This is part two of our interview with Hevad Khan, read <A href=http://www.liquidpoker.net/information/f/340511/Interview_with_Hevad_Khan_(Par...html> part 1 of the interview</A> first.
LP: Now, let's talk about the journey. You've found your table and taken your seat. You're sitting in front of your starting chip stack, the dealers are prepping, and in moments, the WSOP Main Event 2007 will begin. What is going through your mind?
Hevad Khan: I looked at the two young guys to my left and saw the fierceness in their eyes, and I raised my head and saw the insane amount of players across the hundreds of tables surrounding me on Day 1D. I told myself: "I am going to play this thing like it's an online tourney like the million, and I will not hold a single regret about how I played after it's over. I will make the dream a reality, and I will show the world who I am. This is my time, and no one is going to take it from me."
LP: Can you remember the first big key pot you played, or the first player you knocked out of the event? How did the hand play out? What was your reaction?
Hevad Khan: Sure. Within like 20 hands of the tournament, blinds 50/100, I got in the big blind. It folded around to the small blind, he limped in, I raised him up, he called. The flop came and he checked. I bet about half the 600 pot, he check-raised me to like 1400. I put in a big raise to 5600, he put in the rest of his 12,000 stack, and I called with him covered. He turned over , my hand held up, and he was out of the tournament.
When the pot went my way, I was calmer than you would expect. I just kind of smiled and thought to myself, "Good Hevad, good. Keep it up." I didn't start getting excited until later on in Day 2.
LP: Speaking of getting excited, you took a lot of heat for your behavior after winning pots deeper into the tournament. A lot of people said it was annoying and disruptive, and people speculated that you were only acting that way to get more time in front of the cameras. Some people even said that you were drunk. Is there any truth to any of that?
Hevad Khan: I did take a lot of heat, and I still do. But that's just how reality is. Do you really think the young poker community wants to see one of their own kind taking in all the success and glamor, while they sit there in front of their computers whining about their luck or whatever? It's all jealousy.
Two years ago, I told my college roommate Brendan Keenan (SooCrispy on PokerStars) that I would one day get on that poker TV show (WSOP), run like God, act like a retard, and love every single minute of it. So yeah, I did boost up the yelling and excitement for TV just a little. Mostly, though, I was just really excited and happy, so I celebrated in the way I know how.
And the only thing I was drunk on was Red Bull, which I drank 7 to 10 cans of every day. (laughs) A lot of people don't realize how long and exhausting those WSOP days are.
LP: Eventually, you made it all the way to the final table. Just before the final table began, did you do anything to prepare yourself? Did you have time to talk to your friends on the rail? What was said, and what was your gameplan?
Hevad Khan: We had a whole day off before the final table, and I told my friends that I needed to keep doing what I was doing, and other than that, just run good. I was totally confident in my reads and gameplan at the final table, and I was just basing the result purely on how well I was going to run at that point. I told myself just play it like it's online and have a good time, enjoy the moment, enjoy the TV and the crowds, enjoy life. Play good poker and hope for the best.
LP: One of your competitors at the final table -- the one that knocked you out and won the tournament, in fact -- was Jerry Yang. His approach to the final table was an extraordinarily aggressive one, and he pretty much dominated it. He would frequently open up the pot with a 10x the big blind raise, for example. Is this the way to do it, or was he simply a lucky fool?
Hevad Khan: It's easy to say that he was just a lucky fool, but you need to respect the situation here: it's the WSOP Final Table, and everyone is going to be terrified of getting knocked out. But Jerry Yang is fearless. For his level of experience and knowledge of the game, to play wreckless and over-aggressive like he usually does is sheer genius. And it is proof in the pudding that he was meant to win this tournament, so I believe he deserves it.
LP: During every all-in moment, he would pray outloud to God and beg God to give him good cards. And that's exactly what he was doing during your last few moments alive in the tournament, just before he knocked you out. Were you at all bothered by Jerry Yang's loud prayers?
Hevad Khan: Honestly, I didn't even hear or see him praying. I was too busy staring at the table's green felt trying my hardest to make the turn peel a pair or draw so I could suckout and win the pot. It doesn't bother me that he was praying, because I'm a bit of a spiritual person myself. I'm sure other people may be offended by it but the thing is, it doesn't matter what his table antics were, people would've found something to hate about this guy. The real world is just a jealous, lousy place full of jealous, lousy people.
LP: Take us through your final hand in the tournament. How did it feel having so much at stake on what was essentially a coinflip, and how did it feel being knocked out after what would be perhaps the biggest rush of your entire lifetime?
Hevad Khan: My final hand. Jerry had been extremely active and the blinds were 150,000/300,000 with 40,000 ante, 6 players left at the table. Jerry opened for 1,500,000 in early position, I had in the small blind and about 9,000,000 in chips. I put in a raise of 6,000,000 total, leaving myself about 3,000,000 behind which shows I am committed to the pot.
He flat called my raise, but at this point we're both committed to the pot. It doesn't really matter what cards show up, the money is going in. So I decided to just shove my last 3,000,000 in the dark. I didn't want to get to the flop and shove in, and let Jerry think he's getting some "sick tell" off me... I shoved dark, and didn't even look at the flop, so there's no way for him to think he has a read or whatever. I think those were my best chances of getting a fold out of him. But like I said, we were committed, and the postflop play was totally inconsequential. I was correct to shove any flop, and he was correct to call any flop.
The flop came , he obviously called my shove, turn river and I was out of the tournament.
I'm confident that I played the hand the best way it could be played. The money was just destined to go in the middle, and I have no regrets.
LP: That was the end of one tournament life, but perhaps also the beginning of dozens more. After your run in the WSOP Main Event, you got a contract with PokerStars and are now a member of the aptly-named Team PokerStars. What do you get out of that deal? Do you have any big obligations to them? I know there are some parts you're not allowed to talk about, but tell us what you can.
Hevad Khan: I can't go into detail about what they do for me, but I can tell you that I do have some obligations, and they do take very good care of me. To be on Team PokerStars has been a dream of mine for some three years now, ever since I saw Elky join. I am living the life and I am lovin' every minute.
LP: Your face has been seen on millions of TV sets and websites all over the world. What level of fame has all this publicity given you? Is it something that's pretty much kept inside the poker world, or is it bigger than that? Have you ever had a complete stranger recognize you on the street, in a store, something like that?
Hevad Khan: The amount of fame I receive is massive. When I was at WPT Foxwoods recently, I shook maybe 200 different hands and signed like 25 autographs. I'm a hero to these people, and I love it. Girls came up to me and asked for pictures, I mean it was just so awesome. I've been recognized outside of the poker community many times, too. Last time it happened, I was at Applebee's picking up my dinner two nights ago and the bartender recognized me and asked about the monkey dance and how poker is going and everything, little things like that.
LP: Well, it's been a long interview and I know you've got a long flight to China tomorrow for APPT-Macau, so let's wrap this interview up with 10 short-order questions
LP: What is your favorite word?
Hevad Khan: Crisp
LP: What is your least favorite word?
Hevad Khan: Wait
LP: What is your favorite poker variation?
Hevad Khan: Deuce to Seven Lowball Triple-Draw, Fixed Limit
LP: What is your favorite starting hand?
LP: What is your least favorite starting hand?
Hevad Khan: 94o
LP: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Hevad Khan: Meteorologist
LP: What profession other than your own would you least like to attempt?
Hevad Khan: Teaching english literature
LP: What is your favorite food?
Hevad Khan: Pizza
LP: What is your favorite hard beverage?
Hevad Khan: Heineken
LP: What is your favorite curse word?
Hevad Khan: SHITTER!
LP: Thanks for doing the interview with us, Khan. Have a smooth flight, and best of luck in Macau!
Hevad Khan: Thanks man, good luck!
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