Archive for June 2013

Back at the beginning of it all, in 1970, a guy named Johnny Moss was elected by his peers as the first World Champion of Poker and received a silver cup as a prize. A year later, in 1971, he defeated a field of six (including himself) and was awarded the championship title and a total of $30,000 . Flash forward 42 years to 2012, and a guy named Greg Merson was declared the World Champion of poker and took home $8,531,853 after defeating a field of 6,598 players. Now it is the 44th annual World Series of Poker and it continues to amaze us; it continues to create millionaires and change lives forever. Who will be this year’s WSOP Champion?

Here’s the latest from the floor at the Rio:

Ben VolpeEvent 45 drew a field of 678 to the poker tables to battle each other in the $1,500 Ante-Only No-Limit Hold’em tournament. Ben Volpe, The 26-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, comfortably ran through that field until he was heads-up with Paul Lieu. Then it turned into a back and forth war where, for a while, it looked like Volpe was through. He was holding a pair of queens and snap called an all-in by Lieu holding pocket fours. The river gave Lieu the win with trip fours and it seemed as though Volpe just gritted his teeth, recouped his poker chips and went in for the kill. Volpe took the WSOP title, his first gold bracelet and $201,399.

Vladimir ShchemelevVladimir Shchemelev, 40 years old from St. Petersburg, Russia, championed event 46, a $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low tournament. Shchemelev outlasted a fairly heavy field of 435 players chasing the dream, among them Mike Matusow, Gavin Smith, Joe Hachem and several other prior bracelet winners. Shchemelev fought heads-up against two-time bracelet winner Mel Judah and came out on top to win his first gold bracelet and WSOP title plus $279,094 to celebrate his victory.

Marco JohnsonMarco Johnson, a 27-year-old poker professional from Walnut Creek, California, finally wraps his first gold bracelet around his wrist. Johnson has been close before. He came in second in the same event last year and just  a few days ago he was runner up yet again. But, he wasn’t satisfied and this time in event 48, a $2,500 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em event, he held tough and outplayed a total field of 343 players  and easily defeated Jeff Thompson heads-up to finally take home the bracelet that has eluded him in the past, along with a 2013 Championship title and $206,796.

And so the 44th Annual World Series of Poker, in what has now become traditional, continues to amaze, continues to make millionaires and continues to change lives.

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“I May Be Bluffin’…But You’ll Never Know” is the song that we wrote and produced for the Texas Poker Store, looking at the faces around the poker tables at the 44th Annual World Series of Poker you can easily see that the song’s title applies to damn near every player there, pro and amateur alike. Our eyes and ears on the floor at the Rio have reported some major bluffs that were not called and they swear they could read the lip read of the  bluffers silently singing, ” I’m all in; I’m in it to win…I may be bluffin’ but you’ll never know.”

Here’s the latest from the Rio…

Norbert SzecsiEvent 42, a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em drew 2,100 players. Among them was 22 year-old Norbert Szecsi from Budapest, Hungary who was determined to put Hungary on this year’s bracelet board . Szecsi seemed to embody the spirit of “I May Be Bluffin'” by going All-In several times and daring anyone to call him. That strategy worked for him and he eventually crushed Dennis Gnidash heads-up to win his first-ever final table, the WSOP title to go along with his first gold bracelet and a grand total of $345,037 to help pay for the celebration with his rail supporters.

Jesse MartinA decade older, Jesse Martin from Los Angeles, California by way of  Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, won his first gold bracelet at  33 years 0f age in Event 43: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament. This victory was long in the making, Martin had cashed 30 times at the WSOP before finally winning the championship title and bracelet and to go along with it the sweet sum of $253,524 to bring his career earnings to just about $700,000.  Martin outplayed a very heavily competitive field to go heads-up against the formidable poker pro David “Bakes” Baker. Martin finally took Baker down after the ninth hand gave him the lowest hand and the championship.

Sandeep PulsaniThen there was 24 year old Sandeep Pulusani from Hunstville, Alabama, who our sources swear he was mouthing “I May Be Bluffin'” during Event 44, a $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament. Pulusani pushed through a series of all ins, several bad beats and finally holding  he called Niall Farrell’s all in push with . The flop gave Pulsani a and the river sealed the deal with an , eliminating Farrell and giving Pulusani his first title, gold bracelet and $592,684. Not to shabby of a payday.

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It’s hard to believe that we’re already 28 days into this year’s WSOP,  the 44th Annual World Series Of Poker, and that in just 11 more days the Main Event will begin. We are extremely hard pressed to try to figure out who will be signing up for the No-Limit Hold’em Main Event that may change their lives forever, but we do have our personal favorites that we hope to see at the Main Event poker tables.

Since our last blog on Saturday, the 22nd, the heat has continued to rise and another half dozen or so bracelets have been awarded to the following Poker Champs:

Michael "Big Store" MooreMichael “Big Store” Moore, from Agar, South Dakota  – population 77,  has been around the WSOP longer than some of this year’s players, who have already won bracelets,  have been alive. But that seemed to just make him even more determined to show them up. Moore conquered event 37, a $5,000 Limit Hold’em tournament and snatched up his first gold bracelet at the age of 64 years young, plus a big fat payout of $211,743. He’ll be celebrating big time and will probably take his entire home town out to dinner and drinks. Go for it “Big Store;” give ’em Moore.

Simeon NaydenovFour decades younger than Moore, Simeon Naydenov, just 25 years old from Bulgaria, ran through a field of 1,194 players in just three days and crushed the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout tournament final table in five hours. Naydenov defeated Jake Schwartz in a quick heads-up to take home his first gold bracelet and $326,440 to add to his previous 7 WSOP cashes.

Justin OliverSunday night was another night of celebration for the Canadians as Justin Oliver, from Toronto,  spanked Nick Schwarmann from Longwood, Florida in this Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament, to earn another bracelet for the Canadians. Oliver earned his first gold bracelet and a total of $309,071 to party with. The 37-year-old Oliver had to fight hard for this win and managed to come back from a 6 to 1 chip lead held by Schwarmann to finally take all the chips.

Daniel IdemaDaniel Idema, 28 years old from Vancouver, BC, picked up the ninth win for the Canadians in this series and his second gold bracelet. Idema took over a field of 558 players, and defeated Californian Joseph Hertzog after a long heads-up  to win the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better Tourney and take home the title, bracelet and $184,590. This win marked Idema’s 19th time to cash at the WSOP since 2010.

Jared "The Waco Kidd" HambyJared “The Waco Kidd” Hamby, 31 years old from Elkhart, Indiana, is no stranger to the felt, both online and at the WSOP. Hamby scored his 19th WSOP cash by taking the title of a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tourney. This event drew a field of 2,161 anxious players wanting to get their hands on the coveted WSOP gold bracelet; 2,160 of those players missed it and only “The Waco Kidd” ended up with the bracelet around his wrist, his first, plus the sweet prize of $525,272 dollars to go with the title of WSOP Champion.

Steve GrossEvent 41 proved to be just what the doctor ordered for Steve Gross,  a young 27-year-old poker pro from Marlboro, N.J. Gross held strong after a very long losing run in WSOP events this year and defeated a small field of  only 400 players in this $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Handed event. Now he can shout it out for all to hear loud and clear; he has won his first-ever WSOP title and gold bracelet, plus $488,817. Gross is no stranger to the felts, both online and live; he has 14 WSOP cashes and some $6 million playing online before Black Friday.

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Few thing create as much excitement at the World Series of Poker; fewer things still award as much competition prize money as the WSOP. More than $50 million dollars have already been awarded at this year’s series alone and it’s just slightly more than half ways through. That is why when you walk into the Rio Hotel and Casino today, the excitement indeed is palpable and the buzzing questions all around are: who will play at the big event? and who will make it to the final table? and who will be the November Nine?

Here are your latest event winners:

Bryan CampanelloBryan Campanello, who is – can you believe it? – just 21 years old. This kid has already had in his young poker career six WSOP cashes that included two final tables in the WSOP Circuit, whew…way to go, Bryan. He used all his experience and poker knowledge to easily defeat David “Gunslinger” Bach. Campanello picked up the $2,500 Seven Card Razz title, a big fat prize of $178,052 and his first gold bracelet. I’m certain we will be seeing lots more of Mr. Campanello in the future.

Michael GathyMichael Gathy, a 24-year-old pro from Brussels, Belgium. ran through a field of 1,629 players in just a couple of days to win the first-ever World Series of Poker Turbo event. Gathy outlasted a host of poker celebrities at the final table and was awarded his second WSOP gold bracelet, and $440,829 for his troubles. Other poker pros sitting at the final table with him who had previously won gold bracelets included Jason Duval and Jack Cody.

Erik LindgrenErick Lindgren has done it again. He took over event 32, a $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tourney, by holding strong and playing wisely. He outlasted a relatively small field of 516 seriously focused players to take the WSOP title, his second gold bracelet and $606,317 big dollars. Lindgren now has a total of 36 cashes, over $3.4 million in poker earnings and two gold bracelets!

Jeff MadsenNo stranger to the WSOP and the rush of poker, 28-year-old Jeff Madsen confidently entered event 35, a $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tourney, with his eyes fixed on the prize. After all, he had won before and was even named WSOP player of the year back in 2006. He was ready and he proved it when the final hand turned a J of clubs on the river to give him top two pairs for the win, Kings and Jacks over Kings and Nines for the second place winner, Douglas Courning. Madsen raked in all the poker chips and walked away with a WSOP title, his third gold bracelet, and a $384,420 payday.

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