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Best of Ryan McLane
Medic wins $1.7 million at World Poker Final Main Event17 November 2006
By Ryan McLane
High-stakes cash game professional Nenad Medic can add the title of World Poker Tour tournament champion to his resume after claiming $1.7 million and first place in the World Poker Finals Main Event at Foxwoods.
The 23-year old from Niagara Falls, Ontario sat back patiently and waited as his aggressive opponents quickly fell from a final table that lasted only three hours.
The Cinderella story, 58-year old amateur E.G Harvin from West Palm Beach, Fla., did most of the work, eliminating four players from the television final table with his large stack.
Harvin entered the tournament via $150 satellite and wound up leading the 609 player field nearly wire-to-wire.
But he couldn't eliminate Medic, who commentator Mike Sexton called one of poker's rising stars. Heads-up play lasted only eight hands, with the more experienced player coming out on top.
Harvin walked away from the table with $904,389.
"This guy (Harvin) did all the work for me," Medic said. "I had a decent stack going in and I was able to sit back and pick my spots. I liked my chances and felt good about the way I played today."
On a flop of 5-5-3, Harvin bet out $500,000 chips and was quickly called. The turn brought a nine and again, Harvin bet out, this time $1,000,000 in chips. After a short deliberation, Medic called.
The final card, another nine, induced Harvin to move all-in. Medic pondered the bet for over a minute, finally calling and showing a Five for a full house. The hand gave Medic the crown.
"I don't know why it took me so long to call, I was 90 percent sure I was going to call," Medic said. "I just wanted to make sure. It was a big moment."
Medic, who arrived two-and-a-half hours late on the first day of the tournament, caught good cards early and was able to amass a large stack that he used to bully nearly every table he played. He was among the chip leaders throughout the tournament, parlaying his $10,000 buy-in into the biggest payday of his career.
Before Thursday, Medic's best WPT finish was a third-place finish in the 2005 Poker Stars Caribbean Adventure. He said the "close, but not quite there finish," left a sour taste in his mouth he wanted to erase.
"When you come close, it just makes to want to win one more," Medic said. "I play a lot of these tournaments and I was told you can't miss Foxwoods because the field is usually juicy for a professional."
Most of the final table attention was on the two ladies. Seasoned tournament professional Kathy Liebert and high-stakes professional Mimi Tran comprised the only WPT final table to boast two female players.
The WPT final table set was packed with fans hoping to see the first woman champion every crowned.
But it wasn't meant to be.
Liebert was gone in the first 20 minutes after losing two huge pots. Her last hand was brutal. Catching a flush on the turn, Liebert moved all-in and was quickly called by Harvin who was holding the nut flush.
She left the set to a hearty round of applause after playing three days of nearly perfect poker, but she said later that it was fun, but very disappointing.
Tran was by far the most aggressive player at the final table. Raising 80 percent of the pots pre-flop, Tran tried to take control, but ran into a stubborn Harvin and a patient Medic. In three handed play, Tran raised every pot to three-times the big blind, but twice she was caught holding second pair twice, losing both big hands to Harvin.
In her last hand, Tran held a winner on the flop with her Q-J, but Harvin hit his Ace on the turn and got Tran to put the rest of her chips. She finished in third place, tied for the best finish by a female player in WPT history.
Medic, who already plays in the biggest cash games in the world, said he will not change his poker routine. He still plans to play mostly cash games, but he also plans to enter more tournaments in preparation for the WPT Championship this spring and the World Series of Poker next summer.
"I plan to give this money back to the poker community," Medic said. "The cash games might get a little richer in the next couple of months."
Here are the final six pay-outs from the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods:
Nenad Medic - $1,717,194
EG Harvin - $904,389
Thithi "Mimi" Tran - $472,228
Michael Omelchuk - $343,439
Kathy Liebert - $257,579
Michael Perry - $200,340
Medic wins $1.7 million at World Poker Final Main Event is republished from CasinoVendors.com.