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Ex-MMA Fighter Rami Boukai Wins Second WSOP Bracelet for $177,294

Rami Boukai

Former MMA fighter Rami Boukai added to his impressive results as a poker pro by winning his second gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker last night.

Boukai displayed all-around poker ability by outlasting all 612 entries in the $1,500 buy-in 8-Game Mix tournament for a first-place prize of $177,294.

The final table featured a plethora of pros including John Evans, Chris Klodnicki and Allen Kessler. Boukai actually started the final table as one of the shorter stacks but battled back and overcame a heads-up chip deficit to defeat Evans.

With the victory, he moved to over $1.2 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. Two WSOP bracelets is also a significant milestone for any poker player and Boukai essentially proved his big win in 2009 was no fluke.

From the Cage to the Felt

Rami Boukai, who hails from Laguna Hills, California, had a short MMA career from 2002 to 2004 with a modest 2-2 record but he did fight future UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber in King of the Ring 41.

His fight against Faber would be his last official match in MMA but he quickly transitioned to poker where he posted a handful of scores in 2005. He also played online where he garnered considerable acclaim playing under the alias “Arbianight.” He eventually broke out at the 2009 WSOP where he posted three cashes and made two final tables. He won the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha event for $244,862.

While winning two bracelets would be a significant honor for almost any poker player, Boukai seemed a little more concerned about the cash than with the trophy.

“It’s 170,000, so yeah, it’s a big deal,” Boukai told WSOP staff shortly after winning. “I’m here for the money.”

The tournament was originally scheduled for three days but had to be extended to an additional fourth day after play went long at the final table. At the time the tournament went on break, Boukai held a commanding chip lead over heads-up opponent John Evans.

Boukai didn’t let the stoppage affect his momentum and it only took him 40 minutes to close out the tournament on Day 4.

Here’s a look at the final table payouts from Boukai’s big win:

1stRami Boukai$177,294.00
2ndJohn Evans$109,553.00
3rdChris Klodnicki$72,933.00
4thPhilio Long$49,531.00
5thAllen Kessler$34,329.00
6thDonny Rubenstein$24,292.00

Former WSOP Champ Adds Second Bracelet

Rami Boukai wasn’t the only player to win his second WSOP bracelet this week as longtime poker player Jim Bechtel also picked up a double.

Bechtel had to wait significantly longer between bracelets, however, as he won the World Series of Poker Main Event way back in 1993.

That means he had a 26-year gap between bracelets. His second WSOP bracelet victory didn’t come easy either, as he had to navigate his way through the powerhouse final table of the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit 2-7 Lowball event.

The final table of the 2-7 event included famed poker pros Jean-Robert Bellande, Prahlad Friedman and Darren Elias. Experience won out this time around, however, as the 67-year-old Bechtel defeated 77-year-old Vince Musso heads-up.

Bechtel has actually been cashing at the WSOP since 1979, when he finished second to Perry Green in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. Interestingly, he got his start in poker by playing recreationally in Arizona while he was working as a cotton farmer.

Here’s a look at the final table payouts for the $10,000 2-7 Lowball final table:

1stJim Bechtel$253,817.00
2ndVince Musso$156,872.00
3rdDarren Elias$109,738.00
4thPrahlad Friedman$78,157.00
5thJean-Robert Bellande$56,693.00
6thPedro Bromfman$41,897.00