ESKELAND SCHOOLS SUNG IN MIXED GAMES CHAMPIONSHIP TO WIN FIRST WSOP BRACELET

June 29, 2010 - 11:34:01 AM EST  | 

ESKELAND SCHOOLS SUNG IN MIXED GAMES CHAMPIONSHIP TO WIN FIRST WSOP BRACELET
Sigurd Eskeland Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 48

Norwegian Poker Pro Wins in Mixed Games Championship

River Club Gives Sigurd Eskeland Stunning Victory Over Steve Sung

Former Teacher Collects $260,497 in Prize Money

Through 48 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance up 21 Percent from Last Year


OVERVIEW

Sigurd Eskeland was the winner of the $2,500 buy-in Mixed Games championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory. 

Eskeland collected $260,497 in prize money in what was his third time to cash at the WSOP.  Eskeland’s most notable previous achievement was being the chip leader at the end of Day Three in the 2008 WSOP Main Event championship.  He ended up finishing 241st.

Eskeland is a former teacher who now plays poker professionally.  In fact, he left his job teaching only a few weeks before coming to Las Vegas to play in this year’s WSOP.  He became only the third player in WSOP history with Norwegian roots to win a gold bracelet, following in the footsteps of Thor Hansen (2 wins) and Annette Obrestad (1 win).


THE CHAMPION – SIGURD ESKELAND


The $2,500 buy-in Mixed Games champion (Event #48) is Sigurd Eskeland, from Oslo, Norway.

Eskeland is married and has two children.

Eskeland is now a professional poker player.

Eskeland was a teacher prior to taking up poker full-time.  He taught second graders in elementary school.

Eskeland decided to leave his job following the past school year in order to play poker for a year.  He was eager to see if he could make it as a pro.

Prior to this win, Eskeland’s most notable achievement was being the chip leader at the end of Day Three in the 2008 WSOP Main Event championship.  He ended up finishing 241st, which paid $35,383.

Eskeland’s first WSOP cash took place in 2006.

Eskeland collected $260,497 for first place.  He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Sigurd Eskeland now has one win, one final table appearance, and three cashes at the WSOP.  His career WSOP earnings now total $302,652.

Eskeland becomes the third player in WSOP history with Norwegian roots to win a gold bracelet.  He follows in the footsteps of Thor Hansen (2 wins) and Annette Obrestad (1 win).


WINNER QUOTES

On what it means to win a WSOP gold bracelet:  “It’s the most unbelievable feeling I have ever had in my whole life.  The only thing that can compare to it is the birth of my two daughters.  But this is insane, the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.”

On recently leaving his job as a teacher:  “I took a leave of absence for one year, in order to play poker.  I had a bad run where I lost for two months, but I never lost faith.  I kept working and ran fantastically good here and won.  It’s amazing.”

On being the third Norwegian poker champion in WSOP history:  “Live poker is illegal in Norway, so that is kind of strange.  I just hope we can prove to Norwegians that poker is something more than just gambling, that is has elements of skill to it.”

On his future goals and plans in poker:  “I hope my success will continue.  I plan to continue working on my game to be even better.  That’s the thing about poker – there is always something to learn.  I want to work and get better and maybe someday I will get a second gold bracelet.”


THE FINAL TABLE

The final table included two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – including Steve Sung (1 win) and Scott Seiver (1 win).

The final table began eight-handed.

The final table included players from four different nations – Canada (1 player), Norway (1 play), Russia (1 player), and the United States (5 players).

The runner up was Steve Sung.  He won the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship at last year’s WSOP, which was called the “Stimulus Special.”  That win netted a whopping $771,338.  With this prize money for second place, which amounted to $160,952, and other cashes, Sung now has in excess of $1.3 million in WSOP earnings.
  
The third-place finisher was Alexander Wice, from Toronto, Ontario (Canada).  He is a 21-year-old student at Waterloo University.  This was Wice’s first time to cash at the WSOP, and he made it count to the tune of $102,314 for third place.

The fourth-place finisher was Nikolai Yakovenko, from Brooklyn, NY.  This marked his third WSOP cash in the last two year, worth $73,776 in prize money.

The fifth-place finisher was Stephen Su, from Houston, TX.  He is an accountant-turned-poker pro.  Su has done well in some other major tournaments.  This was his best finish so far at the WSOP, which paid $54,032.

The sixth-place finisher was Scott Seiver, from Las Vegas, NV.  He cashed for the fourth time at this year’s WSOP, posting a series of impressive finishes that includes 6th, 12th, 16th, and 19th place showings.  Seiver, who won his gold bracelet last year in a No-Limit Hold’em event that paid a whopping $755,000 collected another $40,175 for his first final table appearance of 2010.

The seventh-place finisher was Jared Jaffe, from Brooklyn, NY.  Jaffe’s decision to become a poker pro is quite unusual.  He earned a law degree and went to work for a law firm.  After working just two-and-a-half days, Jaffe quit his job and has been playing poker ever since.  Jaffe’s settlement from this trial amounted to $30,319.

The eighth-place finisher was Kirill Rabtsov, from Moscow, Russia.  He won a major No-Limit Hold’em championship in Russia.  This was Rabstov’s second final table appearance this year (6th-place in $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split championship).  Rabstov earned $23,223 for this appearance.

The final table began at 10:00 pm and ended at 5:15 am, a duration of about 7 hours and 15 minutes.


OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 48 finishers collected prize money.  Aside from Steve Sung and Scott Seiver who both made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Todd Brunson (10th), Alexander Kravchenko (11th), Dario Minieri (14th), Kirk Morrison (16th), David Singer (23rd), Michael Mizrachi (26th), Dario Alioto (27th), Frank Kassela (36th), Vitaly Lunkin (39th), Diego Cordovez (42nd), and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (48th).

2000 world champion Chris “Jesus” Ferguson’s 48th place finish gives him 63 in-the-money finishes for his career, which ranks third on the all-time WSOP cashes list.

The defending champion was Jerrod Ankenman, from Avon, CT.  He entered this year’s tournament but did not finish in-the-money.


ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 875th 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 to date at WSOP Europe.

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.

Eskeland requested that the national anthem of Norway be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Wednesday June 31st, 2010.


EVENT HISTORY

Mixed Games debuted at the 2008 WSOP.  Mixed Games is the first time in history that a major poker tournament included eight different poker games.  These games include:

1. No-Limit Hold'em
2. Pot-Limit Omaha
3. Deuce-to-Seven Triple-Draw Lowball
4. Limit Hold'em
5. Omaha High-Low Split
6. Razz
7. Seven-Card Stud
8. Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better

Games are played on a rotating basis.  Games change every eight hands.

Mixed Games is similar to a HORSE tournament, except there are eight different games played instead of five.

This is only the fifth Mixed Games event in WSOP history.

The $50,000 buy-in “Poker Players Championship” (Event #2) used a Mixed Games format.

Former Mixed Games event champions at the WSOP include:

2008 – Anthony Rivera ($10,000 buy-in winner)
2009 – Ville Wahlbeck ($10,000 buy-in winner)
2009 – Jerrod Ankenman ($2,500 buy-in winner)
2010 – Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi ($50,000 buy-in winner)


TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over four consecutive days, from June 26-29, 2010.

There were 453 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $1,041,900.  The top 48 finishers collected prize money.

Attendance increased by about 10 percent from last year, when there were 412 entrants.  

Eskeland ended up winning the tournament when he spiked a club flush on the river on the final hand against Steve Sung to win the biggest pot of the tournament, plus his first WSOP victory.


2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this point last year.  Last year, through 48 events, there were 45,038 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 54,457 total entries, an increase of 21 percent.

Prize money is also up from last year’s figures.  Last year, through 48 events, the amount of prize money won was $90,680,824.  This year’s prize money amounts to $93,701,765 – which represents an increase of about 3 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #48 (minus Event #47, which has yet to conclude), the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (31)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #48 (minus Event #47, which has yet to conclude), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (24)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #48 (minus Event #47, which has yet to conclude), the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (34):  Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador, Ayaz Mahmood, Phil Ivey, Luigi Kwaysser, Scott Montgomery, Steven Kelly, Steve Jelinek, Dean Hamrick, Ian Gordon, Gavin Smith, Jesse Rockowitz, Chris Bell, Sigurd Eskeland

Semi-Pros (5):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela

Amateurs (8):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal Lefrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle

Through the conclusion of Event #48 (minus Event #47, which has yet to conclude), here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador
Phil Ivey
Frank Kassela (two wins this year)

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #48:

Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open events) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) – Frank Kassela



 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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