Lakhitov Conquers the West
Russian Wins $2,500
Buy-In No-Limit Hold’em Championship
Army Officer Scoops $749,610 in Prize Money
Table at WSOP – International Poker Party Goes Around the Clock
Full House at
the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Running Ahead of Last Year
Bracelets Won – 22 More Still to Go
you just had to be there to understand.
Maybe there’s no way to
reconstruct the raucous and rowdy atmosphere surrounding the most recent World
Series of Poker tournament, which just ended at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Think of an international soccer
match headed into overtime. Think of a heavyweight prize fight in the
midst of the final round. Think of a jam-packed bar, during happy hour.
That was the
setting around the final table of the $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em
tournament, which concluded amidst one of the most festive finales witnessed in
recent memory at the WSOP.
member, accustomed to covering dozens of WSOP finales over the last few years
candidly remarked, "The energy is like nothing I've ever seen at the
WSOP! Trouble is, it's giving me a headache!"
player, sitting in an unrelated tournament about 100 feet from the constant
chanting said, "I thought this was poker. Not a scene from animal
bystander -- aligned with one of the opposing players said, "Can't you do
something to make them all shut up?
much said it all.
Nearly lost in the celebratory
atmosphere was some exceptional poker playing, most of it performed by a
Russian poker pro named Mikhail Lakhitov.
For his victory, Lakhitov won
the most prized symbol of achievement in the game – the WSOP gold
bracelet. The professional poker player from Cheborsary (Russia) overcame
a huge starting field totaling 1,734 entrants. It took him four days to
finally defeat his final challenger en route to a payout totaling $749,610 in
prize money for first place. That comes out to a cool $187,000 a
day. Nice work if you can get it.
champion is hardly a one-hit wonder. With this victory, Lakhitov cashed
for fifth time at this year's WSOP. He now has nearly $1 million in
lifetime earnings and has taken over the WSOP Player of the Year lead from Phil
greatest irony of the tournament's final outcome and the winner's story of
triumph is his unusual background. Prior to playing poker for a living,
Lakhitov was on active duty in the Red Army. During his down time,
Lakhitov learned about a new game called poker. He spent many hours
thinking about the game, and playing with his fellow comrades. When he
was discharged from the military Lakhitov decided to try and make it as a
pro. He's hasn't regretted the decision, since.
is that Lakhitov's first visit to the WSOP was last year. He did not even
know there was such a thing as a gold bracelet attached to each victory.
When Lakhitov found out there was a luminous gold prize that came along with
each championship, he vowed to win a gold bracelet and present it to his wife.
should be very proud indeed, when he returns with a homecoming gift.
The runner up
was Hassan Babjane, from Boston, MA. He settled for second place, which
paid $463,480 -- an incredible accomplishment considering this is his first
time to cash at the WSOP.
gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament were: David “Dragon”
Pham (37th), Andrew Cohen (49th), David Diaz (89th) and J.C. Tran (151st).
For a comprehensive recap of Event #36,
please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.
EVENT #36 CHAMPION – MIKHAIL LAKHITOV
World Series of Poker $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Mikhail Lakhitov,
from Cheboksary, Russia.
Lakhitov is a
30-year-old professional poker player.
born in Cheboksary, which is the capital of the Chuvash Republic, a province in
Russia. Cheboksary is located on the
playing poker for a living, Lakhitov was enlisted in the Russian Army. He was stationed in Moscow. One of his friends in the Army was Kirill
Gerasimov, who would himself go on to a successful poker career.
the second straight year Lakhitov has attended the WSOP. He cashed twice in 2010. This was his fifth time to cash in 2011.
victory, Lakhitov collected $749,610 for first place.
official records, Lakhitov now has 1 win, 2 final table appearances, and 7
in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
has $898,423 in career WSOP winnings.
This was Lakhitov’s fifth cash this year – which places
him amongst the leaders in that category.
Lakhitov is to be
classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he
has been a full-time player for the past five years.
WINNER INTERVIEW (via translator)
On how he learned how to play poker
when he was enlisted in the Russian Army:
“I had so
much free time, that I started playing many different kinds of games. One of the games I learned was poker.”
On being a Russian poker champion:
“I am very
proud of that. I like to show that I am
from Russia. It makes me very proud.”
On what motivated him to win:
“Last year in
2010, I finished near the top in one tournament and came in eighth place. I did not know there was such a thing as a
gold bracelet. Later, I saw there were
pictures with the winner and the bracelet.
So, this year on my way to Las Vegas, I promised to my lovely wife that
I would win a gold bracelet. That was my
On who will now wear the WSOP gold
“My wife, of
course. It will be my gift to her.”
THE FINAL TABLE
final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.
table contained no former gold bracelet winners. This was the ninth final table so far this
year which has no former WSOP title holders.
When David Pham went out in 37th place, a first-time champion
were represented at the final table – Great Britain (1 player), Russia (1
player) and the United States (7 players).
The runner up
was Hassan Babjane, from Boston, MA.
This was his first time to cash at the WSOP. He made this one count to the tune of $463,480
in prize money.
finisher was Thomas Middleton, from Slidsen, UK.
fourth-place finisher was Thomas Miller, from E. Hampton, NY. He is a former architect-turned-poker pro.
fifth-place finisher was Ed Sabat, from Los Angeles, CA. He is a USC graduate and poker pro. He has numerous major cashes and wins on the
sixth-place finisher was Matthew Berkey, from Las Vegas, NV. He is a poker pro with a degree in computer
seventh-place finisher was James St. Hilaire, from Glen Burnie, MD. He is a 25-year-old poker pro. St. Hilaire now has five WSOP cashes. This was his first final table appearance and
best finish yet.
eighth-place finisher was Conrad Monica, from Hemet, CA. He is a casino dealer who has quite an
impressive record for a semi-pro. Monica
cashed for the third time this year. It
was also his eighth career cash at the WSOP.
Monica previously won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Harrah’s Rincon (San
ninth-place finisher was Kent (Lloyd) Padgett, from Spring, TX. He is a 67-year-old oil field
technician. Proving it’s never too late
to try and make a mark as a poker player, this was his first time to cash at
play began at 9:30 pm on a Thursday night.
Played concluded about 7 hours later (in playing time), at 3:45 pm, the
following day. Play was suspended when
there were five players still remaining because of the late hour on Day Three.
table play began, Thomas Miller was the chip leader. However, Mikhail Lakhitov and James St.
Hilaire were both close behind.
table included multiple cheering sections for several players. They were often chanting and screaming for
their favorite player.
table was played on ESPN’s so-called secondary stage. The main stage hosted the conclusion of the
$10,000 HORSE tournament, which was played at the same time. The finale (on the second day of the final
table) was moved to the 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.
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 171
finishers collected prize money.
gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament -- aside from the players
who made the final table – were: David
“Dragon” Pham (37th), Andrew Cohen (49th), David Diaz (89th)
and J.C. Tran (151st).
are to be included in all official WSOP records. Results are also to be included in the 2011
WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE. Lakhitov is the current leader.
ODDS AND ENDS
attracted 1,734 entries.
This is the 928th
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
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
bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, June 25th. The national anthem of Russia will be played
in honor of his victory – for the second time this year.
was scheduled to be played over three consecutive days/nights – which ran into
an unscheduled fourth day due to the late finish.
Day One began
with 1,734 entries and ended with 296 survivors.
Day Two began
with 296 players and ended with 39 survivors.
began with 39 players, which played down to 5 players.
began with 5 players and played down to the winner.
officially began on Tuesday, June 21st at noon. The tournament officially ended early Friday afternoon,
June 25th, at 3:45 pm.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion
of Event #36 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 46,839 combined total entries. $73,295,910 in prize money has been awarded
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet
winners has been:
conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has
conclusion of this event, the home-states of (American) winners have been:
New York (3)
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to
semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:
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, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier
and Mikhail Lakhitov
Semi-Pros (4): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii
Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig
(4): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James
Hess, Kirk Caldwell
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 30 out of 36 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 36 winners (21
percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the 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 195 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.
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).
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.
tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2
live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3
live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10
Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16
live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3157 entries) – Event #18
live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3175 entries) – Event #20
consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries)
– Event #18 and Event #20
live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22
Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23
Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) –
single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Largest consecutive-days starting field
sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke
Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)
Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history
(2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19,
records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
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).
Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (81)
and final table appearances (42).
RAISING AWARENESS: BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE WSOP
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
Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefiting charity from the Bad
Beat on Cancer.