Victory for Velador

Luis Velador Wins Second WSOP Gold Bracelet

Southern California Poker Pro Collects $260,552 in Prize Money

Former WSOP Winners Finish 1-2 as Luis Velador Defeats David Chiu

Through 33 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance Up Over Last Year


OVERVIEW

Luis Velador (a.k.a. Jose-Luis Velador) was the winner of the $2,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his second career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Velador won his first WSOP victory in 2008 when he came out on top in a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.

Velador is a 46-year-old poker pro from Corona, CA.  He topped a highly-competitive field of 482 players.  Velador collected $260,552 for first place.  With this victory, Velador now has nine career cashes and $903,073 in combined WSOP earnings.  Both times he made it to the final table of a WSOP tournament, he ended up as the champion.

The runner up was another former gold bracelet winner, four-time champ David Chiu.  The Las Vegas poker pro played a solid game, but could not overcome a 4-to-1 chip disadvantage when heads-up play began.

The top 45 finishers collected prize money.  Aside from Velador and Chiu, who made it to the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Burt Boutin (10th), Joshua Tieman (11th), Phil Ivey (12th), John Kabbaj (17th), Steve Zolotow (33rd), Jeffrey Lisandro (42nd), and Chris Reslock (43rd).

Phil Ivey’s 12th-place finish was his third cash this year.  This finish places him in the top 25 all-time in WSOP career cashes.  He is currently tied with Allen Cunningham for 23rd place.  Both players now have 41 cashes.

Steve Zolotow’s 33rd-place finish gives him 40 for his career, which places him in 25th place all-time.  Mickey Appleman falls to 26th-place.

Jeffrey Lisandro, the 2009 “Player of the Year,” cashed for the second time at this year’s WSOP.


THE CHAMPION – LUIS VELADOR

The $2,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha champion (Event #33) is Luis Velador, from Corona, CA.  Prior to moving to Corona, Velador lived in Lake Elsinore, CA.

Velador is a 46-year-old poker pro.

Velador has been playing professionally for 13 years.  He plays live cash games, tournaments, and online poker.

Velador was born in the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico.  He is one of the few Mexican-born winners in WSOP history.  Victor Perches was the first ever from Mexico to win a gold bracelet in 2006.

Velador is listed in some tournament results as “Jose-Luis Velador.”  However, he prefers to be known as Luis Velador.

Velador won his first gold bracelet in 2008.  He won a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em competition and collected $574,734 for first place.  At the time, Velador had only played in three WSOP events.  He had cashed in all three when he won his victory. 

When Velador won in 2008, his final table performance was as dominant as had ever been seen at the WSOP.  From start to finish during the five-hour final table, Velador held at least a 2-to-1 chip advantage over his nearest adversary.  Most of the time, he had every opponent at the table covered by a 5- or 6- to 1 margin.  This victory was not as easy.  However, Velador did dominate the later stages of the finale.

The first two WSOP events Velador entered were the 2006 and 2007 Main Events.  He cashed in both.

Prior to becoming a poker pro, Velador worked as a tile setter.

Today, Velador concentrates mostly on middle-limit cash games, ranging from $10-20 up to $40-80 limits.  He prefers playing mixed games.  He has played daily at the Bicycle Club Casino in the past, but now plays mostly at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.

Velador collected $260,552 for first place.

According to official records, Luis Velador (a.k.a. Jose-Luis Velador) now has two wins, two final table appearances, and nine in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.


WINNER QUOTES

On how he became a pro player:  “The first few years, I was down to my last dollar a few times.  I went busted.  Then, I got better and some friends helped me to play and I became a pro.”

On his final table strategy:  “I got hit by the deck, late.  My strategy was basically to push.  I was showing some really good hands, and it worked.”

On poker getting tougher as the years pass:  “It’s getting tougher.  No question about it.  There are so many kids who can play very well.  There are so many good players out there.  The field is better than the pros.  We (the pros) have a shot, but the field is usually going to beat us.”

On winning his second WSOP gold bracelet:  “It means a lot to me.  I mean, any bracelet is always going to mean a lot – especially beating so many tough players.  This was a very tough final table.”

On the hand where he busted Phil Ivey in 12th place:  “It was Pot-Limit Omaha.  I was dealt J-J-x-x.  He had A-A-x-x.  The flop came J-4-4 (giving Velador a full house).  I checked.  He bet out.  I raised all-in.  He thought about it for a long time and called.  That’s how he got busted.”

On what he plans to do with his second gold bracelet:  “Tomorrow is my wife’s birthday.  I promised I was going to bring her the bracelet.  That’s what I’m going to do.”


THE FINAL TABLE

The final table consisted of three former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Luis Velador (1 win), Rob Hollink (1 win), and Dave Chui (4 wins).

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

The final table began nine-handed. 

Former WSOP gold bracelet winners finished 1-2-3 in this tournament.  This is the first time former winners have taken the top three spots this year.

The runner up was David Chiu, from Las Vegas, NV.  Chiu is a four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner.  His previous victories came in Omaha High-Low Split (2005), Seven-Card Stud (2000), Limit Hold’em (1998), and Limit Hold’em (1996).  Chiu collected $160,902 and now has $2.8 million in career WSOP earnings.

The third-place finisher was former gold bracelet winner Rob Hollink, from Groningen, Holland.  He won the $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em championship in 2007.  At the time, he was the first Dutch WSOP champion.  With this finish, Hollink now has 23 career cashes.  He received $116,358.

The fourth-place finisher was Craig Gray, from Portland, OR.  This was his highest of 12 WSOP cashes, which paid $85,029.

The fifth-place finisher was Kevin MacPhee, from Coeur d’Alene, ID.  This was his best WSOP finish to date, worth $62,791.  MacPhee previously won an EPT championship in Berlin.

The sixth-place finisher was Annand “Victor” Ramdin, from New York, NY.  Ramdin cashed for the 16th time in his WSOP career.  This was his highest finish, to date – which paid $46,860.  Ramdin has many big cashes elsewhere in his poker career, although a gold bracelet victory remains the most elusive of feats.  Ramdin is heavily involved in charitable work in his native Guyana.

The seventh-place finisher was James Mitchell, from London, England.  Mitchell, a 21-year-old poker pro cashed for the second time at this year’s series.  He collected $35,331.

The eighth-place finisher was Gavin Cochrane, from Welwyn, England.  This was his first time to cash at the WSOP.  He collected $26,905.

The ninth-place finisher was Matt Sterling, from Brownstown, IN.  He is a 28-year-old professional poker player.  This marked his ninth time to cash at the WSOP, which now includes two final table appearances.  Sterling won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Harrah’s Rincon two years ago.  He collected $20,697 for a fine effort.

The final table officially began at 2:30 pm and ended at 11:30 pm.  The final table clocked in at 9 hours.


OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 45 finishers collected prize money.  Aside from David Chiu who made it to the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Burt Boutin (10th), Joshua Tieman (11th), Phil Ivey (12th), John Kabbaj (17th), Steve Zolotow (33rd), Jeffrey Lisandro (42nd), and Chris Reslock (43rd).

With his third-place finish in this event, David Chiu now has 51 career in-the-money finishes, which currently ranks 11th on the all-time list.

Phil Ivey’s 12th-place finish was his third cash this year.  This finish places him in the top 25 all-time in WSOP career cashes.  He is currently tied with Allen Cunningham for 23rd place – as both players now have 41 cashes.

Steve Zolotow’s 33rd-place finish gives him 40 for his career, which places him in 25th place all-time.  Mickey Appleman falls to 26th-place.

Jeffrey Lisandro, the 2009 “Player of the Year,” cashed for the second time at this year’s WSOP.

The defending champion was Rami Boukai, from San Diego, CA.  He entered this year’s tournament but did not cash.


ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 861st 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 ESPN secondary stage.

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.

Velador requested that the national anthem of United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.


EVENT HISTORY

This is only the third time this event has been included on the WSOP schedule.  While many mixed-game tournaments have taken place in the 39-year history of the WSOP, these two games had not been combined together exclusively until 2008.

Pot-Limit poker is more popular in Europe than the United States and elsewhere.  Many of the top players in England, Ireland, France, and elsewhere specialize in this form of poker.  At last year’s final table, 6 of the 9 finalists were Europeans – one of the largest contingents of European players ever to make a WSOP final table.

This year’s $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em / Pot-Limit Omaha event attracted 482 entrants.  Last year, there were 453 players.  The first year, the number of entrants was 457 players.  Hence, attendance has increased steadily each year.

The rotation of games in this tournament lasts eight hands.  In other words – following eight dealt hands of Pot-Limit Hold'em, there are eight hands of Pot-Limit Omaha, and so forth.


TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 17-19, 2010.

Luis Velador knocked out all three former gold bracelet winners, once play reached 12-handed.  He busted Phil Ivey (12th), Rob Hollink (3rd), and David Chiu (2nd).

The heads-up match featured two former gold bracelet winners with a lot of history playing together.  Luis Velador later commented that he knew his final opponent David Chiu quite well, and played with him many years at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.  Unfortunately for Chiu, he was short-stacked when the match became two-handed and went out about 20 minutes into the duel.

The final hand of the tournament came during the Pot-Limit Hold’em round when Luis Velador was dealt 7d 6c against Chiu’s Ac Th.  The final board came 6s 3s 2d 9c Js, giving Velador a pair of sixes and his second WSOP title.


2010 WSOP STATISTICS


Tournament attendance is up from this point last year.  Last year, through 33 events, there were 31,573 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 34,824 total entries, an increase of 10.2 percent.

Tournament prize money figures are down slightly from last year.  Last year, through 33 events, the sum of total prize money won was $62,931,865.  This year’s total prize money figure currently stands at $61,760,730.

Through the conclusion of Event #33 (omitting #32), the nationalities of winners have been:

United States (21)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #33 (omitting #32), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (15)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #33 (omitting #32), the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (22):  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

Semi-Pros (3):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx

Amateurs (7):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal Lefrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov

Through the conclusion of Event #33, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners at the 2010 WSOP:

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