John Kabbaj transformed his 23rd World Series of Poker final table appearance on June 26th, 2009 into his first WSOP bracelet, defeating Kirill Gerasimov in the heads-up showdown to take home the $10K Pot Limit Holdem World Championship.
Considered a pot-limit specialist, Kabbaj was upset for quite some time after finishing in 2nd place in a PLHE bracelet event in the 2004 World Series of Poker. Five years later, that disappointing memory no longer lingers. Kabbaj said that he actually handed the bracelet to his opponent because of his horrible performance.
Gerasimov and Kabbaj outlasted a playing field of 275 participants and went against one another after Eric Baldwin hit the rail in 3rd place. Baldwin already had a bracelet win in the 2009 World Series of Poker, in a $1,500 No Limit Holdem event. Kabbaj went into the heads-up match trailing significantly, but his fortunes began to change when doubled up on a large showdown to pull even.
Possessing an A-4 suit, John Kabbaj ended up all in pre-flop vs. the pocket threes. A proud Kabbaj let out a shout of joy when he saw he had flopped a full house against Gerasimov.
Kabbaj said that at that stage Gerasimov had the lead and he had an ace card in his hand. He decided to play the card hand aggressively and they had to go all in. Kabbaj added that when Gerasimov turned over his card and he saw that it was fifty-fifty. But the card flop was good enough. Kabbaj was unstoppable after that turn, never trailing in the overall chip count again.
The final card hand played out in a spectacular fashion, as Kabbaj's pocket aces defeated Gerasimov's kings. Kabbaj won a total of $633,335 while Gerasimov won a total of $391,369 for his 2nd place finish.