Photo Caption:  Nick Jivkov stands before the poker world and shows off his first WSOP gold bracelet at his official ceremony, held on Saturday afternoon at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Although he’s lived in the United States since age 12, Jivkov chose to honor his parents with the playing of the national anthem of his native country, Bulgaria – which was heard at the WSOP for the first time.  Today’s “WSOP Daily Shuffle” underlines the special meaning of a WSOP victory and the significance of what is becoming a memorable tradition – the gold bracelet ceremony.  To see more photos from the 2012 WSOP, please visit the official WSOP PHOTO BLOG.


Andy Bloch Finally Gets His Elusive First Gold Bracelet
Bloch Defeats Barry Greenstein Heads-Up in Seven-Card Stud -- Earns First WSOP Victory
Barry Greenstein Takes Runner-Up Spot -- Barely Misses Fourth WSOP Victory
American Players Now Six for Six in Gold Bracelet Events
Try and Try Again:  $1,500 Buy-In Re-Entry Tourney Encore – Second Start Day Begins Sunday
International Players Dominate Mixed-Max – Now Down to Final Four
Another Cash for the All-Time Leader Phil Hellmuth – Now with 87
$5,000 Buy-In Seven-Card Stud World Championship Begins Sunday

The “Official Gold Bracelet Ceremony” refers to the daily formality which awards poker’s most-coveted prize in a public display befitting the significance of the game’s greatest accomplishment.  Indeed, many players wait a lifetime for their chance to parade across the grand stage at the WSOP, to be recognized in front of their peers.  Some players never get that chance.
This year, some of the ceremonies have included a special bonus.  Each winner is given the option of publicly thanking those who may deserve an acknowledgement.  Similar to how Academy Award speeches go, once the winner’s name is announced, the new champion steps to the microphone and reveals to the audience what the moment means.
Yesterday’s gold bracelet ceremony was the perfect illustration of the magnitude of the moment.  On Saturday afternoon at the customary time of 2:20 pm Winner Nick Jivkov stood in front of 1,800 witnesses and many thousands more who will eventually see video coverage and told just how special his victory was, and what victory meant to his family.  
No doubt, Jivkov’s mother and father --- immigrants from Bulgaria – later saw video of their son making what amounts to his “acceptance speech.”  No doubt, they also watched their son with great pride as he stood at full attention during the playing of Mila Rodino, which is the national anthem of their native land, Bulgaria.  For Jivkov, the anthem was his way to honor them.
Critics have charged that poker is not the Olympic Games.  They are right.  Most poker players do not really align themselves by country.  Moreover, there’s some merit in the argument that playing national anthems is an outdated, anachronistic practice.
But the fact is, even though poker is arguably the most individualistic of pursuits, we are all part of something bigger and greater than ourselves, whether we care to admit it or not.  We are a unique community of millions made stronger by our collective love for the game we play.  In a sense, we compete not just for ourselves, but for our families, our friends, those who root for us and those who sometimes back us.  The anthem is a moment to reflect upon that.  Each standing witness has perhaps one or two minutes per day to ponder the possibilities that they might be next.  That’s why the gold bracelet ceremony is important.
Just ask Nick Jivkov, or any other WSOP gold bracelet champion who has proudly stood upon the stage of the poker world’s supreme competition and – at least, for one fleeting instant -- basks in the limelight of one special moment of well-deserved glory.
Nick Jivkov might as well have been invisible the moment he stepped off the plane, when it landed in Las Vegas.  Sure, he’d been here before.  In fact, he played several events at last year’s WSOP.  But he didn’t cash – even once.  If a poll had been taken and people were asked to identify by name the Bulgarian-born semi-pro poker player now living in Chicago, the local dogcatcher would have had higher name identification.
All that changed when Jivkov won a gold bracelet in the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em event, which concluded Friday night.  Fifteen years of grinding poker games culminated in the payoff of all payoffs.  
Jivkov’s ascendancy to the most elite club in poker has been arduously consistent.
It began with baby steps, playing in small home games.  Then, he progressed to low-limit poker games spread at some of the Midwestern casinos.  Next, he began playing on the WSOP Circuit.  Then, he won a WSOP Circuit gold ring, the ultimate prize for victory in the national tour.  After that, he came to Las Vegas this year, and won a Deep Stack tournament, held at the Rio.  Finally, the culmination of all those years and difficult poker decisions all came down to one fist-pumping moment on ESPN"s main stage and the exclamation point of a gold bracelet ceremony.   
Now, for Nick Jivkov, just like on the classic television show “Cheers,” everyone knows his name.

Quick question:  What happens at 2, 6, and 10 every day and gives poker players the chance to enjoy the excitement of playing at the WSOP for what amounts to 1/10th the price of a gold bracelet event?  
If you guessed the DEEP STACK HOLD’EM TOURNAMENTS, you’re already a winner.  Three times daily, DEEP STACK TOURNAMENTS take place in Pavilion at the Rio.  One of the winners has already parlayed his victory into a gold bracelet.
So far, attendance has been strong, with the first afternoon tournament drawing the biggest crowds.  For instance, Friday’s 2 pm tournament drew 586 entrants.  The 6 pm tournament attracted 176 entries.  The late-night 10 pm event had 104 players.  Saturday’s numbers were similar.  There were 693 for the afternoon match.  The matinee had 212 players.  The nightly 10 pm session drew 125 players.
These numbers are about the same as last year’s participation.  However, last year the number of entries and prize pools gradually increased as more players caught on to the generous amounts of chips and player-friendly structures at these DEEP STACK events.

What’s a “re-entry tournament?”  Sometimes, poker lingo gets confusing.  There are re-buy tournaments, second-chance tournaments, and reload events -- which leaves even the most experienced poker player confused.  Years ago, the WSOP offered re-buy tournaments.  That meant players could repeatedly buy-in to the same tournament.  Grumblings and player protests gradually led to the phasing out of these inequitable tournaments, since some players enjoyed nearly unlimited financial resources and could just keep on re-buying in an effort to win a gold bracelet.  This past season, WSOP Circuit events have adopted what is called a "re-entry" concept, which allows players to buy back into the tournament on the following session/day, once eliminated.  Event #9 on this year's WSOP schedule is a re-entry tournament which includes two starting flights -- 9A and 9B.  The first (9A) playing session began Saturday.  The second (9B) playing session starts today.  Survivors from 9A and 9B will combine and resume play on Monday.  The tournament is scheduled to last five days, and will conclude most likely on Wednesday.  
This gold bracelet represents 15 years of grinding.  This represents years of studying and trying to get better at this game.  This represents everything me, my family, and my close friends have sacrificed in order to do what I love to do, which is to play poker.
-- Nick Jivkov (speaking to the audience during his gold bracelet ceremony held on Saturday.  Jivkov won Event #5, which was the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em title.)

9:00 AM
The $75 buy-in TURBO MEGA-SATELLITE is the first tournament of the day.

EVENT #9B is a $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM (RE-ENTRY) tournament.  The second starting session is played today.  Registration will be open for the first four levels of play (plus two 20-minute breaks).  This means registration will close at approximately 4:40 pm.  Action will take place inside Brasilia.  The Pavilion White & Black sections will be used for overflow.  There will be a 90-minute dinner break -- expected to take place between 6:40 and 8:10.  This is a five-day event.
EVENT #9 surviving players will play just shy of 10 levels, which is the same amount of time the first Day One group played on Saturday. Day 2 action gets underway Monday at 1pm with the combined fields from both starting days.  
EVENT #9 updates can be followed at  Coverage includes almost-live chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at
The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #9 can be viewed HERE.
1:00 PM 
EVENT #6, the $5,000 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM MIXED-MAX continues with the play of Day Four – including the final table.  There are four players remaining, who will play heads-up matches today.  The semi-finals pits chip leader Joseph Cheong against Hugo Lemaire and Warwick Mirzikinian against Aubin Cazals. The winner of each match will square off for the bracelet in the finals. All action will take place inside Amazon.

EVENT #8, the $1,500 buy-in OMAHA HIGH-LOW SPLIT tournament continues with the play of Day Three – including the final table.  There are 20 survivors who will return for today’s action, including bracelet winners Allen Bari, Dutch Boyd, and Gavin Griffin, as well as chip leader Tyler Schwecke.  Play will take place inside Amazon, except for the final table, which takes place on the Pavilion main stage.  Dinner break is expected to take place around 7:40 and will last one hour.

2:00 PM
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
There will be no gold bracelet ceremony today, as the latest champion intends to play the 5 pm event Sunday and therefore will postpone until another date (to be announced).   Typically, the official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place inside Brasilia, on the main stage.   When it’s held, media and the public may take photos and video of the ceremony – which includes a gold bracelet presentation, the playing of the national anthem of the winner’s country, and optional remarks from the latest champion.  The ceremony takes place at the end of the first break of the noon tournament.

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

5:00 PM

EVENT #10 is a $5,000 buy-in SEVEN-CARD STUD tournament.  This is regarded as the “Seven-Card Stud World Championship,” since it is the highest buy-in in the world for this game.  The first session is played today.  Registration will be open for the first four levels of play (plus two 20-minute breaks).  This means registration will close at approximately 9:50 pm.  Action will take place inside Amazon, in the Orange section.  There will be a 30-minute dinner break -- expected to take place between 9:20 and 9:50.  This is a three-day event.
EVENT #10 surviving players are expected to bag up at the conclusion of eight playing levels and return to play on Monday for Day Two.  That session will begin Monday at 2 pm in the Amazon Room.
EVENT #10 updates can be followed at  Coverage includes almost-live chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at
The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #10 can be viewed HERE.

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 SEVEN-CARD STUD, which feeds into EVENT #10.  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.

Through the conclusion of six gold bracelet events, Americans are now six for six in wins.  This is a bit unusual, since most WSOPs in the past few years have begun with a frenzy of players from other nations seizing the gold in early events.  In 2012, all six of the first champions (to date) were from the United States.  However, three of the winners were born outside the U.S.

Cash game action is reportedly up from last year.  There are 82 poker tables dedicated to cash games inside Pavilion, plus an additional 14 poker tables dedicated to cash games inside the Rio (Main Casino).  Right now, the most popular game spread is $1-3 No-Limit Hold'em.  However, games of virtually all limits are being spread.

Single-table satellites are being held 24/7 inside the Pavilion.  All satellite winners receive $500 buy-in tournament chips.
Andy Bloch, the veteran poker player and longtime WSOP competitor from Las Vegas, won EVENT #7, the $1,500 buy-in SEVEN-CARD STUD tournament.  He collected his first gold bracelet.  First place amounted to $126,363.  
The NEWS FLASH of Andy Bloch’s victory can be seen here.
Among those who made deep runs in EVENT #7 were former gold bracelet winners Barry Greenstein (2nd) and David Williams (4th).  Final results can be viewed HERE.

On Day Three, EVENT #6, the $5,000 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM MIXED-MAX tournament, played from 31 down to 4 survivors.  Joseph Cheong, from La Mirada, CA currently leads the pack.  Remaining players and chip counts can be viewed HERE.
EVENT #6 looks to be the most internationally-packed finale at this year’s WSOP, to date.  Players in the top-twenty come from Australia, England, France, Italy Germany, Russia, United States.  Four different nations are included in the top four, playing on Sunday.

On Day Two, in EVENT #8, the $1,500 buy-in OMAHA HIGH-LOW SPLIT tournament, played from 220 starters down to 20 survivors.  Remaining players and chip counts can be viewed HERE.

EVENT #9, the $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM (RE-ENTRY) tournament began Saturday.  The first playing session (9A) included 1,696 players.  The total number of entries and prize pool will be announced once registration closes on Sunday.

BIGGEST OMAHA IN HISTORY -- It’s Official:  Event #8 was the largest Omaha High-Low Split tournament in poker history.   A whopping 967 players packed the Rio on Friday, besting the previous record number set at last year's WSOP when a then-record 925 bodies showed up for an identical event.  Payouts will go to the top 117 finishers -- the most ever for this game of poker.  The winner will collect $264,400, plus a WSOP gold bracelet.   Through the start of the first seven open gold bracelet events at this year's WSOP, three events showed an increase in attendance.  Two events showed a decline.  Two events are new to the schedule.

THE 1,500-PLAYER RULE:  Ever wonder why some WSOP events have 10 levels on the first day, while others have 11 levels?  It’s based on field size.  This year, the WSOP has an unwritten policy to play 10 levels on Day One when there are 1,499 entrants or less.  Events with 1,500 or more entrants play an extra hour on the first day, which means 11 levels of action.  The explanation behind this policy is simple.  Since fields for some events have become so big, the Day Three sessions have occasionally been extended into a fourth day.  By adding an extra hour on the first day, players tend to play less hours, when possibly fatigued on the final day. 
* Please note that all listed times are estimates and subject to change
-- by Nolan Dalla