TOURNAMENT HEADLINES

My Big Fat Greek Victory 
 
Player With Longest Name in Poker History Wins Gold Bracelet

Athanasios Polychronopoulos Wins First Gold Bracelet at 2011 WSOP

Greek-American Wins $1,500 Buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Title
 
New Champion Rakes-In $650,223 Pot
 
Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance on a Record Pace
 
48 Gold Bracelets Won – 10 More Events Still to Go
 
OVERVIEW
 
If ATHANASIOS POLYCHRONOPOULOS owned a gold bracelet for every letter in his name, he’d have more WSOP titles than Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Stu Ungar – combined.

He makes YEVGENIY TIMOSHENKO look like AN TRAN.

If his name was up on the Wheel of Fortune board, frustrated letter-queen Vanna White would end up in a straightjacket.

Badda-bing!

The player with the longest name in the 42-year history of all World Series of Poker champions just won his first gold bracelet-- delighting everyone with Greek lineage, and horrifying all those who are phonetically challenged.

Polychronopoulos steamrolled over 2,712 opposing players in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event, officially classified as Event #48 on the 58-event schedule.  He won a whopping $650,223 in prize money.  He was also presented with the coveted WSOP gold bracelet, representing the ultimate achievement in the game of poker.

The winner’s family is originally from Greece.  Duh.  But Polychronopoulos is actually as American as apple pie.  He was born in -- and still resides in -- New York State.  The 27-year-old professional poker player has won more than $2 million in online poker tournaments.  However, this is only the second year he has attended the WSOP, which is a good thing since WSOP data entry clerks get plenty of overtime whenever he enters an event.

It took Polychronopoulos four days to achieve his victory, about as long as it takes him to write out a personal check.  The top 270 finishers collected prize money.  Among those who cashed was the runner up, Simon Charette, from Canada.  Others in the money included Alex Bolotin, who won the 2009 “Ante Up For Africa” charity event and donated half his winnings to the cause.  Two-time gold bracelet winner Howard “Tahoe” Andrew also cashed.  He currently holds the record for the most WSOP years played in a row, which is now 38 straight years and counting.

Alas, when Tahoe first started attending the WSOP all the gold bracelet winners were pretty much cut from the same cloth -- with familiar names like Moss, Pearson, Brunson, Roberts and Preston.  Now, it's the Eugene Katchalovs, Viacheslav Zhukovs, Bertrand Grospelliers, Mikhail Lakhitovs, Oleksii Kovalchuks and Athanasios Polychronopoulos' who are winning the cash and gold. 
  
A few words of advice to 2011 WSOP executives:  Hire more data entry clerks!  Quick!

For a comprehensive recap of Event #48, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.

EVENT #48 CHAMPION ATHANASIOS POLYCHRONOPOULOS 
 
The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Athanasios Polychronopoulos, from Springs, NY which is located near the Hamptons on Long Island.
 
Polychronopoulos was born in Southampton, NY to Greek parents.
 
Polychronopoulos’ family owns a Greek restaurant.
 
Polychronopoulos is a 27-year-old professional poker player.  He began playing seriously in 2003.
 
Polychronopoulos played online poker primarily, up until the events of April 2011, called “Black Friday.”
 
Polychronopoulos has won what estimates to be about $2 million playing online poker tournaments. 
 
This marked the second year Polychronopoulos has attended the WSOP.
 
Prior to this victory, Polychronopoulos’ WSOP winnings totaled $5,207.
 
For this victory, Polychronopoulos collected $650,223 for first place.
 
According to official records, Polychronopoulos now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance and 2 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. 
 
Polychronopoulos currently has $655,430 in career WSOP winnings.
 
Polychronopoulos is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been a full-time player for about six years.
 
WINNER INTERVIEW
 
You have one of the coolest names in the history of poker:

“Once you learn it when you’re a child, you know it by heart.  It’s easier once you say it, it’s easier to pronounce than you think.  It’s a very long name.  It’s a very common name, the first name in Greece, it’s a very common name.  It’s a great name.  I love my name.  I love my last name, and my first name.”

What’s special about Greece in that it produces a lot of famous gamblers?  Does your family include gamblers or poker players?

“There are a few gamblers in the family, yeah.  It’s in the blood.  It’s definitely in the blood.”

Tell us about your family and growing up.

“I was born on Long Island (New York).  My father and mother came from Greece.  Spent most of their lives there and then had my sister and I on Long Island once they moved out here.  My father opened up a restaurant.  My mother and father raised me in New York.  I would always go back to Greece to see my family and every time I would go back I would meet a new cousin.  ‘Oh, here’s your cousin, here’s your third cousin.’  My family is huge.  My mother’s family is enormous.  My father’s family is enormous.  I love them all so much.”

What are they going to say about this victory?

“I don’t know…. (He requests to take a break, as emotions overcome him).”

Talk a little about the final table.

“They were all good players.  A few German guys were there, playing very solid.  Every single player played solid.  I came in fourth in chips.  On the first hand, I tried to pull a pretty big bluff, and it failed, because he had trips.  Once that first bluff failed, and I got it out of my system, it was easier for me.  I just had to pick my spots after that.”

What was the significance of the “Down Goes Frasier” shirt you wore at the final table?

“My buddy, Drew gave me this sweater a long time ago.  He actually didn’t give it to me, he let me borrow it and I forgot to give it back.  The first time I played at the PCA a few years ago, I had a monster chip stack and I took a huge beat at the end of Day Two, for what I believe might have been chip lead and I was wearing this.  And I remember at the hotel he was like, ‘Don’t worry man, don’t worry.  You’re gonna’ win a gold bracelet.  You’re going to win a bracelet soon.’  So I said all right.  I promised him if I final table a World Series of Poker event, I’ll wear this sweater.  And I promised that if I final table a World Series of Poker event I would wear this Greek soccer thing.  The scarf belongs to my friend.  He said I need to wear it at the final table.  I said if I get there, I promise I’ll wear it.  I’m a man of my word.”

THE FINAL TABLE 
 
The official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers. 
 
The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.
 
Four different nations were represented at the final table – Canada (1 player), Germany (3 players), Greece (1 player) and the United States (4 players). 
 
The runner up was Simon Charette, from Pickering, Ontario (Canada).  Second place paid $404,225.
 
Final table play began Thursday at 8 p.m.  Played concluded approximately 8 hours later (playing time wise) the following day.  Play was suspended when heads-up began due to the hard-stop rule (no more than ten levels of play, daily).
 
The final table was played in two parts, first on ESPN’s secondary stage.  The following day the finale continued on the main stage at four handed.  The new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and appearance.  No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.  Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in July.
 
Action was streamed live over WSOP.com.  Viewers can tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables.  Although hole cards are not shown, viewers can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table.  The floor announcer provides an official account of the action. 
 
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
 
The top 270 finishers collected prize money.
 
Alex Bolotin, who won the 2009 “Ante Up For Africa” charity event and donated half his winnings to the cause, finished in 42nd place.
 
Two-time gold bracelet winner Howard “Tahoe” Andrew cashed in 151st place.  His first WSOP cash took place in 1976.  He holds the record for the most WSOP years played in a row, which is now 38 years, and counting.
 
Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP records.  Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
 
“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.
 
ODDS AND ENDS
 
This tournament attracted 2,713 entries.
 
The average age of entrants was 30.1 years.
 
There were 12 females who played in this tournament, representing 0.4 percent of the field.
 
This is the 941th gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history.  This figure includes every official WSOP event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010).  Moreover for the first time ever, one gold bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National Championship.
 
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late).  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.  The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 p.m.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to the public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.
 
Polychronopoulos’ gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, July 2nd  The national anthem of the winner’s family, Greece, will be played in honor of his victory.  This will be the first time in history Greece has appeared as the anthem. 
 
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
 
Through the conclusion of Event #48 (Event #49 included) the 2011 WSOP has attracted 56,964 combined total entries.  $103,590,060 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 
 
With the conclusion of this tournament, the total prize pool for all events just crossed the $100 million mark.
 
Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:
 
United States (30)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

Great Britain (3)

France (3)

Russia (2)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
 
United States (26)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

Great Britain (3)

France (3)

Russia (2)

Israel (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been: 
 
California (5)

Nevada (5)

New York (4)

Texas (3)

Illinois (2)

Florida (2)

Connecticut (2)

New Jersey (1)

Tennessee (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (1)

Virginia (1)

Michigan (1)

North Dakota (1)

Washington (1)

Ohio (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been: 
 
Professional Players (38):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payan, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin, Athanasios Polychronopoulos
 
Semi-Pros (5):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis
 
Amateurs (6):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed
 
Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 43 out of 49 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
 
Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 9 of the 49 winners (18 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.
 
Every WSOP held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year).  The last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999.  The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles.  So far this year, no player has yet won two gold bracelets.
 
The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 206 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Poker Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.  The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.
 
The highest finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players.  Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).  Kim Nguyen also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).
 
The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.
 
Reigning world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their victory.  Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001.  Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of the fields.  But there’s also great pressure on the champions to do well.  What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold bracelet after winning the championship during the previous year:
 
Johnny Moss (1975)

Doyle Brunson (1977)

Bobby Baldwin (1979)

Stu Ungar (1981)

Johnny Chan (1988)

Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

By contrast, players who make it to the final table of the Main Event Championship (November Nine) one year tend to do quite well in subsequent WSOP years.  Consider that last year, three former Main Event finalists won gold bracelets – Eric Buchman, Tex Barch, and Scott Montgomery.  This year, Matt Jarvis won his first gold bracelet one year after making it to the November Nine in 2010. 
 
New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date): 

Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)

Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history (2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19, 2011

Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39

Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history.  He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

Phil Hellmuth Jr. added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (83) and final table appearances (42).

Howard “Tahoe” Andrew added to his record as the player with the longest consecutive streak of WSOP appearances (entering at least one event), currently at 38 years and counting (1974 to present).

RAISING AWARENESS:  BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE WSOP 
 
Bad Beat on Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1 percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship, contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize.  By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits when they win.  As the official charity of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.  A tax receipt is generated and sent to their mailing address.  Several high profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka, Andy Bloch, Dennis Phillips, and others.  Since 2003, the initiative has raised over $3,500,000 for cancer prevention research, education, and community outreach programs.  Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1% by stopping by the Bad Beat on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite the Amazon Room in the concourse.  The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefiting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.
 
Note:  Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold bracelet event as they are completed.