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Poker News: April 26, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 The Mercury News

Bartholdi wins $3.76 million in poker

Joe Bartholdi ignored the odds to beat 604 other poker players and win the WPT World Championship and $3.76 million.

The 26-year-old former Las Vegas card dealer said he didn't think much of his chances of winning when he reached the final table at the Bellagio hotel-casino, but others around him sensed he had something on his side.

"Everybody around me was telling me I was going to win," Bartholdi said Tuesday. "I changed my mind and decided to believe as well."

Bartholdi clutched an unsuited 9-5 going into the final hand Monday night against Davidson Matthew, the Canadian who parlayed a $25 online buy-in tournament into a cool $1.9 million second-place finish.

A flop of ace-9-8 with two hearts showing gave Bartholdi a measly pair of 9s. After successive raises and counter-raises, Bartholdi called Matthew's all-in bet.

"With all the info I had by how he had played previous hands, I didn't really think he had an ace," Bartholdi said.

Matthew flipped over two hearts, a 10 and a 4, with a chance for a flush. When the next two community cards were a deuce and ace of diamonds, Bartholdi's two pairs won the tournament. Each seat at the tournament cost $25,500 although some players were sponsored by online poker sites.

The most Bartholdi had ever won in tournament play was $71,445 at last year's World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas.

He said he'll take his win slowly and seek out financial advice before making any big purchases.

"I'll file for taxes this year for sure," he said.

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Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on April 25, 2006:

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