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Raj Mahal - Rajendra Patel is Champion!
After five full days of play, the 2007 Foxwoods Poker Classic came down to the final six this evening with Raj Patel going the distance and taking down his first WPT title. A newcomer to the poker world with only two years experience in the game, Raj defeated heads-up opponent Paul Matteo to take down $1,272,905.
Congratulations Raj, let's start by talking about this final table. You started the day as the big chip leader and your stack never got too low. Give us your thoughts on your opponents and the way you played.
Well I had the chips, and I knew that I could outplay them. I tried a few times but I lost. Then I got lucky with A-8. But my strategy was to get aggressive.
Let's talk about that hand in particular. It seemed like you were really confident getting all your chips in against Tony with just A-8. Did you just not give him credit for a big hand?
I gave him credit, but four or five times he raised my blind, so I thought he was just trying to do the same thing. I had A-8 suited, and I thought he might have something a little better like A-Q or A-J or something.
How did you feel when you saw him turn over two aces?
Oooh! I felt bad about that! But I don't know, I had a gut feeling that something was going to happen.
How did you feel when you saw the two eights on the flop?
Oh, when I saw 8-8 I knew the tournament was mine.
It seemed like you and Paul got along really well, how did you feel about going up against him in the heads-up match?
Paul and I talked yesterday, and he told me that he was going to take second and I was going to take first, and that's actually what ended up happening.
I heard you've only been playing poker for a few years. Tell us about how you got into the game and how you got your chops.
Well I used to come to the casino to gamble, but I got bored. So I was watching TV one time, and I saw the WPT, and I didn't know what they were playing. So I watched a couple more times, and then I saw the money. I see like four million or five million, and I knew I had to get into it. So I phoned my friend who plays a lot and got him to show me what hands beat which and what the high hands were.
How long ago was this?
About two years ago. So I came to Foxwoods and played some small ones. And I made some friends and they taught me a bit more.
Do you play cash games as well as tournaments?
Yeah, I play $10/$25 No-Limit and I just started playing Stud.
Is this your first $10,000 event?
No, it's my third. I played Foxwoods last year, and I played Borgata; I finished 63rd there.
Now that you've won a WPT can we expect to see you on the tour more often?
Yes definitely. I'll play all the WPT's on the east coast for sure.
Thanks Raj and congratulations on the win.
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Despite the fact that tonight's final table was defined by a whole lot of limping, calling, checking and folding, the crowd here at Foxwoods was more animated than most. With a few home-town heroes outlasting the pros to make it to the final table, everyone in the audience had someone to pull for. Congratulations to Raj Patel and we hope to see more of him in WPT events to come.
For a full report of every single hand played at the final table tonight, check out our Live Updates Page.