Rast has a
Wins 2011 Poker Player’s Championship
New Champion Rakes-In
Monster $1,720,328 Pot
Rast Becomes the
Only Multi-Gold Bracelet Winner at 2011 WSOP
Not a Charm -- Phil Hellmuth Misses His 12th WSOP Title for Third
Time This Year
Overcomes 5-to-1 Chip Disadvantage, Stages Dramatic Comeback Victory over
Full House at
the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Currently on Record Pace
Bracelets Won – Only Three More Events Still to Go
THE 2011 POKER PLAYER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
edition of the $50,000 buy-in Poker Player’s Championship was won by Brian
Rast, a professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV. He topped a brutally tough field of 128 of
the world’s best poker players who competed in a mixed game format played over
five consecutive days.
collected a whopping $1,720,328 in prize money, which was the richest cash prize
of any tournament at this year’s World Series of Poker. Only the WSOP Main Event Championship will
have a larger top prize. He was also
presented with his second WSOP gold bracelet.
Three weeks earlier, Rast won his first victory in the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit
Hold’em championship. Rast is the first
and only player with multiple wins at this year’s WSOP.
victory was special for at least one other reason. His name was added to the illustrious list of
former Poker Player’s Championship winners -- which includes David “Chip”
Reese, Freddy Deeb, Scotty Nguyen, David Bach and Michael “the Grinder”
Mizrachi. The championship trophy now in
Rast’s possession is named in honor of the late Chip Reese, who won the
inaugural $50,000 buy-in championship, held in 2006.
was nearly as memorable for what happened to the second-place finisher, Phil
Hellmuth. Remarkably, this was his third
runner-up finish at the 2011 WSOP. He
became the first player in WSOP history to achieve three second-place finishes
at a series, with no wins. Hellmuth
could take some pride in accomplishing three very strong runner-up
finishes. He also collected the largest
WSOP prize of his career. The
second-place consolation prize amounted to $1,063,034.
conclusion of the tournament at 3:30 a.m., both players were interviewed. The transcripts of those interviews follow:
PHIL HELLMUTH -- ON THE RECORD
On his self-evaluation of his
“I mean, you know, I
actually feel pretty good. I feel like,
God -- I played so good for five days.”
On why he shoved on a draw on what
turned out to be the final hand:
“On the last hand, I
caught the straight and flush draw. He
bet 500,000 and moved in. He had to have
On his status as one of the world’s
most famous poker players:
“Look, I wanted to
prove to myself, and just to myself really, that I’m a pretty good player….The
world in general has been great to me. My fans have been great to me. I feel really good about the treatment and a
ton of people here watching. It just
makes me feel really good that there are so many people out there rooting for
me. And I’m so happy about that. I’ve been way too cocky in the past, and I
hear my critics. That’s the problem.”
On his three runner-up finishes at the
“I think I put on a spectacular
performance at the Series this year. So,
I’m happy about that. But I’d trade
three seconds for a first, any day. I
already have 11 bracelets; you have to understand this is the number one
bracelet that I wanted – I mean this and the Main Event. So, to come this close, to taste it, and then
fall short, was disappointing.”
On losing what was a 5-to-1 chip lead
when playing heads-up versus Brian Rast:
“You never count the
victory. I mean I’ve already had two
seconds, so believe me I didn’t count the victory. I believe that if I hit any of those three
flush draws, I win the tournament. I
just missed three of them and, you know, I proved a lot to myself.”
More on his status as a poker
“The problem is when
you’re someone like me, who has a lot of championships. Like (NBA coach) Phil Jackson, he has a lot of
championships, right? Then he left the
game, he said something about his critics. I hear my critics all the time. I hear these people say, ‘Oh you can’t do it,
you’re not very good’ and so you don’t do it for the critics, you do it for the
fans and you do it for your family.”
BRIAN RAST -- ON THE RECORD
On playing this tournament on national
“This is really the
first time I’ve played on television for a final table. I was on one time for like day one of the
World Series of Poker Main Event. I was
on Phil Hellmuth’s table like three or four years ago. I don’t know – I didn’t really feel that much
pressure. It was kind of cool. I actually liked playing here more, because it
was more of a loud environment, like the other table over there (for his first
victory) was really small and there wasn’t much room and it didn’t feel like a
final table. You’re used to, being a
poker player, the WPT, WSOP final tables all have big cheering sections and
people go crazy when you win or lose pots and the other one didn’t feel like
that. And this one definitely had that
feel and that excitement. And definitely
added something, I felt a lot more excited at the end of the tournament. Like when I faded those flush draws for the
third time, I definitely got a charged feeling just from the feeling in the air
that was happening.”
On his decision to buy into the $50,000
Poker Player’s Championship:
“I think it was because
I won the other tournament that I decided to buy into this one. I felt like I was plus-EV in this event, but
not by a lot and 50K is a lot to put up, which is why I sold some of my action.
I’m not really a mixed game player. I feel like I have some experience and I’m
probably better than most people think I am at the mixed games. But by no means do I consider myself to be
one of the top mixed game players. I
mean it does have No-Limit Hold’em and PLO. And the final table is Hold’em, so I thought
that was a definite advantage for me.”
On being down 5-to-1 in chips at one
point when heads-up:
“It was pretty
amazing. There wasn’t a back and
forth. He just won every pot for like an
hour. It was pretty frustrating. I just told myself ‘don’t do anything to try
and take control of what’s going on. Just like play your cards, pick your
spots.’ I was still picking up a few
small pots here and there. You know,
most of those I didn’t have anything. I
waited for a spot. I called it off with
ace-high in a spot, where I think he had the flush draw a huge percentage of
the time, and I was getting a good price. After that he just kept the gas on, he kept
playing flush draws really strong. Like
the K-7 hand, he has no over card and no straight draw, when he gets it in he’s
always behind. The last one, when I bet
500k and he went all in for 9 million, I’m going to fold a lot. But when I call, he’s in trouble. It was lucky to fade those. Luck is a very strange thing, and you could
almost say he got lucky at the first part when I had T-5 suited and nothing
every time he raised me and luck is a strange thing and I got lucky to win, and
I’m happy about that.”
On being low on chips at one point
during both of his two victories:
“It’s funny, in both
of these tournaments I won this summer, I got really short and was all in. At the beginning of Day Two, I showed up a
little late. I actually blinded off
about 14K. I lost two pretty big pots
that were kind of sick…. One of the key moments is I was all in -- I had to
catch a 6 or 4 or 3, and I caught a 4 of diamonds. After that pot, I went on a sick tear, busted
Sorel Mizzi with aces to his queens in the blinds, and basically went up to
being second or third in chips behind Gus Hansen. In that two hour span, it was the same thing. I went from being all in and behind, to one of
the chip leaders in an hour.”
On playing against Phil Hellmuth and
denying him a 12th gold bracelet:
“I mean, like, that’s
Phil’s thing. I know he’s going for his
12th bracelet. I’m happy for
him, but I don’t really care though. It doesn’t matter for me that he gets his
12th bracelet for the poker world.
I respect the fact that he cares so much. Phil’s always been really nice to me and even
made a really nice comment at the table to me. He definitely gets frustrated, but I never
feel like it’s personally directed at me. There was maybe once or twice when he was
losing some pots to me, he was saying more or less that I was trying to run
over him. But really he was trying to
run over me and I wasn’t letting him, so that was frustrating him. But it’s cool.
I think Phil for the most part is a pretty nice guy and he lost
graciously and had nothing but nice things to say to me, and I respect the fact
that he cares.”
On what he was feeling during the final
hand when he realized he would win:
“Well, the first
thing that’s going through my head is I can’t believe he just moved
all-in. Really, I mean it’s such a
strange play. I understand him shipping
it with 9-6 of hearts when I had 2 million (down 5-to-1). Even like, the way he played the T-8 of
clubs. But this one we both have 9
million in chips, and I know I’ve been leading weak, which is why I played it
like that. At the very least I could go
lead, lead, lead, and get three calls out of him. It was very surprising to me that that was the
play he decided to make. I thought he played really well all tournament. But I didn’t really like that play. He’s sitting with 9 million, with a million
that’s in the pot, and every time he gets called he’s in very bad shape. So, he made the play and I said the ‘I’m sorry’
thing out of respect more than anything else. I was being cordial with Phil the whole final
table and so I said, ‘I’m sorry, I call.’ I didn’t mean it any way to be condescending.”
On what winning a second WSOP gold
“This bracelet means
a lot; this is an event that is basically full of a lot of the top players, not
every top player but a lot of them. It’s an event that you have to go through a
lot of top players to win. The $1,500
Pot-Limit Hold’em, it’s a great win and my first bracelet. But, you know, it’s not
like I really played a whole bunch of the top professionals and beat them to
win that bracelet – and this event I did that. And you know the buy-in is $50,000, so it’s a
prestigious tournament that kind of like earns respect. It’s almost like, say you go play in a cash
game and you win $100,000 or something playing with all amateurs. Hey, it’s like you won money and that’s great
and everyone’s happy for you. But if you
went and played in Bobby’s Room against Phil Ivey and Patrick Antonius and you
won, you know people are going to say ‘Wow, you know you can really play, and
didn’t just beat guys that don’t know what they’re doing.’ It’s nice that I can say that I beat some of
the best players in the world and ran good for four days.”
For a comprehensive recap of Event #55, please visit the WSOP.com tournament
portal page HERE.
EVENT #55 CHAMPION – BRIAN RAST
World Series of Poker $50,000 buy-in Poker Player’s Championship is Brian Rast,
from Poway, CA. He also owns a condo in
Las Vegas at Panorama Towers, which is home for many of the world’s top poker
29-years-old. He was born in Denver, CO.
Stanford University before graduating.
He is now a professional poker player.
Rast has enjoyed the support of his family ever since he initially made
the decision to try and make it as a pro.
Rast is now
engaged to his fiancé, who resides in Brazil.
He hopes to bring her to the U.S. immediately following the conclusion
of the WSOP.
Rast says he
will not play in the WSOP Main Event this year because he is committed to
assist his fiancé with her coming to the United States as a permanent
Rast has enjoyed
some tournament success prior to this year’s WSOP. But he is noted primarily for his cash-game
prowess. Rast has played nosebleed high stakes
and is well-respected by those who know the cash game culture.
favorite poker game is Pot-Limit Omaha.
victory, Rast collected $1,720,328 for first place. This is the largest prize for first place
awarded this year.
official records, Rast now has 2 wins, 3 final table appearances and 8
in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
currently has $2,231,764 in career WSOP winnings.
Rast is to be
classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats). He has been playing full-time for about seven
THE FINAL TABLE
final table was comprised of the top eight finishers.
table contained four former gold bracelet winners – including Phil Hellmuth, Brian
Rast, Scott Seiver and Ben Lamb.
who made it to the final table were Americans.
The runner up
was Phil Hellmuth, from Palo Alto, CA.
Remarkably, this was the third runner-up finish this year for
Hellmuth. He previously came in second
in the Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship as well as the Seven-Card Stud
High-Low Split Championship. Nevertheless,
he could take pride in adding to his record as the all-time cashes (84) and
final table appearances (43) leader.
won more prize money in this event than any previous WSOP cash in his
career. Second place paid
$1,063,034. Hellmuth’s 1989 world
championship victory “only” paid $755,000.
play began Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Played
concluded about 11 hours later (playing time wise) at 2:30 a.m.
table was played on ESPN’s main stage. The
new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and
appearance. No stage in the history of
poker has ever looked as spectacular. Viewers
will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in
filmed for broadcast on ESPN with an air date set for Tuesday, August 9.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 16
finishers collected prize money.
those who made it to the final table, among those who cashed in this tournament
were former gold bracelet winners Jason Lester, Jeffrey Lisandro, Yan Chen,
Josh Arieh and Barry Greenstein.
are to be included in all official WSOP records. Results are also to be included in the 2011
WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.
Hellmuth took over the lead in the current standings while Rast vaulted
up to third place.
ODDS AND ENDS
attracted 128 entries. Attendance was up
by 10 percent over last year, when there were 116 entries.
This is the 947th
gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history. This figure includes every official WSOP
event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were
no actual gold bracelets awarded. It
also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010). Moreover for the first time ever, one gold
bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National
WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s
victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late). 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. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 p.m. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is
played. The entire presentation is open
to the public and media. Video and
photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.
$50,000 to enter, this is the highest buy-in tournament in WSOP history. The precursor to this event was the $50,000
buy-in H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, created in 2006. A high buy-in tournament above the $10,000
level was first conceived by a group of high-stakes players. The initial thought behind the $50,000 buy-in
tournament was to create poker's version of an all-star game. Poker pro Daniel Negreanu was the concept's
strongest advocate. He approached
Caesars Entertainment and the tournament was green-lighted onto the 2006 WSOP
schedule by Howard Greenbaum, Vice-President of Specialty Games for Caesars
2006 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship was memorable for many reasons. Since the late 1970s, David "Chip"
Reese had been widely-regarded by most peers and industry insiders as the best
all-around poker player in the world.
Fittingly, he won the WSOP's first mega-buy-in event with multiple
games, defeating the world's top players.
Following his passing in 2007, the "Chip Reese Memorial
Trophy" was created and presented to those who followed his triumph.
winners of this event were as follows:
Grinder” Mizrachi (2010)
"Gunslinger" Bach (2009)
"the Prince" Nguyen (2008)
"Freddy" Deeb (2007)
"Chip" Reese (2006)
has traditionally been held midway through the WSOP schedule. However, it was placed at the front of the
schedule last year, due in part to ESPN's interest in filming the tournament. This year, the tournament was moved late into
the schedule for the same reason. ESPN
has televised this tournament four of the five years it has been played, with
2009 as the only "dark" year.
there are only six winners to date, no event champion has ever repeated.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion
of Event #55 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 65,066 combined total entries;
$121,238,460 in prize money has been awarded to winners.
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet
winners has been:
conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has
conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been:
New York (6)
New Jersey (1)
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to
semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:
Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt
Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler
Bonkowski, Brian Rast (2 wins), John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason
Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payan, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason
Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin
Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin,
Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros, Marsha Wolak and
Semi-Pros (5): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii
Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis
Amateurs (7): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk
Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko
tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of
professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so
far – with 48 out of 55 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 11 of the 55 winners (20
percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.
held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet
champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year). The last year the WSOP was comprised
exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999. The record for most multiple gold bracelet
winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two
or more titles. Rast’s victory in this
tournament means the multi-gold bracelet streak will continue for at least
The streak of
consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners is currently at 211 consecutive
events. Aside from the annual Ladies
Poker Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to
both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.
The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982
and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.
finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players. Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in
No-Limit Hold’em). Kim Nguyen also
finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).
finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who
after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball
World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.
world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their
victory. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the
last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001. Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of
the fields. But there’s also great
pressure on the champions to do well.
What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold
bracelet after winning the championship during the previous year:
players who make it to the final table of the Main Event Championship (November
Nine) one year tend to do quite well in subsequent WSOP years. Consider that last year, three former Main
Event finalists won gold bracelets – Eric Buchman, Tex Barch, and Scott
Montgomery. This year, Matt Jarvis won
his first gold bracelet one year after making it to the November Nine in 2010.
tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2
live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3
live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10
Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16
live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3157 entries) – Event #18
live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3175 entries) – Event #20
consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries)
– Event #18 and Event #20
live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22
Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23
Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) –
single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Largest consecutive-days starting field
sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke
Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)
Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history
(2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19,
Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) –
Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history
($3,393,400) – Event #42
records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most
recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP
history. He accomplished this in
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).
Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (84)
and final table appearances (43).
“Tahoe” Andrew added to his record as the player with the longest consecutive
streak of WSOP appearances (entering at least one event), currently at 38 years
and counting (1974 to present).
RAISING AWARENESS: BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE WSOP
Bad Beat on
Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way
for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1
percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship,
contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize. By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and
joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits
when they win. As the official charity
of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are
donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.
A tax receipt is generated and sent to
their mailing address. Several high
profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their
winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka, Andy
Bloch, Dennis Phillips, and others. Since
2003, the initiative has raised over $3,500,000 for cancer prevention research,
education, and community outreach programs.
Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1% by stopping by the Bad Beat
on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite the Amazon Room in the
Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefiting charity from the Bad
Beat on Cancer.