by Joseph Smith Sr.
Amir Lehavot has the distinction of being the oldest player at this year’s WSOP Main Event final table at the “old age” of 38 years. Lehavot was born near Tel Aviv, Israel, but now calls Weston, Florida home and he has dual citizenship with Israel and the U.S. He added to his WSOP history book entries when he became the first Israeli to make a WSOP Main Event final table.
After receiving his B.S in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, Lehavot worked within his discipline in San Francisco until he began playing poker in 2004. He quickly discovered his natural ability to successfully play the game. He then became the manager of the online poker training site, pokerwit.com. His first major cash came at the 2009 WSOP Main Event when he finished 226th to collect $32,226.
Lehavot achieved every poker player’s dream when he entered the 2009 WSOP Pot Limit Hold’Em world championship event and won a WSOP bracelet. He also collected $573,456 after outlasting a blue ribbon field of poker pros. His journey to that win took him past the likes of Nenad Medic, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, and Robert Mizrachi.
During his first decade of professional poker, Lehavot has earned more than two and a quarter million dollars. He also has that gold and diamond bracelet, has played in 7 WSOP Main Events, has cashed in twelve WSOP events and accumulated thousands of hours of top level poker experience. The combination of all these attributes have now brought him to the final table of the 2013 WSOP Main Event with the second largest chip stack that’s just shy of T30 million.
During post-game interviews, Lehavot shared some of his observations and thoughts about the upcoming November finale. He believes the final table is loaded with poker talent and the chips are more evenly spread than past final tables. This should make for a tough road to travel on the way to poker’s highest fame and biggest fortune. When asked about the overall tournament field he stated that the early days of play revealed many players that were outclassed. Fortunately, this is always the case and also the reason the purse is so large.
Lehavot also talked about his strategy of playing mistake free poker with no questionable decisions he would later regret. He believes, and rightly so, that having won a WSOP bracelet is a big plus. It is proof positive that the owner can play with the best and win. It can also be an intimidation factor for some of the players. It’s visible evidence that the owner knows how to win.
For those lucky enough to be at the Penn & Teller Theater for the WSOP Main Event final table this is an opportunity to see the best. Pay attention to Lehavot’s game as he continuously makes subtle adjustments to counter the changing dynamics of the table. This learned ability to change one’s play on the fly is just one of the important attributes separating good players from great players.
When the dust clears and we have one final player with chips and a chair, will it be Amir Lehavot? The answer is most certainly a big maybe. That’s maybe with a capitol M. He brings all the right game qualities to the table and it will be no surprise if he wins.
Lehavot said he would use the break time to relax and maybe get away from poker for a while. So what’s he been doing? What do you think? He’s been playing poker, of course. He won another $69,810 at the end of August when he finished 16th in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open main event.