It’s an argument that has some teeth to it, and you can make a case. This year’s World Series of Poker saw The Poker Brat make 3 final tables, and pit himself heads-up for career WSOP Bracelet Number 12 all three times. However, in every case he fell just one spot short and failed to extend his record of the most bracelets in WSOP history. Despite the lack of titles this year, Phil Hellmuth saw the most profitable World Series of Poker of his career in 2011 with the Main Event still pending, a truly remarkable feat considering all of his prior accolades. His incredible play at this World Series has made him the front runner for Player of the Year honors. But do the achievements of 2011 combined with the list of unprecedented accomplishments from years past make perhaps the most recognizable player in the game of poker, the greatest player ever? Now that is a question worth talking about. Read more…
The two tournaments affected by the hard stops yesterday completed in relatively short time, and within about an hour of each other. Fabrice Soulier polished off Shawn Buchanan (who came into the day with just 4 big bets) in just a few hands to claim the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship bracelet and collect $609,130 for the win. And in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em, Mikhail Lakhitov started out on fire, and blitz-Krieged his way through his final 4 opponents, knocking out all but one of them. Lakhitov scored his first career bracelet as well and won $749,610 in the process.
One other tournament complete yesterday as well as Mitch Schock completed the quest for his first WSOP Gold Bracelet and winning the $310,225 first place prize by winning the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha mixed event. So, congratulations to Soulier, Lakhitov, and Schock. Not exactly the names that make great headlines, but that happens in poker sometimes.
Here’s the action that will be underway at the Rio today: Read more…
Hard Stops prevented any bracelets from being awarded from yesterday’s action at the Rio. Probably the biggest story of the day was that of Tom Dwan making yet another WSOP Final Table and giving all those bracelet prop bettors of his a nice little sweat in the process. With 6 players left in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, Durrrr held the chip lead after surging from the short stack earlier in the day. But it seemed that Razz really became his undoing as he donated basically half of his chips late in the evening at that discipline, and eventually was bumped out in 6th when Shawn caught running diamonds on 6th and 7th street in Stud to flush Dwan and send him to the rail. This was Durrr’s 4th career WSOP Final Table (most people forget that he made two of them in 2008), and his second largest WSOP score ever (he took down $134k after winning the $381k from the runner up finish last year). It’s also his 3rd cash at this year’s WSOP, and who knows…maybe Dwan is heating up. Lord knows that he’s had more opportunities than anyone else at the Rio having entered into around 2,432 events already (even more impressive considering that event #40 just started).
The reality is, whenever Dwan runs deep in a tournament, he’s the story. His tables rail was a reported 3 people deep, Read more…
What to watch today at the WSOP – Dwyte Pilgrim looks for a 2nd Career WSOP Final Table, and eyes a bracelet
In the game of poker, there are great runs, heaters, and just simply skillful players. To me, Jason Mercier has eclipsed all of those titles. People that sit at a poker table with Jason have to consider themselves both the most fortunate and least fortunate of the players in any tournament. Most fortunate because the reality is, you’re going to get a performance by one of the greatest players in the history of the game. That may be a bold statement, and perhaps premature, but I really don’t think that’s too much of a stretch. Just ask anyone at the table who has counted themselves unfortunate for sitting at Merciers table, because in the end, he’s stacking all of their chips.
Jason will turn 25 this November and has already accomplished the unthinkable. My article on Mercier’s first three years of hitting $1 million in his first three years of playing live poker (found here) needs an update. I gave myself some room at the end of the article saying “But $1 million in earnings in your first 3 years of live poker play is a truly unique title that Mercier can lay claim to, and it begs the question, can he make it 4 in a row next year? And is there anyone who doubts that he can?” And he has. Read more…
Only one bracelet was awarded yesterday as Mark Schmid overcame the 3,144 player field to take home the Event #34 championship, shipping $488,283 in first place prize money and the jewelry. The online player known as “pimpindonks” has roughly $1 million in online tournament earnings, and now has a prize even better than one of those Gold Jerseys (which have decreased significantly in value as we’re now on day 67 without hearing a word from Full Tilt Poker about where our deposits are – another post…another time). Anyhow, I know little about Schmid other than this is his first bracelet, so congrats to him.
There will be 5 events in action today, and one in particular will continue to be a doozy. Here’s what to watch for today: Read more…
Well it turns out that yesterdays $10k Stud-8 event was the big highlight after all, as we say Phil Hellmuth heads up for the second time in this World Series of Poker. He got there through a loaded final table, but got there short stacked as well. Eric Rodawig, a Cardrunners instructor ran away with the chip lead, and while Hellmuth was able to narrow the chip margin to about 3 to 1 at one point, he just simply couldn’t run well enough to overtake the chip disadvantage and settled for 2nd a second time this summer. Congrats to Eric Rodawig for shipping the bracelet and a $442,183 payday.
The runner up finish does have a small consolation prize for Hellmuth who fell one spot shy of record setting bracelet number 12. Hellmuth has now overtaken Sam Stein in the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard, although I think that for Phil, that’s probably the last thing on his mind. He wants number 12, and he wants it bad. This was career cash number 81 (also a WSOP record), and 44th Final Table (also a record). Hellmuth also now has a total of 8 Second Place finished now for his career, so he’s painfully familiar with the title of “Bridesmaid.” But he is still in search of at least one more title as he hasn’t won a WSOP event since 2007.
There was another event that completed in the Rio yesterday as Kirk Caldwell survived the blood-bath that was the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. It’s his first bracelet and a $668,292 payday, so congrats to Caldwell.
There will be four events running at the WSOP today, and here’s what to watch for among them:
Event #34 – $1,000 No Limit Hold’em
27 players remain in the $1k Donkament, and that’s kind of what it’s turned into. Once Dwyte Pilgrim went busto in 70th, the field turned into a basic sea of unknowns, so I’m not watching this one anymore.
Event #35 – $5,000 PLO 6-max
This event had tons of promise from just the name, and after day 1, the field of 507 was quickly trimmed to 110 remaining players bagging chips and the list of leaders has some great names. Vanessa Selbst leads the field with 250k chips, and is followed in order by Erick Lindgren (208k) and Shaun Deeb (194k). Also in the top 10 is WPT Los Angeles Champ Greg Brooks (147k) and Chris DeMaci who finished runner up at the NAPT Los Angeles. Tom Dwan led the pack for much of the day but Durrrr got some action and saw his stack dwindle down towards the end of the day, bagging 81k which is still above average. There are a ton of names still in this thing, and it will continue to be a fantastic watch.
Two more events get underway today as the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em will be the biggest field of the day, while the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event will draw the best names on the day. It should be a great day down at the Rio.
There is perhaps no more polarizing poker figure today than that of Tom Dwan. If he’s playing poker, there are scores of eyeballs that want a peak at what he’s doing, what plays he’s making, and what the stakes are for. Even online, railbirds show up in droves to get a glimpse of “Durrrr” taking on the world’s best poker players for stack sizes that many people won’t make in a lifetime. He’s been involved in more than his fair share of a few million dollar pots, a few high stakes challenges, and a few entertaining prop bets, all the while drawing the interest of both the poker junkie and the casual fan.
Dwan’s career story is one that make people believe that anything is possible. In much the same way that Chris Moneymaker ignited the poker boom in 2003, the emergence of Durrrr in 2004 on Full Tilt Poker launched a poker phenom that the public saw navigate his way from playing $6 Sit and Go tournaments off of a $45 stake from his grandfather, to playing at the highest cash games online. Dwan has been the epitome of variance, with the most drastic up and down swings, and his meteoric rise to the top of Poker’s elite became all the more interesting when he signed as a member of Team Full Tilt in early November 2009. Donning the red triangle on his shirt at live tournaments and high stakes live cash games around the globe, Dwan made huge waves at the World Series of Poker in 2010 with a great number of stories. But his run in Event #11, a $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Event had a back story with the likes of which was something that the World Series of Poker hadn’t ever really seen before. The end result was a memory for everyone that will be forever etched into the poker world, one which people will recant as “I remember that WSOP event when Tom Dwan….” and everyone will fill in their own blank. In fact, the moment created by Dwan may have a larger historical impact on the game of poker than the Main Event this year, which is why I have him ranked above that story. Read more…
I recognize the fact that I’ve been lagging on getting these stories up. It’s been two weeks since my last post on Pablosplace, and really there is no excuse why I couldn’t finish the December Countdown of the Top 2010 Poker Player Stories in the month of December other than laziness. So here we are at the second week of January, and life is settling down enough to the point that I’m going to blog again. But before I get to talk about the things going on in my life, I want to complete this series. So I say “hang on” to all of you that want to hear about the Pablosplace White Elephant gift exchange night, The recent Team7Deuce journey to the Bicycle Casino, and my biggest poker tournament cash to date. I’ll get to those. But for now, I want to get back to wrapping up the last four stories of 2010, because they’re worth telling.
At the Borgata Winter Open in January, there probably wasn’t a soul at the tables that had heard of the name Tom Marchese. But slowly he racked up a chip stack en route to finishing in 3rd place in the $3,300 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event, and would book a $190,027 score. Full Tilt Poker pro Jeff Madsen would win the event outright for a $625k payday and get all of the accolades, and deservedly so. But what nobody realized was that the 3rd place finisher in this event was going to outdistance every other player in the world with performances that continued to turn heads at every stop that Marchese made. Read more…
2010 was a tale of two stories for Sorel Mizzi. The first story comes from his play in the live tournament circuit, where if there was an award for “player of the half-year,” Mizzi won it in a landslide. It’s hard to quantify exactly how good Mizzi’s first five months of the year were, other than to say that it was so good that he had the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year honor virtually locked up by the time that the calendar got to May. Let’s take a look at the results from the first 5 months of the year:
January – Mizzi finished 5th in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $5k Heads-up event, and 13th in the $5k prelim. Then 3rd in the Aussie Millions Main event.
February – 2 final tables at the L.A. Poker Classic (a 2nd and 6th place finish) and 2 more at the Wynn Classic (a 6th place finish and a win in the $2k event)
March – Mizzi won TWO events at the EPT Snowfest at Hinterglemm.
April – Mizzi wins the $7,200 Buy in Main Event East Coast Championship at Borgata, and min-cashes at the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event.
May – A runner up at the WPT Rendez-Vous á Paris in France at the £25,000 Buy-in High Roller Event.
All told, the first 5 months of the year accounted for 10 final tables, with 4 of them resulting in Mizzi winning the tournament. The sum total of his cashes was nearly $1.5 million by May, Read more…
I’m hesitant to call Frank Kassela’s 2010 a “breakout year” because as it turns out, he’s been playing solid poker since 2003. A regular at final tables in tournaments around the U.S. for the last 7 years, Kassela had his best professional year yet in 2010 and on the World’s biggest stage. The Tennessee native has been at the World Series of Poker a number of times in the past, and is no stranger to WSOP final tables. In fact in 2005, he shipped in pocket Aces with 4 players remaining in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event, and got a caller in Johnny Chan with Q-Q. But Chan spiked the Q, and found a way to use those chips to collect his 10th WSOP Bracelet as Kassela exited the tournament in 4th place. 5 years later, Kassela started the WSOP strong as he finising in 10th place in a $1,500 buy in Limit Hold’em event when his pocket tens failed to hold against Terrence Chan’s Ac-Jc. But the final table bubble was just a precursor to the best WSOP performance of the year, and an important stepping stone to becoming the 2010 World Series of Poker Player of the Year. Read more…