Jason Lester, winner of the Pot Limit Hold'em Event
With all the young guns, rookies, and overnight sensations winning bracelets at the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP), it can be easy to forget about the old standbys. Tonight, Jason Lester, a Miami-based poker professional who finished fourth in the 2003 WSOP Main Event and a man in whose image the phrase "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" may well have been coined, finally won his first WSOP bracelet, defeating Alan P. Sass in heads-up play to take the $5,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event.
On the final hand, Sass pushed all-in on a flop of 9-3-2 with 6-4 for a gutshot straight draw, and Lester called with 9-7 for top pair. The board finished out Q-K, sealing Lester's victory and netting him a cool $550,746. I caught up with the winner as he carried an enormous cardboard box filled with money into the night to celebrate.
How does it feel to finally win a bracelet?
Fantastic. It's the greatest feeling ever and a big relief too. I've been at seven or eight final tables, including the Main Event, and it's the first time I've ever actually won a tournament.
What do you think came through for you this time?
You know what? Honestly, I know it sounds cliché, but experience. It really helped. I was calm, you know, I took my time, and nothing threw me for a loop, and I just used all of my experience from all these years.
Was there a turning point at the final table?
Well certainly when I hit that seven. [laughs] That's what I should have said - a lot of experience, and that one seven.
I was all in; I had two sevens against A-J. We were all-in before the flop. He flopped a Jack, and then a seven came on the turn to save me, so…
What happened on the final hand?
Final hand? You know, listen - Alan made a play that normally would work most of the time; he made a read that I didn't have much and tried to bully me off the pot, and I happened to have the top pair and I decided to call. Even then, he had an out that didn't come, and that was that.
How do you feel Alan played overall?
I think he's tough. I think he thinks very well, but I think he lacks experience. I mean he's twenty-three years old, so, you know. I think over the years he's going to do fine.
One final question: Where are you going to celebrate?
[laughs] You know what? I'm going to have a couple drinks and take it easy. Right now I'm going to the Bellagio, and after that, the night is mine.
Thanks, Jason, and congratulations.