Sean Getzwiller Wins His First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Las Vegas Poker Pro Invests $1K -- Collects $611,185

Getzwiller Blockades British Invasion – UK’s Sadan Turker Barely Misses Third UK Victory in 2011

Getzwiller-Turker Marathon Heads-Up Match Goes Four Hours

WSOP’s Big Numbers Continue – Tournament Attendance up over Last Year

10 Gold Bracelets Won – 48 More Still Up For Grabs


If American Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere were still alive today, he might very likely relocate his famous midnight ride from the streets of Boston to the modern-day Las Vegas Strip. In light of what's happening at this year's World Series of Poker, his message would remain the same:  “The British are coming!  The British are coming!”

After two British players won WSOP gold bracelets the previous week, one American finally stepped forward and had one word to say.

Sean Getzwiller, from Las Vegas, NV won the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship, held at the Rio.  In doing so, he blockaded Sadan Turker from joining his union-jacked mates, Jake Cody and Matt Perrins, as WSOP gold bracelet winners.  Getzwiller won an epic heads-up match that lasted more than four hours.

Getzwiller earned every penny he won, and in doing so made a monster-sized score.  He collected a whopping $611,185 in prize money, which represented more than 600 times his initial investment.  He was also presented with the supreme symbol of achievement in the game of poker -- the WSOP gold bracelet.  This marked his ninth time to cash at the WSOP. He cashed once in 2008, four times in 2009, and three occasions in 2010.  His best previous showing was a 10th-place finish in an Omaha High-Low event, held two years ago.
The runner-up was Turker, from London, UK.  He is a 22-year-old student and semi-pro poker player who began playing about five years ago.  Turker is primarily an online player.  He barely missed winning his first WSOP title, but did manage to collect a nice consolation prize of $377,411.  This was his second time cashing at the Rio.

This was the eighth official tournament on this year’s WSOP schedule.  The five-day event attracted 4,178 entries, which was expected to be one of the bigger field-sizes of the series.  Through the first dozen events, overall WSOP attendance is up about four percent over last year.

As for Getzwiller’s victory, there was at least one cantankerous bystander in the crowd, cheering on the American.  Even though he did not personally know the eventual winner, longtime poker veteran Padraig Parkinson – who is originally from Dublin, Ireland -- was thrilled to see a non-Brit finally win the title.  “Every time I hear them play ‘God Save the Queen’ at the bracelet ceremony, I have to leave the room,” he snapped.  “I’ve never gotten so much exercise.”  

Indeed, Getzwiller’s victory came against a very determined British opponent and he seemed to have the perfect fashion accessory on what turned out to be his winning day.  Emblazoned across the front of Getzwiller’s black t-shirt were the words, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” reminiscent of an arduous battle cry a few hundred years ago – with a similar outcome.
For the tournament portal page for this tournament, including all RESULTS, click here.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Sean Getzwiller, from Las Vegas, NV.

Getzwiller is 33-years-old.  He was born in Tucson and grew up on a ranch in Arizona.

Getzwiller graduated from the University of Arizona.

Getzwiller worked in real estate for several years.  However, he was a victim of the economic downturn three years ago and began playing poker during his free time.  Getzwiller developed skill and eventually became a professional poker player.  He moved to Las Vegas about one month before this year’s WSOP began with the intent to play in more cash games and tournaments, including the WSOP.

Getzwiller is a huge fan of the rock band Pink Floyd.

Getzwiller’s favorite poker game is Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split, which is mostly played online.

Getzwiller wore a t-shirt with a bold statement, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” emblazoned across the front.  It was not meant as an affront to British players who have been dominating the headlines during the first week of results.  However, the shirt and phrase were ironic since Getzwiller ended up beating an English opponent in a brutally tough heads-up match that lasted more than four hours.

Getzwiller collected $611,185 for first place.  He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Getzwiller now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 9 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

This is the third year Getzwiller has attended the WSOP.

Getzwiller currently has $661,131 in career WSOP winnings.  He has accumulated an estimated $800,000 win live tournament career winnings, according to several major popular websites.

Getzwiller’s biggest tournament performance (other than WSOP) up to this point was a 15th-place finish in a tournament held at the LA Poker Classic, four months ago.

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

WINNER QUOTES (Note:  The winner was interviewed at tableside moments after the victory)

On his feelings moments after victory:  “I feel amazing.  I mean, I won a bracelet in a 4,000-player event.  How much better can I feel?  I ran really well.  I won a great tournament.  If you’re going to win a 4,000-player event you’ve got to feel really good and run really well.  I’m just happy that I’m here.”

On what he expected coming into the final table, which turned into a marathon:  “I didn’t think it was going to be easy.  We got a lot of chips in play and when we were heads-up we were really deep.  (Sadan Turker and I) both had like 80 big blinds, so there was a lot of play and we just lasted four hours.  He is a heck of a player.”

On his background:  “I grew up in Arizona on a ranch and I started getting into real estate right out of college.  Did OK with that and the market hit the skids and I picked up poker.  I ended up moving here a couple months ago for this and I guess I got fast tracked.”

On third-place finisher Jon Turner:  “I wasn’t worried about him at all, he had 1.8 million, and I had him doubled in chips.  The other guy had seven.  If he’s got a huge chip stack, a name doesn’t mean anything; it’s all about your chips when you’re at the final table, especially with three people.  He’s a heck of player.  I’m not taking anything away from him.  He definitely deserved to probably win this event, but he got unlucky and that’s just tournament poker.”

On suspending final table play when it was late and returning the following day three-handed:  “I was actually pleading to stop.  We were six-handed and it was 2:00 in the morning and they wanted us to go another couple hours.  It didn’t really make a lot of sense.  I didn’t understand why we had to play down to three people to come here the next day.  If we’re going to have the final table with all the lights, why move to another table?  I really didn’t agree with that, but we did it anyway.”

On if he’s learned anything from previous WSOP experiences:  “Absolutely.  I got it in great with that 10 spot.  I just got unlucky -- the guy went runner-runner on me and I bubbled the final table.  That was Pot-Limit Omaha Eight-or-Better.  No-Limit Hold’em is a much different event.  That used to be my best event until I started talking over hands with some of the best players in the world and I really started to grasp No-Limit Hold’em.”

On winning $600,000-plus in prize money:  “It’s life changing, absolutely.  It’s going to change a lot of people’s lives.  It’s definitely changing mine.”

On handling pressure playing at the WSOP:  “I’ve played so many sit-n-goes.  Everything is so standard.  It was just going to go the way it went.  I was happy to get it in ahead when heads-up and that’s all I could ask for.”

On if he could have accepted taking second place and been happy with his play:  “Absolutely.  I don’t think I played bad at all.  My K-8 call was a little bit spewy, but other than that I recovered and I got a bracelet.  I feel great.  It’s amazing.  Best day of my life.”


The final table was comprised of nine players.

The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.

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

The runner-up was Sadan Turker.  He barely missed becoming the third English player this year to win a gold bracelet.  Turker is a 22-year-old student and semi-pro poker player from London, UK.  He began playing poker about five years ago.  Turker is primarily an online player, although he now expects to enter more live-action poker tournaments in the days and months ahead.  Second place paid $377,411.

The British invasion is just as much about age as country.  Through the completion of the first nine events at the 2011 WSOP there have been six British poker players under the age of 24 how have appeared at final tables.  Last year, poker players from Great Britain won five WSOP events played in Las Vegas.  No doubt, the English contingent now threatens to obliterate that mark and hopes to establish a new record for the most WSOP wins by a country (other than the U.S.) which is shared by both Great Britain and Canada (at 5).
The third-place finisher was Jon “Pearljammer” Turner, from Henderson, NV.  He is a 29-year-old professional poker player.  This was Turner’s highest WSOP finish, to date – which now includes five final table appearances and 15 in-the-money finishes.  Turner is a graduate of North Carolina State.  He is known as “Pearljammer,” and has authored two poker books in a popular series called, “Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time.”  The third book in the trilogy is expected to be released soon.   

The fourth-place finisher was Max Weinberg, from Northbook, IL.  He is a 21-year-old poker pro.  This is the first year Weinberg has played at the WSOP, following two big cashes in previous tournaments held at the Caribbean Adventure and the Heartland Poker Tour.

The fifth-place finisher was Stefan Raffay, currently living in Sweden.  However, it should be noted Raffay is a Danish citizen and prefers to be listed as being from Denmark.  He is a 23-year-old poker pro.  Raffay was once a highly-competitive table tennis player and was on the Danish National Team.  He has also enjoyed success in poker, winning the Danish National Championship in 2006 (he also finished 9th in 2009).

The sixth-place finisher was Gary Riley (a.k.a. Lawrence Riley), from Lancaster, CA.  He is a 73-year-old retiree.  Riley was the final table’s grey fox, senior enough to be a grandfather to most of his opponents.  Riley could still take great pride in outlasting more than 4,100 players in this huge field.

The seventh-place finisher was Hunter Frey, from Houston, TX.  He is a 25-year-old poker pro who has been playing seriously since he was age 18.  Frey took third place in a WSOP played in 2007 and now has 12 WSOP cashes.  With online play, he has earned more than $3 million in poker tournaments overall.

The eighth-place finisher was Daniel Haglund, from Tibro, Sweden.  He is a 21-year-old poker player.  This was his first time attending the WSOP.

The ninth-place finisher was Odette Tremblay, from Mesa, AZ.  She is originally from Canada.  Her first time to cash at the WSOP was in 2007.  She now has four cashes at the World Series.

The final table began on Tuesday at midnight (ending for the day at 4 am).  Final table action was suspended when play reached three-handed, due to the late hour.  Play continued the following day starting at 4 pm – ending at 10 pm.  This year for the first time, all tournament play runs a maximum of 10 levels.  Hence, the total duration of the final table lasted about 10 hours.  Nearly half of that was played heads-up.

The final table had an unusual atmosphere.  The two finalists each had a cheering section sitting to the player’s backside.  The long match involved nearly a dozen chip-lead changes.  Each time the momentum shifted, one side of the arena became visibly more excited in anticipation of victory.  But emotions were deflated several times since the short stack won every conceivable confrontation until the conclusion.  By the end of the match just about everyone in the crowd was exhausted.

Late in the match, one of the floor men who was watching the long finale barked, “Don’t worry, everyone, this tournament will be over before the Main Event starts.”  The Main Event is scheduled to begin July 7.

Getzwiller’s winning hand was pocket fives, which made a set of five when a five came on the flop.  His opponent Turker was left drawing dead on the turn.

The final table was played in ESPN’s new main stage, which is getting rave reviews in terms of design and appearance.  No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.  Early reports from the television crew are that this year’s preliminary footage looks “spectacular.”  Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins.

Action was streamed live over  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.  


The top 423 finishers collected prize money.  This was the largest number of players paid for any event played so far in 2011.

The defending champion was Aadam Daya, from Canada.  He did not cash this year.

Some of the former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included – Peter Gelencser (57th), Layne Flack (95th), Dao Bac (142nd), Vitaly Lunkin (183rd), Kathy Liebert (204th), Dan Heimiller (392nd), and John Hom (398th).

Ricky Fohrenbach, the 11th-place finisher, certainly proved his fortitude.  During most of the tournament, he wore a pink ladies shirt with a racy message across the chest.  Fohrenbach called it his “lucky” shirt and said he plans to wear it for the official photo when he wins a WSOP gold bracelet.

Brandon Shane, the 12th-place finisher, is the part-owner and coach at an online poker training site called PremierPokerCoaching.Com.  

Young Ji (Atlanta, GA) who finished 18th had an interesting experience.  He initially registered and then decided he did not want to play.  He approached the cashier in order to get a refund, just before the tournament started.  However, Ji said “something told me I should go ahead and play, so I did.”  Four days later, Ji was going back to the cashier window with his first WSOP cash, which was good for a $23,426 payout.

Tom McCormick, a.k.a. “The Shamrock Kid” added to his impressive/dubious record as the player ranked second in history with cashes, but no gold bracelet.  He cashed for the second time this year and now has 36 in-the-money finishes ($450,000 in prize money), albeit no jewelry.  Only Tony Cousineau has more, with 46.

Dan Shak, who finished 158th, was the co-winner of the inaugural “Ante Up for Africa” tournament, which took place at the 2007 WSOP.  He donated all of his first-place prize money to the charity.

Undoubtedly, the poker player with the coolest name in this tournament was -- Lingling Teng, from Beijing.  He finished 222nd.

The top five nations with players who cashed in this event were:  United States (354), Canada (30), Great Britain (8), Germany (5), Russia (4)

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 902nd 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.

There were 50 different nations represented among the players who entered this tournament.

There were 172 females who entered this tournament.  This figure represents about 4.1 percent of the total field.

The average age of players who entered this tournament was 36.8 years.  The youngest average age of any event by far has been in the $25,000 buy-in Heads-Up Hold’em Championship (Event #2), which was 30 years.  The oldest average age took part in the Omaha High-Low Split tournament (Event #3), which was 45.1 years.  

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.

Getzwiller’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Thursday, June 9th.  The U.S. National Anthem will be played in honor of his victory.


The tournament was played over five consecutive days.

There were two starting days in order to accommodate the large field size.

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 4th at noon.  The tournament officially ended on Wednesday, June 8th, at 10 pm.


Through the conclusion of Event #9, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 8,602 entries.  $17,592,000 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 (2)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (5)
Great Britain (2)
Ukraine (1)
Israel (1)

Through the conclusion of this event, the home-states of winners have been:
Nevada (2)
California (1)
Illinois (1)
New York (1)
New Jersey (1)
Florida (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 (7):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller

Semi-Pros (2):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot

Amateurs (0):  None

All of the first nine tournaments completed so far have been won by first-time champions (non-winners from previous years).

Four of the first nine winners this year also enjoyed their first-ever WSOP cash with the victory.

Every WSOP over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (wins within the same year).  1999 was the last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners.  The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners in a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles.

The streak of male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 171 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.

The highest finish by a female player (open events) at this year’s WSOP was Maria Ho, who finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).

Note:  Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold bracelet event as they are completed.

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