The World Series of Poker (WSOP) had been dominated by American players up until the year 1990. Up until this point, there had never been a winner of the main event who wasn't American. 1990 changed all that. Mansour Matloubi was an Omaha specialist who was from Wales (originally from Iran), and found himself competing with Hans "Tuna" Lund who was a Nevada player that had quite a following. He became the first non-American winner of the WSOP in an exciting exchange of hands.
There were a few other things that made the 1990 WSOP special. First of all it was the first event series to happen since the death of Benny Binion, who was the creator of the World Series of Poker. It was also the last time that the WSOP would have less than 200 people competing for prizes. There were a total of 194 entrants to participate, and it would never again be the same. Lastly, it was also the first time that the prize for the main event would be less than a million bucks.
The way that Mansour Matloubi would win it all would come down to a key hand he had when he had less chips than "Tuna" Lund. During the course of that hand, Matloubi would be dealt pocket tens, and would gain confidence and put in 75,000. Lund called it, of course. Lund made a mistake, however, because he had top pair, top kicker, and was not overly experienced in that hand. Matloubi followed up with this by under betting and only putting in 100,000. Lund reacted by raising the bet another 250,000.
Matloubi then went into meditation, wondering what type of hand Lund might have in his hands. After some deliberation, Matloubi decided that his hand was as good as any he could get and moved all in. Once this happened, you could sense that Lund was a little uneasy. Lund ended up calling it, and once the cards were flipped it was obvious that Lund was left in the dust.
Matloubi just about jumped up with horror when he saw the ace of spades laid on the table in front of him. Lund must have been feeling comfortable, hoping the Poker Gods were in his favor. The next card to be laid was the ten of spades which turned the favor back over to Matloubi.
Over the course of the next few hands, Lund tried to fight back with his 250,000 but eventually the antes and the blinds became too much for him and he found himself backed into the corner with some pocket fours. Mansour ended up calling the hand with pocket sixes and found himself the first foreign winner of the World Series of Poker. He was an Iranian Welshman, and was the new champion of a sport that had previously been owned by the Americans. He won the $835,000 prize in the main event and changed the face of the sport forever, making it a truly global sport after all.
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