Hevad Khan wins $1 million at Caesars

Hevad Khan is not the same Khan we met in 2007 and that's just fine with him. In fact, Khan is not the same Khan we knew this time yesterday. The difference: Khan is a million bucks richer today.

Last night, Team PokerStars Pro Hevad "RaiNKhaN" Khan took down the 2008 Caesars Palace Classic for the $1 million first prize.

This is Khan's biggest single win to date and pushes him over the $2.5 million mark in live tournament winnings (to say nothing of the piles of cash he has made online at PokerStars).

Ten months ago, we walked through the cavernous Atlantis Resort and Casino with Hevad Khan on the way the opening party for the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He stood tall above us and if we hadn't known it wasn't true, we would've insisted he'd had a lobotomy. He was calm, cool, collected and nothing like the dancing primate we'd known at the World Series of Poker. Something in the big man had changed and the ten-minute conversation was proof he was on his way to something far more sublime than a televised bulldozer dance.

After winning nearly a million bucks at the World Series, a switch flipped in Khan's head. He told us he had high hopes for 2008. In March, he won more than $100,000 in a side event at the Foxwoods Poker Classic. He won the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up for the same amount in the same month. Two hunded grand in the first three months of the year would be enough to keep some people in high cotton for the next ten months. Khan wasn't satisfied.

The ensuing months were not as kind. His 2008 World Series did not go to plan. His success in March seemed pale in comparison to the chilly months of cards he endured. Two things snapped him out of it. First, was a trip to Korea.

"I discovered myself there," Khan said. "I came back a different person."

Second, he had a killer weekend online in which he won nearly $100,000 in a couple of days, including a $58,000 second place finish in the Sunday Warm-Up. Khan was back.

By mid-year, Khan had won in the neighborhood of half a million bucks, but was looking for that elusive firtst place finish in a $10,000 event. He finally got it last night after beating out more than 300 players for the Caesars Place Classic title. The change in Khan's demeanor was not lost on the official tournament reports who noted, he is now "considerably more subtle. He rarely celebrates winning hands or leaves his seat during play."


Khan gives a classic mug for the camera

Congrats, Hevad, on another great finish.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars news