Jeffrey Papola Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 32

WSOP Winner in a New York State-of-Mind after Defeating Men "the Master"

Days after Finishing Second, Papola Makes another Final Table and Wins

Pace University Law School Student Collects $667,433 in Prize Money

Papola -- $1 Million in Winnings at 2010 WSOP…so Far

Men “the Master” Nguyen Denied Eighth Gold Bracelet – Finishes Second

Through 32 Events -- WSOP Attendance up 9 Percent over Last Year


OVERVIEW

Jeffrey Papola was the winner of the $5,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Papola came within a razor thin margin of achieving his first WSOP victory only three days ago when he finished second in the $2,500 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship (Event #26).  He earned $391,068 for that noble effort.  Then, after just a few hours of sleep, he entered this tournament and managed to top that performance with a thrilling victory.  First place paid $667,433, plus the most coveted prize in poker.
 
Men "the Master" Nguyen started three-handed play with a big chip lead, but ran bad late and finished as the runner up.  Nguyen came close to winning what would have been an eighth career gold bracelet.  Instead, he departed with a bittersweet second-place finish, which paid $360,906.  As he departed the final table area, the third of a million payout seemed to be the last thing on “the Master’s” mind.

The $5,000 buy-in short-handed tournament drew a strong field of 568 players.  The top 54 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Men "the Master" Nguyen (2nd), Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott (19th), Matthew Graham (26th), Toto Leonidas (46th), Eric Baldwin (50th), and David Singer (54th-tie).

No doubt, Jeffrey Papola is a name to watch closely for the remainder of this year’s WSOP -- and in the months and years ahead.  With this victory, he has already earned more than $1 million in his short tournament career, and appears headed towards bigger rewards in the future.


THE CHAMPION – JEFFREY PAPOLA

The $5,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #32) is Jeffrey Papola, from New York, NY.

Papola is 25-years-old.

Papola is in his third year of Law School at Pace University, in White Plains, New York.

Papola earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, with a double major – economics and political science.

Papola began playing poker at the age of 18, when he was a student at Rutgers.

This was the fourth year Papola has attended the WSOP.

Papola admitted he had some horrible runs in previous WSOP years.  “I was, like, 0 for 50,” he joked after winning his first gold bracelet.

Papola’s first WSOP cash was actually a 90th place finish in the 2008 WSOP Main Event.  He also cashed in last year’s Main Event, finishing in 249th place.

Incredibly, Papola entered the $2,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament a week ago and finished second.  He then rested a few hours and entered this tournament, a $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit competition.  Three days later, he was the champion.

Papola’s 1-2 finish in Six-Handed events is a WSOP first.

With this victory, Papola becomes a bona fide candidate for the 2010 WSOP “Player of the Year.”  He states he is now motivated to play in more upcoming tournaments.

A few hours following his win, Papola flew back to New York City.  He said he expects to come back to the WSOP in another week or so.

Papola collected $667,433 for first place.

According to official records, Papola now has one win, two final table appearances, and four in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.   His career WSOP earnings now total $1,155,797.


WINNER QUOTES


On experiencing one of the most incredible weeks imaginable, with a first- and second-place showing in two tournaments:  “Interestingly enough, I flew in here the day of the Six-max.  I got in just as the tournament was starting.  It was noon, and by 2 pm I was here playing.  I ended up getting second in that tournament.  Within 10 hours, I was playing in this tournament.  So, I have been playing for six straight days.  I have not had more than 12 hours of rest at a time.  It feels really good.  It’s exactly the story I was writing in my head.”

On coming in second-place in the previous Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament:  “I was really depressed afterward, despite getting the big payout.  So, to come back and get here with a win feels amazing.  I was the early chip leader and then I lost it when I was heads up against Men.  Then, I came back and even though I doubled Men up twice, I still managed to win.  So, it feels amazing to come out with a win after that.”

On attending law school and his future plans:  “I’m not exactly sure what I want to do with it.  I have learned a lot of things (in school).  But as far as practicing law, I do not see myself being able to do that, because I really do not like the 9 to 5 thing.  That’s one reason I was so drawn to poker.  I’m learning things that will help me in business and in life….it’s to give my life some balance.  If I were not in law school, I would probably be playing poker 80 hours a week, and I prefer to do something apart from just play poker.”

On gaining experience playing online poker, which helped him later in live tournaments:  “When I was an undergraduate, I played like 80 hours a week.  Even though I am 25, I feel like a seasoned veteran.  That’s kind of old for an online player (laughing).”

Obviously, there is a huge difference between playing online and then sitting here waiting for Men the Master to make his decision, and he’s staring at me for 10 minutes.  Online, you just click a button and make a bluff and you don’t have to worry about someone at the WSOP staring me down.  Of course, it is a lot more difficult and there is a lot more pressure, especially at the World Series.  But, it’s still the same game and tournament poker is something I excel at, so it’s kind of the same thing with some added dynamics.”


THE FINAL TABLE

The final table consisted of two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Men “the Master” Nguyen (7 wins) and Erick Lindgren (1 win).

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

The final table began six-handed. 

The runner up was Men “the Master” Nguyen, the poker icon from Bell Gardens, CA.  He was shooting for WSOP gold bracelet number eight, which would have put him in a tie with Johnny Moss and Erik Seidel.  Instead, he had to settle for a bittersweet payout amounting to $412,746.  With first- and second-place finishes, Nguyen is now in the running for “Player of the Year” honors.

The third-place finisher was Mark Radoja, from Ariss, Ontario (Canada).  He now has eight WSOP in-the-money finishes, including a cash in the 2008 Main Event.  Radoja earned his biggest payout ever in this tournament, collecting $262,902 in prize money.

The fourth-place finisher was Bruno Launais, from Mauguio, France.  He is a 23-year-old poker pro, who previously made a final table at EPT Deauville.  This marked Launais’ second time to cash at this year’s WSOP, which paid the tidy sum of $173,123.

The fifth-place finisher was Orlando De La Cruz, from Folsom, CA.  He cashed for the first time ever at the WSOP – worth a nice payout totaling $117,595.

The sixth-place finisher was former gold bracelet winner Erick Lindgren, from Las Vegas, NV.  He busted out with pocket queens against Men Nguyen’s pocket kings.  Lindgren won the Mixed Hold’em event in 2008 and now has 25 career cashes at the WSOP.  Sixth place paid $82,303.

The final table officially began at 8:00 pm and ended at 5:15 am.  The final table clocked in at 9 hours and 15 minutes.


OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 54 finishers collected prize money.  Aside from Nguyen and Lindgren who made the final table together, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott (19th), Matthew Graham (26th), Toto Leonidas (46th), Eric Baldwin (50th), and David Singer (54th-tie).

With his second-place finish, Men “the Master” Nguyen now has 68 career cashes.  This ranks second on the all-time cashes list, nine behind the leader Phil Hellmuth (with 77).

Craig Marquis finished in 54th place.  He final tabled the 2008 WSOP Main Event.

Place 54 was split between two players -- Marquis and David Singer, who each received $5,086.

The defending champion was Matthew Hawrilenko, from Boston, MA.  He did not cash this year. 


ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 860th 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 Main Stage.  The finale drew a large crowd of spectators.

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.

Papola requested that the national anthem of United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony – which will take place when he returns to the WSOP a week after his victory.


EVENT HISTORY


Six-Handed poker started out as an online game.  The variant proved so popular that many poker sites now offer just as many Six-Handed games as full ring games.

Six-Handed cash games and tournaments are not commonly offered at most brick and mortar casinos.  The games and tournaments require just as many tables, dealers, and resources as a standard nine-handed set-up.  But in Six-Handed play, the number of players (and takeout) is reduced by a third.  The WSOP believes the game merits gold bracelet status since it requires a different skill set from conventional games, and has proven to be very popular worldwide.

Six-Handed Hold'em emphasizes short-handed poker skills.  Rather than a full table of nine players, each table is played six-handed (or less, as players bust out).  This generally requires competitors to play cards out of the standard range of starting-hand requirements. It also makes post-flop skill paramount to victory.  The game is included on the WSOP schedule in an effort to test as diverse a range of poker skills as possible.

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em made its WSOP debut in 2005.  Three Six-Handed events were included on the 2006 schedule.  Last year, there was only one Six-Handed event.  Former champions from these events include Isaac "The General" Galazan, Dutch Boyd, Bill Chen, Jeff Madsen, Jason Warner, Ralph E. Porter, Ken Aldridge, and Matt Hawrilenko.

Last year, this was the final gold bracelet tournament before the start of the Main Event.  With so many players in town for the biggest poker tournament of the year, this tournament attracted a huge field of 928 players.  It was one of the very few non-Main Event, non-mega-buy-in tournaments to generate a $1 million top prize for the winner.


TOURNAMENT PLAY

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

Jeffrey Papola was the chip leader when final table began.

The heads-up match between Jeffrey Papola and Men “the Master” Nguyen went about 4.5 hours.

The final hand of the tournament came when blinds and antes were high and Papola enjoyed about a 5-to-4 chip lead.  Nguyen moved all-in with Ks Ts.  Papola called and tabled Jd Js.  The final board ran out 7d 7s 5d 9h Ah.  The pair of jacks was the winning hand.

Papola is to be classified as a semi-pro.  He has played poker full-time in the past, but currently attends law school.


2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up from this same point last year.  Last year, through 33 events, there were 31,573 entries.  This year, there have been 34,824 total entries through 33 events, 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 #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 #32, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (16)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)

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

Professional Players (21):  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

Semi-Pros (4):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola

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

Through the conclusion of Event #32, 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