by GT Staff | Hevad Khan, a 23-year-old poker player from Poughkeepsie, New York, won the 2008 Caesars Palace Classic poker tournament Friday and with it, a cool $1 million prize money.
Khan is best remembered for his sixth-place finish in the 2007 World Series of Poker’s Main Event. In that tourney, Khan’s constant unchecked enthusiasm resulted in the adaptation to what is now called an "excessive celebration rule," which some call the "Hevad Khan Rule."
The victory was the second major of Khan’s career as he won an event at Connecticut’s Foxwoods Casino. Khan now has over $2.5 million in lifetime tournament winnings, all in the past two years.
Besides the $1 million in prize money, Khan also took home a three-foot tall hand-crafted crystal trophy and a $15,000 Breitling Chrono Cockpit luxury watch.
The second annual Caesars Palace Classic saw 311 players enter the $10,000 buy-in championship event, a 9.2 percent increase over last year’s field (287).
The 2008 Caesars Palace Classic included 17 tournaments, four more than last year. Poker Room Manager Jim Pedulla explained that Caesars is aggressively bringing in a wider variety of poker players – particularly those who enjoy games other than Hold'em.
This year’s tournament included events in Pot-Limit Omaha, Limit Hold'em, Omaha High-Low, H.O.R.S.E., Heads-Up Hold’em, Mixed Games, and Six-Handed Hold'em. Few major tournaments other than the World Series of Poker offer as wide a variety of poker tournaments.
The tourney’s runner-up was Los Angles poker pro Michael Kamran, who was seeking his first major tournament win. Kamran won $520,320. Heads-up play lasted nearly three hours. Kamran had Khan outchipped by a 5-2 margin at one point. But Kamran wasn’t able to defeat the patient Khan, who later said, "I told myself I would never give up in this tournament. If I was going to be knocked out, it was going to be when I had the best hand going (into the confrontation)."
Texan Gary Friedlander took third place, local poker pro Jonathan Aguiar finished in fourth place, Joseph Cordi, a 58-year-old retiree from Whittier, California took fifth while Adam Junglen finished in sixth-place.An early highlight in the tournament in Las Vegas was when eight-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps entered the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hol'em event and ended up as the ninth-place finisher.
Based on the big turnout and overwhelming success of this year’s tournament, the third-annual Caesars Palace Classic is expected to be played in the fall of 2009. Priot to that Caesars will host a World Series of Poker Circuit stop April 12-29.