Backgammon Champion to Gold Bracelet Winner
“Kamsky” Tsinis Wins Latest WSOP Title
Game Master Wins $1,500 Buy-In Hold’em Championship
National Anthem of Native Country as Protest to U.S. Government Policy against
Michael Blanovsky Finishes as Runner Up
Full House at
the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Running Ahead of Last Year
Bracelets Won – 20 More Still to Go
going on over in the Ukraine?
What is it about this particular
Eastern European country that has now created a third gold bracelet champion at
this year’s World Series of Poker?
To wit – why not Belarus?
Why not Poland? Why not Romania? Why not the Czech Republic?
Why not Slovakia? Why not Slovenia?
Why not Latvia? Why not Lithuania? Why not Estonia? Why not Bulgaria? Why not Serbia?
Why not Croatia? Why not Bosnia? Why not Albania? Why not
Georgia? Why not Uzbekistan? Why not any number of other nations
which -- to date -- have not produced a single poker champ amongst
What makes a
nation of some 65 million – 99.99 percent of whom probably had never played
poker until about ten years ago -- suddenly the producer of so much poker
Feel free to
meantime, consider the most recent new development.
Arkadiy “Kamsky” Tsinis became
the latest Ukrainian WSOP champion when he won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit
Hold’em championship, held at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Tsinis overcame a huge field
size totaling 2,192 players en route to his first gold bracelet victory.
This marks the third WSOP event won this year by a player of Ukrainian
origin. The first was Eugene Katchalov, who won the $1,500 buy-in
Seven-Card stud championship. The second was Oleksii Kovalchuk, winner of
the $2,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em title. Tsinis makes for the
Ukrainian trifecta, with another 19 gold bracelet events still to be played in
2011 (not counting 7 more gold bracelet events coming up at WSOP Europe, in
October in Cannes, France).
What’s remarkable about another
Ukrainian winning is that prior to this year, no Ukrainian in history had
ever won a gold bracelet. Zero. Now, suddenly – there are
three. To be quite clear – Tsinis now
lives in Las Vegas. He resided for many
years in New York, where he hung out with many fellow expert gamesmen,
including Ylon Schwartz who watched the final table from the rail. But like so many people originally from that
region of the world, there seems to be something in the DNA of those from the
former Soviet Republics which creates extraordinary talent in all games – most
notably chess, backgammon and now poker.
as fitting was the fact that Tsinis’ victory occurred on what could technically
have been the busiest gold bracelet day in WSOP history. For the first
time four gold bracelet tournaments were expected to end on the same day.
Two of the events had been scheduled to end the previous day. But the
large field sizes and slow play mandated an additional day of
competition. The previous two winners from the day were from Russia and
France – which have each also produced a record number of winners this year.
Ukraine, Russia was also in position to crown its own third WSOP champion in
2011. The runner up to Tsinis ended up being Michael Blanovsky, who is
originally from Vladivostok, Russia. The heads-up match between the two Eastern Europeans lasted
more than three hours and stretched into an unscheduled fourth day of play.
It’s becoming clearly apparent
there is a seismic shift going on in the poker world. While the United
States enjoys enormous advantages in terms of overall WSOP numbers due to being
the host nation, the fact is – other nations are disproportionally ahead of all
the rest in terms of accomplishments. It’s also now clear that the
Ukraine is one of those nations which continues to mature as a poker market. That’s a scary prospect – unless you happen
to be Ukrainian.
For a comprehensive recap of Event
#38 including the official report, please visit the WSOP.com portal page HERE.
EVENT #38 CHAMPION – ARKADIY “KAMSKY”
World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Arkadiy
“Kamsky” Tsinis, from Las Vegas, NV.
Tsinis is a
34-year-old self-described game player, poker player and financial analyst.
born in the Ukraine.
immigrated to the U.S. with his parents at the age of 16. His family settled down in New York City.
graduated from Baruch College, which is part of the City University of New York
(CUNY). He earned his degree in finance
parents were initially not happy with his pursuit of game playing. His father is an engineer. His mother is a doctor. But they have since come to support his
career decision and dedication to gaming.
playing poker professionally, Tsinis was ranked in the top 40 of the best
backgammon players in the world. He
competed in both tournaments and for money.
Tsinis is a
master chess player and backgammon player.
He believes both games provided him with an excellent foundation on
which to build his poker skills.
the eighth consecutive year Tsinis has attended the WSOP.
Prior to this
victory, Tsinis’ best previous WSOP finish was 11th place.
victory, Tsinis collected $540,136 for first place.
did not play in this tournament. He was
not even registered until three hours after the tournament started. His best friend Ylon Schwartz talked Tsinis
into playing and coming in late. When
Tsinis sat down, he had about 30 big blinds remaining. His late arrival certainly did not impair
Tsinis in any way.
cheered on to victory by several supporters, mostly from New York. In his entourage was “Falafel,” (a.k.a.
Michael Natanzon) who is the top ranked backgammon player in the world.
According to official
records, Tsinis now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance and 11 in-the-money
finishes at the WSOP.
Tsinis currently has
$686,000 in career WSOP winnings.
Tsinis is to be
classified as a semi-professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats),
since he has been playing poker seriously for some time, but also relies on
other sources of income.
Tsinis made a
bold political decision following his victory.
When given the choice as to which national anthem to play for his gold
bracelet ceremony, Tsinis stated he preferred not to have the American anthem,
opting instead to have the Ukrainian anthem played. Tsinis made things very clear he meant no
disrespect toward the US, where he now resides.
But he was adamant that the U.S. government’s stance against online
poker made him want to use his influence to shed light on this issue and to
make it clear he was not in favor of representing an authority which has been a
detriment to many people within the poker community.
On how it feels to win a WSOP gold
accomplishment. It’s closure. How many people over 30 years can say they
have won a gold bracelet?”
On deciding to go with the Ukrainian
National Anthem at his gold bracelet ceremony, instead of the USA which is
where he now resides:
“I am very
proud of my country, now that I live here.
But with the state of online poker and the way it is right now – I think
at these poker events we should all boycott (the U.S. anthem), not to show
disrespect in any way -- but to show the politicians and point that with
regards to poker, they should do something about this issue. Another reason for this decision is because
when I first came to the US and people would ask where I am from, more than
half of them did not even know where the Ukraine is. So, I want to put Ukraine back on the
map. We had two other Ukrainian people
win (at the WSOP). So this is a year
when we are going to do big things.”
On Ukrainian chess and backgammon
culture now turning towards poker:
“There is no
money in any of the other sports, besides poker. That’s why so much talent is coming out not
just from Ukraine, but from Russia and the whole of Eastern Europe. There is no way they can make this kind of
money in any kind of job that a normal 21-year-old does. Now, they start at 18 or even 15, and some of
these kids are geniuses. Poker offers a
lot of them opportunities. They put all
their minds and resources together, and now they are winning left and right.”
On how chess and backgammon helped him
to become a better poker player:
huge. Chess is not so much a gambling
game. But backgammon is, so just being a
gambler gives you a huge advantage over a normal player.”
On how his parents will react to his
“For me, and
for my parents, it’s a major thing. My
parents were not happy about this (playing games) at first. But they were following me on the computer. They got to see what was happening back on
the East Coast.”
On how poker pro Ylon Schwartz helped him
in this tournament:
to him constantly and him putting me in the right mind set helped me. He gave me lots of help with the right
THE FINAL TABLE
final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.
The final table
contained no former gold bracelet winners.
This was the 11th final table so far this year which has no
former WSOP title holders.
were represented at the final table – France (1 player), Great Britain (1
player), Ukraine (1 players) and the United States (6 players).
match between Arkadiy Tsinis and Michael Blanovsky was a supreme test for both
players. Tsinis enjoyed the chip lead
most of the way. In fact, he had a 7 to
1 chip advantage when play was suspended and players were forced to return for
a fourth day. But Blanovsky fought back
and not only took the chip lead, he had a 2 to 1 advantage at one point. Tsinis was all in for his tournament life at
one point, with pocket sevens versus two overcards. He survived, doubled-up and went on to win
The runner up
was Michael Blanovsky, from Staten Island, NY.
This was his second time to cash at the WSOP. He has mostly played in cash games up to this
point in his poker career. Blanovsky is
originally from Russia. He immigrated to
Israel before finally making the US his home.
finisher was Randolph Lanosga, Jr. from Colorado Springs, CO. He is a 56-year-old realtor. This was Lanosga’s best WSOP finish, to date.
fourth-place finisher was Pietermichae DeGoede, from Reims, France. He came close to becoming the fourth French
WSOP champion this year.
fifth-place finisher was Paul Nash, from Kingsbury Tamworth, UK. He is a 38-year-old online poker pro. This is the second time Nash has attended the
WSOP and was his first time to cash.
sixth-place finisher was Perry Lin, from Hoboken, NJ. He is a manager of medical devices and a
recreational poker player. He holds a
degree from Washington University of St. Louis.
finisher was David Rounick, from Harberth, PA.
He is a 36-year-old investor.
eighth-place finisher was Ryan LaPlante, from Brainerd, MN. He is a 21-year-old poker pro who plays under
the name “Protential.”
ninth-place finisher was Christopher Homan, from Augusta, GA. He is a 24-year-old medical student in
Georgia. Homan is a graduate of Auburn
play began at 8:30 pm on a Friday. Played
concluded about eight hours later (playing time wise) at 4:30 pm, on Saturday
afternoon. The final table was stopped
at 3:30 am on Friday due to the late hour, and continued the next day with the
table play began, Perry Lin had the chip lead, with Michael Blanovsky in second
place. The remaining players were all
down by greater than a 2 to 1 margin.
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
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 216
finishers collected prize money.
Among the former
gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament were the following: Robert Cheong (12th), Jordan Smith
(54th) and Kenny Tran (55th).
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.
ODDS AND ENDS
attracted 2,192 entries.
This is the 930th
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 media.
bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Sunday, June 26th. The national anthem of the Ukraine will be
played in honor of his victory. This
marks the third time this year that the Ukrainian anthem will be played.
was scheduled to be played over three consecutive days/nights – which ran into
a fourth day due to the late finish.
Day One began
with 2,192 entries and ended with 298 survivors.
Day Two began
with 298 players and ended with 23 survivors.
began with 23 players, which played down to the final two.
began with 2 players and played down to a winner.
officially began on Wednesday, June 22nd at noon. The tournament officially ended early
Saturday afternoon, June 25th at 4:30 pm.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion
of Event #38 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 49,271 combined total entries. $78,510,210 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 tournament, 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, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier and Mitch Schock.
Semi-Pros (5): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii
Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis
(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 35 out of 39 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 39 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 197 consecutive
events. Aside from the annual Ladies Poker
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 accomplished by two
players. Maria Ho finished second ($5,000
buy-in No-Limit Hold’em). Kim Nguyen,
who also finished as 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).