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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Legends of Poker Wraps Prelim Events, Readies for WPT Main Event

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The Legends of Poker tournament series at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles is always popular among poker players. Not only does it provide some tournaments with buy-ins as low as $300, which is a welcome price from the summer of WSOP events, but the Bike is also a player favorite in the L.A. area. But with the wrap-up of the preliminary tournaments, the big one is on tap to begin this weekend – the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker $10K main event.

Preliminary events for the 2008 Legends of Poker series began on July 30, and with the exception of various super satellites, there were 21 tournaments leading up to the main event. All in all, a total of 5,561 players participated to create a cumulative prize pool of $3,082,647 for those who finished in the money in their respective events. The tournaments and winners were as follows:

Event 1: $300 NLHE – Christopher McFarland ($60,302)
Event 2: $300 NLHE w/rebuy – Gabriel Habbaba ($30,427)
Event 3: $500 NLHE – Mariela Lopez ($52,925)
Event 4: $300 NLHE – Chad Viall ($106,249)
Event 5: $300 Ladies NLHE – Barbara Enright ($10,971)
Event 7: $300 Omaha hi/lo – Rene Vas ($22,635)
Event 8: $300 NLHE – Patrick Peercy ($40,032)
Event 9: $500 NLHE – Shan Jing ($52,040)
Event 10: $300 LHE – Todd Iger ($22,060)
Event 11: $300 7-Stud hi/lo – Lawrence Fujii ($18,852)
Event 12: $1000 NLHE – Ishdeep Hazuria ($104,800)
Event 13: $300 NLHE w/rebuys – Men Nguyen ($65,700)
Event 14: $500 NLHE – Brett Schwertley ($44,315)
Event 15: $500 Omaha hi/lo – Men Nguyen ($20,535)
Event 16: $1000 NLHE – Robert Macdonald ($72,145)
Event 17: $300 NLHE w/rebuys – John Lukin ($86,720)
Event 18: $500 NLHE w/rebuy – Vagan Sudzhyan ($39,915)
Event 19: $500 Ladies NLHE – Hellen English ($13,970)
Event 20: $500 NLHE w/rebuys – Brian Nguyen ($70,120)
Event 21: $1000 NLHE – Ablahad Salim ($97,620)
Event 22: $500 LHE – Eric Chor ($27,460)

While numerous notable pros played in various events listed above, two stand out as tournament winners in this Legends series. First, the legendary Barbara Enright took down the LIPS ladies tournament early in the series ( And next, it was Men Nguyen who stole the show.

Men “The Master” Nguyen won two tournaments and placed 14th in Event 2. Not only did he make the most money of any player in the Legends of Poker series thus far, but he has raked in $788,484 in the first seven and a half months of the year. He is on par to surpass the $1 million mark, which is something he hasn’t done since 2005.

As the preliminary events wrapped up, the Bicycle Casino held its annual media tournament freeroll, wherein media professionals and former Legends of Poker winners are allowed to compete for $15,000 in prizes. This year, on Thursday, August 21, there were 81 players. In the end, Chris Dolan of NBC took first place, which was good for $2,500 in cash and $2,500 to be donated by the Bike to his charity of choice. And the highest finishing professional player was Randy Holland, who was awarded a $10,000 buy-in to the upcoming Legends main event.

Later that night, the Bike hosted the annual Mariani/Buss No-Limit Hold’em charity tournament. The proceeds go to benefit the Lakers Youth Foundation, and though many of the Lakers players are currently in China for the Beijing Olympics, Mariani family members coordinated with the casino to put on a cocktail party and tournament that drew 116 players at $1,000 per buy-in. After the good time that always accompanies such charity tournaments, including 41 rebuys and numerous poker pros enjoying the event, Behzad Teranie was the winner of the tournament. But ultimately, it was the Lakers Youth Foundation that benefited the most.

All of the Bike events led up to the World Poker Tour main event of the Legends of Poker – the $10K buy-in NLHE tournament that begins on Saturday, August 23 and runs through to the final table scheduled for Thursday, August 28. Everyone from well-known pros to amateur players will be buying in to one of the most popular tournaments on the professional circuit. The 2007 Legends main event drew 485 players, which was a new record, with the top prize adding up to over $1.6 million.

With past winners of the Legends of Poker like Dan Harrington and Doyle Brunson, no doubt all eyes will be on the 2008 WPT event to see who will claim the title that everyone wants – official legend of poker.

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