LAMB SLAUGHTERS POT-LIMIT OMAHA WOLVES

June 27, 2011 - 09:09:31 PM EST  | 

LAMB SLAUGHTERS POT-LIMIT OMAHA WOLVES
TOURNAMENT HEADLINES:

Lamb Slaughters the Wolves

Ben Lamb Wins 2011 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship

2011 WSOP Offers Biggest Prize Pool in Pot-Limit Omaha History

Las Vegas Poker Pro Rakes-In $814,436 in Pot

Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

42 Gold Bracelets Won – 16 More Still to Go


OVERVIEW:

There’s a new leader atop the “Player of the Year” standings.

Ben Lamb, who won the most recent tournament at the 2011 World Series of Poker, rocketed into first place.  Through 42 completed events, he stands alone atop the vast mountain of more than 50,000 poker players who have made their way to the Rio Las Vegas thus far, from all over the world.

Lamb may not be a well-known name or face, even to those who follow poker closely.  But his recent record in big-time WSOP events is stellar.  Consider the fact that he finished 14th in the 2009 WSOP Main Event Championship.  Then, he took fifth place in another tournament held last year. 

Then, there’s a certain poker game called “Pot-Limit Omaha.”

Lamb played in the $3,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event, held earlier this year.  He not only made it into the money.  He not only made it to the final table.  He ended up finishing in second place.  When the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship rolled around four days ago, there was only one possible – make that nearly impossible and highly-improbable – outcome that could have topped his previous accomplishment.

Well, Lamb did it.

Lamb defeated 361 of the world’s best Pot-Limit Omaha players en route to a stunning victory and a grand whirlwind of emotional satisfaction that most certainly will go down as one of this year’s most memorable WSOP highlights.

Lamb won the championship, plus a staggering payout totaling $814,436 in prize money.  He was also presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.  No doubt, the victory meant a great deal to Lamb, who has experienced more than his share of high-stakes successes intermingled with inevitable disappointments as a tournament player.  Many of Lamb’s friends, some of them former gold bracelet winners themselves, cheered his victory from the rail.  Lamb had been teased a fair amount by his friends for not having won his own gold bracelet, despite nearly a million dollars in WSOP earnings.  Now, Lamb gets the last laugh.

“Some of my friends would tell me that I’m a great player,” Lamb joked afterward.  “But then, they would point to their own wrist and say, ‘Oh wait – I’ve won my gold bracelet.  Where’s yours?”

Now, Lamb has the ultimate comeback line.

“After winning this, now I can say back to them – I’ve got a $10,000 buy-in World Championship gold bracelet.  Where’s yours?”

Lamb is a 26-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV.  He is originally from Tulsa, OK.  Lamb has been playing poker professionally for about five years.  He’s known in poker’s inner circles as a top Pot-Limit Omaha cash-game player – both live and online.  He had not played many tournaments up to this point, but now has as impressive a record in WSOP Pot-Limit play as anyone in the game.

Which brings the old adage to mind about the lamb lying amongst the wolves.  When it comes to Pot-Limit Omaha, it was the wolves that got slaughtered today.  The Lamb had a feast.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #42, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.


EVENT #42 CHAMPION – BEN LAMB:

The 2011 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha champion is Ben Lamb, from Las Vegas, NV.

Lamb is a 26-year-old professional poker player.

Lamb was born in Tulsa, OK.

Lamb attended college for a year, but dropped out. He started playing poker seriously about six years ago.

This is the fifth year Lamb has attended the WSOP.

Lamb finished as runner up in the $3,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event, won by Sam Stein. That finished earned Lamb $259,918.

For this victory, Lamb collected $814,436 for first place.

Lamb has now won more than $1 million in his two PLO finishes at this year’s WSOP. This is the most money ever won by any player in Pot-Limit Omaha in a single year.

According to official records, Lamb now has 1 win, 3 final table appearances and 9 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

Lamb currently has $2,333,556 in career WSOP winnings.

With this event, Lamb entered six events at the 2011 WSOP. This was his second cash in 2011.

Lamb has a stellar record in WSOP Pot-Limit-related events over the past five years. He took 12th place in Pot-Limit Hold’em in 2006, 5th place in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split in 2009, 30th place in $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha in 2010, and 2nd place in $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha in 2011 – prior to 1st place in this tournament.

Lamb has cashed twice in the WSOP Main Event Championship. He finished 156 in the 2007 championship. He finished 14th in the 2009 championship. The later cash paid $633,022.

Lamb is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been a full-time player for about five years.

Lamb’s victory breaks non-American gold bracelet winners’ streak at 5 – the longest ever in WSOP history.


WINNER INTERVIEW:

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:
“It feels great. The money is good. But this bracelet stays with me forever.”

On the difference in quality of play between the $3,000 buy-in level and $10,000 buy-in level tournaments:
“I feel like a lot of players will play in a (smaller) buy in tournament. But when it comes to the $10,000 buy in, the backers say – ‘no, you can’t play in that one.’ The players are tougher in the bigger events.”

On if Pot-Limit Omaha is his best poker game:
“Without a doubt.”


THE FINAL TABLE:

The official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.

The final table contained three former gold bracelet winners – Dario Alioto, Josh Tieman, and John Kabbaj

Two nations were represented at the final table – Finland (1 player), Great Britain (2 players), Italy (1 player), and the United States (5 players).

The runner up was Sami Kelopuro, from Helsinki, Finland. He earned $503,173 in prize money.

Final table play began (early) Monday morning at 12:40 am. Played concluded about 5 hours later (playing time wise) at 4:30 pm. Play was suspended at one point due to the so-called “hard-stop” rule, which is imposed after ten (max) playing levels have been completed per day.

The final 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 July.

Action was 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.


OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS:

The top 36 finishers collected prize money.

The defending champion was Daniel Alaei, from Los Angeles, CA. He did not cash this year.

Among the former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament (aside from the final table players) were the following: Alex Kravchenko, Abe Mosseri, Sam Stein, Max Pescatori, and Davidi Kitai.

No doubt, Ben Lamb’s performance in the last two Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments (1st and 2nd) is a running accomplishment. But Sam Stein’s run in these last two events was also noteworthy. He won the same tournament where Lamb finished second. Then, he finished 24th in this tournament, as well.

Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP records. Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.

“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.

 
ODDS AND ENDS:

This tournament attracted 361 entries. Participation increased from last year, when the same event attracted 346 entries.

This was the biggest prize pool in Pot-Limit Omaha history – at $3,393,400.

This is the 934th 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 Championship.

The official 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.

Ben Lamb’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Tuesday, June 28th. The national anthem of the USA will be played in honor of his victory.

 
EVENT HISTORY:

Pot-Limit poker made its debut at the WSOP in 1984, when two Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments were offered. There were no Pot-Limit tournaments of any kind played at the WSOP from 1970 through 1983.

The first-ever WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha champion was Bill Bennett. The winner of the second PLO tournament that same year was Poker Hall of Fame inductee, Dewey Tomko.

This tournament attracted its largest attendance figure since the $10,000-level buy-in debuted six years ago. Here are the attendance figures for each year:

2011 -- 361
2010 -- 346
2009 – 295
2008 – 352
2007 – 314
2006 -- 218

 
TOURNAMENT PLAY:

The tournament was originally scheduled to be played over three consecutive days/nights – which extended into an unscheduled fourth day due to the large turnout and extended duration of play.

Day One began with 361 players.

Day Two resumed with 156 players.

Day Three resumed with 36 players.

Day Four resumed with 4 players and played down to the winner.

The tournament officially began on Friday, June 24th at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Monday afternoon, June 27th at 4:30 p.m.


2011 WSOP STATISTICS:

Through the conclusion of Event #42 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 46,908 combined total entries. $86,461,410 in prize money has been awarded to winners.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (26)
Canada (5)
Great Britain (3)
France (3)
Ukraine (3)
Russia (2)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (24)
Canada (5)
Great Britain (3)
France (3)
Russia (2)
Ukraine (1)
Israel (1)
Honduras (1)
Indonesia (1)
Germany (1)


Through the conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been:

California (5)
Nevada (4)
New York (3)
Texas (2)
Illinois (2)
Florida (2)
Connecticut (2)
New Jersey (1)
Tennessee (1)
Indiana (1)
Maryland (1)
Virginia (1)
Michigan (1)
North Dakota (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:

Professional Players (33): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, 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

Semi-Pros (5): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis

Amateurs (4): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell

Since 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 38 out of 42 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 42 winners (18 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.

Every 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. So far this year, no player has yet won two gold bracelets.

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 201 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.

The highest 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).

The highest 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.

Reigning 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:

Johnny Moss (1975)
Doyle Brunson (1977)
Bobby Baldwin (1979)
Johnny Chan (1988)
Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

By contrast, 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.

New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest 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, 2011

Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39

Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

The 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).

Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (82) and final table appearances (42).

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 Jr., 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 concourse.  The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefiting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.

Note: Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold bracelet event as they are completed.

Note: 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

 
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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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