A Blessing in Disguise

Nick Binger Wins $5,000 Buy-In Omaha High-Low Split Championship

Popular Las Vegas Poker Pro Defeats David Bach in Heads-Up Play

New Omaha Champion Scoops $397,073 Pot

Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Currently on an All-Time Record Pace

57 Gold Bracelets Won – Only the Main Event Championship Remains


Can busting out of a poker tournament ever be a blessing in disguise?

For Nick Binger it sure was.  

Moments after being eliminated from the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #56) Binger had a tough decision to make.  He could drive back to his Las Vegas home and wallow in the sorrows of what had been a disappointing series of finishes, so far.  Binger had entered dozens of tournaments at this year’s World Series of Poker, with just two mini-cashes to show for a whopping six-figure investment.

The alternative was to take one more shot in the very last tournament on this year’s schedule prior to the start of the WSOP Main Event Championship.  Trouble was, it was very late and the clock was ticking. There were only seconds remaining before player registration would close.  Nick Binger, the poker player, became Nick Binger the sprinter.

“It was a bad summer going into the end here,” Binger said just moments after his first gold bracelet victory.  “I had just busted out of the other tournament.  I ran down the hall to register for this tournament and got in with just seconds to spare.“

In an astonishing twist of fate, Binger’s earlier elimination turned out to be an unforeseen stroke of good fortune.  While poker players don’t like acknowledging the luck component to the game, the fact was – Binger caught the ultimate river card before the next tournament even began.

Four days later on a Friday afternoon, Binger would end up as the last player sitting from an initial field of 352 entries in the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split tournament.  He ended up winning $397,073 in prize money.  Certainly just as meaningful to the veteran Las Vegas poker pro was the ultimate symbol of achievement attached to his victory -- the WSOP gold bracelet.

Binger comes from quite an accomplished poker family.  His brother Michael Binger has won more than $5 million at the WSOP during his stellar career.  However, Michael still lacks the one glittery object that now circles brother Nick's wrist -- the gold bracelet.

When asked who’s the better poker player within the Binger family, Nick immediately snapped, "me!"  The bold merriment was followed by laughter, revealing the jovial relationship between the two outstanding poker pros.

The runner up was Georgia poker pro and former professional bowler David Bach, who is best known for winning the $50,000 Buy-In Poker Players Championship, in 2009.  Binger overcame a 3 to 1 chip disadvantage versus the ultra-tough Bach late during heads-up play and complimented his opponent on his outstanding play afterwards.  This was Bach's seventh final table appearance in the last five years -- quite a record.

Is there a lesson to be learned from Binger’s unusual experience?  Perhaps so.  

Consider this.  Next time the cards fall badly it’s wise to remember that sometimes things happen for a reason.  It falls upon the busted player to make the most of a bad situation.  The temporary “loser” might even rebound and win a WSOP gold bracelet. It happens.

In poker as in life, it’s not how many bad beats we take that matters.  Bad beats inevitably will come.  What really does matter is the next step, as Nick Binger showed the poker world.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #57, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split champion is Nick Binger, from Las Vegas, NV.

Binger is a 29-year-old professional poker player.

Binger was born in North Carolina.

For his victory, Binger collected $397,073 for first place. 

This victory puts Binger up close to $2 million in overall career tournament earnings (all tournaments worldwide).

According to official records, Binger now has 1 win, 3 final table appearances, and 17 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

Binger’s best previous showing was two third-place finishes – in last year’s Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event and 2008’s Mixed Hold’em event. 

Binger currently has $672,180 in career WSOP winnings.

Binger is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats). He has been playing full-time for about five years.


On his first WSOP victory:

“It feels amazing and I’m still in a little bit of shock over the whole thing.  I know it will settle in a little bit more over time.  I’m just so happy to be here.  Obviously I got lucky along the way to be here.  I’m also happy with the way I played.  David Bach was a fantastic heads-up opponent. He’s very, very good.  It was a tough stressful battle, but I’m happy to close it out.”

On the support of his cheering section, which included many big names:

“It actually really helped me a lot last night and tonight over the long hours when I was able to look around and I saw so many wonderful people here to support me.  It actually really helps. Sure there was added pressure of not wanting to disappoint them, but overall I think it really helped me.”

On if this victory means he better than his brother (27-time WSOP casher, Michael Binger) at poker:


On where Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low ranks among his best games:

“I have very little experience in PLO-Eight.  I have a fair amount of experience in PLO and a little bit less experience in Omaha Eight-or-Better. But I have played both those games a fair amount.  I was able to kind of combine the knowledge from the two to play this game.  Not a whole lot of people are super experienced in PLO-Eight.  It’s an obscure game, kind of a niche game.  I really enjoy it though.  It’s always one of my favorite events of the World Series, they’ve played it for three years now.  You had a lot of really good players who don’t know how to play PLO-8, and then there were also some no-name players who were PLO-8 specialists who are just amazing at the game.  It was really interesting field.  It took a while to get to know who was good and who wasn’t.  You saw big name players making terrible mistakes and you saw nobodies that were playing like geniuses.  It was an interesting tournament overall, for sure.  I’m happy with the way I played, but obviously I also ran well and got lucky to get here.  Every winner has to.”

On his heads-up battle against former WSOP gold bracelet winner, David Bach:

“David Bach is a really good PLO-Eight heads up player.  It was a tough battle.  It was back and forth seesaw all night last night and then today as well.  He did not make it easy to win, that’s for sure.  I had to run well heads up to beat him.  He’s a great player.  He deserved to win this just as much as I did, for sure.”

On if the fact this is one of the last gold bracelet events made the victory more special:

“It did make it very special. I had kind of a rough summer so far.  I played almost every event and only had two small cashes. It was a bad summer right at the end here.  I actually was playing in the $1,500 No-Limit and busted out with minutes to spare to late register for this tournament and it was the last one.  I ran over to the cage and registered at like 9:30 p.m. It was a 5 p.m. tournament.  I knew it was the last event.  I ran in, late registered, sat down at my table and played my heart out to get here.  My back was against the wall.  I had to do something this event.”

On if Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low has a future in tournament poker:

“I would say so.  I don’t know if it will be as popular as No-Limit Hold’em.  I think it’s an extraordinarily fun game, and it has that going for it.  The only downside that I would say is the bad players bust too quickly.  If you’re playing PLO-Eight the good players are going to get all the money very, very quickly.  So that hurts it for its booming popularity aspect.  No-Limit Hold’em strikes a really nice balance between the best players are going to win, but it happens over time.  Bad players can get lucky and win the short term.  PLO-Eight is a little bit more difficult.  Players are going to bust pretty quickly if they don’t know what they’re doing.”

On his journey to the gold bracelet:

“I guess it’s part of the nature of PLO-Eight that the cream really rises to the top.  A lot of the best players are going to eat up the worse player very quickly.  When it got down to the final two tables there were a lot of really good players left.  A surprising amount, especially compared to the beginning of Day One when most of the tables were fairly soft.  It was tough going through the final two tables.  I’m just happy that I got lucky enough to make it all the way through.”


The official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers. 

The final table contained three former gold bracelet winners – including David Bach (1 win), Nick Schulman (1 win), and Phil Laak (1 win).

Four different nations were represented at the final table – including Denmark (1 player), France (1 player), Sweden (1 player), and the United States (6 players).

The runner up was David Bach, from Athens, GA. He is a former professional bowler and a highly-accomplished poker pro, who is a Mixed Games specialist. Bach’s biggest claim to poker face was a victory in the 2009 Poker Players Championship. As runner up in this tournament, Back collected $245,314 in prize money. He previously finished fourth in another tournament this year.

Final table play began Thursday afternoon at 7:00 pm. Played concluded about 10.5 hours later (playing time wise) at 5:30 pm the following day. Players stopped in between due to the so-called “hard-stop rule” which allows only about 12 hours of play per day/night.

The Amazon Room hosted the start of the Main Event Championship, Day 1-A, which coincided the same day. The final table was played inside the Amazon Room, on the ESPN so-called secondary stage. The new final table set this year is receiving 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.


The top 36 finishers collected prize money.

Aside from those who made it to the final table, among those who cashed in this tournament were former gold bracelet winners – Lee Watkinson (21st), Ram Vaswani 27th), Johnny “World” Hennigan (30th), Erik Seidel (33rd), and Max Stern (35th).

Erik Seidel now has 65 career cashes at the WSOP. He ranks third on the all-time list.

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.  The current leader is Phil Hellmuth, with five cashes this year, including three second-place finishes.


This tournament attracted 352 entries. Attendance increased from last year when there were 284 entries.

There were only 5 female entrants, which represented 1.4 percent of the field.

The average age of all entrants was 36.2 years.

This is the 948th 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 usually 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.

Nick Binger’s gold bracelet ceremony will take place on Saturday, July 9th.


Omaha High-Low Split has predominantly been a limit game since it was first introduced into cardrooms in the early 1980s. However, about five years ago, a few online poker sites began offering Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split, which fueled greater interest in the game. Pot-Limit Omaha High-Slow Split made its debut at the 2007 WSOP.

During the first two years, the Pot-Limit Omaha High-Slow Split tournament had a buy-in of $1,500. A $5,000 buy-in level tournament was added to last year’s schedule for the first time in 2009.

There are two Pot-Limit Omaha High-Slow Split tournaments on the 2011 WSOP schedule – one at the $1,500 buy-in level and this event, which had a $5,000 buy-in.

Last year’s champion was Chris Bell, from Raleigh, NC.


Through the conclusion of Event #57 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 68,807 combined total entries. $127,468,010 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (35)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (3)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Sweden (1)

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

United States (33)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (3)

Israel (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Sweden (1)

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

California (7)

New York (6)

Nevada (6)

Texas (3)

Florida (2)

Illinois (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 (44): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast (2 wins), John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, 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, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros, Marsha Wolak. Maxim Lykov, Nick Binger

Semi-Pros (6): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis, Alexander Anter

Amateurs (7): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko

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 50 out of 57 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 12 of the 57 winners (22 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. Brian Rast’s victory in two tournaments – Events #15 and #55 -- means the multi-gold bracelet streak will continue for at least another year.

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners is currently at 213 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 added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (84) and final table appearances (43).

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).

First player in history with three second-place finishes in a single year – Phil Hellmuth


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.

Note: All results are now official and may be reprinted by media. If you are posting these results on a website, we would appreciate providing a link back to: WSOP.com