Sam Farha - Legends of Poker
Sam Farha is cool. His slick black hair is combed back with the help of some gel, an unlit cigarette is always hanging loosely from the corner of his mouth and he walks around in the nicest suits from Armani, Gucci and Valentino. He could easily sit down at a table with the Corleone Family from the Godfather and wouldn't stand out. He's certainly not the only poker player who tries to look good at the table, but nobody seems to be quite as good at it as Sam Farha. Farha is one of the best cashgame-players on the planet and he is said to be the best short-handed Poy-Limit Omaha player around.
Sam Farha was born in 1959 in Beirut, Lebanon. In his teen years he was already a very successful gamer. He became world champion in Pac-Man, was a good pool player and his skills at the pinball machine made him a local celebrity. He even made it onto the cover of a Lebanese magazine. Because he was good at gaming he obviously started betting on the games he played and made some good money with that. He once, for example, won $5,000 in a game of Pac-Man.
He father wasn't very happy with the early career choices of his son and insisted that Sam Farha should go to university. When the civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975, father Farha sent his son to America, and that's how he ended up in Lawrence, Kansas, where he studies at university and received a diploma in Business Administration. After his study he moved to Houston, Texas to live with his brother. He did various jobs during that time and in his free time he started to poker with some friends. It was then that he remembered how good he was at games and gambling and he realized how much he had missed it. He slowly built up his bankroll and improved his poker skills bit by bit. After spending his first weekend in Las Vegas with his brother, where he won quite a bit of money at the poker tables, he started to realize that he was quite a good player, and a lot better than the average player in Vegas.
In 1990 he decided to become a professional poker player.
He became a feared cashgame player in the toughest poker circuit of America, namely Texas. He was a winning Hold'em player but ended up making most of his money playing Omaha. In a couple of years time he had built himself a reputation as being one of the best Omaha players in the world. His aggressive style and his willingness to gamble and take risks made it hard to beat him in Pot-Limit Omaha, which is also said to be a gambler game. In 1996 he proved his skills to the world by winning the WSOP $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Event. During the 2002 WSOP he made it to another PLO final table.
During the Main Event in 2003, Sam Farha loses a big hand against Barry Greenstein early in the tournament. Sam Farha had about 85k in Chips at this time, and Greenstein was sitting on 80k. Farha got up after the hand and said "I can't do anything with 5000 chips, I'm off." Greenstein holds him back and says "Just try it." Farha returns to his seat and goes all-in 7 times with the first 8 hands he gets dealt, doing this blind with the first couple of hands. He somehow managed to survive and end the day on 58,000.
Following his miraculous comeback it wasn't surprising that he ended up making it to the final table with players such as Dan Harrington, Jason Lester and Amir Vahedi. One by one the players leave the table, until it's down to just him and the internet amateur Chris Moneymaker.
Farha was so close to winning the title when Chris Moneymaker went all-in during one of the hands on a complete bluff. Farha was holding Q-9 and Moneymaker had K-7 on a board showing9-2-6-8-3 with 3 clubs on the table. Moneymaker had taken control of the hand from the start by betting out. Farha thinks for about 5 minutes. "I know you didn't make your flush," you hear him thinking. He finally decides to fold his hand, and Moneymaker went on to win the tournament. But Farha had made an unforgettable impression during the tournament and became a celebrity.
Sam Farha has played a couple more legendary hands since then. During the first hand of the WSOP Main Event 2005 he gets A-10 and Oliver Hudson, son of Actress Goldie Hawn, wakes up with 10-10. The flop shows A-A-10, and Farha could call himself chipleader for a while. Another hand was played during a season of High Stakes Poker on GSN against Barry Greenstein. It is the last hand of the night and Farha gets KK against Greenstein with AA. All the money ends up going in before the flop, creating a pot of $361,800. The pokergods must have definitely been with Sammy on that night as a King appears on the flop, deciding the hand in Farha's favor.
In 2006 Farha won another WSOP bracelet in an Omaha event, this time the $5,000 Limit Omaha 8 or better. He took home a nice $400,000, with which he passed the $2 Million mark in overall tourney winnings.
In the WSOP 2008, Farha managed to cash in two events, both $10K World Championship Events.