LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Jack 'Treetop' Strauss, a 6-foot-6 Texan, won the World Series of Poker Tuesday night, beating out more than 100 of the world's best gamblers, with a pair of 10s and an ace high on the final hand.
Dewey Tomko, a one-time Florida kindergarten teacher, lost the final hand with a pair of fours and ace-high.
Tomko shoved all his chips into the final $957,000 pot and lost the bet.
When it was over Strauss had more than $1 million in chips in front of him but walked away with $520,000 in first place prize money. The remainder was divided among the other top eight finishers. Tomko won $208,000 for placing second.
It was Strauss first championship in the World Series of Poker.
People stood 25-feet deep around the poker pit at Binion's Horseshoe Club at the climax of the tournament.
'It was luck, pure luck,' said Strauss. 'What am I going to do with all this money? Right now I'm going to sit around and think about it and really enjoy it. I've never been this lucky in my life.'
Strauss, looking more like a college professor than a professional gambler, held $530,000 in chips at the 7 p.m. dinner break with only three gamblers left in the no-limit Hold'em poker tournament at Binion's Horseshoe Club. More than 100 players started in the tourament Saturday.
Dewey Tomko of Florida who began the final and fourth round Tuesday with $116,500 boosted it to $370,000 by dinner time followed by Barry Johnston of Oklahoma with $130,000.
More than $1 million in red, grey and black chips were scattered around on the poker table -- the buy-in money of 104 gamblers who put up $10,000 each to pit their gambling skills against the best in the world.
The world champion technically wins the entire million dollar pot but walks away with about a half million dollars in first place money. The remainder is divided among the next eight finishers.
Strauss started the final round at 1 p.m. Tuesday with $341,500 against nine opponents. Within two hours his stack of chips had grown to $360,000 and three players -- Brian 'Sailor' Roberts of San Angelo, Texas, Carl Cannon of Houston, Texas, and Buster Jackson of Las Vegas - were out.
'That guy wants me bad,' said Doyle 'Texas Dolly' Brunson, a two-time World Series of Poker champion. Brunson, a native of Longworth, Texas and now a resident of Sweetwater, started the final round with $87,000. Two hours into the final round Brunson's stake dropped to $55,000. He displayed a nervous habit of twirling the bottom chip in a small stack which he held in his hand. He showed up for the final round smartly dressed in a tan suit with a bright yellow shirt.
He knew Strauss, sporting a sky blue open collared shirt, was betting heavy on medium to marginal hands trying to force him out. But Brunson continued to put in all his chips and refused to be bluffed or scared away.
Curly-haired Dewey Tomko, a kindergarden teacher in Haines City, Fla., until four years ago when he turned professional gambler, picked up more than $50,000 during the first two hours of the final round increasing his stake at that point to $185,000. Then it was more chips than anyone at the table with the exception of the 6-foot-6 Strauss, a gambler from San Antonio, Texas.
The remainder of the table, two hours into final round play, was made up of F.D. 'Dody' Roach, Corpus Christie, Texas; A.J. Meyers, Beverly Hills, Calif., and Barry Johnston, Oklahoma City.