Amir Lehavot Collects First WSOP Gold Bracelet
Israeli-Born Businessman and Poker Player Wins Pot-Limit Hold’em World Championship
Latest WSOP Winner Founded Poker Training Website
Jarred Solomon Finishes as Runner Up
WSOP Strong Numbers Continue – Attendance Still Up Over Last Year
Seven Gold Bracelets Won – 52 More Still Up For Grabs
The Pot-Limit Hold’em World Championship concluded today, the first of several highly-prestigious $10,000 buy-in events held at the 2011 World Series of Poker.
The new poker champion is Amir Lehavot, who is originally from Israel. He now resides in Weston, FL. Lehavot earned $573,465 in prize money. He was also presented with the supreme symbol of achievement in the game of poker – the WSOP gold bracelet. This marked his first-ever WSOP victory.
Lehavot is active in the poker business. He founded a poker training site called POKERWIT.COM. No doubt, following his victory, Lehavot should enjoy a rise in business.
The runner up was Jarred Solomon, from Johannesburg, South Africa. He barely missed becoming only the second WSOP winner in history from South Africa (Mark Vos was the first).
This was the seventh official tournament event on this year’s WSOP SCHEDULE. The tournament attracted 249 entries. Attendance decreased slightly from last year’s turnout of 268.
Oddly enough, no player has ever won more than one gold bracelet in this game. There are 48 Pot-Limit Hold'em winners in WSOP history, who hold one gold bracelet each.
For the tournament portal page for this tournament, including all results, click here.
EVENT #7 CHAMPION – AMIR LEHAVOT
The 2011 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em champion is Amir Lehavot, from Weston, FL.
Lehavot is a 36-year-old businessman and Internet developer.
Lehavot was born in Israel. He immigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was 16 years old. Lehavot initially lived in the Dallas area.
Lehavot graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.
Lehavot was always interested in high-tech. After college, he moved to Silicon Valley and was engaged in software development for about 10 years.
Lehavot became bored with his position at one point and decided to take some time off. During that time, he became interested in poker and gradually started to play more.
Lehavot recognized the poker boom was here to stay. So he combined his interest in poker with teaching and decided to create a new website which abandoned traditional forms of instruction. Lehavot’s methodology focused more on hand analysis. Lehavot created and still owns a website called POKERWIT.COM.
Lehavot collected a whopping $573,456 for first place for this victory. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Prior to this tournament, Lehavot had never played in a live Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament before.
According to official records, Lehavot now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 3 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
Lehavot has cashed in each of the last two WSOP Main Event Championships. He took 228th in 2009 and 448th in 2010.
Lehavot currently has $638,066 in WSOP winnings.
Lehavot is to be regarded as a semi-professional poker player, since he works and plays poker successfully on a part-time basis in addition to running a poker business.
On how he became involved in creating a poker training site: “Poker is obviously a game that many people are very interested in. I looked at the existing sites. It seemed to me they were all based on very old technology – standard message boards, and so forth. I wanted to create a site that would facilitate people talking about the game in a more efficient way. This was a good opportunity to do something for poker. My site focuses more on poker hands. It’s not made up of standard message boards. It is a much more efficient way to do it.”
On finishing high in a previous tournament held in Los Angeles, where he took fourth place: “Finishing first feels so much better. I had a big score (in LA). But you always have that bittersweet feeling of not wining first. You feel like an opportunity was lost. In major poker tournaments, you do not make it deep that often, so when you do you must take advantage and do the best that you can.”
On playing in his first-ever Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament, and winning: “I think this game is very much like No-Limit Hold’em.”
On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet: “It definitely means a lot. It is a great achievement for a poker player. It is so tough. There are so many great players, so it feels really good to win this.”
THE FINAL TABLE
The final table was comprised nine players.
The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.
Three nations were represented at the final table – including Great Britain (2 players), South Africa (1 player), and the United States (6 players).
The runner up was Jarred Solomon, from Johannesburg, South Africa. He collected $354,460 in prize money. Solomon, age 24, barely missed becoming only the second player in history from the nation of South Africa to win a WSOP gold bracelet. Mark Vos, who won in 2004, was the first. This was Solomon’s third final table appearance.
The third-place finisher was 23-year-old Sam Stein, from Henderson, NV. He is quickly emerging on the scene as one of the top up-and-coming players in tournament poker and will most certainly be someone to watch for the remainder of this WSOP. Third place paid $264,651.
The fourth-place finisher was Stephen Chidwick, from Deal, UK. He is a 22-year-old poker pro. Chidwick won the fourth live poker tournament he played, which was a major tournament held in the Bahamas. This marked his best WSOP finish to date.
The fifth-place finisher was Tommy Vinas, from Houston, TX. He is a 58-year-old poker pro. Vinas has been playing regularly on the poker tournament circuit and has never had a “real” job in his life. Vinas, who is married with three children, has always been able to support himself from poker and various forms of gambling.
The sixth-place finisher was Nicolas Levi, from London, UK. He is a 28-year-old poker pro. This marked his ninth time to cash and fourth final table appearance in WSOP play.
The seventh-place finisher was popular party animal Eric Cloutier. The former professional hockey player (he spent a short time with the NHL’s Boston Bruins) now resides in Lafayette, LA. He has played in many WSOP and WSOP Circuit events. Three years ago, he finished the second day of the WSOP Main Event as the chip leader – and finished 124th. Cloutier also finished as runner up in an event held last year.
The eighth-place finisher was McLean Karr, Fort Wayne, IN. He is a 29-year-old poker pro. Prior to playing poker for a living, Karr was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force and served in the military as an operations officer.
The ninth-place finisher was Michael Benvenuti, from Costa Mesa, CA. He is a 25-year-old professional poker player.
The final table began at 7:45 pm PST. The final table ended at 1:15 am PST. Hence, the final table lasted about 5.5 hours.
The final table had an unusual occurrence. When various players were all-in, the bigger stacks won eight of the nine confrontations (one was a split pot), with only one hand doubling up the shorter stack. This created the shortest final table played at this the WSOP thus far.
The final table was played in the ESPN main stage. Action was streamed live over WSOP.com.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 27 finishers collected prize money.
The defending champion was Valdemar Kwaysser, from Hungary. He did not cash this year.
Former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included Robert Mizrachi (12th), Jason DeWitt (13th), Mike Matusow (20th), Jennifer Tilly (21st), and Nenad Medic (25th).
Tilly, the 21st-place finisher, is a well-known Hollywood actress. She was once nominated for an Academy Award.
The 23rd-place finisher Marco Traniello now has 25 WSOP cashes since 2005. That is the most of any player within that time span (six years).
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.
ODDS AND ENDS
This is the 899th 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.
This is the highest Pot-Limit Hold’em buy-in tournament in the world.
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.
Amir Lehavot’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Tuesday, June 7th. The National Anthem of Lehavot’s birthplace (Israel) will be played in honor of his victory.
Pot-Limit poker made its WSOP debut in 1984, when two Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments were offered. There were no Pot-Limit tournaments of any kind played at the WSOP from 1970 through 1983.
The only Pot-Limit variety that was played at the WSOP between 1984 and 1991 was Pot-Limit Omaha. Pot-Limit Hold’em action was restricted to cash games.
The first Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament at the WSOP took place in 1992. The game has been a fixture on the WSOP schedule ever since. During most years, it was one of the first tournaments on the schedule.
No player has ever won more than one WSOP gold bracelet in Pot-Limit Hold’em. There are 48 players who each hold a single gold bracelet in this form of poker.
The player with the most career WSOP cashes in Pot-Limit Hold’em events at the WSOP is Jason Lester with nine. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, T.J. Cloutier, and Ken Flaton each have eight.
The tournament officially began on Friday, June 3rd at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Monday, June 6th, at 1:20 am.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion of Event #7, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 4,149 entries. $13,460,550 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 (7)
Great Britain (1)
Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (5)
Great Britain (1)
Through the conclusion of this event, the home-states of winners have been:
New York (1)
New Jersey (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 (2): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot
Amateurs (1): Sam Barnhart
All of the first seven 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