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2015 46th Annual World Series of Poker

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 to Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Event #1: $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em

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  • Buy-in: $565
  • Prizepool: $344,000
  • Entries: 688
  • Remaining: 0
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EVENT UPDATES

05/30/15 10:30:51 PM PST
 
Brandon Barnette Wins the Casino Employees Event
 


Most of the last twenty years at the World Series of Poker have honored casino employees with their very own gold bracelet event, a gathering designed not only to determine the top industry poker player, but also to recognize and honor the extraordinary work performed by all sectors of a much larger segment of national economy which employees far more people than many might realize. Consider this: The gambling industry employees more people than either the automobile industry, or the airlines.

Indeed, the gambling industry has never been bigger, nor reached more people than today, impacting the lives of workers and families in virtually all 50 states in a positive way that provides both opportunity and personal security. The annual WSOP Casino Employees event continues to stand out as the longest-running, most prestigious employee-related sporting competition in the world, attracting workers in numerous trades and skill sets – from dealers and bartenders, to reporters and executives, to online tech support people and so many more professionals currently working in the business -- who come to Las Vegas each year to try and make a dream come true.

Brandon Barnette had his dream come true, and then some, on this Thursday evening at the Rio Las Vegas, as the first gold bracelet winner of 2015. He topped a stacked field of 688 players and collected first-place prize money totaling $75,704. This marked his first gold bracelet victory, and the triumph couldn't have possibly been more exciting, since it pitted two former WSOP dealers against one another.

Barnette is a 29-year-old duel-rate poker supervisor from Corona, CA who has dealt two years previously at the WSOP -- in 2010 and 2012. His home base is the Pechanga Casino in Southern California. Remarkably, Barnette is a champion of two different competitions now, since he's previously played on the world championship roller hockey team, which won three such titles.

Following two long days of steady competition, Barnette was in serious competition throughout play. He arrived at the final table of nine players as the chip leader. Barnette lost his advantage at one point momentarily to the player who would become his main rival during the finale -- Greg Seiden. However, once play reached five-handed, Barnette seemed to be a dominant force and was not in serious jeopardy of busting out as player were eliminated, despite some formidable competition. Then, the unexpected happened, when two critical hands late in the tournament during heads up play completely flip-flopped the course of events, leading to a major comeback by Barnette which no one could have foreseen earlier.

In shocking fashion, Seiden seized the chip lead away from Barnette during heads-up play, catching what can only be described as a couple of miracle cards on two different hands which extended his life at the final table and put him on the verge of victory, In fact, he had Barnette down to just four big blinds at one point, when Barnette hit his own two-out miracle on the river when facing elimination. He rode that momentum back to the chip lead over the course of just a few hands, and eventually won the gold bracelet. On the final hand, Barnette won with a full house.

"I felt the lead slipping away at one point, but I came this far and I wasn't going to go away easy," Barnette said afterward. "I felt like I had the advantage when we were heads up, so my goal was just to keep the pressure on."

As the runner up, Seiden earned $46,735 as a consolation prize. He is a full-time teacher and part-time poker dealer from Las Vegas, NV who has also previously dealt at the WSOP.

Third place went to Zachary Seufert, a 28-year-old dealer from Ventura, CA. He collected $30,382.

Gary Kochallka, a casino shift manager from Reno, NV took fourth place, good for $22,315. The 58-year-old Michigan State University graduate enjoyed his best poker payday ever.

Fifth place went to Michael Kahn, a 48-year-old prop player (e.g. poker pro) from Chicago, IL.

Overall, 72 casino employees enjoyed a payout, from a prize pool totaling $344,000. The in-the-money finishers were stacked with American and Canadian players, who made up the vast majority of entrants.


One of the most interesting developments of this finale was that among the top seven finishers, none had ever cashed in a WSOP-related event before. All of the top seven players were newcomers to the WSOP and appearing at a final table for the first time. This made for a final day that was both exciting and unpredictable, with Brandon Barnette ultimately coming out on top as the first gold bracelet winner at the 2015 WSOP.

When asked what he plans to do next, given the biggest payday of his career, so far, Barnette wasn't sure.

"At least my boss gave me tomorrow off," he said.

HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: This event originated in 2000. Prior to that, it was known as the "Media Invitational." In the 16 years the Casino Employee's Event has been held as part of the WSOP, poker dealers have won 12 of the 16 championships, or three-fourths of the total victories. The only Casino Employee champion to go on to bigger things later in poker was David Warga (Chandler, AZ), who won this tournament and then also won a second gold bracelet in an open event held a few years later.

05/29/15 12:52:08 AM PST
 
Hand #158: Brandon Barnette Wins Event #1 $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em for $75,704
 

Greg Seiden opens to 140,000 and Brandon Barnette moves all-in from the big blind.

Greg Seiden throws a single chip in the pot to signify a call, only to see the bad news as Barnette has him crushed    to   .

Seiden's all-in amount is just over 1,100,000 and he needs to hit to stay alive.

The     flop brings no help.

Neither does the   turn.

The   falls on the river, giving Brandon Barnette a full house and the Event #1 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em title.

Seiden will make just over $46,000 for his second place finish, while Brandon Barnette makes $75,704 as well as winning the first bracelet awarded at this summer's World Series of Poker.

A full winner's recap will be posted shortly.

05/29/15 12:46:39 AM PST
 
Hand #157: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette raises the button to 130,000 and takes down the pot.

05/29/15 12:46:03 AM PST
 
Level 29 Started
 
Level:29  Blinds:30000/60000  Ante:10000
05/29/15 12:45:45 AM PST
 
Hand #156: Brandon Barnette
 

Greg Seiden raises the button to 125,000 and Brandon Barnette moves all-in from the big blind.

He has the shorter stack covered, so the decision is for Seiden's tournament life. After a few moments of thought, he eventually folds.

05/29/15 12:44:19 AM PST
 
Hand #155: Greg Seiden
 

Greg Seiden gets a pass in the big blind.

05/29/15 12:43:53 AM PST
 
Hand #154: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette gets a walk in the big blind.

05/29/15 12:43:25 AM PST
 
Hand #153: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette opens to 115,000 and Greg Seiden calls in the big blind.

The out of position Seiden checks the     flop, only to check raise to 500,000 after Barnette continued for 220,000.

Before Seiden can even get his chips in the middle, Barnette announces "all-in", a move that sends Seiden

Brandon Barnette opens to 115,000 and Greg Seiden calls in the big blind.

The out of position Seiden checks the     flop, only to check raise to 500,000 after Barnette continued for 220,000.

Before Seiden can even get his chips in the middle, Barnette announces "all-in", a move that sends Seiden deep into the tank.

After a few moments he folds, conceding the pot and the final table chip lead to Barnette, who is now playing 2,100,000.

deep into the tank.

After a few moments he folds, conceding the pot and the final table chip lead to Barnette, who is now playing 2,100,000.

05/29/15 12:40:21 AM PST
 
Hand #152: Brandon Barnette
 

Greg Seiden opens to 125,000 and Brandon Barnette makes the call.

Barnette checks the     flop and Seiden continues for 225,000.

Barnette waves his hands at the dealer to signify himself all-in, for just over 1,000,000.

Seiden rechecks his cards and folds.

05/29/15 12:38:26 AM PST
 
Hand #151: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette raising to 115,000 and Greg Seiden makes the call.

Seiden checks the     flop, with Barnette continuing for 220,000 which is enough to take down the pot.

05/29/15 12:37:29 AM PST
 
Hand #150: Greg Seiden
 

Greg Seiden opens the button to 125,000 and Brandon Barnette calls.

Barnette check calls a 175,000 chip bet on a     flop.

Both players check the   turn.

Barnette then check calls a 250,000 chip bet after the   completed the board, only to see Seiden turn over    for rivered top pair.

Barnette is visibly frustrated with the river and throws his hand in to the muck, as he's been cut down near the 1,000,000 chip mark.

05/29/15 12:35:13 AM PST
 
Hand #149: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette raises the button to 115,000 and Greg Seiden calls in the big blind.

Both players check the     flop, with Barnette betting 220,000 after the   comes on the turn.

Seiden folds and Barnette takes down the pot.

05/29/15 12:33:00 AM PST
 
Hand #148: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette gets a walk in the big blind.

05/29/15 12:32:34 AM PST
 
Hand #147: Greg Seiden
 

Barnette raises to 115,000 from the button and Greg Seiden calls.

Both players check the     flop and Seiden then leads the   turn for 200,000, forcing a fold.

05/29/15 12:30:44 AM PST
 
Hand #146: Greg Seiden
 

Greg Seiden opens to 125,000 and Brandon Barnette folds.

05/29/15 12:30:00 AM PST
 
Hand #145: Greg Seiden
 

Greg Seiden gets a walk in the big blind.

05/29/15 12:29:35 AM PST
 
Hand #144: Brandon Barnette
 

Greg Seiden raises to 110,000 and Brandon Barnette calls in the big blind.

Both players check the     flop and Barnette then leads the   turn for 120,000.

Seiden then announces "all-in" and Barnette calls, tabling    which is in good shape to double him up as Seiden holds   .

The river is the  , locking up the double. Barnette has now battled back to more or less an even chip stack after being crippled just a few minutes ago.

05/29/15 12:29:28 AM PST
 
Hand #144: Brandon Barnette
 

Greg Seiden raises to 110,000 and Brandon Barnette calls in the big blind.

Both players check the     flop and Barnette then leads the   turn for 120,000.

Seiden then announces "all-in" and Barnette calls, tabling    which is in good shape to double him up as Seiden holds   .

The river is the  , locking up the double. Barnette has now battled back to more or less an even chip stack after being crippled just a few minutes ago.

05/29/15 12:26:00 AM PST
 
Hand #143: Brandon Barnette
 

Brandon Barnette moves all-in from the button and forces a fold.

05/29/15 12:25:34 AM PST
 
Hand #142: Brandon Barnette
 

Greg Seiden opens the button for 125,000 and Brandon Barnette moves all-in for 375,000.

Seiden gets a count then makes the call, turning over   .

Barnette holds   .

Both players pair up on the     flop.

The turn brings the   and Barnette is drawing to just two outs.

The   is one of those outs and it comes on the river, giving him another double.

He's now playing just under 800,000 after being crippled to just four big blinds a few hands ago.



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