Days and Wild Nights
Akkari Wins $1,500 Buy-In No-Limit Hold’em Competition
Becomes Second WSOP Champion in History from Brazil
Poker Pro Rakes-In $675,117 in Pot
Joe Barton (R-TX) Performs “Shuffle Up and Deal” Honors
House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
Gold Bracelets Won – 15 More Still to Go
upon one’s perspective, everything that is either right or wrong with poker in
the modern era was manifested in the heads-up duel between the final two
players in the latest mega-tournament, held at the 2011 World Series of Poker.
long days, countless poker hands, and hundreds of bad beat stories after it
started, an initial starting tournament field of nearly 3,000 had been whittled
down to an American versus a Brazilian playing for the coveted WSOP gold
stage was set for the final showdown of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em
championship -- the 43rd gold bracelet event (of 58) on this year’s WSOP
a very crude sense, the names of the two players didn't really matter. What did matter was what each player
represented to those who were watching and cheering them on. Both players attracted a dedicated following
of fawning fans who came to the ESPN main stage with one purpose in mind -- to
make as much noise as possible while partying their brains out.
Berlin, a 31-year-old poker pro from Brooklyn, NY enjoyed as high-powered an
entourage as anyone at any final table.
Several of his friends cheering up in the stands were
highly-accomplished poker players. It
was a smattering of anarchistic talent, nauseatingly self-confident, yet
seemingly incomplete for one of their own having not yet won a WSOP title.
down the opposition on the other side of the table was Andre Akkari, who is
considered by many to be the best poker player from Brazil. If Berlin’s supporters were a maxed out
"10" in volume, the brassy Brazilians – to borrow a line from the
quirky niche film “Spinal Tap” – were dialed up to an "11." All that was missing from the final table
festivity was Metallica bursting out of the wings and blasting out everyone's
collective eardrums with some deafening guitar riff.
the atmosphere was a cross between the Olympics, the World Cup, and Carnival
(make that Mardi Gras, for the American readers -- this is the Rio, after
all). There was ceaseless chanting. There were flags (all Brazilian). The wave was even performed dozens of times.
know, the wave. At a poker
tournament. What next? Poker riots?
so, this was the bizarre setting for the latest WSOP heads-up showdown, a
surreal mix of gamesmanship and showmanship.
A game once played in the quiet stillness, amidst the incessant hum of
air conditioners, is now one step away from an episode of Glee. All night marathons with half a dozen bored
silent witnesses have been jettisoned to the proverbial stone age -- their
living corpses replaced by a sort of superfandom embodying the notion that
poker is a real actual sport.
the spirit seems fun for most, some detractors don't care much for the recent
changes where many spectators have quite literally become part of the
game. It’s easy to understand this
criticism, as top-flight poker usually requires tremendous concentration and
focus, which can be difficult when a hundred spectators are screaming in
Portuguese on one side of the arena, while the other half are hollering out
“USA! USA! USA!” at the other.
the sea of noise and revelry finally parted following a two-day final table,
walking through the abyss like Moses headed to the promised land was Andre
Akkari, a 36-year-old poker pro from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He defeated his final adversary in heads up
play, leaving scores of Brazilians in a state of ecstasy as though they'd just
won the World Cup. By doing what may
have seemed impossible days earlier when there were 2,857 players who started
the race, Akkari won his first WSOP gold bracelet.
collected a whopping $675,117 in prize money.
He'd already won more than $2.2 million in online tournaments. Akkari became only the second WSOP gold
bracelet winner in history from Brazil.
Alexandre Gomes, who won in 2008, was the first.
days before the circus atmosphere that was the final table, the tournament
began on quite a different note. Prior
to the start of play, a distinguished guest was introduced to the huge gallery
of players and spectators. Congressman
Joe Barton (R-TX) was present to rally support for a pro-online poker bill he
recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the years, several notable political
figures have appeared at WSOP events.
The most notable appearances in recent years were by (former) Sen.
Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV),
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), and others.
asked the nearly 3,000 poker players who were assembled in the tournament room
to contact their elected representatives in Washington and ask them to support
efforts to legalize, license, and regulate online poker inside the United
the irony. A U.S. congressman appearing
at the WSOP, trying to drum up support and enthusiasm for a new law which
allows Americans to play poker. Then
four days later, a Brazilian poker champion is crowned. Indeed, Akkari's moment of triumph was clear
proof of what a large mass of unified people cheering for one common goal can
comprehensive recap of Event #43, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal
EVENT #43 CHAMPION – ANDRE
2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Andre
Akkari, from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
is a 36-year-old professional poker player.
He has won an estimated $2.2 million in online poker tournaments alone.
was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil – which is the nation’s largest city.
is married. He has two children.
is one of Brazil’s most famous poker players.
is close friends with Alexandre Gomes, who was the first Brazilian WSOP
champion in history. Akkari was with
Gomes when he won his gold bracelet in 2008.
Three years later, Gomes returned the favor and stood cheering the crowd
with about 50-60 other Brazilian supporters.
marks the fourth year that Akkari has attended the WSOP.
this victory, Akkari collected $675,117 for first place.
to official records, Akkari now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance and 9
in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
Akkari currently has $747,790 in career WSOP winnings.
was Akkari’s second cash this year.
to this victory, Akkari’s best previous showing at the WSOP was a 27th-place
finish in the WSOP Europe Main Event, held in 2009.
Akkari is to be classified as a professional poker
player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been a full-time player for
about four years.
Tell us about
Alexandre Gomes winning three years ago and being the first Brazilian champion:
was unbelievable. After he won the
bracelet, it changed everything about poker in Brazil. Poker was growing before he won the bracelet,
but after that, it was unbelievable.
Three million people play poker online and play poker live, it changed
everything about poker in Brazil. I was
so happy. I was here, rooting for him,
and now he is here rooting for me.”
What do you think
your victory will do for poker in Brazil?
“Oh, it’s going to be
amazing. You have no idea what is
happening in Brazil, right now. Poker is
an American sport. It’s an American game
and maybe the Americans don’t know what happens outside the country. But in Brazil, just to give you one
idea. I received 1,500 messages a minute
on Twitter, it’s unbelievable.”
1,500? A minute?
Unbelievable. It’s so sick. It’s so sick.”
What is it about
Brazil, the culture, whether it’s soccer, or Carnival, what is it about your
people that celebrate life?
are a party people. We like to enjoy
life. And have a good time, like
this. And anything that includes
competition in Brazil is looked like soccer.
We root like soccer. Soccer is
the main thing in Brazil. Everything is
about soccer. Here in poker, it will not
be different. It’s amazing.”
How did you focus
during such a long match?
was pretty confident that I had some edges to play against him. I lost a lot on the turn and river, so I was
trying to not put all my chips in before the flop, all the time, since
yesterday. But yesterday, he was hitting
everything. He had like three pocket
tens. Kings and queens so many
times. So, if we wouldn’t have had the
break yesterday, probably I would have lost the bracelet. The break was very good for me.”
You lost your father
recently. Can you talk about what impact
that had on how you played?
for sure. I was playing in the (Latin
American Poker Tour) in Lima, Peru, and on Day 1, I finished the Day 1 third in
chips, in the Top 3, and I went to my room, so happy because I had so many
chips, and it was one hour before I started playing Day 2, I got a call from Brazil
saying my father had passed away. So it
was the worst day of my life. And I was
pretty sure something, something good would happen here this time. And it happened.
THE FINAL TABLE
official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.
final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.
nations were represented at the final table – including Belgium (1 player),
Brazil (1 player), Lebanon (1 player), and the United States (6 players).
play began, two players distanced themselves from the rest of the field as the
chip leaders. The biggest stacks
belonged to Jacob Naquin and Matthew Carmody.
However, they went out in 4th-place and 3rd place,
runner up was Nachman Berlin, from Brooklyn, NY. He is a 31-year-old professional poker
player. Berlin has an interesting story
as a former landlord. Several years ago,
a certain poker player named Ari Engel moved into Berlin’s basement. Berlin saw him playing online poker and
gradually developed a friendship and student-teacher relationship with the very
successful online pro. That instruction
and support paid off in this tournament, as Berlin ended up earning $419,173
for finishing second.
table play began Monday evening at 6:30 pm.
Played concluded about 11 hours later (playing time wise) at 5 pm the
following day. The final table was
interrupted when play was heads-up, due to the mandatory hard-stop being
reached after ten levels of play (daily).
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.
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.
top 297 finishers collected prize money.
the former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament were the
following players: Simon Watt (22nd),
Andre Boyer (68th), Phi Nguyen (79th), Jordan Smith (84th),
Justin Scott (118th), Kathy Liebert (148th), David Bakes
Baker (149th), Eric Baldwin (214th) and Thomas “Thunder”
Nguyen, one of last year’s November Nine finalists, cashed in 207th
Circuit all-star Doug “Rico” Carli finished in 223rd place. He has more WSOP Circuit cashes than any
player in history – currently at 50.
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.
Player of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.
ODDS AND ENDS
tournament attracted 2,857 entries.
tournament began with introduction of a special guest to the huge gallery of
players. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX)
was present to rally support for a pro-online poker bill he recently introduced
in the House of Representatives.
Political figures have appeared at many WSOP events over the years. The most notable appearances in recent years
were by (former) Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep.
Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), and others.
tournament attracted 94 female players, which represents 3.3 percent of the
average age of entrants was 36.4 years.
The average age of those that cashed was 35 years. The average age of those that made it to the
final table was 31.4 years.
is the 935th 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.
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.
Akkari’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Wednesday, June 29th. The national anthem of Brazil will be played
in honor of his victory. This will be
the first time the Brazilian anthem has been played at an official gold
tournament was to be played over three consecutive days/nights – which extended
into a fourth day.
One began with 2,857 players.
Two resumed with 385 players.
Three resumed with 34 players and played down to two players.
unscheduled fourth day started with 2 players and played down to the winner.
tournament officially began on Saturday, June 25th at noon. The tournament officially ended on Tuesday
afternoon, June 28th at 5 pm.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
the conclusion of Event #43 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 49,765 combined total entries. $90,318,360 in prize money has been awarded
the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold
bracelet winners has been:
the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners
the conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have
the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players
to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:
Players (34): 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, Andre Akkari
(5): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot,
Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis
(4): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James
Hess, Kirk Caldwell
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 39 out of 43 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 43 winners (18
percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.
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.
streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 202
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.
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).
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.
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:
“Jesus” Ferguson (2001)
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.
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
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
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
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).
AWARENESS: BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE
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.