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Third time's a charm for Kabbaj
The third time turned out to be the charm for John Kabbaj at the World Series of Poker.
After two close brushes with Pot-Limit Hold'em bracelets in previous WSOP appearances, the cards finally fell in line for the British pro.
Kabbaj turned his third WSOP final table appearance into his first bracelet, outlasting Kirill Gerasimov heads up to win the $10k Pot Limit Hold'em World Championship.
A pot-limit specialist, Kabbaj was upset for a long time after finishing runner-up in a PLHE bracelet event in the 2004 WSOP.
Five years later, the bad memory lingers no more.
"I actually gave the bracelet to the guy is the way I look at it," said Kabbaj of the 2004 runner-up finish.
"I played really bad and it took me a long time to get over it. I finally got it. You have to be patient."
Gerasimov and Kabbaj outlasted the field of 275 players and went heads up after Eric Baldwin went out in third place. Baldwin already had a bracelet win in the 2009 WSOP, in a $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event.
Kabbaj went into heads-up play trailing big, but his fortunes began to turn when he doubled up on a big showdown to pull even.
Holding A-4 off suit, Kabbaj ended up all in preflop against Gerasimov's pocket threes. A jubilant Kabbaj let out a shout of joy when he saw he'd flopped a full house.
"At that stage he had the chip lead, and I had an ace in my hand," Kabbaj said. "I decided to play the hand aggressively, and we had to go all in."
"When he turned over his hand I saw it was 50-50, but the flop was a dream. I knew then, when that flop comes like that, you're running good."
Kabbaj was unstoppable after that, never trailing significantly in the chip count again.
"I felt really confident after that," Kabbaj said. "That brought us back to even and I felt like I was going to win after that. Sometimes you can tell with poker."
The final hand played out in dramatic fashion, as Kabbaj's pocket aces held up against Gerasimov's kings.
Kabbaj cashes for $633,335 with the win, while Gerasimov takes home $391,369 for the runner up finish.