Rast Blasts Way to WSOP Victory

11454 winner photo
Brian Rast

Poker pro Brian Rast beat Allen Kessler heads-up last night to win his first bracelet in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event.

It was a victory that was eight years in the making.

“I would have to say that I feel satisfied more than anything else,” he said.

“You get used to making deep runs and having near misses but there’s always a feeling of disappointment when you bust out 20th or something.”

Rast earned $227k for outlasting all 765 entrants in the tournament.

Despite being just 29 years old, Rast has been playing poker for eight years and has a wealth of experience in the online poker world. He now has nearly $1 million in live tournament earnings.

It’s been a long journey for Rast, who attended Stanford University but dropped out in 2003 when he realized his passion for playing cards.

Known more as a cash-game player, Rast has had numerous close calls in tournaments with a ninth-place finish in a WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha event and a seventh-place finish at the 2009 WPT Five Star World Poker Classic.

Rast had a huge rail at the final table with fellow poker pros Antonio Esfandiari and Dan Fleyshman as well as his entire family cheering him on.

“For me this isn’t life-changing money but it’s such a feeling of satisfaction for me to get over the hump and be the last man standing,” said Rast.

Rast, who played online as tsarrast, is one of the many players who has been affected by online poker’s Black Friday, which closed the U.S. market to sites including PokerStars and Full Tilt.

“It’s unfortunate the U.S. government wants to call it gambling and outlaw it like a game of chance but then tax it and accept it as a profession,” he said.

“I think they should just be consistent and realize it’s a game of skill. Let people play. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. I thought that personal liberties meant something in this country.” 

Rast, who resides in Poway, California, has plans to play in more WSOP events this summer but has no desire to let it get in the way of potentially lucrative cash games.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas be sure to check PokerListings’ Live Updates and News.

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