Barch wins $256,919 and WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha title

13 June 2010

John "Tex" Barch won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament (Event #20) for $256,919 at the World Series of Poker on Saturday night. With the win, he also claims his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Barch, who lives in McKinley, Texas, is best known for his appearance at the 2005 WSOP Main Event championship final table, where he finished third to win $2.5 million. Joe Hachem won the Main Event that year.

Barch is married and has two children, and owns a business degree from the University of Montana. He owns a bar and restaurant called "Big Johnson's Beer Garden" Dallas. He began playing poker in 1993.

Since his Main Event cash, Barch has taken some time off from playing poker to help raise his children. He played only a limited number of tournaments the past few years.

"After 2007, I really cut back on how much I was playing," said Barch. "My kids are into sports. And I have not been playing as much as I used to."

Barch does play in some local poker games in and around the Dallas area, but says that since poker is illegal in Texas, "we play for matchsticks."

"Here, they consider people who play poker to be celebrities," said Barch. "Back home, in Texas, they are felons."

While playing at the final table, Barch used a small baby alligator head as a card protector.

"My father-in-law owns an alligator farm," said Barch. "He gave a couple of gator heads to my two kids. My youngest boy is seven. He came into my bedroom one night and said to me, 'Daddy, I don't think I want to sleep with a dead skull in my room.' So, I told him I would keep it with me and take care of it. When I was leaving the house to come out here, I looked over at it, and I said, 'You know, I've never had a chip or a card protector or anything like that. So, I'll just use that.' Maybe now after this, I'll have to keep it around for awhile."

Barch with his winning cards, bracelet and alligator head.

Barch with his winning cards, bracelet and alligator head. (photo by GreasieWheels)

Klinghammer Thibaut finished second. A financial analyst from Lampertheim, France, Thibaut now has $158,698 more in his account to invest. The final hand of the tournament came when Barch was dealt jack-eight-seven-two against Thibaut's 10-eight-seven-two. Barch made a higher two pair (jacks and sevens vs. 10s and sevens) for the victory.

Tex Barch closed out his victory in a most convincing fashion. He won the last three hands of the tournament, which came in rapid-fire succession. Nenad Medic, Danny Dang, and Klinghammer Thibaut where eliminated on three consecutive hands, which very well may be a WSOP first (the hands played during the early years were not recorded).

Dang, from Whittier, Calif., won $102,306 for his third place showing.

Medic, a former bracelet winner from Niagara Falls, Ontario had the chip lead during about half of the finale on Day Three, and appeared to be the player to beat. In fact, at one point he was up more than 2-to-1 in chips over his closest threat, but Medic ran bad late to finish fourth.

Ashkan Razavi, from New Westminster, B.C. was fifth, and Chris Hyong Chang, from Kelowna, B.C. was sixth.

Blair Rodman, who won a gold bracelet in 2007 in no-limit Hold'em, was seventh. Rodman is also the author of one of the most successful poker strategy books written in recent years, called Kill Phil.

Tyler Patterson, a 27-year-old poker pro from Everett, Wash., was eighth, while Denton Pfister, from Plano, Texas was ninth.

The top 81 finishers collected prize money. Aside from those who made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Ted Lawson (37th), Jay Heimowitz (44th), Michael Keiner (47th), Jason Mercier (64th), and Robert Williamson III (77th). Williamson now has 10 pot-limit Omaha cashes within the past 10 years, the most of any player, while Lawson became the first player at this year's WSOP to reach four cashes. There are currently 24 players with three cashes this year.

This was the largest live pot-limit Omaha tournament in history. There were 885 entries, which topped the previous mark set in this event last year when there were 809 entries. Sparked by widespread popularity in Europe, pot-limit Omaha tournament attendance at the WSOP continues to grow.

Despite pot-limit Omaha's popularity in Europe, the finale was pretty almost an all North American contest – with four Americans and four Canadians. This was the first time in WSOP history that four Canadians made it to the same final table.

Modified from notes provided by Nolan Dalla for www.wsop.com.

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