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‘The Great Unknown’
New Orleans Business Owner Eddie Ameen Wins Top Prize in Pot-Limit Hold’em Event

Standing out in the hallway in front of the tournament room at the 2005 Jack Binion World Poker Open, two men were having a discussion.  One of those men happened to be Hans “Tuna” Lund – one of the greatest poker players of the last thirty years, and certainly one of the game’s top intellects.  Tuna was lamenting the fact that winning at poker today is much tougher than in yesteryear.  “If you make a big bet, now they come right back over the top of you,” Tuna grumbled.  “You used to be able to make a bet and take the pot, but today, no one is afraid anymore.”

Tuna is right.

The final table of Event #13 confirms the worst fears of Tuna Lund, and many top pros who once dominated the tournament poker circuit.  The nine finalists in this event were names and faces that, for the most part, no one would recognize.  All of the money spots --18 in all -- were comprised of relatively ‘unknown’ players.  This is not to say these individuals aren’t good, perhaps even great players.  Indeed, that’s the scary part.  The ‘great unknowns’ have become so good so fast that they have just as decent a chance to win a tournament as any poker superstar.  Chalk it up to the influence of televised tournaments and countless poker websites, strategy discussion groups, books, videos, seminars, and articles and what you have is poker egalitarianism – a large assembly of devoted and near-equally talented tournament players who are separated not so much by differences in skill, but by public awareness and perception.  It’s as though there are two groups of poker players – the discovered and the undiscovered.      

The undiscovered winner of this event was Eddie Ameen, a 57-year-old businessman from the New Orleans suburb of Metarie.  Ameen owns a jewelry store as well as a successful personnel management firm.  Ameen describes himself mostly as a ‘home game’ player, but his performance in this event was way beyond what anyone would expect in your average Wednesday night poker game.  Ameen collected first-place prize money of $69,392, an entry into the $10,000 buy-in championship event, and the coveted gold and diamond bracelet given to each event winner at the Jack Binion World Poker Open.  

On Day One, 201 players were eliminated.  Nine of these players, places 18 through 10 received prize money.  The nine finalists returned for Day Two and the players were eliminated as follows:

9th Place – Salem Helou moved ‘all in’ with 7-7 and was leading until the river card.  Jeff Heiberg rivered a Jack holding K-J and busted Helou.  The Lafayette, LA poker player who finished 2nd at a JBWPO event back in 2001 took $3,336 for 9th place.

8th Place – Next, the two lowest stacks went to war when Russell Burns took 6-6 up against Larry Keene’s A-A.  This was bad for burns.  Keene spiked a third (unnecessary) Ace which crushed Burns hopes of pulling off a bad beat.  Burns, a Dekalb, IL attorney had his motion to stay at the final table denied.  He bailed out with $6,308 in prize money.

7th Place – Pete Bigelow survived one ‘all in’ but got unlucky the second time he tempted fate.  He moved in with 4-4 and was called by Eddie Ameen’s A-Q.  The final board showed 10-10-9-6-9 which gave both players two pair, but Ameen had the better fifth-card kicker with an Ace.  Bigelow, who won an event at the Horseshoe in Tunica at the Mid-America Poker Classic last summer, pocketed $8,411 for 7th place.

6th Place – Mark Fleddermann, an investor from St., Louis, MO was eliminated next when he lost to a straight.  The final table was a disappointment for Fleddermann, who had arrived second in the chip count.  But not much went right for him in his 90-minute stay.  Fleddermann has cashed big in the past, including over $100,000 at last year’s WSOP.  He collected $10,514 for 6th place.  

5th Place – Larry W. Keene came in lowest in chips and moved five spots up the money ladder.  He finally went out with K-Q in the big blind, slamming into pocket Kings.  Keene, retired from the U.S. Navy, sunk in 5th place – worth a nice payday of $12,617.

4th Place – Chad Moore, who has some impressive tournament performances including 2nd here in Event #3 (worth $71,000), was ‘all in’ with Ace-high on his final hand, but lost when Eddie Ameen spiked a pair of Kings on the river.  Moore’s take from this event amounted to $16,822.

3rd Place –.When play became three-handed, Edward Ameen had a 3-1 chip lead over the other two players.  A few minutes later, Jeff Heiberg took A-7 up against Eric Filippi’s A-J.  Heiberg was in serious trouble, but miraculously spiked a Seven on the river.  That crushing defeat put Filippi on life support.  He went out a few hands later when he suffered another beat – losing with 2-2 to a diamond flush with four diamonds on board.  Filippi, a dedicated poker player who strives to make a name for himself in the game, enjoyed one his best finishes – 3rd place, worth $21,028.

In heads-up play, Eddie Ameen enjoyed a 2 to 1 chip lead over Jeff Heiberg.  Ameen had come to the final as the chip leader, but suffered an early run of bad cards and beats – falling to the short-stack at one point.  However, Ameen adjusted his play and picked up a number of key hands which allowed him to rebound into the chip lead again. 

It didn’t take long for Ameen to close the win.  On the final hand, Heiberg picked up K-6 of clubs and made a stab with a pot-sized bet after the flop came 9-6-4.  However, Ameen had flopped top pair (Nines) and was going nowhere, except to reach for his chips to make a pot-sized re-raise.  That was enough to put Heiberg ‘all in.’  Two successive Fours fell on the turn and river – giving Ameen the higher full house….Fours full of Nines.

Jeff Heiberg, a petroleum specialist from Wyoming, won his way into this event through a single-table satellite.  He ‘officially’ collected $38,270 on his initial $120 investment.

Meanwhile, Eddie Ameen was thrilled with his first major tournament victory.  Prior to this event, Ameen had finished second in a tournament at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  He owns two businesses – Edberg Jewelers in Metarie, LA and Management Recruiters of New Orleans, Inc.

This event was a glimpse into poker’s future, and perhaps even -- its present.  The days of star-studded final tables at ‘open’ events are finished.  Gone.  Dead.  Buried.  The era of the ‘unknown’ poker player – those thousands of dedicated nameless masses who have been toiling away in private home games, reading strategy books, and contemplating the game in their own minds -- has now arrived.

Tuna Lund’s worst fears have come true.  And Edward Ameen’s most majestic dreams have become reality.           


2005 Jack Binion World Poker Open Event #13 Results

Horseshoe Casino Hotel and

Gold Strike Casino-Resort, Tunica, MS

Daily Report

January 19, 2005

Event #13

Pot-Limit Hold’em

Buy-In: $1,000

Number of Entries: 234 

Prize Money: $210,979

Official Results:

1.   Edward Ameen                 New Orleans, LA          69,392 

2.   Jeff Heiberg                      Buffalo, WY                 38,270

3.   Amnon “Eric” Filippi     
New York, NY             21,028

4.   Chad Moore                     Frankfurt, IN                16,822

5.   Larry W. Keene                Fitzgerald, GA              12,617

6.   Mark Fleddermann         
St. Louis, MO               10,514

7.   Pete Bigelow                    Moose Lake, MN         8,411

8.   Russell Burns                   DeKalb, IL          6,308

9.   Salem Helou                     Lafayette, LA                4,336


* plus a seat in the $10,000 championship event


10. Pat Heneghan                   Chicago, IL                   3,035

11. Rick Abrell                       Terre Haute, IN            3,035

12. Andrew (A.J.) Kelsall      Lutz, FL                        3,035

13. Bill O’Connor                  Houston, TX                 2,601

14. Glenn Kiersky                  Memphis, TN                2,601

15. Lee Grove                         Superior, NE                2,601

16. Fred Brown                      Howell, MI                   2,168

17. Terry L. O’Brien             
Bald Knob, AR             2,168

18. Jon Hoellein                     Cleveland, OH              2,168

Final Table Started at: 4:00 pm CST

Final Table Ended at: 8:10 pm CST


Report by Nolan Dalla – JBWPO Media Director


Tournament Director – David Eglseder

Co-Tournament Director (Horseshoe) – Ken Lambert, Jr.

Co-Tournament Director (Gold Strike) – Robert McGovern

Events 1- 5
Click for Results for Event #6, #7, #8, #9,#10
Click for Results for Events #11, #12, #13, #14
click for Schedule of Events

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