Number Three for Alaei
 
Daniel Alaei Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 55

LA Poker Pro Wins Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship
 
Latest WSOP Winner Collects $780,599 in Prize Money
 
WSOP Attendance Increases 18 Percent from Last Year

For the tournament portal page, including official results for this event, please click HERE.

OVERVIEW
 
Daniel Alaei was the winner of the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his third career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Alaei collected $780,599 in prize money in what was one of his biggest career wins ever.  This marked Alaei’s 20th time to cash at the WSOP.  He now has more than $2.5 million in career WSOP earnings.  In fact, Alaei has accumulated nearly $5 million overall during his poker tournament career, which has spanned just five years.

Alaei is a 25-year-old professional poker player from Los Angeles, CA.  His first WSOP win came in the $5,000 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball event in 2006.  He won gold bracelet number two last year in the $10,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split championship.

The runner up was Miguel Proulx, from Saint Charles, Quebec (Canada).  He received $482,265.

The top 36 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Daniel Alaei (1st), Alexander Kravchenko (8th), Jason Mercier (10th), Phil Hellmuth (15th), Jason Lester (16th), Blair Rodman (18th), David “Devilfish” Ulliott (20th), Jordan Smith (25th), Nenad Medic (31st), and Fabrice Soulier (32nd).

Tony Cousineau, from Daytona Beach, FL, cashed again.  He finished 14th.  Cousineau now has 46 career cashes at the WSOP -- which is the most of any non-gold bracelet winner in history.

Phil Hellmuth finished in 15th place.  He now has 79 career cashes and is the all-time in-the-money finishes leader in WSOP history.

This year’s tournament attracted 346 entries.  The total prize pool was $3,252,400.

THE CHAMPION – DANIEL ALAEI

The $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha champion (Event #55) is Daniel Alaei, from Los Angeles, CA.

Alaei is a 25-year-old professional poker player.  He has been playing full-time for about five years.  He has more than $4 million in career tournament earnings, and more earnings still in high-limit cash games.

Alaei plays in many of the biggest cash games in the world.

Alaei is perhaps best well known for his many appearances on popular television shows which feature cash game action, including the first three seasons of “High Stakes Poker.”

Alaei is a big believer in mind over matter.  He is an avid reader, enjoys mentally-stimulating games, and likes to pursue new challenges.

Alaei says his parents are his heroes.  He credits his mother for inspiring him to do better and admired his father for overcoming obstacles.  Alaei’s father was with him when he won his second and third gold bracelets.

Alaei believes in behaving properly at the poker table at all times.  He is always very calm and does not like or engage in theatrics.

Alaei admits he has a temper that does show at home when he plays online.  He says he has not broken any equipment, but has slammed the mouse down several times fracturing the plastic, particularly after taking bad beats.

While at the table, Alaei sometimes wears thick black designer sunglasses and a military-style cap.  However, at this final table he wore grey slacks and a black cashmere sweater.

Alaei won his second gold bracelet at last year’s WSOP.  In a post-tournament interview he said, “In the poker world, bracelets are like trophies.  So, it is good to win.  Now, I want a third bracelet.  Before, I wanted number two.  And now, I want number three.”

Alaei got his third gold bracelet one year and 28 days after making the previous statement.

Alaei’s first gold bracelet victory came in the Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event at the 2006 WSOP, at which he won $430,000.  Yet that competition ended very late in the night and was played in front of few people who remember the victory.  That night, Alaei defeated David Williams in heads-up play.  Then last year, Alaei’s win was televised over the Internet, which was watched by thousands of viewers, and was played in front of a capacity crowd at the Rio.  This victory was played in front of a smaller crowd, since many players were either celebrating the Fourth of July holiday or were resting up for the start of the Main Event.

Alaei’s victory took place on the Fourth of July.

Alaei’s victory took place on the day prior to the start of the 2010 WSOP Main Event.

“I do not play too much limit (poker),” Alaei said. “I mostly play No-Limit and Pot-Limit.”

Alaei has cashed in the WSOP Main Event twice -- in 2004 and 2005.

Remarkably, Alaei has made five WSOP final tables, and has three wins.

Alaei collected $780,599 for first place.  He was presented with his third WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Alaei now has three wins, five final table appearances, and 20 cashes at the WSOP.  His career WSOP earnings now total $1,535,621.

WINNER QUOTES

On where this WSOP gold bracelet victory ranks in comparison to his other two wins:  “It’s right up there.  It’s really important to me.  But they are all important.  The first one, of course was special.  The second one, too, because it solidifies the first one.  And then the third one solidifies the first two.  They all feel good.  I want to keep on winning more.”

On his emerging legacy as one of the game’s best players:  “I really do not think in those terms.  I am going to keep on playing, because I still like poker.  I do not see myself doing anything else.  I am going to keep coming to the WSOP to try and win bracelets.”           

On the possibility he may eventually make a run for most gold bracelets, since he now has three wins at age 25:  “I do not know how many I can win.  I think I can win several.  But they are going to keep winning, too.”

On what’s better – winning early at the WSOP or later:  “I think it is better to win early.  The first one I won, it was the last event before the Main Event.  But last year’s win, I won an early event and you get to play the whole WSOP with that sense of momentum.  The money is not a factor since you are free rolling.  There is something important about momentum.  That is why there are multiple gold bracelet winners every year.  There are definitely rushes in poker.”

On which poker camp he falls into – the older guard or the new crop of young stars.  “I do not really place myself in a group with the online pros.  But I am not an old-timer either.  I am one who falls right in the middle, I think.  I guess I am a young, old-school player.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table included two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Daniel Alaei and Alexander Kravchenko.

The final table began nine-handed.

The final table included players from six different nations – Canada (2 players), Finland (1 player), France (1 player), Russia (2 players), and the United States (3 players).

The runner up was Miguel Proulx, from Saint Charles, Quebec (Canada).  He collected $350,803 in prize money.

The third-place finisher was Ville Mattila, from Orimattila, Finland.  He received $255,076.

The fourth-place finisher was Ludovic Lacay, from Paris, France.  He earned $186,818.  Lacay came in 16th in last year’s WSOP Main Event.

The fifth-place finisher was Trevor Uyesugi, from Lethbridge, Alberta (Canada).  He received $138,107.

The sixth-place finisher was Stephen Pierson, from Brooklyn, NY.  He collected $103,061.

The seventh-place finisher was Dmitry Stelmak, from Moscow, Russia.  He earned $77,633.

The eighth-place finisher was Alexander Kravchenko, from Moscow, Russia.  He pocketed $59,020.  Kravchenko won the $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split championship in 2007.  He was the first Russian WSOP gold bracelet winner in history.

The ninth-place finisher was Matthew Wheat, from Dallas, TX.  He was paid $45,286.

The final table began at 3 pm and ended at 12:30 am, for a duration of about 9 hours and 30 minutes.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 36 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Daniel Alaei, Alexander Kravchenko (8th), Jason Mercier (10th), Phil Hellmuth (15th), Jason Lester (16th), Blair Rodman (18th), David “Devilfish” Ulliott (20th), Jordan Smith (25th), Nenad Medic (31st), and Fabrice Soulier (32nd).

Tony Cousineau, from Daytona Beach, FL cashed again.  He finished 14th.  Cousineau now has 46 career cashes at the WSOP -- which is the most of any non-gold bracelet winner in history.

Phil Hellmuth finished in 15th place.  He now has 79 career cashes and is the all-time in-the-money finishes leader in WSOP history.

The defending champion was John Kabbaj, from London, England.  He played in this event but did not cash.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 883rd gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history.  Note:  This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe.

Some poker purists consider Pot-Limit to be a greater test of skill than No-Limit.  This is due to Pot-Limit’s emphasis on post-flop play.  Since pots gradually escalate in size in Pot-Limit, the magnitude of every decision is amplified as the hand progresses.  Contrast this with No-Limit, in which players can push “all in” at any time, which tends to create more races and reduces some elements of skill.

“Pot-Limit” means a player can wager only up to the exact amount of what is contained in the pot at any time.  Contrast this with “No-Limit,” which means a player can wager any or all of his/her chips at any time.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight).  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, usually around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.

Alaei requested that the national anthem of the United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Wednesday, July 7th, 2010.

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 only Pot-Limit which was played at the WSOP between 1984 and 1991 was Pot-Limit Omaha.  Pot-Limit Hold’em action was restricted to cash games.

The first Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament at the WSOP took place in 1992.  The game has been a fixture on the WSOP schedule ever since.  During most years, it was one of the first tournaments on the schedule.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over four consecutive days, from July 1st through July 5th, 2010.

There were 346 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $3,252,400.  The top 36 finishers collected prize money.

Daniel Alaei is to be classified as a professional player, since he has been playing full time for about five years.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS (THROUGH EVENT 55)

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year.  Last year, through 55 events, there were 52,880 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 63,354 total entries, an increase of 19.8 percent.

Prize money is also up from last year’s figures.  Last year, through 55 events, the amount of prize money won was $107,260,976.  This year’s prize money amounts to $113,948,265 – which represents an increase of about 6.2 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #55 (except for 54), the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (38)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #55 (except for 54), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (31)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #55 (except for 54), the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (39):  Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador, Ayaz Mahmood, Phil Ivey, Luigi Kwaysser, Scott Montgomery, Steven Kelly, Steve Jelinek, Dean Hamrick, Ian Gordon, Gavin Smith, Jesse Rockowitz, Chris Bell, Sigurd Eskeland, Chance Kornuth, Ryan Welch, Brendan Taylor, Daniel Alaei

Semi-Pros (7):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela, Mike Linn, Dan Kelly

Amateurs (8):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle

Through the conclusion of Event #55, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador
Phil Ivey
Frank Kassela (two wins this year)
Daniel Alaei

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #55:

Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21), Dan Kelly (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open events) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) – Frank Kassela