I was expecting to see the all the legends of poker for the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker. And sure, they’ve been there . . . Phil Ivey has made five final tables but fell short every time; Antonio Esfandari made it to 3rd in event 36, and of course, we all saw the Poker Brat, Phil Hellmuth, finally get his 12th WSOP bracelet. But where have all the pros disappeared to? First-time winners are still the overwhelming majority.
Craig McCorkell overpowered a field of 587 to win Event #36, $3,000 NLH Shootout. McCorkell won $368,593, and his first bracelet after battling Jeremiah Fitzpatrick heads up to snatch it. Antonio Esfandiari was eliminated in third place.
David Baker, triumphed over 476 players who couldn’t handle Event #37 – the $2,500 Eight-Game Mix variety of Triple-Draw 2-7, Limit Hold’em, Omaha 8, Razz, Stud, Stud 8, No-Limit Hold’em, and Pot Limit Omaha. Baker won $271,312 and his far too long-overdue first gold bracelet.
Dung Nguyen was the final table winner of Event #38: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em. Nguyen overcame a field of more than 2,500 players to take home all the marbles, the $607,200 first-place prize and his first career WSOP gold bracelet.
These winners mark three more first-time bracelet winners. Even though some of them have been around a long time, none had taken all the poker chips before at the WSOP. So, where are all the legendary pros we know?