Countdown to Victory:  5….4….3….2….WSOP Champion!


Jason Somerville Tops Record-Setting No-Limit Tournament


Long Island (New York) Poker Pro Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet


Newest Poker Champion Collects $493,091


Somerville Continues Astounding Run of High Finishes in Mega-Field Events


A Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Remains Up Double-Digits


Twenty Gold Bracelets Gone – 38 More Still Up For Grabs




Coming into the latest World Series of Poker tournament, Jason Somerville had a poker resume that most players would swap for in a heartbeat.

1.    More than one million in WSOP winnings.
2.    Eleven WSOP cashes
3.    A fifth-place finish in the 2009 Triple-Chance No-Limit event
4.    A fourth-place finish in last year’s $25,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit event
5.    A third-place finish (semi-finalist) in last year’s $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up Championship
6.    A second-place finish in a $1,500 No-Limit event in 2009

Detecting a pattern, here?

There was just one thing missing.  And on June 14, 2011 Somerville filled the void with half-a-million dollars in profit and his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Somerville destroyed a near-record field in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Championship, officially classified as Event #20.  He overcame a monster-sized field of 3,175 players en route to a remarkably fulfilling victory.

It’s hard to decide what is more astounding – Somerville’s tournament record playing amongst huge fields or the fact he now has a string of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finishes.  Or maybe it’s the fact he’s only 24-years-old.

Talk about a bright future.

Somerville is from Stony Brook, NY which is located on Long Island.  He is a professional poker player who has been playing and winning consistently for the past five years.  Somerville has taken and perfected the “small ball” strategic concept.  The gospel of small ball poker was first spread by proverbial high priest Daniel Negreanu, who was present at tableside for Somerville’s victory celebration.  Alas, if Negreanu is the king of small ball, then Somerville is the concept’s most loyal prince.

The basic idea behind small ball poker is keeping pots small in an effort not to risk too many chips, which increases the peril of elimination.  Small ball poker places consistent pressure on opponents in post-flop situations.  In short, the better poker player usually wins small ball confrontations, since far more table decisions required, rather than the standard apocalyptical all-in pre-flop shove-fests which now are now so common in many No-Limit tournaments.  

Yet oddly enough, the final hand of the tournament had nothing to do with patience, nor persistence. 

With a packed gallery yelling, screaming, taunting, and leering towards the final two of what had once been an expansive sea of hopeful dreamers, Somerville came to a final showdown against Yashar Darian.  One final formidable opponent was all that stood between Somerville and poker destiny.

Somerville burrowed in for a tough, long fight.  Both players had plenty of chips.  In fact, Somerville had just a slight chip lead.  With fresh memories of four-hour heads-up matches and early-morning marathons, everyone in the crowd – most of all, Somerville – expected this final battle to be long and tough.

The very first hand of heads-up play was dealt. 

There are dreams, there are fantasies, and then there are moments of cerebral ecstasy which invoke fears of hallucination.  What am I seeing?  Can this be real?  I must be dreaming!

Somerville looked down and saw two aces.  Pocket rockets. 

Poor Yashar Darian never saw the roaring freight train coming that was about to steamroll his WSOP aspirations.  It almost wasn't fair, like tossing a bunny rabbit into a cage with a pit bull.  By the time Darian had put in his fourth pre-flop raise by announcing he was all-in, Somerville had almost beat his rival into the pot with his own massive stack, by bolding announcing “call” while rising from his seat in anticipation of victory.

The cards fell.  Aces held up.  The final pot was pushed.  And the tournament was over.

And Jason Somerville was its champion.

Which now begs the question….what comes after a numerical sequence of 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1?

Answer:  “2”

Two, as in two gold bracelets – which is most certainly Somerville’s next ambition.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #20, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.




The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Champion is Jason Somerville, from Stony Brook, NY – which is located on Long Island.


Somerville is a 24-year-old professional poker player.


This was the fourth consecutive year Somerville has attended the WSOP in Las Vegas.


For his victory in this tournament, Somerville collected $493,091 for first place. 


According to official records, Somerville now has 1 win, 5 final table appearances, and 12 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. 


Somerville currently has $1,495,833 in career WSOP winnings.


Daniel Negreanu stated about Jason Somerville and his game:  “When I met him, he mocked small-ball so much.  He said, ‘It’s laughable – the bet sizing and all.’  Then, he finally became a believer.  And then, he was like – ‘I love it.  It’s so easy.  It makes the game so easy.’  He small-balled the hell out of this final table.  I am so for happy for him.  He’s come second, third, fourth, fifth – even in these 3,000-player fields.  He has the best record ever in events like that.  He takes a combination of what the young people know and then he takes some old school concepts.  He melded the two.  If I was going to take a horse for just one big-field No-Limit Hold’em tournament, he would be one of my top three, for sure.”


Somerville is to be regarded as a professional poker player, since he has been playing full-time for the past four years.




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


The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.


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


The runner up was Yashar Darian, from Emerson, NJ.  He collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $305,009.       


Final table play began at 6:30 pm on a Tuesday afternoon.  Play ended at 11:45 pm that evening.  Final table action lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes.


The final table was played on ESPN’s so-called secondary stage.  The main stage hosted the Seven-Card Stud World Championship, which was played simultaneously. 


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. 




The top 324 finishers collected prize money.


The final day played at a lightning-fast pace.  The third and final day began with 27 players.  Many observers wondered if the tournament could be played out in that time span.  Amazingly, it took only nine hours to play from 27 players down to a winner – which is one of the quickest finales of any major tournament in modern poker history.   


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.


“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE. 




This is the 912th 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 oldest player to enter this tournament was 87-years-old.  The youngest player was aged 21 years, 2 days.


The average age for all players in this tournament was 36.9 years.  The average age of players that cashed was 35.7 years.  The average age of final table players was 31.8 years.  The winner was 24-years-old.  This is consistent with previous trends which are showing, in general, that younger players tend to outperform older players, especially as the prize money increases.


The average age of the female entrants for this event was considerably higher than males.  The average female was aged 41.6 years.


There were 149 females who entered this tournament, representing 4.7 percent of the field.


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.


Somerville’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place either Wednesday, June 15th or Thursday, June 16th.  The U.S. national anthem will be played in honor of his victory.




The tournament was played over three consecutive days.


The tournament officially began on Sunday, June 12th at noon.  The tournament officially ended on Tuesday, June 14th, at 11:45 pm.




Through the conclusion of Event #20, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 22,381 entries.  $38,195,710 in prize money has been awarded to winners, so far. 


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


United States (15)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (1)

Canada (1)


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


United States (11)

Great Britain (3)

Ukraine (1)

Israel (1)

Russia (1)

Honduras (1)

Canada (1)

Indonesia (1)


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


Nevada (3)

California (2)

Texas (2)

New York (2)

Illinois (1)

New Jersey (1)

Florida (1)

Tennessee (1)

Connecticut (1)

Indiana (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 (15):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville


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


Amateurs (2):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays


Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 6 of the 20 winners (30 percent) represented 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.  So far, no player has yet won two gold bracelets (this year).


The streak of male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 181 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 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 a female (open events) at this year’s WSOP were by two players -- Maria Ho, who finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em) and Kim Nguyen, who also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).


Victor Ramdin leads all players at the moment with four cashes so far at the 2011 WSOP.  Records show he has entered nine events, to date.


New records set at this year’s 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 starting day (3,157 entries) – Event #18

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,238 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20