Photo Caption: A big weekend is ahead at the World Series of Poker. On Saturday, a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event is the main course on a tasty menu, followed by a $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em catch of the day which begins on Sunday. No doubt, Las Vegas should be packed with lots of exciting activities over the next few days and nights -- including a top prize fight and a giant music festival. But the WSOP promises to be where the real action will be for everyone that enjoys the game of poker. To see more photos from the 2012 WSOP, please visit the official WSOP PHOTO BLOG.
Saluting Latest WSOP Gold Bracelet Winner Brandon Schaefer -- Former Poker Pro Quits the Game to Enlist in U.S. Army
Adam Friedman Triumphs in All-Night Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Championship
Hellmuth-Ivey Confrontation Fails to Materialize in Stud Showdown – Icons Exit Early on Final Day
Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Event Plays Down at Record Pace – Final Nine Set for Saturday
Pot-Limit Hold’em World Championship Begins -- Steve Landfish the Early Leader
Everyone’s Favorite Game Returns – Razz Day One Concludes with Tommy Vedes on Top
“Weekend Warriors” on Tap – Big 1500 and 1000 Level Events Expected Saturday and Sunday
PARTING GIFT: BRANDON SCHAEFER GIVES UP POKER TO JOIN THE ARMY, BUT FIRST WINS A GOLD BRACELET
Brandon Schaefer, a 31-year-old former professional poker player from Seattle, WA, won his first WSOP gold bracelet on Friday night at the Rio in Las Vegas. He won the $1,500 buy-in NO-LIMIT SHOOTOUT title -- officially listed as EVENT #14 -- collecting $311,174 in prize money. Schaefer topped a sizable field totaling 1,138 entrants, ultimately winning poker’s most coveted prize on the third and final day of competition. Oddly enough, this was the first and only tournament Schaefer planned to play at this year's WSOP.
One week from the night of his biggest poker victory, coming on June 15th, Schaefer is scheduled to report to a U.S. Army base in Alabama where he will immediately begin training as a helicopter pilot. The latest WSOP champ enlisted in the military nine months ago, following a seven-year stint as a professional poker player. Schaefer now has a six-year commitment to the U.S. Army and yearns to serve his country proudly as well as see the world as an aviator.
The NEWS FLASH of Brandon Schaefer’s victory can be seen here.
ADAM FRIEDMAN -- TEARS TO CHEERS
Adam Friedman won EVENT #15, the $5,000 buy-in SEVEN-CARD STUD HIGH-LOW SPLIT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP tournament. The 30-year-old poker pro originally from Ohio (and now living in Las Vegas) collected his first-ever gold bracelet following a number of deep runs and close calls over the past seven years while playing at the WSOP. First place amounted to $269,037.
Friedman's victory was made all the sweeter by the manner in which he overcame several challenges, most notably a vicious effort by eventual runner-up Todd Brunson to achieve what would have been a second career gold-bracelet victory. Friedman came back from being down by more than 2 to 1 on at least three occasions, finally slaying the Brunson beast in physically and emotionally exhausting 3.5 hour heads-up ordeal.
Also of note was eight-time gold bracelet winner Phil Ivey's first WSOP final table appearance in two years. He failed to accumulate chips and exited in seventh-place.
The NEWS FLASH of Adam Friedman's victory can be seen here.
THE BATTLE OF THE TWO PHILS
It might be impossible to envision of a greater clash of titans than a prospective final table match between Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey, Those in attendance at this year's WSOP -- and many more around the world watching near-live coverage at WSOP.com -- hoped for a showdown with an 11-time champion against an 8-time champion, which would have been the most weighty heads-up finale ever, in terms of WSOP treasure.
But Friday's Hellmuth-Ivey showdown never materialized. Hellmuth ran into serious trouble early on the final day and went out in 15th place. Ivey fared a llitle better, making it to the final table. But the marvel busted out short of expectation, taking seventh place.
"ELKY" OFF TO A ROUGH START
Bertrand Grospellier, a.k.a. "ElKy" enjoyed a career breakout at the WSOP last year, winning his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet. The flamboyant Frenchman was on almost everyone's list and player pool as one of the players to watch this year. So far, Grospellier has fizzled. He's entered 13 gold bracelet events and has no cashes.
In actuality, some players have done worse. There are a few players who have failed to cash in as many as 15 events theyentered. However, it's important to note that early crash and burns in WSOP events are no indication that misery will continue in the weeks ahead. Consider that in the past, many gold bracelet winners in later events revealed that they went zero for 20, zero for 25, and even zero for 30 in the prior WSOP events that led up the moment of victory.
As they say in investing, past results do not guarantee future success -- and vice versa.
ROCKET PACE IN SIX-HANDED EVENT
One of poker's best correspondents, longtime WSOP tournament reporter Paul Oresteen, pointed out that EVENT #16, the $1,500 buy-in SIX-HANDED NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament, played down at about as fast a pace as any WSOP tournament in recent memory. Consider there were 1,604 starters and only 137 survivors after the first day’s action. Typically, players hit the money early on Day Two. However, the tournament was 25 places into the money when it bagged for the night on Day One. Oresteen calculated that players busted out at a pace of one every 25 seconds during the first nine levels. Even after the money was reached, players busted at the rate of about two per minute. Indeed, if the Mixed Max set a record for the slowest rate of play in history (one heads-up match lasted a mind-boggling 9 hours and 25 minutes), the opposite effect occurred in the Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event.
THE WSOP TODAY
Today’s first tournament is a $75 buy-in TURBO MEGA-SATELLITE.
EVENT #19, a $1,500 buy-in 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. This is a three-day event.
EVENT #19 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 #19 can be viewed HERE.
EVENT #16 the $1,500 buy-in SIX-HANDED NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament continues with the play of Day Three – including the final table. There are nine players remaining, including Mike Matusow, Matt Glantz, Mark Radoja, and Matt Matros. Robert Muzzatti currently leads the field with 1,445,000, and Mark Darner is right behind him with 1,412,000. Action will take place inside Amazon, with the final table playing out in front of the livestream cameras on the ESPN Main Stage. The list of survivors and chip counts is available HERE.
EVENT #17 the $10,000 buy-in POT--LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament continues with Day Two play. There are 69 players remaining. Steven Landfish is currently the chip leader with 224,500. Action will take place inside Amazon. The list of survivors and chip counts is available HERE.
EVENT #18 the $1,500 buy-in SEVEN-CARD RAZZ tournament continues with the play of Day Two. There are 136 players remaining from the starting field of 179. Tommy Vedes is off to another strong start this summer, finishing the first day on top of the counts with 44,600. Action will take place inside Amazon. The list of survivors and chip counts is available HERE.
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 winner of EVENT #14 (Brandon Schaefer). Only the U.S. anthem will be played today.
The first MEGA-SATELLITE begins. The entry fee is $330
EVENT #20, the $5,000 buy-in LIMIT HOLD’em tournament begins today. Late registration will be available for this event up until about 9:40 pm * Action takes place inside Amazon.
EVENT #20 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 #20 can be viewed HERE.
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 NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM. 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.
REMINDER: In order to avoid long lines which may take place on tournament day, the WSOP encourages all players to register as early as possible. This is particularly true for the $1,000 buy-in SENIORS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (EVENT #29), which is coming up one week from today (Friday) – June 15th.
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.
Single-table satellites are being held 24/7 inside the Pavilion. All satellite winners receive $500 buy-in tournament chips.
* Please note that all listed times are estimates and subject to change
-- by Nolan Dalla (special shout out today goes to all the fine WSOP tournament announcers, who often stand on their feet 10-14 hours a day, giving the audience the best information possible about a final table)