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Lebanese Poker Championship, Day 2: Kamar Heads Final 28

Fadi Kamar

One hundred and eleven players returned to the Casino du Liban just outside of Beirut for Day 2 of the largest poker tournament ever held in Lebanon, the 2009 Lebanese Poker Championship. The deliberate structure of the tournament meant that players were able to pick their spots carefully and take their time, which led to a slower pace than organizers originally anticipated. Thus 28 players remained at the end of Day 2, with Fadi Kamar leading all players by a significant margin heading into the final day.

A capacity crowd watched as 2008 WSOP bracelet winner Nenad Medic started Day 2 on a short stack and never got anything going before he busted in the first level. Medic picked his spot to move in with pocket sixes, but lost the race to A-Q and headed to the door early. Raymond Rahme was another early elimination, busting in a big three-way hand with Joseph Mouawad and Ziad Hany. All the chips went in the middle on a {10-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{J-Clubs} flop, as Mouawad showed {10-Clubs}{9-Hearts} to Rahme’s {A-Clubs}{K-Diamonds}. They were both chasing Ziad Hany’s {A-Hearts}{A-Diamonds}, and as the turn and river brought running sevens, Hany scooped the pot as Rahme and Mouawad headed to the rail. Hany finished Day 2 in the middle of the pack.

Chris Karagulleyan started the day as one of the big stacks, but dropped steadily following his late arrival on Day 2. He finally moved all his chips into the middle with {A-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts} but found himself staring at his opponent’s {A-Clubs}{A-Spades}. The board ran out {7-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{Q-Spades}{6-Diamonds}, and Karagulleyan was done.

Day 1 chip leader Nicolas Zakhem continued his winning ways throughout Day 2, kicking things off early when he called an opponent’s all-in with {2-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}. The opponent showed {A-Clubs}{9-Hearts}, and when the dust settled the board read {J-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{J-Hearts}{10-Spades}{6-Clubs}. Zakhem’s deuces held up to send another victim to the rail. Zakhem wasn’t able to hold the chip lead all day, but finished up among the top ten chip counts.

Sherif Zacca took over the top spot for much of Day 2 when he took a big chunk out of Said Kheir’s stack. The pot was big enough before the river betting, but on a final board of {10-Spades}{J-Clubs}{A-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}. Zacca fired a big river bet and sent Kheir into the tank. Kheir finally called, only to see Zacca table {K-Hearts}{Q-Spades} for the nuts and the pot. Kheir mucked as Zacca took over the chip lead.

At the end of the day, however, it was Fadi Kamar playing king of the mountain as the only player over 600,000 in chips. Kamar benefited from good fortune as well. He called an all-in early in the day with {9-Hearts}{9-Clubs}, only to find Eias Aad holding pocket jacks. The flop of {8-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{5-Spades} put Kamar in the lead, and when the turn and river came down {7-Clubs}{Q-Clubs}, Aad was done.

Late in the day Kamar sent Chady Merhej packing after Merhej made a big move at a pot on a flop of {9-Spades}{5-Clubs}{10-Hearts}. Kamar raised Merhej all in, and Merhej called with {8-Clubs}{8-Hearts}. His underpair was in deep trouble against Kamar’s {Q-Clubs}{Q-Hearts}, and Merhej didn’t improve on the {3-Clubs} turn or the {9-Hearts} river. Kamar scooped the pot to take over the chip lead as Merhej headed home.

Play ended for Day 2 with 28 players remaining, just outside the 21-player payout structure. Join PokerNews as the 28 survivors battle it out for the 21 money spots and the biggest prize pool in Lebanese poker history.

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