Simon Watt Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet
Watt Collects $614,248 in Prize Money
Add New Zealand to the List of WSOP Gold Bracelet-Winning Nations
Giant-Killer Simon Watt Slays Star Tom Dwan in Thrilling Heads-Up Match
Simon Watt was the winner of the third $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship at this year’s World Series of Poker. Watt is a 27-year-old software developer from Auckland, New Zealand. With his thrilling victory in the 11th gold bracelet event on this year’s schedule, Watt became the first New Zealander in history to win a WSOP title.
Watt is an accomplished part-time player who previously won the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) championship in his hometown of Auckland in 2009. But this WSOP win was a huge personal triumph, both in terms of prestige and prize money. Watt collected $614,248 in prize money – not bad for three days of poker playing.
The runner up was Tom Dwan, who has soared in recent years to become one of poker’s most mythological figures. There was considerable public interest in the outcome of this finale, since many top poker pros are reported to have six-and seven-figure side bets against Dwan winning a gold bracelet at this year’s WSOP.
THE CHAMPION – Simon Watt
The $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #11) is Simon Watt, from Auckland, New Zealand.
Watt is 27-years-old. He was born in New Zealand.
Watt works as a software developer.
Watt has been concentrating more on poker since winning a major tournament in Auckland last year.
Watt has only one other recorded major tournament cash -- which was a win at the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) championship in Auckland. That victory took place last year.
Watt collected $614,248 for first place. He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.
According to official records, Watt now has one win, one final table appearance, and one cash at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings now total $614,248.
Watt was cheered by just one player in the audience, his friend from New Zealand – named Joe Ellis.
Watt usually plays poker at the Sky City Casino in Auckland, New Zealand.
Watt becomes the first WSOP gold bracelet winner in history from the nation of New Zealand.
On what winning his first WSOP gold bracelet means: “I’m not sure yet. It’s very special, obviously.”
On playing in a carnival-like atmosphere at the final table: “It was amazing. It was strange. It would have been crazy enough to just make the final table. But to play against Durrrr (Tom Dwan) heads-up made it much better.”
On the reaction he expects to his win back in his home country of New Zealand: “My parents were initially not too keen on my playing poker, especially my mother. This should help.”
On being the dragon slayer in the match against Tom Dwan and the large crowd’s intense interest in Dwan’s performance: “It did not bother me at all.”
On when he realized he might win the gold bracelet, while playing: “It crosses your mind a little bit. But you just have to concentrate on the hands and try and forget how much money you are playing for.”
On his plans the remainder of this year’s WSOP: “I plan on playing in the event tomorrow.”
THE FINAL TABLE
The final table consisted of only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Jason Young.
Three different nations were represented at the final table -- Germany, New Zealand, and the United States.
The final table began nine-handed.
This was one of the youngest final tables in WSOP history. The senior player was age 31. The remaining players were 22, 23, 23, 23, 23, 23, 27, and 28.
The runner up was Tom “Durrrrr” Dwan, from Edison, NJ. He is one of the world’s top poker pros -- in both online and live action. He frequently plays for what has been described as “nosebleed” stakes. Dwan has encountered both sides of million dollar swings on multiple occasions in online matches and big cash games. This was his fifth time to cash at the WSOP and was his highest finish to date. Dwan collected $381,885.
The third-place finisher was David Randall, from Westerville, OH. This was his first WSOP in-the-money finish. Randall earned $270,299.
The fourth-place finisher was Austin McCormick, from Chesterfield, MO. He has cashed seven times on the WSOP Circuit. But this marked his first time to cash at the WSOP. McCormick received $194,939.
The fifth-place finisher was poker pro Jason Young, from Suffern, NY. He won the Shootout event at the WSOP in 2008. Young added $142,346 in prize money to his bankroll and now has more than $600,000 in career WSOP earnings.
The sixth-place finisher was Shane Smith, from Hiram, GA. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP.
The seventh-place finisher was Marvin Rettenmaier, from Stuttgart, Germany. He is a college student. This was Rettenmaier’s first WSOP in-the-money finish, which paid $78,681.
The eighth-place finisher was Kyle Winter, from Carson City, NV. Winter will begin law school next year at Gonzaga. He picked up some extra tuition money in this tournament, worth $59,547.
The ninth-place finisher was Eric Ladny, from Trenton, NJ. He received $45,603.
The final table officially began at 6 pm and ended at 3 am. The final table clocked in at nine hours.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 270 finishers collected prize money. Aside from those who made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Blair Hinkle (96th), Robert Cheung (142nd), Ted Lawson (180th), Brett Jungblut (186th), Erick Lindgren (191st), Jerry Yang (195th), Minh Nguyen (204th), and Steve Zolotow (237th).
This was Jerry Yang’s first time to cash in a WSOP event since winning the 2007 WSOP Main Event championship.
The defending champion was Mike Eise, from Troy, MO. He did not enter this event.
ODDS & ENDS
This is the 841st gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded. It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded at WSOP Europe (to date).
The final table was played on the ESPN Main Stage.
Poker has reached the stage where a 2,000-player field no longer causes much of a stir. Consider that the first live poker tournament to ever break the 2,000-player barrier was the 2004 WSOP Main Event. Since then, 19 WSOP events have been played with 2,000+ player fields. This is the fourth 2,000+ player field, so far in 2010. At least seven tournaments this year are expected to crack that figure -- which would be the most ever in WSOP history.
Last year's same event – which was the third $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event on the 2009 WSOP schedule – attracted 2,638 entries. Entries were very close to the same this year, with 2,563 entrants. Six of 11 WSOP events completed so far have increased participation over last year’s numbers.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight). The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year. The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament, usually around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.
Watt requested that the national anthem of New Zealand be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.
An alternative lower buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament (less than $10,000) has been included as part of the WSOP schedule every year since 1973. Over the years, these buy-in amounts have ranged from $1,000 up to $5,000. However, more $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournaments have now taken place at the WSOP over the past 40-years than any other event.
Last year there were seven $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournaments on the 2009 WSOP schedule. This game and buy-in level has consistently proven to be the most popular draw on the schedule in recent years, aside from the Main Event. However, with the expansion of $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments, attendance for the $1,500's is expected to drop slightly from last year, since many players chose to play in the lower buy-in events.
The 2010 WSOP is hosting huge No-Limit Hold’em events every weekend. Most Fridays include a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament. Then, a $1,000 buy-in event takes place on Saturday and Sunday (two flights/starting days). Each Monday includes another $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event. All Day One starting times are noon.
The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 5-7, 2010.
The final hand of the tournament came when Simon Watt held about a 5 to 1 chip lead over Tom Dwan. Watt had versus Dwan’s . The board came . Watt’s aces-full-of-nines ended up as the winning hand.
While perhaps 500-600 spectators ringed the final table as the final hand was dealt out, Watt had only one close friend in the audience. The room fell deathly silent the instant Watt won, and was an eerie pall to what was otherwise a long finale filled with huge emotional and financial swings.
Immediately following his runner-up finish, Tom Dwan departed the final table area and did not speak to media.
Given intense interest in the outcome of this finale, Watt became a champion who not only collected $614,248 for himself, but may have been the catalyst in what some estimate to be an eight-figure financial swing between several top poker pros.
2010 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion of Event #11, the 2010 WSOP has attracted 14,445 total entries; $25,091,250 in prize money has been awarded to winners.
Through the conclusion of Event #11, the nationalities of winners have been:
United States (5)
New Zealand (1)
Through the conclusion of Event #11, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (3)
New Zealand (1)
Through the conclusion of Event #11, the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:
Professional Players (7): Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen
Semi-Pros (0): None
Amateurs (4): Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal Lefrancois, Simon Watt
Note: A “pro” is defined as a player who makes the majority of his/her income from playing poker. However, there is some debate as to whether players who have lucrative industry deals and backing should really be termed as professionals. A “semi-pro” is defined as a player who derives some measure of income from playing poker over a reasonable period of time. However, many semi-pros have non-poker related business interests which provide a majority of earnings. “Amateurs” are players who have other means of support and do not play poker for income -- either part-time or full-time. Each winner is judged on a by case basis.