-up finale in WSOP history. The duel went so long that players agreed to resume play (Match 2) on an unscheduled fourth day.

"(Schmejkal) is a very tough player," said Mahmood. "It took me 11 hours to finish him off. Yesterday, it took us almost 7 hours and then we went another almost five hours here. It's very tough, but I am very happy with how things went."

Mahmood finally dispatched Schmejkal for good when his queen-10 improved to a Broadway straight when he hit runner-runner cards to come from behind against Schmejkal's paired ace.

Ayaz Mahmood is the first Bangladesh-born WSOP bracelet winner.

Ayaz Mahmood is the first Bangladesh-born WSOP bracelet winner. (photo by GreasieWheels)

"I put him on maybe a king-ten; I had a queen-ten," said Mahmood. "There was a 99 percent chance he would lay down his hand. And even if he did not, he would have to beat me another time because we still had one more match to go. So, that's how I decided to take my chances. I got lucky with runner-runner, but I still had one more match to go, so I was comfortable with the hand."

Schmejkal collected a nice consolation prize of $386,900 as the runner-up.

The tournament sold out at 256 entries, and the top 32 finishers collected prize money. Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Alexander Kravchenko, David Williams, Scott Clements, and Antonio "the Magician" Esfandiari.

Schmejkal, who is originally from Gottingen, Germany and now lives in London, studied economics in college before taking up poker full-time.

The two semi-finalists who did not advance to the final were Jason Somerville, from Stony Brook, N.Y., and Alexander Kostritsyn, from Moscow, Russia. Both players won $219,969. Vanessa Rousso, Faraz Jaka, Ludovic Lacay, and Thang Pham, were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

The top 32 finishers collected prize money. Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Alexander Kravchenko, David Williams, Scott Clements, and Antonio "the Magician" Esfandiari.

Modified from notes provided by Nolan Dalla for www.wsop.com
 
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