Photo Caption: (Photo by Jay WhoJedi Newnum) It may have been the day before the Fourth of July, but the fireworks have already begun at the World Series of Poker.  On Tuesday, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari won the richest poker prize in history.  He climbed atop poker’s richest pyramid and stood alone – collecting a top prize totaling more than $18 million.  Esfandiari was also presented with his second WSOP gold bracelet (actually this one is a platinum bracelet, which was made especially for the historic occasion).  Another gold bracelet was won, as well – by Jim Willerson who outlasted 3,166 players in Event #54.  A third finale was scheduled to take place, but the two finalists are currently deadlocked in a long heads-up match.  Whoever wins, will have defeated a field totaling 3,221 players.  Huge fields, massive amounts of prize money, thrills and excitement – and the 2012 WSOP Main Event Championship has not yet begun!
To see more photos from the 2012 WSOP, please visit the official WSOP PHOTO BLOG.


A WSOP Happy Fourth of July!
Simply Magical:  Magician Antonio Esfandiari Wins “Big One for One Drop”
Esfandiari Claims Record $18,346,673 Prize in Poker’s Most Majestic Moment
July 3rd, 2012 – The Richest Day in Poker History
Esfandiari Now the All-Time Money Winner in Poker Tournament History
Dallas Attorney Jim Willerson Tops 3,166-Player Field in Event #53 – Collects $737,348 and First Gold Bracelet


Winning a WSOP gold bracelet is always a special moment.  It’s often cited as the highlight of any poker career.  It’s usually the greatest achievement many will make in their lives.  But this tournament was different.  Very different.

First, let’s talk about how spectacular this moment was in terms of pure human drama.  Antonio “the Magician” Esfandiari won the richest prize in poker history.  He collected a bank-account busting $18,346,673.  That’s no misprint.  Just about every other poker tour event looks like chicken feed compared to this gargantuan payout.   
Esfandiari topped a field of 48 millionaires in this tournament – 28 of them fellow poker players – including the game’s premier talent.  He also conquered an unprecedented collection of financial minds, including billionaires and gadzillionaires accustomed to eating their adversaries for breakfast.  Anybody who though there was dead money in this field or that the competition was soft, is an idiot.  Billionaires do not get to be billionaires for nothing.  Consider that nine of the first 11 players to bust out were professional poker players.
Indeed, this was a match for the ages – pitting the most successful business executives, investors, and philanthropists from all over the world – places like the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, Great Britain -- who came together for a duel cause.  The first objective was to compete in an event of historical proportions.  The second was to give something back in the form of a charitable component. 
The tournament was played over three consecutive days.  It started out with 48 players, who each posted an unheard of one-million dollar entry fee, just to sit at the table.  After one day’s action, 37 survived.  By the end of the second day, the No-Limit Hold’em tournament was down to just eight.
This final table had just about everything any poker fan would want in a lineup of this monetary and historic proportion.  Four highly-respected poker pros, including the WSOP’s all-time leader in just about every statistical category, facing four powerhouse minds from the world of business and entertainment.
As soon as Esfandiari won the final pot of the tournament, defeating Sam Trickett heads-up, he was overtaken with emotion as he embraced his father.  Esfandiari’s brother joined the riches hug in poker history.  The site of three very close people on the stage, beaming in the spotlight, with tears in their eyes, in front of the world’s television cameras and the watchful eye of every poker player in the universe was about as special as it gets.
Call it what you want – premonition, magic, luck or skill.  Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is the new $18 million man who will be remembered – at least for now – as the biggest winner in poker history.
Here are the final official results from the Big One for One Drop:
1st:  Antonio Esfandiari - $18,346,673
2nd:  Sam Trickett - $10,112,001
3rd:  David Einhorn- $4,352,000
4th:  Phil Hellmuth - $2,645,333
5th:  Guy Laliberte - $1,834,666
6th:  Brian Rast - $1,621,333
7th:  Bobby Baldwin - $1,408,000
8th:  Richard Yong - $1,237,333

Neil James "Jim" Willerson won the most recent $1,500 event at the 2012 World Series of Poker.  The 36-year-old attorney from Dallas, Texas won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, classified as Event #53.  
Jim Willerson not only received the game’s most coveted prize – the gold bracelet – but a whopping $737,248 in prize money as well.  The three-day competition drew another monster-sized field.  The tournament began with 3,166 entrants and concluded on a late Tuesday afternoon at the Rio in Las Vegas.  In fact, the field size was so large and the final table play went so long that an unscheduled fourth day was added.
The runner up was Vladimir Mefodichev, from Moscow, Russia.  He had a shot at becoming the first Russian to win a gold bracelet this year, but the Willerson played an extraordinary heads-up match and earned the biggest victory of his poker career.

Play was suspended on Tuesday night, while two finalists were deadlocked into what could have been an all-night showdown.

Will Jaffe (New York) currently leads Luis Campelo (Brazil) going into an unscheduled fourth day.  

The tournament began with 3,221 entrants.  The final table went several hours before play eas halted with the agreement of both players.  Play resumes on Wednesday at 2 pm.

The winner will receive $500,070 in prize money, plus the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.


Question of the Day:  Who was the first player to win $1 million in the WSOP Main Event Championship?
Answer coming in tomorrow’s WSOP Daily Shuffle.

Yesterday’s Question of the Day:  Part 1 -- Name the five women who have won multiple WSOP gold bracelets.  Part 2 -- Name the only two women in history who have won multiple gold bracelets in open events.
Answer:  Five women in WSOP history have won multiple gold bracelets.  They are: Susie Isaacs, Barbara Enright, Nani Dollison, Jennifer Harman, and Vanessa Selbst.  However, when it comes to open events (where both genders can play), only Jennifer Harman and Vanessa Selbst have won multiple titles.  They each have two gold bracelet victories.


9:00 AM
Today’s first tournament is a $75 buy-in TURBO MEGA-SATELLITE.

12:00 NOON
EVENT #59, the $1,000 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins with the first of two starting days. Registration will be available up through Day 1-B, and the completion of four levels, plus two breaks, which is estimated to be about 4:40 pm (Thursday).  Action takes place inside Brasilia.  This is a four-day event.  Last year’s similar tournament drew 4,805 entrants.

EVENT #59 UPDATES can be followed at  Coverage includes chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at

The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #59 can be viewed HERE.
1:00 PM
EVENT #56, the $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament continues with Day Three – including the final table.  There are 22 players remaining from the starting field of 2,798.  Donald Vogel is the chip leader.  

EVENT #57, the $10,000 buy-in SIX-HANDED NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament continues with Day Two.  There are 176 players remaining from the starting field of 474 entrants.  Steve Barshak is the chip leader.  Chip counts from the end of the first day of play can be found here.

2:00 PM
EVENT #58, the $3,000 buy-in POT-LIMIT OMAHA HIGH-LOW SPLIT tournament continues with Day Two.  There are 173 players remaining from the starting field of 526 entrants.  Roman Verenko is the chip leader.  Chip counts from the end of the first day of play can be found here.
EVENT #54, the $1,000 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament continues with (unscheduled) Day Four – including the heads up match between Will Jaffe and Luis Campelo .  Indeed, there are only two players remaining from the starting field of 3,221 entrants.  Jaffe enjoys a slight chip lead.  

The first DAILY DEEP STACK NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins. The entry fee is $235. Registration is open for four (30 minute) levels, plus one break – which means until about 4:20 pm.

2:20 PM
One player will be honored at the official gold bracelet ceremony today – USA’s Jim Willerson (winner of Event #53) is the only honoree.

4:00 PM
The first MEGA-SATELLITE begins. The entry fee is $330

5:00 PM
There is no 5 pm tournament today.

6:00 PM
The second DEEP STACK NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins. The entry fee is $185.  Registration is open for four (30 minute) levels, plus one break – which means until about 8:20 pm.

8:00 PM
The second MEGA-SATELLITE of the day begins. The game is Deuce-to-Seven Lowball – No-Limit (Note: This event regularly features different games – so be sure and check the schedule in advance). The entry fee is $550.

10:00 PM
The third and final DEEP STACK NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins at 10 pm. The entry fee is $135. Registration is open for four (30 minute) levels, plus one break – which means until about 12:20 am.

3:00 AM
All WSOP gold bracelet tournaments end for the night.

* Please note that all listed times are estimates and subject to change

-- by Nolan Dalla