June 29, 2012
Despite Andy Bloch’s reported lead over the course of Event #45: $50K Poker Players Championship, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi ultimately won the bracelet and the $1.45+ million first place prize. This is the third consecutive year that Mizrachi has landed a gold bracelet, and he’s become the only player to win the $50K Poker Players Championship David “Chip” Reese Memorial Trophy twice, and arguably, no one is more deserving based on poker successes over the past 10 years.
Mizrachi earned his first WSOP bracelet in the 2010 Poker Players Championship, that accompanied a $1.55+ million payout, only to follow that up with a fifth place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event Championship for which he earned another $2.33+ million, making his 2010 WSOP winnings total more than $4 million. That’s pretty impressive.
His second WSOP bracelet was last year at the WSOP Europe. There he won $400K for a mixed-game event. He’s also made five additional WSOP final tables over the past two years. Three bracelets and nine final tables over a two-year span may just earn him the title of Mr. WSOP. Thirty-year-old Mizrachi is from Mirimar, Florida, but he might as well just move to Vegas.
His most recent bracelet win was not an easy one to score. In a field of 108 of the most legendary and biggest names in poker, Mizrachi defeated former bracelet winners Bloch (third place) and Bell Chen (seventh place), while sending Chris Klodnicki to the rail in second place after just five hours of heads-up play.
A full-time poker player since 2004, Mizrachi, like many other poker pros, dropped out of college to pursue poker. He was actually in med school when he decided to change his fate, and the risk turned out well. He is married and has three children
June 26, 2012
Former Calvin Klein model Greg Ostrander proved yesterday that one can have the brains and the beauty when he landed his first WSOP bracelet in Event #41: $3K NLH, an event that drew in 1,394 players and was whittled down to just two players after three days of play, Ostrander and second place finisher, Jackie Glazier. Ostrander won the second largest first place payout of the year at just over $742K.
Forty-year-old Ostrander is one of the more colorful poker players with an interesting story. He made sure that the modeling career he enjoyed during his early 20s wasn’t his only successful gig or final 15 minutes of fame. He was able to attend college and receive a criminal justice degree with the cash he earned modeling. He then became a New York police officer, and his eight years in the field were not the most glamorous years of his life. After suffering a traumatic injury and in the meantime discovering the wonderful world of poker, he decided that the dangers of being a police officer were not worth the pay and poker was much more fun.
And Ostrander was really good at poker . Good enough to win a WSOP bracelet and enough money to justify to his wife and two children leaving a secure but life threatening job to play poker. Because this such a happy story and Ostrander is such a likeable guy, the poker community will look forward to cheering him on should he make his way to the Main Event. Last year he finished 232nd in a field of more than 7,000 people.
June 26, 2012
The 2012 gold bracelet for WSOP Event #43: $1,500 NLH was awarded to Henry Lu in the wee hours of the morning last night after a long day of intense action that began with 20 players including James Mackey who fell out in third place with a $286,000 payout leaving Lu and British poker veteran Neil Channing to duke it out heads-up for close to four hours. Ultimately, Lu would take the title leaving Channing with $406,409 making his all-time tourney earnings total more than $3 million. Channing has yet to win a WSOP bracelet.
This was the Brooklyn native’s first WSOP bracelet and along with it, he won $654,380 of the $3.7+ million prize pool amassed by 2,770 players. Lu now ranks 73rd on Card Player’s Player of the Year list, while ranking 116th on the Bluff Magazine Poker Player of the Year listing.
Meanwhile, Andy Bloch may earn his second WSOP bracelet for the 2012 WSOP in Event #45: $50K Players Championship, though he’s got some tough competition including Viktor Blom, Phil Hellmuth, David Benyamine, Jeff Lisandro, Shaun Deeb, Doyle Brunson, Huck Seed, Patrik Antonius, and Jason Mercier, just to name a few. This star-studded event is a big deal and features some of the biggest names in pro poker. And despite the fact that many players are playing tight because of the massive stakes, eliminations are imminent. Barry Greenstein was unfortunately eliminated about an hour ago after raising all in with 22,700 chips when Blom called. David Baker, in the big blind, went all in with 108,900 chips. Blom called again. Greenstein’s A♦/3 ♣ was no match for Blom’s A♥ /J♠. Baker showed J♦/J♣. The board read 8♥/4♦/7♠/7♥/Q♠ and Baker won it all, doubling up and sending Greenstein to the rail.
Currently Bloch, who won his first bracelet this year in Event #7: $1,500 7 Card Stud, is chip leader and brothers Michael and Robert Mizrachi, John Hennigan, John Monnette, and Jeff Lisandro hold the big stacks of 600,000 chips or greater. Forty-eight players remain.
June 22, 2012
There had never been a WSOP bracelet winner from Japan… until yesterday. Naoya Kihara made history when he became the first ever Japanese poker player to win a gold bracelet in Event #34: $5K PL Omaha/6 Handed. The 30-year-old professional poker player beat a field of 419 players that included representation from more than 25 various countries. For his win, Kihara earned $512,029 and so much more, as he will go down in history as the first Japanese WSOP bracelet winner.
Last year, Maeda Azusa came close, finishing second at WSOP Europe, but the honor would ultimately go to Kihara. He hopes to obtain a sponsorship deal and wishes to become a poker ambassador in Japan and throughout Asia. With his winnings, Kihara will be able to fulfill his dream of traveling around the world to play poker rather than playing online, which he mostly did prior to winning. Last year, Kihara cased in 653rd place in the Main Event in his first trip to Vegas to play in the WSOP. Perhaps this year he will go even further in the Main Event during his second WSOP stint.
Prior to going pro, Kahara was a private school teacher. He currently resides in Tokyo and faces many of the typical issues that US players face. He says of his profession, “My parents don’t like it. They know that but don’t like it,” according to WSOP.com.
Other bracelet winners at the final table of Event #34 included Davidi Kitai and Jason DeWitt. David Benyamine cashed 14th, and Brock Parker 36th. Chris De Maci finished the tournament in second place.
June 20, 2012
The NLH Four-Handed format made its debut as a bracelet event at the 2012 WSOP, attracting 750 players from 35 various countries. This variation is especially popular among short-handed specialists and has been made popular online as players look for new ways to play, but it is not for the meek, as the more aggressive players tend to come out on top in NLH Four-Handed.
That being said, the NLH Four-Handed world champion has been declared. Twenty-six-year-old Canadian Timothy Adams from Burlington, Ontario ended up as the last man standing in Event #28 for which he won a $392,476 share of the $1.7 million prize pool and his first WSOP bracelet.
Not only is Adams the first ever NLH Four-Handed Champion, he is also the third Canadian poker player to win a gold bracelet this year. Ashkan Razavi won Event #9: $1,500 NLH Re-Entry and the biggest prize purse yet of more than $780, while Simon Charette won Event #24: $3K NLH Six-Handed and $567K+ earlier in the series.
This is Adams’ fifth year participating in the WSOP, and it is obvious he is a seasoned pro.
He told WSOP.com after his bracelet win: “I mean, three days of four-handed poker is crazy, because most of the time you’re playing deep. So it’s like you’re playing a deep cash game, four-handed, for 12 hours a day. And I mean, yeah, I have a lot of experience playing short-handed. Like, that’s kind of what I specialize in online, playing three-handed, four-handed, five-handed, six-handed. So, not once did I really feel uncomfortable during the poker tournament. It’s an incredible tournament. Awesome. I mean, I hope the World Series of Poker has more four-handed tournaments, because I think everyone that I’ve spoke to had great things to say about it.”
June 20, 2012
The biggest WSOP event ever was held last week when 4,128 fervent seniors filled the Rio, spanning across the Brasilia, Amazon, and Pavilion Rooms to compete in the $1,000 buy-in event that busted last year’s attendance of 3,752 players, the previous biggest starting day record. No other event in the history of WSOP has had this many starters in one day. Other tournaments have only come close with multiple starting days.
The Golden Eagle, which boasts the names of all previous Senior Event winners was on display to kick off the event, along with VP o fInternational Poker Operations and Director of the World Series of Poker Jack Effel. Senior poker player “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale was also present. He says of the massive group, “Most of them don’t care if they win or lose. To them, poker is fun. They are already successful in life and they are here to have fun.” He expects the event to only grow bigger as the loyal group of players stick together to rekindle the spirit of the good old days of poker.
One reason this event is so popular is because it allows players from poker’s past, who have been playing poker around the country and at the WSOP long before the newbies were even born, to kick it old school without the kids who are seasoned by days on end of Internet poker.
Winner of the event, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, took home a $603,713 prize—the third largest bracelet payout thus far in 2012—and her first WSOP bracelet, making her the first female bracelet winner in four years. Dennis Phillips finished second and earned more than $370K for his efforts. Shulman’s win will rightfully so go down in history.
June 20, 2012
2008 World Series of Poker Main Event fourth place finisher Ylon Schwartz won his first bracelet this year, nearly four years after almost becoming the WSOP champ. Schwartz, a chess master and pro poker player from Brooklyn managed to come out on top of the 889-player field in Event #27: $1,500 HORSE.
Day 3, being the final scheduled day of the event, started with 17 players left including Brandon Guss, Zimnan Ziyard, Cliff Josephy, Michael Chow, Rep Porter, Bryce Yockey, and Allen Cunningham. Heads up was down to Schwartz and David Chiu, and ultimately, Schwartz landed his first WSOP bracelet and $267,081; Chiu took home no bracelet and a $164,960 consellation prize. Third place went to Stephen Chidwick with a $112,106 payout.
Another November Niner and 2009 WSOP Main Event Champion, Joe Cada was also in on some final table action in Event $#31: $1,500 NLH, but unfortunately, Cada wasn’t as lucky as Schwartz and only made it to second place, giving up the bracelet to Carter Phillips after a grueling heads up battle that paid Phillips $664,130. This event drew 2,811 participants that saw Viktor Blom, Andy Frankenberger, Greg Raymer, Matt Affleck, David Williams, and Kara Scott out after a harsh Day 1. By Day 2 there were only 331 players left.
Cada, who finished Day 2 as the chip leader of 19 players was so close to snagging his second WSOP bracelet; however, by the final table, he had become the short stack of the remaining nine players. He cashed out with $412,424, though—not a bad day at the office.
June 14, 2012
In a final table that included Scotty Nguyen, Phil Ivey, and Mike Matusow, established poker pro from Las Vegas, Joe Cassidy, managed to bring in the bracelet. Cassidy, who is no stranger to the WSOP with five final table appearances and 15 cashes since his first WSOP cash in 2004, finally proved he has what it takes. Not only did he win Event #24: $5K Omaha Hi-Low, but he beat out some of the best poker pros in the game and a player field of 256. With this $294,777 first-place prize, Cassidy’s WSOP earnings now total more than $678K.
Cassidy went into heads-up with more than three million chips against five-time WSOP bracelet winner Nguyen’s 845,000. Ultimately, the epic heads-up showdown that resulted in an extension to Day 4 Nguyen finished in second place at 3:00 a.m. with a $182,213 paycheck, while Ivey, eight-time bracelet winner cashed out in third place—his third final table appearance in six days. Matusow, three-time WSOP bracelet winner, was ousted in eighth place.
Meanwhile, at Event #23: $3K NLH/6 Handed, the final table was stocked with a handful of one-time bracelet winners including Bertrand Grospellier, Foster Hays, and Scott Montgomery, but the bracelet and the $567,624 first-place prize went to Canadian Simon Charette, who outlasted 923 other players vying for a piece of the $2.5+ million prize pool. Hays finished fifth, while Grospellier finished sixth, and Montgomery seventh. Freddy Deeb, who has two WSOP bracelets finished in tenth place.
June 13, 2012
Even legends fall short sometimes, and second place is bitter sweet in the world of poker, especially when the tournament is a World Series of Poker event. It comes with a nice paycheck, but it must really hurt when one comes that close to a gold WSOP bracelet that he can taste it. As was the case for Phil Ivey in Event #17: PLH. He took second place to Andy Frankenberger, who took his second WSOP bracelet. Ivey, who has a total of eight WSOP bracelets, made Frankenberger work for his win, as the final heads-up drew quite a crowd, but in the end, Frankenberger took the win.
The final hand saw Frankenberger raise 300,000. Ivey called. After a A♠/5♦/4♥ flop, Ivey checked. Frankenberger then bet another 130,000, which Ivey raised and immediately Frankenberger called. Ultimately, Ivey had an open ended straight with a 7♦/6♦ in the hole, while Frankenberger held A♥/J♦ with a simple top pair. But everything changed on the River. The Turn and the River saw 5♠ and 5♣ to make the winning hand for Frankenberger and another WSOP title with a $275,559 payout.
Another close second came in Event #7: Seven Card Stud when Andy Bloch took the bracelet right out of the hands of Barry Greenstein. But it was Bloch’s turn. He’s been in the second place seat twice before just shy of a WSOP bracelet and had never won one in the 25 years he’s been participating in the WSOP. But 2012 is his year. He ended up with a straight from 10 to Ace, also known as a Broadway. Block finished with a $126,363 prize and a long awaited gold bracelet. Greenstein, who has three WSOP bracelets, cashed for $78,038.
June 11, 2012
The $2,500 Seven-Card Razz Event at the 2012 WSOP will go down in history simply because Phil Hellmuth, Jr. finally won his 12th WSOP bracelet, proving that hope is alive. And it wasn’t an easy feat either. Hellmuth earned it. Six of the final eight finishers were WSOP bracelet winners with 20 combined victories among them.
Late Sunday night, the event culminated in front of a packed house, half of which seemed to be cheering for Hellmuth, according to WSOP.com, while the other half may have been cheering against him, as he’s not the most loved poker pro in the game, but who cares?
Hellmuth has more WSOP gold bracelets than any other poker player ever. This bracelet proves that Hellmuth isn’t going anywhere. Once a poker legend, always a poker legend. He scored a $182,793 prize for his win and now holds a two-bracelet lead over Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, tied for 2nd all-time bracelet holders with 10 each.
The irony though is that Hellmuth’s forte, Hold ‘em, was not the focus of this event. In fact, every other bracelet he’s won was some sort of Hold ‘em—PLH, NLH, LH, but this time the Hold’em master mastered Seven-Card Razz. Lovingly known as the “Poker Brat,” Hellmuth’s reputation precedes him as arguably the most famous player in the world, but also the most detested player in the world by many due to his “bratty” attitude and self-relishing personality.
After a stint of playing not the best poker and coming in second at three WSOP events last year, Hellmuth had fallen on hard times. But this win should be the sign that poker legends of yesteryear are making a comeback, challenged by the young gun phenomenon of barely legal poker pros fresh off the high-stakes tables at PokerStars.
But five years after his 11th bracelet win—to the day—Hellmuth went face to face with Don Zewin and the possible 12th bracelet while many thought he’d finish second once again. Zewin actually finished third to Hellmuth 23 years ago when he won the 1989 WSOP World Championship. Then when the suspense was so thick it could’ve been sliced with a knife, it happened very quickly and one card sealed the fate of Hellmuth to the dismay of many, but not to Hellmuth. For it could’ve very well been in the top three very best nights of his life, if not the very best.