Darus Suharto is an Indonesian-born accountant who now makes his home in Toronto, Canada. An unabashed amateur, Suharto satellited into the Main Event and rode the wave all the way to the final table and a guaranteed $900,670 score.
PokerListings.com talked to Suharto on the day after he clinched his seat at the final table.
So you made the final table of the Main Event, Darus. How are you feeling?
I'm feeling great. I really didn't expect myself to be here. I really didn't.
You won your seat to the Main Event through a satellite, correct?
You're like a modern-day Chris Moneymaker.
Pretty much! I'm an accountant, too; I have a day job.
Is it your first time at the World Series?
No, it's my second. I played in 2006; I was a donkey. I'm still a donkey. Hey, but the good thing is, I was a donkey in 2006 and I made the money! So it was good.
Is this the only event you played this year?
[Yes.] I played some smaller events at Caesars Palace, but I didn't do well. You know, that's all right; they were small events. I did well in the big one.
Can you take us through how the last day of the Main Event went for you?
I started with $4.5 million, so I was just a bit under the average. I started a bit rough; I was down to like $3.2 million and that's when I was playing marginal hands. I started to tighten up a little bit and things started to pick up.
I played really well - well, I shouldn't say I played really well - I caught some cards, but I maximized those good cards. If I had a big hand, someone would limp in and I knew the big blind was an aggressive player, so I just smooth-call and then if the big blind has anything marginal he's going to raise and I could come over the top.
It worked out really well. Before the dinner break I was up to $13 million and we were down to around 18 players. I was second in chips and it was good.
But then after the dinner break things got sour. I couldn't catch any cards and when I played something someone would play back at me. So it was tough and I got knocked down to about $7.2 million and I was in the bottom two in chip counts.
So I thought okay, I need to tighten up my game here. Soon enough I had kings. I think Joe Bishop had ace-queen on the button and he raised to $700,000. I looked down at kings and popped it to $1.7 million. Joe called - and knowing Joe and the way he plays, which is crazy, he could have any ace or any small pair - and I think the flop came queen and two babies, rainbow.
So I think I had $6 million behind and I had to think how much I was going to bet in order to give me fold equity but not show how strong my hand was. I bet $3.5 million and Joe started yelling, "This is it, boys! This is the moment! I'm all-in!"
I thought, oh my God. But I wasn't sure. He's crazy and he could have anything. So let me think about what he could have. Does he have a set? I don't think he's shoving with a set; he'd probably smooth-call. I decided he had to have ace-queen and I said, "You have ace-queen, right?"
So you know what, if my read is wrong, so be it, but I think I have the best hand. So I call and show kings and he flips ace-queen. It was a good read.
My buddy on the rail was just screaming, going crazy.
Do you have a lot of friends and family down here watching?
Not really, but I have a couple buddies in town.
So it was good. But even when I showed the kings and knew I was ahead I didn't want to say anything because anything could happen. A queen could show on the turn or an ace. So I just waited for it. I wasn't going to celebrate too early.
But my hand held up and that shot me up to $16 million or so.
Probably the turning point of the day.
Yeah, pretty much, because after that Joe was kind of tilted. He went all-in with ace-three against Chino's deuces - I'm not saying anything bad against Joe, but he was just giving away chips!
So toward the end of the night the bubble came into play. How important was it to survive that $300k pay jump and make it to the final table?
When it became 10-handed I think I was fourth or so in the chip lead. I was comfortable, so I said to my friends, "I'm not going crazy unless I have the goods."
There was one hand with Chino, I think I raised to $600,000 and he made it $1.7 million and I had the goods. Chino probably thought I was trying to steal, because the big blind was Kelly Kim, the short stack. So he thought I was trying to steal.
So I popped it to $5 million, saying, "If you've got the goods, I'm committed." But he folded it and I was up to $18 million and I was done after that. I just waited it out.
Do you feel like you have a good read on the rest of the table at this point?
Some of the people, yeah. Some of them I don't. Some of them are crazy. It's hard to put them on a hand.
How do you play on spending the next four months?
I have a job, so it will be business as usual. I'm taking vacation right now and my boss expected me to be back actually by today. But I think he'll be okay with it.
So you have a 9-5 job. How much poker do you get to play normally?
I normally play on the weekends only. Usually about 15 hours a week.
How did you get into the game?
I started about two years ago. I used to play poker at college but it was just for fun. But two years ago one of my friends started getting into it and that's how I started.
That was in 2005 and then in 2006 I got a seat.
Do you have any plans for the money you've won thus far?
Just to pay off my mortgage. Actually my poker objective was to pay off my mortgage. I was thinking when I got started that hopefully I could pay off my mortgage with my poker winnings. But now I have more than enough to pay off the mortgage.
You could get another place.
Hey, you bet!
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Suharto's poker objective was to pay off his mortgage and he's accomplished his mission. He'll be spending the next four months working the day job back home, but with $9,119,517 up for grabs come November, the Torontonian will have plenty of time to refine his poker objectives and figure out new ways to spend that cash.