The Kingdom Has a New Ruler

Kirk A. Caldwell Wins $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Championship

Caldwell Becomes Fourth Canadian Gold Bracelet Winner in 2011

Retail Salesman from Ontario Collects $668,276 Top Prize

Full House at the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Up 11 Percent Over Last Year

32 Gold Bracelets Won – 26 More Still to Go


Once upon a time, there was a magical kingdom filled with poker players.

The kingdom was quite small.  It was led by a succession of royal dynasties.  Everyone recognized and respected the rulers.  They were powerful and seemingly indestructible.

The rulers of the small kingdom earned their rites.  Most of the kings and princes brought along decades of experience to each reign.  Year by year, they gained wisdom from what they had done before and built empires upon the experiences of the past. 

But as years passed, many outside the kingdom attempted to challenge the hierarchy.  For a long while, all attempts to challenge the authority of the wise men failed.  Some of the challengers were permitted to remain within the kingdom following defeat.  But they lived and worked as fiefs in a feudal pecking order until they too, could rise and become rulers themselves.  It was a pyramid of power and wealth based upon years and years of poker experience.

Then came the revolution.

One by one, the kings were gradually overthrown.  They were toppled from power by a young brazen band of invaders.  As they continued to flood into the kingdom, the size of the empire grew.  And with their vast numbers, the feudal lords became less and less powerful.  By the end of the 20th Century, their power and mystique had all but disappeared.

A new emerging underclass took their place.  Many of the newcomers were in their 20s.  No longer were the rulers of the kingdom men in their 50s and 60s.  The most powerful forces within the kingdom became the younger people, who had brand new ideas about the proper way of doing things.

By 2011, all that remained of the old kingdom were distant memories.  Few remembered how the kingdom was before, nor recognized what it had become.  The kingdom exploded in size and power.  Instead of just a few hundred subjects, the kingdom came to include tens of thousands.  What happened within the kingdom was watched and followed closely by millions of people in more than a hundred nations around the world.  Those responsible for maintaining the kingdom built a newer, flasher, bigger palace.  People from all over talked about the kingdom.  They wanted to visit the kingdom and see its treasures.  And as they came, the old guard continued to disappear from memory.

On June 18, 2011 an army of 2,828 warriors stormed the castle.  For three long days, the forces battled.  By the end of the conflict, only one warrior remained standing on the battlefield.  He would come to rule the kingdom.  It was discovered that the new ruler came from a vast frigid land to the north.

His name was Kirk Caldwell.

For the eighth time this year, a poker player who had never previously cashed in any World Series of Poker tournament ever in his life, won a gold bracelet.  High-stakes tournament experience simply didn't matter when the cards were dealt and the chips began circulating in a whirlwind of frenzy.  A younger, hungrier, more determined challenger rose to the top of the poker hierarchy and added yet another cannon blast into the drawbridge of what had previously been a dynasty based on the notion that it takes experience to win.

Kirk A. Caldwell won the latest tournament at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.  The 31-year-old Canadian who works in retail sales, enjoyed the biggest score of his life by winning the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  This was Event #32 on the 2011 WSOP schedule.

Caldwell collected the fabulous sum of $668,276 in prize money.  He was also awarded the symbol of supreme achievement in the game – the WSOP gold bracelet.  He became the fourth Canadian to win a WSOP crown, so far this year.

Caldwell came to his ultimate conquest with the help of his friends.  A few months prior to the tournament, several of his buddies in the Toronto, Ontario area decided to host a mini-satellite, with the top prize being a trip to Las Vegas with an entry fee into a gold bracelet event.  Caldwell won the first battle.  Then, he won the second, too.

And so, Caldwell rules the kingdom, at least until the next battle comes.  He rules, until the next campaign when he too shall be challenged by a new band of invaders.  Inevitably, he too shall be toppled from power as all rulers eventually are.  Yet he shall forever have this one shining day and this indelible memory of when the entire poker kingdom was his and his alone.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #32, please visit the tournament portal page HERE.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Kirk A. Caldwell, from Orangeville, Ontario (Canada). 

Caldwell is a 31-year-old retail sales clerk.

Caldwell was born in Brampton, Ontario (Canada).

Caldwell’s nickname is “Pudge.”

This marks the first year Caldwell has attended the WSOP.

Caldwell earned his travel funds and entry fee into this tournament by winning a small private single-table satellite with friends in Ontario.  One of the organizers of the regular poker game decided to host a mini-tournament which included the chance to come to Las Vegas and play in a gold bracelet event.  The stipulation was that the winner pledged 15 percent of his action to the players in the group. 

Based on the agreement, Caldwell’s poker buddies received the lump sum of $100,241,40.

For his victory, Caldwell collected $668,276 for first place. 

This was Caldwell’s first time ever to cash in a WSOP event.  He becomes the eighth first-time casher to win gold bracelet this year.

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

Caldwell currently has $668,276 in career WSOP winnings.

Caldwell is to be classified as an amateur poker player (in WSOP records and stats).  He is the fourth pure amateur to win a gold bracelet this year.

Caldwell becomes the fourth Canadian citizen to win a gold bracelet at the 2011 WSOP.  This matched the total number of wins by Canadian players last year.


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

The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.  This was the seventh (of 32) final tables with no previous winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

Three nations were represented at the final table – Brazil (1 player), Canada (3 players) and the United States (5 players).

Canadians took three of the top four money positions, and four places among the top ten. 

The runner up was Corbin White, from Austin, TX.  He earned a nice consolation prize amounting to $414,918. 

Final table play began at 8 pm on a Monday evening.  Played concluded at 3:10 am, early on Tuesday morning. 

The final table was played on ESPN’s so-called secondary stage.  The main stage was used to host the Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Championship, which ran at the same time. The new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and appearance. 

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 297 finishers collected prize money.

Among former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament -- aside from those who made the final table – were the following players:  Layne Flack (197) and T.J. Cloutier (200).

With his cash in this tournament, Poker Hall of Famer T.J. Cloutier has now cashed 25 of the last 26 years at the WSOP.

Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP 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 HERE. 


The tournament attracted 2,828 entries.  All $1,000 and $1,500 buy-in events this year so far, have attracted 2,500-plus entries.

This is the 924th 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.

Caldwell’s gold bracelet ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 21st.  The national anthem of Canada was played in honor of his victory.


The tournament was scheduled to be played over three consecutive days/nights – but extended into a fourth day due to the late finish.

Day One began with 2,828 entries and ended with 362 survivors.

Day Two began with 362 players and ended with 35 survivors.

Day Three began with 35 players, which played down to the winner.

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 18th at noon.  The tournament officially ended early Tuesday morning, June 21st, at 3:10 am.


Through the conclusion of Event #32, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 41,286 combined total entries.  $62,559,360 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 (21)

Canada (4)

Great Britain (3)

France (2)

Russia (1)

Ukraine (1)

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

United States (16)

Canada (4)

Great Britain (3)

France (2)

Ukraine (2)

Israel (1)

Russia (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

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

California (5)

Nevada (3)

New York (3)

Texas (2)

Illinois (2)

New Jersey (1)

Florida (1)

Tennessee (1)

Connecticut (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (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 (25):  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, Elie Payon, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee and Sam Stein

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

Amateurs (4):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell

Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 25 out of 32 events being won by pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 32 winners (25 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 consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 192 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

·         Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

·         Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

·         Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

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).


Bad Beat on Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1 percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship, contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize.  By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits when they win.  As the official charity of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.  A tax receipt is generated and sent to their mailing address.  Several high profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka, Andy Bloch, Dennis Phillips and others.  Since 2003, the initiative has raised over $3,500,000 for cancer prevention research, education, and community outreach programs.  Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1% by stopping by the Bad Beat on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite the Amazon Room in the concourse.  The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefitting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.