Zhukov Finds a Treasure Chest
Russian Poker Pro Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet
Becomes Fourth Russian WSOP Champ in History
Collects $465,216 Top Prize in First-Ever WSOP Cash
Pro George Lind Finishes as Runner Up
Numbers Continue – Attendance Continues to Exceed Last Year’s
11 Gold Bracelets
Won – 47 More Still Up For Grabs
NV (June 9, 2011) – One
of the most star-studded fields of the year turned up for the latest World
Series of Poker tournament, which was the $10,000 Buy-In Omaha High-Low Split
Championship. The high-caliber four-day
competition finally concluded today with the crowning of a new gold bracelet
was Viacheslav Zhukov, from Stary Oskol, Russia. He is a 22-year-old professional poker
player. Prior to taking up the game
full-time last year, Zhukov graduated from Moscow Mining University where he
have learned something at the mining school.
He appears to be using his formal education to maximum benefit. He came to this year's WSOP seeking to find gold
and cash, and ended up uncovering a treasure chest.
This was not
only Zhukov’s first year to attend the WSOP.
It was, in fact, his very first
WSOP cash. Zhukov sure picked a
powerhouse event in which to make a splash.
He came out on top in one of the toughest events in poker, thereby
achieving, by any measure, an international tournament breakthrough. Indeed, the championship-level Omaha High-Low
Split event is widely-regarded as one of the toughest fields of any tournament
held. As proof, consider that three-time
gold bracelet winner Sammy Farha won this same event last year.
collected $465,216 in prize money. The
Russian was also presented with the ultimate symbol of achievement in the game
of poker, the WSOP gold bracelet. This
marked his first WSOP victory.
As is the
case with just about every WSOP winner, Zhukov has a marvelous story en route
to victory and riches. On Day One, he
lost several pots in a row and was about to give up. Zhukov began the tourney with 30,000 in
chips. Three hours into the tournament,
he was down to just 2,000 – an embarrassingly-low figure that was, for most, a
ticket to almost-certain elimination.
happened. Zhukov starting winning
pots. By the end of the first day, he
was back to where he started – with about 30,000 in chips. Day Two would prove to be a moving day when
he climbed into the upper ranks. By the
time the cards were dealt out at the final table, Zhukov had a shot to make
poker history. And, he did just that.
was George Lind, a tough poker pro from Chandler, AZ. Lind is one of online poker's most
accomplished players. He has been known
to play up to 40 tables/screens simultaneously.
He was previously selected as the "Player of the Year" at one
of the biggest online poker sites.
Lind had a
2-to-1 chip lead at one point when play was heads-up. But his final opponent proved just as tough
and caught a wind of cards that ended up winning the tournament. Lind's consolation prize for finishing second
amounted to $287,554, which for a player with as much talent and ambition as
Lind was like being given the keys to a red Ferrari with a flat tire.
This was the
eleventh event (of 58) on this year’s WSOP schedule. The tournament attracted 202 entries, which
represented a slight decline from last year's number of participants – 212. This was only the third tournament that has showed
a decline from 2010. Eight other events
have been up, and three tournaments have been record-setting.
prize pool amounted to $1,898,800. The
top 27 finishers collected prize money.
Among those who cashed were former WSOP gold bracelet winners Steve
Billirakis (3rd), Richard Ashby (4th), Josh Arieh (9th), Michael Chow (13th),
Brendan Taylor (14th), Mike Sexton (15th), Perry Green (17th), Freddy Deeb
(20th), Eric Buchman (21st), and Jason Mercier (27th).
So far, this
year’s tournament series has produced several newcomers to WSOP stardom,
including Zhukov. Remarkably, all of the
first 11 gold bracelet winners have been first-time winners. In fact, several tournaments (five of 11)
were won by players who had never previously finished in-the-money in any WSOP
Also of note
was Guillaume Rivet's two strong finishes in both of this year’s Omaha High-Low
Split tournaments. The poker pro from
Lorraine, Quebec, took 15th place in the largest live Omaha High-Low tournament
in history, which ended last week. He
also finished in sixth place in this event, stringing together two impressive
showings that place him ahead in most Omaha categories.
For a list of
all players who cashed, in EVENT #11, please click here.
EVENT #11 CHAMPION
– VIACHESLAV ZHUKOV
World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split World Champion is Viacheslav
Zhukov, from Stary Oskol, Russia.
also born in Stary Oskol, which is located about 400 miles south of Moscow on
the Oskol River.
Zhukov is a 22-year-old
professional poker player. His name is
alternatively spelled in some poker records as VYACHESLAV ZHUKOV.
English well. He is close to fluency.
poker champion shares a name with Georgy Zhukov, who is the most decorated
military commander in Russian history.
Zhukov commanded the Red Army during World War II and was largely
responsible for commanding forces that successfully defended Leningrad, Moscow,
graduated from Moscow Mining University.
He holds a degree in geology.
started playing poker about five years ago.
He planned to attend last year’s WSOP for the first time, since he was
of legal age (21). However, Zhukov
graduated from college while the WSOP was in progress and decided instead to
make the trip this year.
Zhukov is one
of many Russian poker players who are becoming a formidable force in WSOP
tournaments. Skill games have always
been entwined deeply in Russian culture, which has been manifested in
dominating competitions such as chess for centuries. Following his victory, Zhukov suggested that
many young Russians are now turning to poker rather than chess (or are adding
poker to their repertoire of skills).
This is largely motivated by the lucrative prize structures of major
tournaments, such as the WSOP.
collected a $465,216 for first place. He
was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Prior to this
victory, Zhukov’s biggest cash was at the European Poker Tour’s event held in
Kiev, in 2009.
official records, Zhukov now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 1
in-the-money finish at the WSOP.
currently has $465,216 in career WSOP winnings.
He has an estimated $600,000 in live tournament career winnings,
according to several major popular websites.
This does not include online play.
becomes only the fourth player from Russia in history to win a WSOP gold
bracelet. The three previous winners
were Vitaly Lunkin (2 wins), Alex Kravchenko, and Ralph Perry (who now resides
in the U.S.).
Zhukov is to
be regarded as a poker pro, since he has been playing full-time for about one
(Note: The winner was interviewed at
tableside moments after the victory)
On making an incredible comeback
during the first day, when he was down to just 2,000 in chips, from his 30,000
starting stack size: “I lost about 14 pots in a row. I was ready to go out. Nothing went my way. But I was patient and I started to get
chips. I finished the day at 30,000 and
then started to move (on Day Two).”
On the tough competition he faced
throughout the tournament:
“This was my first time to play the
WSOP. But I had good experience playing
online … so, I can compete with the world’s greatest.”
On his goals coming into this year’s
WSOP: “It’s very exciting to be here. Everything here is perfect. To be in Las Vegas is perfect. To be at the WSOP is perfect.”
On Russian poker players and the
emerging reputation of his fellow countrymen: “I think a lot of
Russian players can’t get here because they are under 21. But there are a lot of good players. Russian poker is really coming up and you
will see a lot of big wins. In one or
two years, more will come (to the WSOP).”
On Russians being great chess masters
and possible impacts upon the poker scene: “I think chess
and poker are similar games. But in
poker you can win a lot more money.
Young people now prefer to play poker.
And, with the Internet it is easier.
I think many Russian young people are concentrating on poker now.
final table was comprised nine players.
table contained three former gold bracelet winners – including Steve
Billirakis, Richard Ashby, and Josh Arieh.
different nations were represented at the final table, making this the most
international table played so far in 2011.
Players represented the following countries -- Canada (1 player), Great
Britain (1 player), Russia (1 player), Sweden (1 player), and the United States
match went for nearly four hours. This
marks the third consecutive heads-up finale that has lasted that long.
The runner up
was George Lind, from Chandler, AZ. He
is best-known in the poker world for his online accomplishments. Lind has been known to play up to 40 tables
at the same time. He was selected as the
"Player of the Year" at one of the biggest online poker sites.
Lind had a
2-to-1 chip lead at one point when play was heads-up. But Zhukov proved just as tough and caught a
wind of cards that gave him a 2-to-1 chip lead.
Lind fought back and regained the lead at one point. But the escalation of blinds finally did Lind
in, as he was unable to survive a late cold spell. Lind's consolation prize for finishing second
amounted to $287,554.
third-place finisher was former WSOP gold bracelet winner Steve Billirakis,
from Las Vegas, NV. He won the $5,000
buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event in 2007, becoming the then-youngest WSOP title-holder
in history (his record has since been broken).
Billirakis now has 13 WSOP career cashes and has accumulated more than
$1 million in earnings.
became only the second player so far at this year’s WSOP with multiple top-10
finishes. The other player is Eddie
Blumenthal, who had 4th and 2nd place finishes in the two
events in which he cashed.
fourth-place finisher was last year’s gold bracelet winner: Richard Ashby, from
Watford, UK. He won the $1,500 buy-in
Seven-Card Stud event in 2010. Ashby now
has a 1st-, 2nd, and 4th- place finish over
the past two WSOPs. He now has five
final table appearances in Omaha events played at the WSOP, since 2003.
finisher was Mack Lee, from Los Angeles, CA.
He is a 51-year-old investor.
This was Lee’s best WSOP finish in his four cashes.
sixth-place finisher was Guillaume Rivet, from Lorraine, Quebec (Canada). He is a 25-year-old poker pro. He recently graduated with a degree in
finance from The University of Montreal.
This marked Rivet’s second time to cash this year at the WSOP, after
taking 15th place in the previous Omaha High-Low Split tournament
seventh-place finisher was Jason Steinberg, from Montebello, CA. A 32-year-old attorney, Steinberg is a
graduate of Villanova Law School. This
marked Steinberg’s first time to cash at the WSOP.
eighth-place finisher was Mikael Thuritz, from Stockholm, Sweden. He is a 25-year-old poker pro. Thuritz holds the distinction of having won
one of the first “Speed Poker” championships, which was held at the European
Poker Tour stop in Barcelona, Spain.
Thuritz has a very impressive resume of big buy-in tournament finishes
at the WSOP. He took 5th
place in last year’s $25,000 buy-in Six-Handed Championship. He finished 13th in this same
event last year. He also took 8th
place in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship. If that’s not impressive enough, Thuritz also
cashed in the WSOP Main Event Championship in 2006 and 2009. He took 41st in 2006, which was
the largest live poker tournament in history, with 8,773 players.
finisher was two-time gold bracelet winner Josh Arieh, from Atlanta, GA. Arieh’s last win on the big stage came back
in 2005. He now has 18 WSOP cashes and
nearly $3.5 million in total WSOP winnings.
Final table play
began at 10 pm on a Wednesday night. Play
was suspended after five hours due to the maximum number of playing levels being
reached for a single day (10 levels). Final
table play resumed at 3 pm on Thursday.
The finale went another 4.5 hours.
Hence, the total duration of the final table lasted about 9 hours and 30
table was played on two different stages.
The first day took place on ESPN’s main stage. The final day was played on the so-called
“secondary stage,” which is actually a cozier configuration for most spectators
than the expansive main stage. The final
table areas are getting raves in terms of design and appearance. No stage in the history of poker has ever
looked as spectacular. Early reports
from the television crew are that this year’s preliminary footage looks
“spectacular.” Viewers will be able to
see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins.
streamed live over WSOP.com. Viewers can
tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables. Although hole cards are not shown, viewers
can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table. The floor announcer provides an official
account of the action.
The top 27 finishers
collected prize money.
champion was Sammy Farha, from Houston, TX.
He did not cash this year.
WSOP gold bracelet winners cashed in this event – including Steve Billirakis
(3rd), Richard Ashby (4th), Josh Arieh (9th), Michael Chow (13th), Brendan
Taylor (14th), Mike Sexton (15th), Perry Green (17th), Freddy Deeb (20th), Eric
Buchman (21st), and Jason Mercier (27th).
Gerasimov continues to build an impressive WSOP resume. The Russian poker player cashed for the 15th
time (all since 2003). He also has nine
final table appearances. Based on his
results, it seems only a matter of time before Gerasimov wins what would be his
first gold bracelet.
player to watch is Italian poker pro Alessio Isaia. He finished 12th in this
event. Isaia finished as the runner up
in the Seven-Card Stud tournament (Event #5).
television commentator, former gold bracelet winner, and member of the Poker
Hall of Fame (Class of 2009) Mike Sexton finished in 15th
place. With this finish, Sexton has now
cashed at the WSOP for 23 consecutive years.
results are to be included in the WSOP official records. Results are also to be included in the 2011
WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
ODDS AND ENDS
This is the
904th 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
This was one
of the few tournaments this year with a decline in attendance. The 202-player field was a slight reduction
from last year’s number of runners: 212.
This was the
second Omaha High-Low Split tournament played this year. The first event had a $1,500 buy-in
(classified as Event #3) and was the largest live Omaha High-Low Split
tournament in history, with 925 players.
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
pm. 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
bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Friday, June 10th. The Russian National Anthem will be played in
honor of his victory.
This was the
third-largest Omaha High-Low Split prize pool in poker history. In fact, only seven Omaha events had ever
surpassed the million-dollar mark. Here
are the biggest Omaha High-Low Split prize pools in poker history:
2008 WSOP --
$2,209,000 ($10,000 buy-in)
2010 WSOP --
$1,992,800 ($10,000 buy-in)
2011 WSOP --
$1,898,800 ($10,000 buy-in)
2009 WSOP --
$1,682,600 ($10,000 buy-in)
2007 WSOP --
$1,316,000 ($5,000 buy-in)
2006 WSOP --
$1,245,000 ($5,000 buy-in)
In 1983, the
fist Omaha-High tournament was introduced at the WSOP. The first Omaha High-Low Split tournament was
played in 1990. During the 1990s, the
WSOP schedule included Limit Omaha-High and Pot-Limit Omaha events. Limit Omaha-High has gradually faded in
popularity since, and the game was removed from the WSOP schedule after 2003,
while Omaha High-Low Split continues to generate a steady following.
Here are the
attendance figures for the last three Omaha High-Low championship events, since
the buy-in was raised to $10,000. Prior
to 2008, the highest buy-in Omaha High-Low tournament was $5,000:
2011 – 202
2010 – 212
2009 – 179 entries
2008 – 235
players in WSOP history have won two gold bracelets in Omaha High-Low Split. They are Thang Luu, Scott Clements, Scotty
Nguyen, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson and Sammy Farha.
and Berry Johnston are currently tied for the lead in the “Most Omaha Cashes”
category in WSOP history – with 20 each.
was originally scheduled to be played over three consecutive days, but extended
to four days due to the length of the final table.
officially began on Monday, June 6th at 5 PM. The tournament officially ended on Thursday,
June 9th, at 7:30 pm.
conclusion of Event #11, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 10,724 entries;
$22,082,800 in prize money has been awarded to winners, so far.
conclusion of this tournament, the nationality of gold bracelet winners has
conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has
conclusion of this event, the home-states of (American) winners have been:
New York (1)
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to
semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:
(8): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene
Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller,
(2): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot
(1): Geffrey Klein
All of the
first 11 tournaments completed so far have been won by first-time champions
(non-winners from previous years).
Five of the
first 11 winners this year also enjoyed their first-ever WSOP cash with their
over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet
champion (wins within the same year).
1999 was the last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of
single-event winners. The record for
most multiple gold bracelet winners in a single year was in 2009, when five
players managed to win two or more titles.
The streak of
male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 173 consecutive events. Aside from the annual Ladies Championship,
the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa
Selbst, in 2008.
finish by a female player (open events) at this year’s WSOP was Maria Ho, who
finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).
Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold
bracelet event as they are completed.
All results are now official and may be reprinted by media. If you are posting these results on a
website, we would appreciate providing a link back to: WSOP.com