2008 World Series: Suharto bids a fond farewell, Demidov is here to stay

Eliminations aplenty

In all of poker, there are few stories more heart-warming than the online qualifier made good. Players investing less than about $100 who then go on to make millions are usually some of the most humble folk involved in these huge events.

Few fit that bill more comfortably than Darus Suharto, the PokerStars qualifier from Canada, whose fairytale has just come to a halt here in the Rio. Suharto found himself in a position in which he had to start looking for good opportunities. When Scott Montgomery opened for a standard raise at the 250,000/500,000/50,000 level, Suharto shoved all in for a little more than 8 million. He held Ah-8c.

Though he sat with a Terminator look behind his shades, a close up camera highlighed his heavy breathing. To the outside observer, it was impossible to say whether he was putting it on or in fact nervous. Montgomery decided it was time to look up Suharto. He made the call with a half smile, turning over As-Qd. Suharto winced. He knew he was in trouble.

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Though neither player paired on the flop, it was soul-crushing anyway: K-J-2, all spades. Montgomery's ace of spades was just begging for one more of its kind. It came on the turn. The 4s gave Montgomery the nuts. Suharto's magnificent run at the 2008 World Series of Poker was finished.

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For his sixth place performance, Suharto earned $2,418,562, which is exceptional enough without the additional information that it only cost him $80 to qualify, a fact he pointed out in his post-game interview.

"No, absolutely not," he said when asked if he ever imagined that he'd be here when he first fired up PokerStars to join the satellite. "Eighty dollars is my whole investment, so I never expected to go this far."

And how about that humility? Well, Suharto is an accountant in Toronto and was one of the few players to claim that he wouldn't be quitting his job in the wake of this success. And with effortless charm, he just reassured his company that he'll not be running away from his desk just yet. "I promised my boss that I'd go back to work, and if I'm going to quit I'm going to make sure that the office will be OK, that he has someone to replace me."

Whoever gets Suharto to keep--be it his existing boss or his new friends in the poker world--they're getting a gem.

In other tournament news, Ivan Demidov has just propelled himself back into the chip lead - and then some.

"Uh, we've got a big pot here."

That was the signal from tournament director Jack Effel as he looked down at a rapidly developing pot. Because Effel missed the betting action, we in the field missed it as well. Suffice it to say, after some raising and re-raising, Montgomery moved all-in and got snap-called by Demidov.

In what would become the biggest pot of the tournament yet (worth around 50 million by our count), Montgomery turned over a startling Ad-9d. Not as surprising was Demidov's Ks-Kd. Montgomery had Demidov's 24,435,000 covered. The crowd called for their man's ace or their man's king as the dealer laid out a perfectly fightening 6d-4d-6c flop, Two diamonds and the three remaining aces remained for Montgomery.

He missed twice, sending Demidov into an uncharacteric dance around the stage. At once, he was the new chip leader.

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Montgomery was left with less than six million chips which he moved in just a few hands later with Ad-3d. Peter Eastgate looked him up with a pair of sixes.

"Can he catch an ace?" Jack Effel asked the crowd.

The question was answered one second later when one ace fell on the flop and then another on the turn.

"There is one out left in the deck," Effel told the crowd, which corrected him presently, saying there should be two sixes left in the deck.

"Dennis said he folded a six, so there is one left in the deck. Let's see the river!"

Boom shacka-lacka. There it was. A one outer on the river for the win.

Montgomery exited in fifth place earning more than $3 million.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in World Series of Poker