An Englishman in Las Vegas

Richard Ashby Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Online Poker Pro Collects $140,467 in Prize Money

Ashby Becomes Third Englishman to Claim Victory at 2010 WSOP

Christine Pietsch Finishes as Runner Up: Barely Misses Becoming Only 16th Female in WSOP History to Win an Open Event

Dan Heimiller Makes Third WSOP Final Table Appearance This Year
 
For the official tournament portal page, including official results, click HERE.

OVERVIEW

Richard Ashby won the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud tournament at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  It marked his first ever gold bracelet victory.  By conquering a tough late-stage lineup that included former WSOP event winners Dan Heimiller and Alexander Kravchenko, Ashby pocketed the top cash prize amounting to $140,467.  More meaningful, perhaps, was adding his name to the history books.

Ashby, age 38, is primarily an online cash game specialist.  He lives in Watford, England.  Ashby has now cashed nine times at the WSOP, dating back to 2003.

Ashby also became the third Englishman to win a gold bracelet at this year’s WSOP.  He followed in the footsteps of previous UK champions, Praz Bansi and James Dempsey.

The second-place finisher was Christine Pietsch, who barely missed becoming the 16th woman in history to win an open WSOP event.  She had a big chip lead late when heads up play began, but Ashby proved to be a formidable opponent in the duel, leaving the lady from Orange County, CA in second place.  Pietsch would have joined an illustrious group of female champions, including Jennifer Harman, Annette Obrestad, Annie Duke, Kathy Liebert, Cyndy Violette, Nani Dollison, Kayja Thater, Linda Johnson, Jerri Thomas, Maria Stern, Starla Brodie, Vera Richmond, Donna Doman, Barbara Enright, and Vanessa Selbst – which constitutes the grand circle of female gold bracelet winners.  Selbst was the last woman to win the most coveted of all poker jewelry, which took place in Event #19 at the 2008 WSOP.

This year’s Seven-Card Stud tournament attracted 408 entries, a slight increase in attendance over last year.  The top 40 finishers collected prize money.  Four former WSOP gold bracelet finishers cashed in this event, including Dan Heimiller (4th), Alexander Kravchenko (9th), Scott Seiver (19th), and Rod Pardey, Jr. (37th).

Dan Heimiller’s high finish meant becoming only the third player at this year’s WSOP to reach three final tables, to date.  He finished 2nd in Omaha High-Low Split, 9th in the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud championship, and came in 4th in this event.  The other two players with three final table appearances so far are John Juanda and Vladimir Shchemelev.

THE CHAMPION – RICHARD ASHBY

The $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud champion (Event #21) is Richard Ashby from Watford, England.  Watford is located north of London.

Ashby is 38-years-old.

Ashby is single, but has a girlfriend.

Ashby was born in London.

Ashby is a professional poker player.  He was taught the game by his father.  He has been playing for about 10 years.

Ashby is primarily a cash game player.  He plays mostly online.  Ashby’s favorite game is Pot-Limit Omaha.  But he has also always enjoyed playing Seven-Card Stud.  In fact, Stud was the first poker game Ashby learned how to play.

Ashby’s first poker win took place in a local 10-pound buy-in tournament in London.

Ashby’s first recorded major tournament cash took place in 2001.

Ashby has 45 major cashes and nearly $1 million in live tournament winnings, which does not include significant wins in online play.

Ashby’s poker accomplishments include cashes in the Aussie Millions, European Poker Championship, Grosvenor UK Poker Tour, Irish Open, and several other majors played in the UK and Europe.

Prior to this victory, Ashby’s biggest cash was at the 2009 Aussie Millions, at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.

Ashby had six major tournament wins prior to this victory.

According to official records, Ashby now has one win, three final table appearances, and nine in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.   His career WSOP earnings currently total $219,748.

Ashby also became the third Englishman to win a gold bracelet at this year’s WSOP.  British players also have two second place finishes, as well as a third-place and a fourth-place showing.

The final table, which was played on Day Three, began a few minutes after the conclusion of the 2010 World Cup (soccer) match between the United States and England.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

WINNER QUOTES

On how he happened to win a Seven-Card Stud gold bracelet, which is a game best known to be played by Americans, especially northeasterners:  “Stud was actually the first game I started playing.  I’ve been playing it a very long time.  There is a tournament in Baden (Germany) that I won earlier this year.  I have been running very well in Stud lately.”

On what games he prefers playing online:  "I play a lot of Mixed Games.  But maybe I should be playing Stud a little bit more, after this.”

On his expectations this year, prior to traveling to Las Vegas from the U.K.:  “I have played so many tournaments.  You put so much energy into something like this and to make it all the way through -- it means a lot to me to win this, so I’m really happy.”

On playing heads-up against Christine Pietsch:  “She was playing really well.  She was playing very aggressively.  She was never scared when (I) hit three to a flush or made an open pair.  She kept on being aggressive.  Once the pots started getting big, it was hard to put on the brakes.  I got lucky on a couple of pots and she played really well.  (On one hand) I was bluffing and she kept on correctly calling me.  Then, I got lucky and hit a third deuce and won.  That was really the turning point, I think.”

When asked if he would trade the WSOP gold bracelet for an English victory in the 2010 World Cup:  “Definitely not!”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table consisted of only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Dan Heimiller.

Three different nations were represented at the final table – Canada, Great Britain, and the United States.

In official WSOP records, Seven-Card Stud final tables include the top eight finishers, since the final table is comprised of just eight players, instead of the customary nine for flop games.

Final table participants ranged in age from 24 to 53.  Six players were aged in their 40s.

The runner up was Christine Pietsch, who cashed for the first time in a WSOP event.  She now lives in Garden Grove, CA.  Pietsch is self-employed.  Second place paid $86,756.  Had Pietsch won, she would have become only the 16th woman in history to win an open WSOP event.  At present, the group of women who have won gold bracelets includes Jennifer Harman, Annette Obrestad, Annue Duke, Kathy Liebert, Cyndy Violette, Nani Dollison, Kayja Thater, Linda Johnson, Jerri Thomas, Maria Stern, Starla Brodie, Vera Richmond, Donna Doman, Barbara Enright, and Vanessa Selbst.  It was Selbst who was the last woman to win, which took place in Event #19 at the 2008 WSOP.

The third-place finisher was Darren Shebell, from Las Vegas, NV.  He formally served with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.  Shebell cashed for the second time this year, which paid $55,955.

The fourth-place finisher was former WSOP gold bracelet winner Dan Heimiller from Nevada, Arizona -- and perhaps as many as 48 other U.S. states.  Heimiller, who always seems to be from a different city when he cashes at the WSOP, stuffed his wallet with another $40,544 in prize money.  That makes three final table appearances so far for the red-headed captain of the German Team at “World Team Poker.”  No word on whether or not Heimiller has yet established German residency.  Fourth place paid $40,544.

The fifth-place finisher was Owais Ahmed, from Anaheim, CA.  He has several online poker tournament wins.  He earned a degree in Fine Arts (film), as well as a degree in computer science from UC-Irvine.  In fact, Ahmed has written and directed a number of short films.  He collected $29,809 in his first WSOP time to cash.

The sixth-place finisher was Sorel Mizzi, from Toronto, Ontario (Canada).  This marked his 11th time to cash at the WSOP and was his third final table appearance – which includes two runner-up finishes.  Mizzi earned $22,235.  He had previously won other major poker tournaments held both live and online.

The seventh-place finisher was Pat Pezzin, from Toronto, Ontario (Canada).  He cashed for the 17th time at the WSOP, which includes four final tables.  Pezzin pocketed $16,826. 

The eighth-place finisher was Jon Turner, from Henderson, NV.  He collected $12,916.
 
The final table officially began at 3:00 pm and ended at midnight.  The final table clocked in at nine hours.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 40 finishers collected prize money.  Aside from the final table players, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Alexander Kravchenko (9th), Scott Seiver (19th), and Rod Pardey, Jr. (37th).

Dan Heimiller’s fourth-place finish meant he became only the third player at this year’s WSOP to reach three final tables, to date.  He finished 2nd in Omaha High-Low Split, 9th in the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud championship, and came in 4th in this event.  The other two players with three final table appearances are John Juanda and Vladimir Shchemelev.

The defending champion was Jeffrey Lisandro, from Salerno, Italy.  He entered this year’s tournament but did not cash.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 849th 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 at WSOP Europe (to date).

The final table was played on the so-called ESPN secondary-stage, which is adjacent to the set used for most televised WSOP events.  The secondary stage area is a more intimate setting that allows spectators a closer view of the table and players.  The Main Stage hosted the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha championship, which was played simultaneously.

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.

Ashby requested that the national anthem of Great Britain, “God Save the Queen,” be played at his official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.

EVENT HISTORY

Seven-Card Stud first debuted at the 1973 WSOP.  W.C. “Puggy” Pearson was the very first stud champion.

Seven players in WSOP history own two gold bracelets in Seven-Card Stud.  They are Johnny Moss, Bones Berland, Marty Sigel, Ted Forrest, Mel Judah, Rod Pardey, Sr. and Men 'the Master' Nguyen.

Artie Cobb and Men “the Master” Nguyen are the only players in WSOP history who won three gold bracelets in Seven-Card Stud.

Other former Seven-Card Stud gold bracelet winners include two poker legends, Stu Ungar and Chip Reese.

Years ago, Seven-Card Stud was the most popular game in casinos on the East Coast, primarily in big poker destinations such as Atlantic City and Foxwoods.  In fact, Seven-Card Stud games outnumbered Hold'em games several times over.  Some East Coast casinos did not offer Hold'em, since Seven-Card Stud was the primary game of choice.  But everything in changed in 2003, most crediting (or blaming) the cosmic shift on Chris Moneymaker's WSOP victory, which instantly created millions of new players who became curious about No-Limit Hold'em.  Seven-Card Stud has been steadily declining in popularity ever since.  However, it remains popular enough to merit inclusion on the WSOP schedule.  Its close cousin - Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split, a.k.a. Eight-or-Better, is actually more popular now as a tournament game.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 10-12, 2010.

When heads-up play began, Christine Pietsch enjoyed slightly better than a 2-to-1 chip lead over Richard Ashby.  The most critical hand of the tournament came when Ashby was betting aggressively during a big hand with scare cards hoping to get his opponent to fold, and backed into making trip deuces.  That was the turning point that gave Ashby the chip lead for the first time.  He won the tournament about 40 minutes later.  

The final hand of the tournament came when Richard Ashby’s (   )         ( ) topped Christine Pietsch’s (   )         ( ).  Ashby made two pair – Qs and 7s – which bested Pietsch’s pair of tens.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Through the conclusion of Event #21, the 2010 WSOP has attracted 22,957 total entries.
 
$40,137,020 in prize money has been awarded to winners.

Through the conclusion of the first 21 events, WSOP tournament attendance has increased by 9 percent over last year.  (There were 2,946 entries at this same point in 2009.)

Through the conclusion of the first 21 events, WSOP tournament prize money figures have declined slightly over last year.  At this same point in 2009, the sum of total prize money won was $41,979,936.

Through the conclusion of Event #21, the nationalities of winners have been:

United States (14)
Great Britain (3)
Canada (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #21, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (10)
Great Britain (3)
Vietnam (2)
Canada (2)
China (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #21, the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (15):  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

Semi-Pros (2):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch

Amateurs (4):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt