Photo Caption: Ten-time WSOP gold bracelet champion and poker icon Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson made his 2012 WSOP debut on Wednesday night as one of the late entrants to the $5,000 buy-in Eight-or-Better World Championship. Brunson survived first-day's action and will return to the tournament arena on Thursday. To see more photos from the 2012 WSOP, please visit the official WSOP PHOTO BLOG.
Yes Ash Can! Ashkan Razavi Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet and $781,398 in Prize Money
Canadian Poker Pro Wins Biggest 1500-Level Event in Four Years – Tops Field of 3,404 Entrants
Vincent Van Der Fluit Gets the Loot – Dutchman Crushes Pot-Limit Omaha Final
Holland and Canada Join Ranks of WSOP Champion Nations at 2012 WSOP
First Doyle Sighting of 2012 – The Great Brunson Returns to the WSOP Once Again
2010 WSOP Champion Jonathan Duhamel Runs Deep in Event #9 -- But Crashes in 21st Place
Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em World Championship Enters Final Day -- Down to Four
Limit Hold’em Event Down to Final 25
No-Limit Shootout Underway with 1,138 Entrants -- 120 Remain
Seven-Card Stud High-Low World Championship Begins -- Another Who's Who of Poker
MAGIC TIME: 2012 WSOP BUZZ BEGINS
All the greats have it.
No one can really quantify what “it” refers to. But there’s a special magic, an intriguing intangible attached to those special somebodys in our celestial universe who transcend the common pedestrian boundaries of the rest of us.
They are special.
In poker, the man who still has “it” above everyone else is Doyle Brunson. So much has been written and said about the man, the godfather, the Babe Ruth, the legend, the ten-time champ, the author, the ambassador, the-this and the-that of our game that the underlying veracity of Brunson wanting adamantly to be just an ordinary guy sitting at the poker table gets completely lost.
He has little desire to be famous, but is. He has no desire to be a celebrity, but finds himself as the perpetual pillar of a game that desperately needs heroes and good guys. Indeed, the more he tries to blend in and be like the rest of us -- “I’m just an old poker player who loves to play,” he once famously remarked when asked about being the world’s most famous poker player – the more Brunson stands out as the single solitary spark that ignites energy inside a poker room by his very presence. When Brunson walks -- make that, rolls into a poker room on his scooter -- the vibe comes alive.
On Wednesday evening, at precisely 7:40 pm, Brunson wheeled his way into this year’s WSOP, pretty much as he has done 40 times in the past, taking his tournament seat in what was his first gold bracelet event of the series.
And so, on the 12th day, the man had arrived. The room felt alive again. In a very mystical sense, the 2012 had actually begun.
The magic has returned.
MORE HEADS-UP ON HEADS-UP
The $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em World Championship continued on Wednesday, with 32 surviving players. Notable highlights from Day Two included the following:
ROUND 4 (32 players to 16): Antonio Esfandiari was an early advancer, besting Scott Baumstein. Brain Hastings wiped out Tommy Vedes, who had hoped to make his second uber-deep run in this year’s series. Also of note was Tommy Chen’s victory over“E-Fro,” a.k.a. two-time title holder Eric Froehlich. Brock Parker, another duel champ, fared much better – axing Mark Radoja. Wonderwoman Vanessa Selbst moved into the Sweet 16, after busting Kevin Saul. Eevert Kokkonen won the final match of the round, cutting away Max Steinberg from the field.
ROUND 5 (16 players to 8): The Magician Antonio Esfandiari did an early disappearing act in the next round. His chips vanished at the hands of Tommy Chen. Brock Parker rocketed into the elite eight after busting Douglas Polk. Jason Mo knows poker, or at least knows how to play heads-up poker, evidenced by vacuuming up Eevert Kokkonen’s final chip. Brian Hastings defeated Amritaj Singh relatively quickly, while Vanessa Selbst showed mortality against Jeffrey Gross. Michael Drummond was shooting for his first gold bracelet, and used Alexander Venovski as cannon fodder. Andrew Robl made the final eight, as well – forcing Jonathan Jaffe to the rail.
ROUND 6 (8 players to 4): Brock Parker moved one step closer to winning his third gold bracelet, after wiping out Michael Drummond. Jason Mo took no time to sweep away Andrew Robl and advance to the final four. Meanwhile, Brian Hastings had a tougher battle with Jeffrey Gross, but prevailed. The final player of the foursome will be Tommy Chen, who took out Chris Moore.
COMING THURSDAY: Tommy Chen vs. Brian Hastings and Jason Mo vs. Brock Parker
Each of the last three champions of this event has now been eliminated. Leo Wolpert, who won this event in 2009 made an unwanted walk to the exit door on Day One, as did 2010 winner Ayaz Mahmood. Jake Cody, the defending champion, lasted a bit longer but went out during the third round.
With a new champion now guaranteed, the Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em World Championship continues on Thursday with Day Three – including the final table. The four surviving players hope to play two more matches -- with 4 reduced to 2 in the semi-finals, and ultimately 2 down to 1 for a WSOP gold bracelet. The action will be streamed live on the ESPN Main Stage with commentary. The event will also be covered in the updates section of WSOP.com as well.
TWO NEW BRACELET WINNERS
Ashkan Razavi won EVENT #9, the $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM (RE-ENTRY) tournament. He collected his first gold bracelet. First place paid $781,398.
Razavi is a 30-year-old poker pro from Maple Ridge, BC (Canada). The NEWS FLASH of Razavi’s victory can be seen here.
Two former WSOP gold bracelet winners final tabled in Event #9 – both two-time former winners. Brian Rast finished sixth. Greg Mueller finished seventh.
Vincent van der Fluit won EVENT #11, the $1,500 buy-in POT-LIMIT OMAHA tournament. He collected his first gold bracelet. First place amounted to $265,211. Van der Fluit is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Utrecht, Holland. The NEWS FLASH of van der Fluit’s victory can be seen here.
The most international-yet of WSOP final tables took place in this tournament, as five different nations were represented – including Canada, France, The Netherlands, Ukraine, and the United States.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Me and my girlfriend just had a baby and we are desperately in need of a mini-van. With kids, we have to get a mini-van as soon as we get home.”
-- Ashkan Razavi (Winner of Event #9 – good for his first gold bracelet and $781,398 in prize money)
THE WSOP TODAY
Today’s first tournament is a $75 buy-in TURBO MEGA-SATELLITE.
EVENT #16, the $1,500 buy-in SIX-HANDED NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins today. Late registration will be available for this event up until about 4:40 pm * Action takes place inside Brasilia. The Pavilion White and Black sections will be used for overflow.
EVENT #16 UPDATES can be followed at WSOP.com. Coverage includes almost-live chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at PokerNews.com.
The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #16 can be viewed HERE.
EVENT #12, the $10,000 buy-in HEADS-UP NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP tournament continues with the play of Day Three – including the final table. There are 4 players remaining. Semi-final matches initially begin, followed by the heads-up finale, which starts about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the previous round. Action will take place inside Amazon.
EVENT #14 the $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM SHOOTOUT tournament continues with the play of Day Two. There are 120 players remaining, including Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Joe Cada, and Carlos Mortensen. A full list of players can be viewed HERE. The 120 players will be spread across 12 ten-handed tables, with the 12 winners advancing to Day Three on Friday. Updates can be found HERE. Action will take place inside Amazon.
EVENT #13, the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em tournament continues with the play of Day Three – including the final table. There are 25 players remaining. Russian Leonid Bilokur currently leads the pack. Remaining players and chip counts can be viewed HERE. The winner will collect $211,921 -- plus a WSOP gold bracelet. This was the biggest Limit Hold’em turnout at the WSOP in four years.Action will take place inside Amazon.
EVENT #15, the $5,000 buy-in SEVEN-CARD STUD HIGH-LOW SPLIT tournament continues with the play of Day Two. There are 137 survivors remaining. Play will take place inside Amazon.
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.
Today’s gold bracelet ceremony includes the winners of EVENT #9 (Ashkan Razavi) and EVENT #11 (Vincent Van Der Fluit). Two national anthems will be played – Canada and The Netherlands.
The first MEGA-SATELLITE begins. The entry fee is $330
No late event today.
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.
The second MEGA-SATELLITE of the day begins. The game is POT-LIMIT HOLD’EM, which feeds into EVENT #17. The entry fee is $550.
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.
All WSOP gold bracelet tournaments end for the night.
The WSOP appears to be settling into a nice comfort zone, as opening week jitters and questions have now passed. The so-called “meat” of the WSOP schedule is ahead, with nearly four full weeks of action – including just about every possible variety of poker game. A few notable stand-out events in the weeks ahead will be the $1,000 buy-in SENIORS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (EVENT #29) coming up one week from this Friday – June 15th. The $50,000 buy-in POKER PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP (EVENT #45) starts on June 24th. The $1,000 buy-in LADIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (EVENT # 51) will be held beginning on June 29th.
Cash game action continues to expand and is about as the same number of games as was spread last year. In coming weeks as overall attendance increases getting closer to the Main Event Championship, the number of cash games is likely to surpass the busiest times at last year’s WSOP. 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 – including a monster Pot-Limit Omaha game that is generating bigger even bigger spectator crowds than some of the gold bracelet final tables.
Single-table satellites are being held 24/7 inside the Pavilion. All satellite winners receive $500 buy-in tournament chips.
THE WSOP YESTERDAY
On Day Two, in EVENT #12, the $10,000 buy-in HEADS-UP NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP tournament, played from 32 starters down to 4 survivors. The winner will collect $371,498 -- plus a WSOP gold bracelet.
On Day Two, in EVENT #13, the $1,500 buy-in LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament, played from 212 starters down to 25 survivors.
On Day One, in EVENT #14, the $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM SHOOTOUT tournament, played from 1,138 starters down to 120 survivors. The winner will collect $311,174 -- plus a WSOP gold bracelet.
On Day One, in EVENT #15, the $5,000 buy-in SEVEN-CARD STUD HIGH-LOW SPLIT tournament, played from 212 starters down to 137 survivors. Remaining players and chip counts can be viewed HERE. The winner will collect $269,037 -- plus a WSOP gold bracelet.
* Please note that all listed times are estimates and subject to change
-- by Nolan Dalla (with a special shout out today to David Williams)