Tournament poker journeyman
Lee Watkinson wins his first
WSOP gold bracelet.
2006 WSOP Results
Event #16 WSOP Tournament
Results and Report
World Series of Poker Event
A Monkey off his Back

Tournament poker journeyman Lee
Watkinson wins his first WSOP gold
bracelet and $655,746

Entrepreneur and animal rights activist pledges money for chimpanzee

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Lee Watkinson
Mike Guttman
Mark Dickstein
Rafi Amit
Hasan Habib
Nicholas Gibson
Jani Vilmunen
Thomas Wahlroos
Mickey Appleman
Ben Roberts
Galen Kester
Rodeen Talebi
Barry Greenstein
James McManus
Patrick Antonius
Roland De Wolfe
Mikhail Ustinov
Arul Thillai
William Chen
Daniel Negreanu
Samuel Grizzle
Marc Goodwin
Kirill Gerasimov
Christopher Gentile
David "Devil Fish" Ulliott
Ayaz Mahmood
Gary Benson
Padraig Parkinson
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Moscow, Russia
Plainfield, IL
Hull, UK
Houston, TX
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A Monkey off his Back

Tournament poker journeyman Lee Watkinson wins his first WSOP gold
bracelet and $655,746

Entrepreneur and animal rights activist pledges money for chimpanzee

Las Vegas, NV – In spiritual circles, St. Francis of Assisi is best known as the
patron saint of all animals.  St. Francis was a 13th century friar who rescued,
housed, and protected wounded and needy critters who could not care for
themselves.  If St. Francis has a modern-day disciple, his name is most
certainly “Lee Watkinson.”  And, if you don’t believe it, just ask a chimpanzee.
On July 12, 2006, Watkinson got a monkey the size of an 800-pound gorilla
off of his back.  After playing in major poker tournaments throughout North
America and cashing dozens of times since 2002, Watkinson finally won his
first WSOP gold bracelet.  Watkinson prevailed in a blistering field of 218
players – comprised of the very best Pot-Limit Omaha specialists in the
world.  Each player paid $10,000 to enter the event, which created a total
prize pool $2,049,200.
It took two days to play down to the last nine competitors.  The final table
included three former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Rafi Amit (1 win), Mickey
Appleman (4 wins) and Hasan Habib (1 win).  However, what was most
remarkable was the international composition of the nine finalists.  
Demonstrating that Pot-Limit Omaha is the most “European” of poker
variations, five different countries were represented – including three players
from Europe.  This competition was also unique because it marked the first
time at this year’s World Series that a defending champion made it to the
final table.  Rafi Amit won this event in 2005.  
There was also a greater sense of camaraderie present at this table than
seen elsewhere.  At one point, the entire table ordered a shot and drank a
toast together.  All poker games everywhere should be as joyous as this
one.  ESPN television was on hand to capture it all.

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More details on Poker
Jani Vilmunen
Mark Dickstein
Mickey Appleman
Mike Guttmann
Thomas Wahlroos
Hasan Habib
Rafi "Refael" Amit
Lee Watkinson
Nick Gibson
Chip Count
Seat #
Of all finalists, no player brought as much experience to the table as 60-year-
old Mickey Appleman.  The eclectic ex-social worker turned sports bettor
turned hippie poker player arrived as the second-lowest stack and went out
with a monster draw that missed everything.  On his final hand, Appleman
was dealt 9-8-8-7.  The final board showed 10-6-3-4-2.  Appleman missed it
all – the straight, the flush, and the set.  A lone pair of jacks scooped the
large pot and the four-time WSOP winner Appleman exited in ninth place,
paying $40,984.
Thomas Wahlroos went out next.  The Finish-born poker pro was down to his
last 44,000 (average stack was about 300,000) and moved all-in with K-10-9-
4.  The final board showed 10-7-4-Q-5.  Wahlroos made two pair, but his
opponent flipped over a higher two pair, which translated into an eighth-
place finish.  Wahlroos received $61,476.
Jani Vilmunen had higher expectations than a seventh-place finish.  The early
chip leader suffered through a brutal final half-hour.  Vilmunen’s toughest
beat took place when he made a full house (sixes over fives) holding 8-7-6-5
when the final board showed J-6-5-6-Q.  Incredibly, Lee Watkinson had A-A-
Q-Q.  Only a miracle queen on the river saved Watkinson from elimination.  
Had the queen not tumbled from the deck, the final table outcome would
have been completely different.  It is perhaps fair to say that the hideous
river queen may have cost Vilmunen a gold bracelet.  It is most certainly a
hand he will not forget.  Vilmunen, the second Finn at the table, went out a
short time later in disappointing fashion.  Seventh place paid $81,968.
At six players, Englishman Nick Gibson was low on chips and committed his
last 90,000 on an inside straight draw.  Gibson had Q-J-J-10.  Gibson was all-
in after the flop came with K-9-6.  Defending champ Amit had A-K-J-2 and
called holding top pair.  An ace on the turn gave Amit two pair.  Gibson
missed his draw on the river and went out in sixth place.  He collected
Hasan Habib survived several all-in situations before finally succumbing to a
fifth-place finish.  On his final hand of the night, Habib moved all-in, flopped
two-pair and then picked up a straight draw on the turn.  But he failed to
improve and Rafi Amit showed a higher two-pair.  Habib, who has won
millions of dollars in tournament poker, including a WSOP title in 2004 for
Stud Eight-or-Better, received $122,952.  
When play became four-handed, it seemed anyone’s tournament to win.  Lee
Watkinson enjoyed a slight chip lead, but in a card game as volatile as Pot-
Limit Omaha, anything was still possible.  Rafi Amit learned this lesson the
hard way when he lost a few key pots and many of his chips.  Then, Amit
went out when he flopped two pair against Watkinson’s flopped straight.  
Amit still had four outs to make the full house, but came up short.  Rafi Amit,
from Israel, played brilliantly and had to be proud of yet another final table
appearance in this event.  The 26-year-old collected $143,444 for fourth
Mark Dickstein, a New York City investment manager, made the most out of
his $10,000 investment in this event.  Try making 17 times the initial outlay in
just three days.  Dickstein went out when his A-K-J-9 was cracked by
Watkinson’s A-Q-J-4.  The final board came with three spades to go with
Watkinson’s A-J of spades – completing a flush.  Dickstein received $184,428
for third place.
Heads-up play started off with Watkinson holding a 3 to 1 chip advantage
over Aussie Mike Guttmann.  It took over two hours for Watkinson to
overcome a very tough fight by the CEO from Melbourne.  Midway through
the duel, Guttman seized the chip lead momentarily when he rivered a flush
against the shell shocked Watkinson.  But that would be Guttmann’s high-
point of the tournament.  The man nicknamed “Sticky Micky” came unglued in
the final stages of the tournament, seemingly helpless to stall Watkinson’s
aggressive tendencies.  
The final hand of the night was deal out when Watkinson held A-Q-6-5
versus Guttmann’s J-J-10-8.  All of Guttmann’s chips went into the pot on a
pre-flop re-raise.  The final board showed 5-4-3-7-K.  Watkinson’s 6-5
connected with the 7-4-3 on board to complete the straight.  As runner up,
Mike “Sticky Micky” Guttmann collected $360,659.
Afterward, Watkinson described the victory as more of a relief than a thrill.  
He finished second in this same event two years ago, which until tonight was
the closest Watkinson had ever come to winning at the World Series.
“When I was playing heads-up and lost (the chip lead), I started thinking it
was déjà vu all over again,” Watkinson said in reference to finishing in
second-place at a number of majors in recent years.  “But then, I just re-
focused my game and realized that it takes a different kind of strategy to win
a Pot-Limit Omaha tournament.  I just played the percentages, wanting to
get my money in with the best possible situation.”
Watkinson owns a few businesses, including a record company and a clothing
line – which were started exclusively with his poker winnings.  The
Washington State native holds a degree in economics, which perhaps
explains why Watkinson is so astute as an investor and poker professional.  
Yet, as excited as Watkinson was to win over half a million dollars and the
WSOP gold bracelet, he was quick to shift everyone’s attention to a greater,
more humanitarian purpose.  Watkins was joined up on the poker stage by
his fiancé Timmi DeRosa.  Together, they described their plans to
constructively use some of the $655,746 in total prize money.  Watkinson
and DeRosa told of their longtime commitment to rescuing and retiring captive
chimpanzees, many of which have been used in everything from major motion
pictures to research laboratories.
Watkinson and DeRosa told about how chimpanzees are not as useful as
they become older and are commonly discarded.  So a few years ago, the
couple made a commitment to rescue as many creatures as possible and
eventually build an animal sanctuary.  “All the animals need our help,”
DeRosa said.  “But we really try to focus on the chimpanzees.”  For this
purpose, the Cortland Brandenberg Foundation (www.cortlandbrandenberg.
com) was co-founded by Watkinson and DeRosa.
This is certainly the first time ever in history that chimpanzees will benefit
directly from a World Series of Poker victory.  Following his win, as the arena
stage was being cleared, Watkinson said he intended to got out later in the
night and buy the chimps some cake and ice cream.  Perhaps instead of St.
Francis, we should call the latest WSOP poker champion “St. Watkinson.”   

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Overall Tournament Statistics (through end of Event #16):

Total Entries to Date:                          16,694

Total Prize Money Distributed:                $ 28,759,692

Complete 2006 WSOP Results
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2006 World Series of Poker        
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Official 2006 WSOP Results and Report

Event #16
Pot-Limit Omaha
Buy-In:  $10,000
Number of Entries:  218
Total Prize Money:  $2,049,200
Defending Champion (2005):  Rafi Amit

Official Results:
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