Prahlad Friedman takes home WPT title

In the late night hours of August 26, the Bicycle Casino was the only place for poker fans to be. The infamous Legends of Poker series was reaching its pinnacle as the World Poker Tour final table played out in front of fans and casino gambling players, ultimately awarding the first prize of $1,009,000 to the 2009 champion, Prahlad Friedman.

After a solid month of tournaments that comprises the annual Legends of Poker, the biggest casino tournament of the year for the Bicycle Casino began on August 22 with 279 players at the WPT Legends Main Event. The prize pool was an impressive $2,625,500, of which over $1 million awaited the last player standing. Days of poker played at its highest level led to the countdown to the final table, at which point two members of the 2009 World Series of Poker November Nine remained - Steven Begleiter and Kevin Schaffel. But after Begleiter exited in ninth place, only Schaffel was left to take a shot at the coveted Legends title.

The final table players gathered on August 26 in front of a live audience and under the lights and cameras of the World Poker Tour, as the tournament would later air on Fox Sports, and after hours of exciting play, Schaffel battled long-time poker pro Prahlad Friedman. The latter prevailed and took home his first WPT title and $1,009,000 in prize money, while Schaffel proved a respectable adversary and collected $471,670 for his efforts.

As the excitement of the 2009 Legends of Poker winds down, players still have the weekend to take part in the Bankroll Rebuilder and Player Appreciation deep stack tournaments with tens of thousands of dollars in guarantee. And it will be another chance to play in the beautiful new Event Center at the Bicycle Casino, the $4 million remodeled space that had all of the Legends players admiring the new look.

Poker Operation’s Zaven Esmaili and Eveliene Dullaart headed up many new changes to this year’s event, intent on working with staff and players to host a top notch series in a changing market. To date, their collaborative approach is proving successful. Marketing Director Kelley O’Hara noted, “This year’s Legends of Poker series was an exciting one for all of us, especially with the privilege of hosting the festivities in our new, long awaited Event Center.” As always, the WPT Main Event is a thrilling experience, as was being present to award more than $1 million to Mr. Friedman who won the tournament. Managing Partner Haig Kelegian and CEO Hashem Minaiy shared, “We’re very pleased with this year’s turnout throughout the entire month, and going forward, we welcome all players to make themselves at home at the Bicycle Casino.”

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