A Wilder Ride

Harrison Wilder Collects First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Newly-Arrived Las Vegas Poker Pro Wins Limit Hold’em Championship

Thomas Jamieson Finishes as Runner Up

Defending Champion Matt Matros Finishes 11th 

Limit Hold’em Tournament Up by Eight Percent Over 2010

WSOP Big Numbers Continue – Attendance Up Over Last Year 

Six Gold Bracelets Won – 53 More Still Up For Grabs 


Don’t try this at home, folks.  Whatever you do, this is most certainly not recommended.

A few years back, a twenty-something recreational poker player no one had ever heard of named Harrison Wilder was attending college at the University of Oregon.  

After floundering in classes for a few years, Wilder received some stunning advice from the two people who one would think would be the last to make such a declaration.  Quit school and try and play poker, they insisted.

More on the story coming in a moment.

Fast forward six years and Wilder is the 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 Limit Hold’em champion. The Las Vegas native earned $205,065 and a coveted WSOP gold bracelet for the first-place finish. Originally from Beaverton, OR, this is Wilder’s first WSOP victory.

Now, finishing up the story.  It was Wilder’s parents who recognized his devotion to the game and encouraged him to take poker more seriously.  They were even supportive of his decision to finally suspend his enrollment in college in order to make the commitment to improve and potentially play professionally.  The support Wilder received from his parents sparked a deep devotion to self-improvement and better focus.  He gradually improved, became a winning player, and ultimately was able to support himself by play for a living.

Today, Wilder is a 29-year-old professional poker player.  Within a few weeks of the WSOP starting this year, Wilder packed his belongings in Oregon and moved to Las Vegas.  His parents also joined him in the move, preferring a sunnier climate to the constant rain in the Pacific Northwest.

The sun certainly shined on Wilder during this tournament, which was only the second WSOP event he had ever entered.  Wilder managed to overcome a strong field of 675 players and won what he hopes will be the first of many victories.

Wilder has been playing poker full-time for about five years.  He concentrated his time and attention online for the most part, since there were few middle-to high-stakes games back in his home state.  When the events of what has been called “Black Friday” took place in mid-April, Wilder decided once and for all that he was going to move to Las Vegas and grind it out.  He now plays daily in cash games, concentrating on $40-80 Limit Hold’em, and higher.
The tournament’s runner up was Thomas Jamieson, from Bakersfield, CA.  He is a 47-year-old teacher.
This was the sixth official tournament event on this year’s WSOP schedule.  Attendance increased by eight percent over last year’s turnout.  The turnout for this year’s event reverses a five-year decline in attendance for the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em event.  The 2006 tournament attracted 1,069 entries. In 2007, the number declined to 910 players.  In 2008, the tally was 883.  There were 643 entries in 2009.  Last year, the final number was 625.

The list of former Limit Hold’em champions at this level is quite an illustrious group.  Former Limit Hold’em champions include – Tom McEvoy, Berry Johnston, Humberto Brenes, Johnny Chan, Mickey Appleman, David Chiu, Jay Heimowitz, Farzad Bonyadi…..and now Harrison Wilder.

For the tournament portal page for this tournament, including all results and reports, click here.

The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em champion is Harrison Wilder, from Las Vegas, NV.

Wilder is a 29-year-old professional poker player.  He now mostly plays in the $40-80 to $100-200 limit range.

Wilder posts regularly on various poker forums, including TwoPlusTwo.  His posts are under the screen name:  ZOMGRIGGED

Wilder spent most of his life living in Beaverton, OR.  He attended the University of Oregon; however, he did not graduate.

Wilder has perhaps the oddest story of any winner with relation to how his parents perceived his decision to play poker full-time and pursue a career.  While attending college, he played poker during his free time, and admits to losing much of the time.  Wilder’s parents recognized his devotion to the game and encouraged him to take poker more seriously.  They were even supportive of his decision to finally suspend his enrollment in college in order to make the commitment to improve and potentially play professionally.  The support Wilder received from his parents sparked a deep devotion to self-improvement and better focus.  He gradually improved, became a winning player, and ultimately was able to support himself by playing for a living.

Wilder’s parents were with him at the final table.  They were thrilled with his victory. 

Wilder specializes in Limit Hold’em and other limit games.

Wilder collected $205,065 for first place with this victory.  He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Wilder now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 1 in-the-money finish at the WSOP.

This was only the second WSOP tournament Wilder had entered.  He played in a Limit Hold’em tournament at last year’s WSOP, but did not cash.

Wilder currently has $205,065 in WSOP winnings.

Wilder is to be regarded as a professional poker player, since he works and plays poker full time successfully.

Wilder became the fourth player at this year’s WSOP (of six winners) who cashed for the first time with a victory.


On how he became a poker pro:  “I’ve always been interested in games.  For me, playing poker for a living is a dream job.  Then, Internet poker came around, and then it happened.”

On what happened during and after major online poker sites discontinued operating inside the United States:  “It’s the reason I moved down here (to Las Vegas).”

More on his change of lifestyle after losing online poker:  “I did not know what to do.  It was a temporary move to stay here, because it happened right before the WSOP.  I was thinking of moving to California, but I may stay here now.”

On how his parents influenced his decision to play poker seriously:  “They have always been very supportive of me.  When I was in college, I was racking up student debt; they told me to drop out of college and start playing professionally.  One of the biggest regrets I have was that I did not listen to them and I continued to be responsible and stay in college.  They encouraged me to get better.”

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:  “I’m very excited about it.… I’m going to wave it around.”


The final table was comprised nine players.

The final table contained just one former gold bracelet winner – Scott Clements.  

The final table was an all-American final table.  All of the top nine finishers were from the United States.  This is highly unusual given how many international players now compete in WSOP events.

The runner up was Thomas Jamieson, from Bakersfield, CA.  He is a 47-year-old teacher.  He has been playing poker for about 20 years.  The second-place consolation prize was $126,654.

The third-place finisher was John Myung, who lives in the Washington, DC area.  Myung burst on the poker scene eight years ago by winning the only “Showdown at the Sands” ever held, which took place in Atlantic City.  Myung drew close to even with the chip leader when play became three-handed, but then went card dead late in the tournament and finished third.

The fourth-place finisher was Bill Davis, from Albuquerque, NM.  He is a 63-year-old attorney.  Davis is a former Air Force pilot who flew 77 combat missions.  He also served as a New Mexico state senator.  

The fifth-place finisher was Matt Elsby, from Los Angeles, CA.

The sixth-place finisher was Sean Nguyen, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a 24-year-old poker pro.  Incredibly, this was the first major poker tournament Nguyen had entered.  He says his goal is to make it to the Poker Hall of Fame.  If Nguyen keeps cashing in every single tournament he plays, he is sure to get there.

The seventh-place finisher was Craig Laben, from Litchfield Park, AZ.  He is a 49-year-old engineer.  

The eighth-place finisher was Mitch Schock, from Bismarck, ND.  He is a 40-year-old poker pro.

The ninth-place finisher was two-time gold bracelet winner Scott Clements, from Las Vegas.  This marked his best Limit Hold’em finish on record.  He won his first WSOP title in 2006 in the $3,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split event.  Clements arguably holds the most impressive Omaha resume of any player over the past five years.  He’s won one event, and finished 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 39th, 54th, and now 21st – in what amounts to 16 such tournaments over that span. 

The final table began at 3:45 pm PST.  The final table ended at 11:50 PST.  Hence, the final table lasted about eight hours.

The final table was played on the ESPN secondary stage, located in the Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Action was streamed over the Internet at WSOP.com.


The top 63 finishers collected prize money.

The defending champion was Matt Matros.  He finished 11th this year.

Former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event -- in addition to those who made the final table (and Matt Matros) – included Bob Slezak (18th) and Russ “Dutch” Boyd (46th). 

Tournament results are to be included in the WSOP official records.  Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.


This is the 898th gold bracelet awarded 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 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010).

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

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 pm.  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.

Wilder’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Monday, June 6th.  The United States National Anthem will be played in honor of his victory.


During the 1990s, Limit Hold’em tournaments routinely attracted the largest fields of any tournaments played anywhere in the world.  This was also true at the WSOP.  Several years, this tournament had twice number of entrants as the Main Event Championship.  It was traditionally offered as the kickoff event over the first weekend of the WSOP.  The schedule placement was designed to attract casual poker players to the WSOP, since No-Limit Hold’em was played in very few casinos and card rooms prior to 2003.

Limit Hold’em made its debut at the 1983 WSOP.  The first Limit Hold’em world champion was Tom McEvoy. He went on to win the WSOP Main Event that same year.

The start of Limit Hold’em’s popularity can be traced back to California’s legalization of flop games (including Texas Hold’em) in 1988.  Prior to the late 1980s, Limit Hold’em was spread in only a few small Las Vegas casinos and underground poker games, located mostly in the American South.

Limit Hold’em was the king of all games during most of the 1990s, except in the northeastern United States, where Seven-Card Stud was the dominant form of poker.  In fact, finding a No-Limit Hold'em game was next to impossible anywhere – except at the most prestigious events such as the WSOP and the Hall of Fame Tournament (now defunct).  In 2003, things started to change.  No-Limit Hold'em quickly became the most popular form of poker played – not only in the United States – but worldwide.  Today, Limit Hold'em tournaments are relatively uncommon except in the biggest poker markets.  


The tournament officially began on Friday, June 3rd at noon.  The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 5th, at 11:50 pm.


Through the conclusion of Event #6, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 3,900 entries.  $11,129,950 in prize money has been awarded to winners, so far.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:
United States (6)
Great Britain (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (5)
Great Britain (1)
Ukraine (1)

Through the conclusion of this event, the home-states of winners has been:
Arkansas (1)
California (1)
Illinois (1)
New York (1)
New Jersey (1)
Nevada (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (5):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder

Semi-Pros (1):  Sean R. Drake

Amateurs (1):  Sam Barnhart

All of the first six tournaments so far have been won by first-time champions.

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: www.wsop.com.  Thank you.


For official news and the latest updates from the 2011 World Series of Poker, visit:  www.wsop.com