You’re Not Going to Believe This Story

Dan Idema Wins Limit Hold’em World Championship

One Year After Finishing Second in Limit Championship, Idema Returns and Wins

Poker Pro Collects First WSOP Gold Bracelet and $378,642

Victory Occurs Exactly One Year to the day of Runner-Up Finish

Full House at the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Still Up Double Digits Over Last Year

27 Gold Bracelets Won – 31 More Still to Go


There’s only one way to top finishing second in a World Series of Poker event.

Dan Idema has just done it

One year to the very day that he finished as the runner-up in the $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em World Championship at the 2010 WSOP, Idema returned to Las Vegas and outdid himself.

Idema won the very same $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em Championship in 2011.

That’s right.  Idema now has two top-two finishes in what is most certainly one of the toughest annual Limit Hold’em tournaments in the world.  He also now has a WSOP gold bracelet – his first.  Oh, and he also won $378,642 in prize money.

Idema is a 26-year-old professional poker player from Vancouver, BC (Canada).  This marked his fifth time to cash at the WSOP and was his third appearance at a final table.

Just as impressive was how Idema won his victory against as tough a final table lineup as has been seen at this year’s poker series.  Idema defeated a formidable lineup that included two former gold bracelet winners (Barry Greenstein--3rd place and Nick Schulman--9th place), in addition to six other highly-accomplished, experienced Limit Hold’em aficionados.

With two consecutive top-two finishes and one victory in the last two years of the same event, perhaps this tournament should be re-named.  It may be time to start referring to the $10K Limit Hold’em Championship as the “Dan Idema Benefit Tournament."

For a comprehensive recap of Event #27, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $10,00 buy-in Limit Hold’em world champion is Dan Idema, from Vancouver, BC (Canada).

Idema is a 26-year-old professional poker player.

This is the fourth year that Idema has attended the WSOP. 

Idema’s first recorded live tournament cash took place in 2007 at the L.A. Poker Classic.  Since that time, he has won more than $800,000 in live tournaments – not counting this victory. 

Idema’s best previous showing was a win at the British Columbia Poker Championships, in 2007.

For his victory, Idema collected $378,642 for first place.

According to official records, Idema now has 1 win, 3 final table appearances, and 5 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

Idema currently has 687,717 in career WSOP winnings.

Idema is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been playing full-time for about five years.

Idema finished second in this same tournament last year.  He had a 12 to 1 chip lead at one point when playing heads up, but eventually lost to Matt Keikoan.

Idema’s performance over the past two years in this tournament is as impressive as any since Thang Luu’s the back-to-back victory in the $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split events of 2008 and 2009.

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

On how it feels to win:

It’s a tremendous honor.  A lot of great players have gold bracelets and it’s such an honor to be part of the world.

On making the final table and playing against a tough lineup:

There were a lot of big-name pros.  It was a bit intimidating in such a field on the last day.  I was very happy and fortunate to be here.

On the final hand of the tournament:

I flopped two pair.  That’s a pretty big hand heads up.  Fortunately, (my opponent) had a big pocket pair and I was able to win a nice pot.

On coming in second last year, and winning this year:

I felt very fortunate to get there last year and this year, as well.  Last year, I got very unlucky when we got heads-up.  Mind you, I ran very well to get heads-up.  I would say it is a surreal experience.  It really hasn’t all sunk in yet.

On the local poker scene in Vancouver, where’s he’s from:

I started playing poker with my brother Adam.  Then, there’s Sean Buchanan, who I think is one of the best players in the world, and he’s from Canada on the west coast.  Greg Mueller is another.  Zach Fellows, Matt Jarvis – there are just so many good players.  There are so many great players from Vancouver.  I think that makes all of us better, in the end.


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

The final table contained two former gold bracelet winners – Barry Greenstein (3 wins) and Nick Schulman (1 win).

Only two nations were represented at the final table – Canada (1 player) and the United States (8 players).

The runner up was Matthew Gallin, from Setauket, NY, on Long Island.  He is a 26-year-old poker pro.  Gallin holds a B.A. from Tufts University.

The third-place finisher was three-time gold bracelet winner Barry Greenstein.  This was his 49th time to cash at the WSOP, which places him alone in tenth place on the all-time cashes list.

The fourth-place finisher was Steve Landfish, from St. Albans, VT.  He finished as runner up in the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud World Championship.

The fifth-place finisher was Dom deNotaristefani, from Mendham, NJ.  He holds a degree in economics from Johns Hopkins University.  This was his best WSOP cash, to date.

The sixth-place finisher was Justin Smith, from Kissimmee, FL.  He has now made it to three WSOP final tables (8th, 8th, and now 6th).  Smith is a high-stake cash game player.  He has been a poker pro for the past five years.

The seventh-place finisher was Isaac Haxton, from Las Vegas, NV.

The eighth-place finisher was Richard Brodie, from Kirkland, WA.  Brodie’s nickname is a “Quiet Lion.”  He was one of the creators of Microsoft Word.  Brodie is also a graduate of Harvard University and author of the book, “Virus of the Mind.”

The ninth-place finisher was former gold bracelet winner Nick Schulman, from New York, NY.  He won his WSOP title in 2009 (Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball).  Schulman is the first player in 2011 to make three top ten appearances.  He now has 9th, 9th and 5th place finishes.

Final table play began at 6:15 pm on a Friday evening.  Played ended at 1:15 am.  The finale went for about seven hours.

The final table was played on ESPN’s main stage.  The new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and appearance.  No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.  Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in July.

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 18 finishers collected prize money.

The defending champion from 2010 was Matt Keikoan, from San Rafael, CA. He did not cash this year.

Among the former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament -- aside from those who made the final table – were the following:  Hoyt Corkins (10th), Darren Woods (11th), Matt Hawrelinko (13th), and Carlos Mortensen (15th).

Fifteenth-place finish Carlos Mortensen won the 2001 WSOP Main Event Championship.

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. 


Last year’s same event attracted 171 players.  There were 152 entries this year – which means attendance declined slightly (by 19 players).  The only two flat events on this years schedule so far have been Limit Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud tournaments.  Virtually every other event and game variant has attracted an increase in attendance over 2010.

This is the 919th 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 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.

Idema’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, June 18th.  The national anthem of the Canada will be played in honor of his victory.


Limit Hold’em seems to be quite literally in a holding pattern.  During the 1990s, Limit Hold’em tournaments routinely attracted the largest fields of any tournaments in the world, both at the WSOP and elsewhere.  For many years, the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em tournament had twice number of entrants as the Main Event.  It was traditionally the first open event held during the first weekend of the WSOP.

Limit Hold’em first made its debut at the 1983 WSOP.  The first Limit Hold’em world champion was Tom McEvoy.  He went on to win the 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 Hold’em) in 1988.  Prior to the late 1980s, Limit Hold’em was spread in only a few small Las Vegas casinos and underground games, located mostly in the American South.

Limit Hold’em was king during most of the 1990s, except in the Northeast where Seven-Card Stud was the dominant form of poker that was played.  In fact, finding a No-Limit Hold'em game was nearly impossible.  In 2003, things began to change. No-Limit Hold'em gradually became the most popular form of poker played not only in the United States, but abroad. 

The list of former Limit Hold’em champions 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, Greg Mueller, and others.


The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

The tournament officially began on Wednesday, June 15th at 5 pm.  The tournament officially ended early Saturday morning, June 17th, at 1:15 am.


Through the conclusion of Event #27, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 31,090 combined total entries.  $49,139,185 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 

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

United States (17)

Great Britain (3)

Canada (3)

France (2)

Russia (1)

Ukraine (1)

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

United States (13)

Great Britain (3)

Canada (3)

France (2)

Ukraine (2)

Israel (1)

Russia (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

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

Nevada (3)

California (3)

Texas (2)

New York (2)

Illinois (2)

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 (21):  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, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema

Semi-Pros (3):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk

Amateurs (2):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays

Since the tracking of professionals/semi-pros/amateurs first started in 2005, this year is the biggest disparity of professionals winning than any year, so far.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 6 of the 27 winners (22 percent) marked 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 188 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 any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was 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).

The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who finished in sixth place after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship.

New tournament records set at the 2011 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 day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

·         Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

·         Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,350 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

·         Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

·         Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

·         The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history.  He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

·         Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (80) and final table appearances (41), with his second-place finish in the Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship (Event #16).