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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Hevad Khan

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

As an avid watcher of poker on television, a few things I’ve witnessed on the tube have stuck out more than others.  There are of course all the huge pots on the high stakes poker games, along with the times when someone was rivered, or you can’t believe “so and so” is making that call, that stay high in the memory banks.  But there are also those instances of when you stare in awe at your television screen watching someone act a complete fool.  Most of my readers may think I’m talking about Phil Hellmuth, but to be honest he doesn’t surprise me at all anymore and he never had a rule named after him either.  

In 2007 Hevad Khan shocked all opponents and spectators by yelling and celebrating after seemingly every hand, win or lose.  He left such a bad impression on the event organizers that the next year the WSOP introduced the “Hevad Khan” rule, which banned excessive celebrations and boisterous actions.  Some people suggested that the ban hurt Khan’s game, but others have pointed out that Khan isn’t (or wasn’t) always like that, and in poker you have your ups and downs even in the mental part of your game.  As you will see, there is more to Khan than the rule named after him.

Hevad Khan was born 1985 in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Khan enjoyed all types of games as a child, but usually not poker, preferring video games.  In high school Khan was introduced to the wildly popular computer game StarCraft.  In short order Khan was able to become one of the best online players in the game.  Khan would go on to join the professional circuit, traveling around the country to participate in tournaments.  Khan had success in the game, but he eventually started to become burnt out from it and began looking for other things to do.  Over time he found he enjoyed watching the taped telecasts of past World Series of Poker events, and particularly enjoyed watching Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer.  Much like fellow PokerStars pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospelier, and a number of other poker players, Khan eventually made the transition from video games to poker.

Khan really started playing as a freshman at the university of SUNY-Albany.  He naturally adopted his nickname “RaiNKhan” (which he continues to use today on PokerStars) from a video game called Mortal Kombat.
Khan found early success, using a few hundred dollars he got as a gift from graduating high school and working that up to a few thousand dollars playing sit and go’s in short order.  Khan eventually started working his way up to playing over two dozen tournaments at a time, and it made regulars at PokerStars grow suspicious, wondering how someone could play that much, and still be profitable.  Today it is common for people to play this many tournaments at a time, but in 2006 it was very rare.  So rare in fact, PokerStars threatened to shut down Khan’s account, thinking he was using a robot.  Khan acted quickly, having a friend tape him playing 26 tables and posting it on YouTube.  The video has gone down in history as one of the most viewed in the poker genre at YouTube, and also sparked the idea of “multi-tabling.”

As mentioned, Khan drew attention at the 2007 WSOP for his actions, but he also drew it for his success.  In his first WSOP he cashed in three tournaments, including finishing 6th at the Main Event, winning $956,243.  That showing earned him his current sponsorship at PokerStars , and making him well known the poker world over.  In November of 2007 he also cashed in 50th at his first World Poker Tour showing.

Already well known on the internet poker scene, Khan further solidified his spot when he finished first in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up Tournament, earning $97,856, in March of 2008 (He also finished second in this tournament in June of 2008 for $58,410).  That month would get better when he won the Foxwoods Poker Classic, earning $108,187.  

Hevad Khan had his biggest win on October 8, winning a million dollars for outlasting all the competition in the 2008 Caesars Palace Classic.  In 2009 Khan seemed to spend more time playing online than in live tournaments, but it didn’t stop him from having a few good results on the circuit.  His 2009 started off with a bang when he won a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure side event worth $200,000.  He also cashed in two WSOP events, to bring his career total up to seven cashes there.

Many people thought that Khan would suffer after being reprimanded by the WSOP for his actions in 2007, but his career has progressed nicely.  He hasn’t been able to get that elusive WSOP bracelet, but has shown he is a threat to do so in any event he has played, as he has won a handful of other tournaments.  Khan has said he was a bit embarrassed for the way he came across on television following those actions, but has never apologized, saying he was acting out of “genuine emotion.”  Many people felt it was more manufactured than genuine, as people think he realized that he would get television time, which he did.  Regardless, he has moved on from this episode quite nicely, and has never reverted back to these actions.

In August of 2009, Hevad Khan’s AIM instant messenger account was hacked.  Whoever hacked it, posed as Khan, saying “his friend” needed money for a plane fare (among other scams), and asked people on his buddy list to ship “his friend” the money, as he was unable to do so at the time for one reason or another.  A few of Khan’s friends on his “Buddy List” fell for the scam, but luckily they were able to act rapidly, and PokerStars was able to return most people’s money who were affected by the scam, and the scammer was properly shutdown soon after.  What’s certainly not looking to end anytime soon is Hevad Khan’s continued success in the new decade to come.

*Read Billy Monroe's Blog*

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