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World Series Of Poker
 $2,000 Omaha Hi/Lo Result
4th July
June 25 – August 10 2006

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Event #9 (3 day event)
Entries -- 622 (466)
Buy-in -- $5,000
Prize Pool -- $3,110,000
Jeff Cabanillas
(Lafayette Hill, PA)
wins $818,546 and
WSOP bracelet
Pos. Player Origin Prize
1 Jeff Cabanillas NV $818,546
2 Phil Hellmuth Jr CA $423,893
3 Eugene Todd NY $233,872
4 Marcel Luske Amsterdam $204,638
5 Isabelle Mercier QC $175,404
6 Thomas Schreiber CT $146,170
7 Douglas Carli OH $116,936
8 Vinnie Vinh TX $87,702
9 Danny Smith CA $58,468
15 Conor Tate (Bury, Manchester, United Kingdom) $26,311
16 Rob Hollink (Groningen, Netherlands) $20,464
50 Chau Giang $7,309
53 Dewey Tomko $7,309
Key Facts 
64 places paid.
Cabanillas, who attended Cal-State-Los Angeles and owned a cell phone store before becoming a low-stakes professional poker player, was set to take a seat on poker's grandest stage. When he sat down on the ESPN stage in seat number five, few people recognized him. Few appreciated his talent. Fewer still gave him any chance whatsoever to win. But this would be the tournament where everything would change.

It was not just that Cabanillas won, but how he won and who he won it against. Phil Hellmuth - part icon, part bad boy, part poker legend, part egotistical leviathan -- all wrapped up into a towering 6-foot, 5-inch frame just that is just as psychologically intimidating as physically. Hellmuth, poker's Goliath facing a sea of Davids. Hellmuth enjoyed other advantages, too. It seemed almost everyone in the huge gallery packed inside the Rio Convention Center was rooting for the nine-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. Many of the biggest names in poker sat at ringside, including Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson, who both distanced themselves from Hellmuth at last year's World Series by winning their tenth gold bracelets. All were present to bear witness to poker history being made. In the end, the history they witnessed was a much different version that might have been expected.

It's hard to say how much pressure was on young Cabanillas. In one sense, he may have been on both an emotional and financial freeroll, which allowed him to continue playing daring but stress-free poker. After all, no one except a few close friends lost in the mob of Hellmuth worshippers expected the kid to win.

Fittingly, Hellmuth sat in the nine seat. It is a seat he has, at least symbolically sat in for three long years. After winning his last WSOP title in 2003, Hellmuth (with nine WSOP titles, currently second on the all-time list) was forced to take a backseat in the gold bracelet chase to longtime legendary rivals Chan and Brunson. Fact is, on this night Hellmuth had the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Every eye was on the captivating 1989 world poker champion - every second or every minute of every hand. From the onset, it appeared that chip leader Vinny Vinh would be Hellmuth's biggest obstacle. Dutchman Marcel Luske, French-Canadian star Isabelle Mercier, and five other formidable opponents would also pose significant challenges.

On a night with countless numbers of big hands and exciting moments, the finale was dealt out at just after midnight. Holding more than a 5 to 1 chip lead, Cabanillas called Hellmuth's all-in move after the flop came 6-4-3 (with two diamonds). Cabanillas revealed five-three of diamonds, for a straight flush draw. Hellmuth showed five-four offsuit, good for a pair with a straight re-draw. Hellmuth caught another four on the turn, which only added to the drama of the final seconds of the tournament. The river card was red, which is exactly what Hellmuth saw when a diamond crashed to the felt. Cabanillas won $818,546 with a flush. Poker's biggest name had been slain upon poker biggest stage by the least-likely of challenger. The Cinderella story was complete.
by Nolan Dalla
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