TOURNAMENT HEADLINES:

Geffrey Klein Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Houston Doctor Makes Stunning Comeback

Dr. Klein Overcomes 9 to 1 Chip Deficit When Heads-Up

Klein Wins $544,388 Top Prize

2011 WSOP Hosts Largest Live Six-Handed Poker Tournament in History

Eddie Blumenthal Finishes as Runner Up – Now has 2nd and 4th Place Finishes in 2011

WSOP Strong Numbers Continue – Attendance Continues to outpace Last Year

10 Gold Bracelets Won – 48 More Still Up For Grabs

OVERVIEW

Las Vegas, NV (June 8, 2011) – The largest Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history concluded today with the play and conclusion of the $1,500 Buy-In No-Limit (Six-Handed) Championship held at the 2011 World Series of Poker.

The new poker champion is Geffrey Klein, from Houston, TX.  He is a 44-year-old gynecologist.  Klein pulled off a stunning comeback during heads-up play and won what must be considered one of the most unlikely victories of the 2011 WSOP so far.

Down 9-to-1 in chips, it appeared Klein was destined for a respectable second-place finish.  But he never gave up.  Klein stayed patient and maneuvered is way back from the dead en route to a major tournament win that left virtually every witness speechless due to the outcome.

Klein collected $544,388 in prize money.  Incredibly, this was his first time to cash in a WSOP event.  Klein was also presented with the ultimate symbol of achievement in the game of poker, the WSOP gold bracelet.  This marked his first WSOP victory.

The runner up was Eddie Blumenthal, who had nothing to be ashamed of given his record during the first week of the series.  He has arguably the most impressive WSOP record of any player, so far.  He catapulted near the top of the standings in the WSOP "Player of the Year" race, by virtue of his second-place finish in this tournament, combined with a fourth-place finish in the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Championship, which attracted 865 players.  Two top four finishes within a five-day span is a stunning accomplishment, given the gargantuan field sizes and intense level of competition. 

This was the 10th event on this year’s WSOP schedule.  The tournament attracted 1,920 entries, which shattered the previous all-time record for (live) six-handed tournaments.  The former mark was set last year, when 1,663 six-handed enthusiasts jammed the Rio in search of victory.  This year's number of entries represented an increase of more than 13 percent. 

Six-Handed games initially became popular at some major online poker sites. Rather than playing in a standard game containing nine or 10 seats, many players prefer the short-handed format, which tends to reward aggression over passivity. Six-handed games generally involve more confrontation and often play faster. Six-handed poker is usually an action game. 

The total prize pool was also a six-handed record, amounting to $2,592,000.  The top 180 finishers collected prize money, the most players ever paid for a live six-handed tournament.

So far, this year’s tournament series has produced several newcomers to WSOP stardom.  Remarkably, all of the first 10 gold bracelet winners have been first-time winners.  In fact, half of the tournaments (five of 10) were all won by players who had never previously finished in-the-money in any WSOP tournament, including this event.

For a list of all players who cashed, in EVENT #10, please click here.  

EVENT #10 CHAMPION – GEFFREY KLEIN

The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em champion is Geffrey Klein, from Houston, TX.

Klein is a 44-year old doctor. He works as an OBY-GYN. His practice is located in Clear Lake, TX. He has been practicing medicine for about 15 years.

Klein was born in Houston. He attended and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.

Klein was a resident at Baylor College of Medicine (in Houston). He also holds a doctorate from the Baylor College of Medicine.

Klein is married and has three children – one boy and two girls. All of his children are teenagers.

Klein has a pilot’s license (rated as an instrument pilot). He is also the owner of his own airplane.

Klein is a self-professed amateur player. He says he plays the game for fun. But he is also highly-competitive by nature and takes everything he does seriously.

Klein says he has taken up golf. But he admits he’s enjoyed more success in poker than out on the golf course.   

Klein collected a $544,388 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Incredibly, this was the first time Klein has ever cashed at the WSOP. This was only the second time he has played in a six-handed tournament.

Of the final table of six players, Klein was the only amateur player. He says he learned the game by reading books, studying videos, and watching the game on television. However, he believes that playing No-Limit Hold’em has been his best teacher.

Prior to this victory, Klein had about $200,000 in career tournament winnings (outside the WSOP). He won a major tournament held three years ago at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

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

Klein currently has $544,388 in career WSOP winnings. He has an estimated $750,000 in live tournament career winnings, according to several major popular websites.

Klein is to be regarded as an amateur poker player, since he works in another occupation and plays poker mostly recreationally. He is the first true amateur to win a gold bracelet this year.

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

On how he views the game of poker: “I find the game enjoyable, as a diversion. It’s a nice way to get away.”

On being a success at most of the things he attempts to do:  “I want to succeed at whatever I do. Anytime I take on a new challenge, I want to do well. My current project is golf. But I’m terrible at it. I’m trying to get a little better at that.”

On his goals coming into this year’s WSOP: “You hear other poker players say they are going to get a gold bracelet this year, or they are going to get two this year. Or, I’ll have 10 bracelets by whenever. That overconfidence I find kind of interesting because the probability of it happening is something you can’t expect. I just wanted to play well and do well, and not get unlucky.” 

On being the only amateur player at the final table: “I’ve played with these guys before. But I can tell you all these guys are more skilled than I am. They can calculate the math and read the players – all the little things that come with doing it every day. Now, I understand a lot of these principles and I apply them as best I can, but I’m not as versatile. I know they are better players. But this is not chess. I could not beat the world champion chess player – ever. But because of the swings and the luck factor I can actually play with these guys.”

On the nuances of six-handed play: “I really did not think I was going to do well. My style is much more in line with patience and waiting. This to me is not about patience. It’s about playing poker. You can’t do what you do at a full table and expect to win a tournament like this. You have to call bets, you have to raise, read the boards and understand the betting patterns of your opponents. But the real fact was I did not get unlucky, and I did get a little lucky a few times.”

One making a dramatic comeback playing heads-up: “As long as you have chips, never give up. I play a pretty good short-stack. In fact, when I have a lot of chips, I play much worse (laughing).”

On how he expects his family to react to him winning a WSOP gold bracelet: “Well, my son has already asked me for a cut (laughing). Maybe it will inspire him to learn how to play….I think that’s a good thing. Poker is a social game. It challenges your mind. It makes you think about things. I think poker is a great thing for kids to learn, and I will bring him out here when he turns 21.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The “official” final table was comprised of six players.

The final table contained only one former gold bracelet winner – Jeffrey Papola.

Two nations were represented at the final table – Great Britain (1 player), and the United States (5 players).

Two Canadians finished 7th and 9th, respectively.

The exciting heads-up match was highlighted by a stunning comeback by the eventual winner. The match lasted nearly four hours. No one could have foreseen the drama that was to come when Eddie Blumenthal enjoyed a seemingly comfortable 9-to-1 chip advantage. His victory seemed all but certain. He had Klein on the ropes on at least two occasions. But both times, Klein caught miracle cards and survived. The most memorable of those hands took place when Klein had A-Q and was all-in against A-J. Unfortunately for Klein, a jack flopped and it appeared the match would end. But a queen on the river electrified the crowd and energized Klein, who went on to victory.

The runner up was Eddie Blumenthal, who suffered a devastating downfall. Blumenthal was coming off an enormously impressive fourth-place finish just days earlier in the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship. He appeared headed for a well-deserved victory and had to like his chances with a 9-to-1 chip lead against a relatively unknown amateur opponent. But Klein was not to be denied. He never surrendered and was determined to get his money in the pot with the best hand. For the most part, he did exactly that – although it took a bit of luck on a few occasions to deliver a reprieve from elimination.

Second-place finisher Eddie Blumenthal is a 25-year-old poker pro from Madison, WI. With this $334,756 payout, he now has nearly $600,000 so far at this WSOP.

The third-place finisher was former gold bracelet winner Jeffrey Papola, from New York, NY. He won the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship, held last year. In fact, he has three final table appearances in the last 38 gold bracelet events that have been played – which includes 1st, 2nd, and 4th place finishes.

The fourth-place finisher was David Vamplew, from Edinburgh, UK. He is a 23-year-old poker pro and student.  

More on David Vamplew’s fourth-place showing: 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 who 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 fifth-place finisher was Bryan Colin, from Short Hills, NJ. He is a 27-year-old investor.

The sixth-place finisher was Anthony Spinella, from Waxhaw, NC. He is a 23-year-old poker pro. 

Final table play began at 6:10 pm (six-handed). Final table play ended at 3:45 am. Hence, the total duration of the final table lasted about 9 hours and 35 minutes.

The final table began at on Tuesday at midnight (ending for the day at 4 am). Final table action ended late in the night with the cavernous Amazon Room nearly empty, expect for those watching the comeback. Nearly half of that was played heads-up.

The final table was played on ESPN’s so-called “secondary stage,” which is actually a more-cozy configuration for most spectators than the expansive main stage. The final table areas are getting raves 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 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 180 finishers collected prize money. This is the largest number of players ever paid for any live six-handed poker tournament.

The defending champion was Carter Phillips, from Las Vegas, NV. He did not cash this year.

Some former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included – Jeffrey Papola (3rd), Ryan Welch (12th), Greg Mueller (36th), Mike Ellis (53rd), Grant Hinkle (86th), Andre Boyer (146th), Bill Chen (169th), and Cliff Josephy (172nd).

Bodybuilder, model, and actress Christina Lindley entered this tournament, but did not cash.

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 903rd 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.

This was the largest live six-handed poker tournament in history. The 1,920-player field crushed the previous record, set at last year’s WSOP. That tournament generated 1,663 entries. 

No doubt, six-handed poker tournaments are becoming increasingly popular, especially at the WSOP. Not only did this field size increase by more than 13 percent over last year's record-breaking tourney – the numbers have gone up almost every year since Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em debuted:

2007 $1,500 NLH 6-handed -- 1,427 entries

2008 $1,500 NLH 6-handed -- 1,236 entries

2009 $1,500 NLH 6-handed -- 1,459 entries

2010 $1,500 NLH 6-handed -- 1,663 entries

2011 $1,500 NLH 6-handed -- 1,920 entries     

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.

Dr. Klein’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Thursday, June 9th. The National Anthem of the United States will be played in honor of his victory.

EVENT HISTORY

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em started out primarily as an online poker game. Many poker sites now offer just as many six-handed games as full ring games.

Six-handed cash games and tournaments are not commonly offered at most brick and mortar casinos. The reason is obvious. The games and tournaments require just as many tables, dealers, and resources as a standard nine-handed set-up. But in six-handed play, the number of players (and takeout) is reduced by a third. The WSOP believes the game merits gold bracelet status since it requires a different skill set from conventional games, and has proven to be very popular worldwide.

Six-Handed Hold'em emphasizes short-handed poker skills. Rather than a full table of nine players, each table is played six-handed (or less, as players bust out). This generally requires competitors to play cards out of the standard range of starting-hand requirements. It also makes post-flop skill paramount to victory. The game is included on the WSOP schedule in an effort to test as diverse a range of poker skills as possible.

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em made its WSOP debut in 2005. Three six-handed events were included on the 2006 schedule. Former champions from these events include Isaac "The General" Galazan, Dutch Boyd, Bill Chen, Jeff Madsen, Jason Warner, Ralph E. Porter, Ken Aldridge, Matt Hawrilenko, Carter Phillips, and now – Geffrey Klein.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days – actually four days considering the heads-up match extended past midnight.

The tournament officially began on Monday, June 6th at noon. The tournament officially ended on Thursday, June 9th, at 3:45 am.

2011 WSOP STATISTICS

Through the conclusion of Event #10, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 10,522 entries; $20,184,000 in prize money has been awarded to winners thus far.

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

United States (8)

Great Britain (2)

The success of British poker players has been one of the many headlines through the first ten gold bracelet events. In fact, young British players have performed exceedingly well. Six British players -- aged 24 or less -- have made final table appearances. Two have won gold bracelets. Here’s the list of the players who are making up what’s being called “The British Invasion:” Event #2 (1st Place ) Jake Cody – age 22; Event #5 (4th Place) Jonathan Spinks – age 22; Event #7 (4th Place) -- Stephen Chidwick – age 22 years; Event #8 (2nd Place) Sadan Turker – 22 years; Event #9 (1st Place) Matthew Perrins – 22 years; Event #10 (4th Place) David Vamplew – age 23.

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

United States (6)

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)

Texas (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 (1): Geffrey Klein

All of the first 10 tournaments completed so far have been won by first-time champions (non-winners from previous years).

Five of the first 10 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 172 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.

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

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