Photo Caption:  Mark "Pegasus" Smith, from Kentucky, will be one of the 3,500-plus players who are expected to participate in this year's Seniors World Poker Championship, which begins Friday.  Smith, who is the all-time WSOP Circuit wins leader with five titles, will be joined by thousands of other players aged 50 and up, who are determined to show that poker is not just a game for young guns.  Last year's turnout -- which was 3,752 door-busting entrants -- served as a friendly reminder that older players are just as competitive as their younger counterparts.  Moreover, the dream of winning a WSOP gold bracelet remains very much alive for poker players of all ages.  Indeed, it's never too late for a poker dream to come true.  To see more photos from the 2012 WSOP, please visit the official WSOP PHOTO BLOG.
 
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DAILY HEADLINES
 
A Senior Moment:  Seniors World Championship Begins Today – Action Gets Underway at 10 AM
 
Could the 2012 Seniors Championship Break Last Year’s Record – at 3,752 Entrants?
 
Seniors Championship Could Be Largest SINGLE-DAY Start in Poker History
 
 Joe Cassidy Erases Scotty Nguyen Heads-Up in Omaha High-Low Split Championship – Phil Ivey Finishes Third
 
With Three Final Table Appearances to Date, Poker Great Phil Ivey Leads “WSOP Player of the Year” Points Race
 
Brian Meinders Wins Limit Hold’em Shootout – New Jersey Poker Pro Pulls Off a Poker Trifecta
 
A Thundering Victory for Gabe Scott in the Pot-Limit Omaha Championship -- Oklahoman Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Makes It’s WSOP Debut – Draws 750 Players


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SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP STARTING AT 10 AM TODAY
 
It’s “Seniors Day” at the 2012 World Series of Poker!
 
If you ever wanted to see who’s over the age of 50, come in and have a look around the poker room at the Rio, which should be packed to full capacity.
 
Last year’s Senior’s Championship drew a record 3,752 players – which obliterated the previous high mark and was the largest Seniors Event ever held anywhere.  No doubt, the turnout should be in the thousands again this year, for the three-day tournament.  There is a good chance this tournament could be the LARGEST SINGLE-DAY START OF ANY POKER TOURNAMENT IN HISTORY.  Even the gargantuan events of the past at the WSOP had multiple starting days, but the Seniors competition will all begin on Friday.
 
This is one of the earliest tournament starts ever for a WSOP gold bracelet event.  The reason why “shuffle up and deal” has been moved up to the morning hour is to accommodate what is expected to be a huge field.  Moreover, the first day of action will end at a more reasonable time, which is around midnight.  Indeed, Friday should be a huge day for the WSOP and for our special guests, the seniors.
 
The action kicks off at 9:55 am with welcoming remarks by senior patriarch “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale, who will conduct the traditional pre-tournament festivities.  
 
By the way, if you sleep late or forget the starting time, remember that late registration will be open until about 2:40 in the afternoon.
 
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JOE CASSIDY WINS STUNNING FIRST-TIME VICTORY IN OHAMA/EIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
 
Joe Cassidy finally did it.
 
And he did “it” on the grandest of stage, in the most memorable manner possible.
 
The Las Vegas poker pro, who initially cashed at the 2004 WSOP and has been grinding away since -- always coming up short of poker’s ultimate prize -- topped one the brassiest of final tables played so far this year.  Cassidy kept his cool during an-extended 10.5 hours playing session spread out over two days that included the likes of Phil Ivey, Scotty Nguyen, Mike Matusow, Meng La, Greg Jamison, Elie Doft, Bart Hanson, and Ryan Lenaghan.
 
Phil Ivey’s third final table appearance within a six-day window was the talk of the WSOP when cards initially flew into the air on Wednesday night.  The final table area was filled to capacity and standing-room only during much of the day and night, despite a playing session that dragged out until 3 am.  After Ivey bounced out in third place, the two finalists -- Cassidy and Nguyen agreed to resume play on Thursday to decide the winner.
 
Cassidy ultimately defeated 1998 world champion Nguyen in heads-up play.  He collected $294,777 in prize money, plus his first WSOP gold bracelet.  Cassidy's WSOP resume now includes 15 cashes, five final tables appearances, and one victory.  With this memorable debut victory, Cassidy's WSOP earnings now total $678,190.  His overall tournament resume now includes more than 30 major cashes in both the U.S. and Europe, amounting to nearly $2 million in live earnings.  
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GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS FOR GABE SCOTT -- WINNER OF PLO TITLE
 
Gabe Scott just won a World Series of Poker gold bracelet in the $3,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament (Event #26).  He also collected $361,797 in prize money.
 
But the news was not all good for the 23-year-old poker pro from Oklahoma City, OK.  His beloved NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, went down to defeat in Game 2 of the NBA finals.  Nonetheless, Scott will probably be able to live with the "split."
 
Scott won a thrilling victory, which concluded late on Thursday night on the ESPN Main Stage.  He overcame a significant chip disadvantage during the later stages of competition and managed to defeat a formidable final table lineup that included several outstanding international players -- including Vadzim Kursevich, (Belarus), Huykeim Nguyen (Germany), and Thomas Pettersson (Sweden).  Also in the final table hunt were Brett Richey, Scott Stanko, Tom Chambers, Romik Vartzar, and two-time gold bracelet winner Russ "Dutch" Boyd.
 
This was Scott’s second time to cash in a WSOP event.  Proving this year’s victory was no fluke, he final tabled the same event in 2011, finishing in eighth place.
 
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NEW JERSEY'S BRIAN MEINDERS WINS LIMIT HOLD’EM SHOOTOUT

Brian Meinders, a New Jersey teacher as well full-time poker player, pulled off poker’s equivalent of a triple play over the past three days, winning a steady progression of increasingly-more difficult matches en route to a World Series of Poker championship.
 
Mienders won the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold'em Shootout tournament (Event #25).  The central New Jersey-based poker player from the town of Jackson, enjoyed his highest profile victory ever, following two previous deep runs in previous WSOP events.  Meinders' first WSOP cash was three years ago when he took eighth in an event, which was good for a $55,000 payout.  Then, he finished second in another event held in 2010, good for another $145,000.  Finally -- this year, he added another $116,118 in prize money, plus his first gold bracelet.

Aside from poker, Meinders has a serious love of languages.  He studied for a few years at Rutgers University in New Jersey and became proficient enough in the language of Latin that he now teaches the subject at a private school.  However, Meinders is just as passionate about poker and now tends to call one of the biggest poker rooms in Atlantic City his "office."
 
The top 63 finishers in this event collected prize money.  The final table included at least two notable faces -- including two-time gold bracelet winner Brock Parker (5th) as well as tournament journeyman Victor Ramdin (4th).  In fact, this was Ramdin's 13th time in the money since the start of last year's WSOP -- which ties him with Shawn Buchanan for most cashes over the past last two years.  Coincidentally,  Buchanan cashed in this event as well.
 
The tournament began on Tuesday with 366 entrants.  Among the gold bracelet winners who cashed were Matt Matros, Greg Mueller, and Tex Barch.     

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WSOP TRIVIA -- QUESTION OF THE DAY
 
Yesterday’s Poker Trivia:  Everyone knows about the WSOP gold bracelet and what it represents to poker players.  However, over the past 43 years, other items have also been presented to the champion to commemorate a victory.  In all, there have been five different items used to represent winning a WSOP tournament.  What were those items?
 
ANSWER:  Five different items have been awarded to tournament champions at various times over the years:
1. Gold Bracelet – The gold bracelet was first introduced in 1975 and has been the staple of champions every year since (except 1982).
 
2. Gold Wristwatch – Faced with early criticism that gold bracelets were too feminine and that no one wore them, the WSOP introduced a gold watch as the ultimate prize during the 1982 series.  The change only lasted for a year.  Gold bracelets were brought back in 1983.  They have been poker’s most coveted prize ever since.
 
3. Silver Cup – It only lasted for a year.  And, no one knows where it went or what happened to it.  The inaugural 1970 WSOP winner Johnny Moss was presented with a silver cup to commemorate his lofty status as the first-ever official world poker champion.  One must wonder if this rarest of rare poker artifacts will one day turn up at an auction, a garage sale, or some unbecoming place given its historical significance.
 
4. Silver Trophy – In the interim period between 1971 and 1974, a giant silver trophy similar in size to NHL’s Stanley Cup was presented to the winner.  1973 world champion “Puggy” Pearson kept his trophy on full display inside his home, until his death in 2006.  
 
5. Silver Plate – Five championship events were offered in 1975.  Each winner received two mementos of victory: the gold bracelet as well as a 12-inch diameter silver plate, with the name of the event inscribed, that the bracelet was presented on.  One of the plates awarded that year is in the possession of Lowball king, Billy Baxter, who won his first of seven career WSOP titles that year.
 
Note:  Actually, there is one more item if we include the special 25-year anniversary bonus prize, awarded at the 1994 WSOP.  In addition to a million dollar first prize, that year’s world champion won his weight in silver bars.  
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THE WSOP TODAY – FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2012

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

9:55 AM
Seniors Day pre-tournament festivities begin.  Opening activities will be concentrated around the main stage inside Brasilia.  However, the opening will be broadcast on television monitors to each tournament area throughout the Rio.

10:00 AM
EVENT #29 is a $1,000 buy-in SENIORS WORLD POKER CHAMPIONSHIP (NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM) tournament that begins with the play of Day One.  The tournament is open to players aged 50 or higher.  Late registration will be available for this event up until about 2:40 pm.* Action takes place inside Brasilia.  The Pavilion White and Black sections will be used for overflow.  This is a three-day event.  

EVENT #29 UPDATES can be followed at WSOP.com.  Coverage includes chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at PokerNews.com.

The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #29 can be viewed HERE.
 
12:20 PM

Today’s gold bracelet ceremony gets moved up by two hours today, due to the early start of the Seniors Championship.  The ceremony includes three winners – Joe Cassidy (winner of EVENT #24), Brian Meinders (winner of EVENT #25), and Gabe Scott (winner of EVENT #26).  All are Americans.  The "Star Spangled Banner" will be played in commemoration of these three victories.

1:00 PM
EVENT #27, the $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament continues with Day Three – including the final table. There are 18 players remaining from the starting field of 889.  The current chip leader is Brandon Guss.  Bracelet winners Cliff Josephy, Rep Porter, and Allen Cunningham are still in the running as well. Action will take place inside Amazon.  The full list of survivors and chip counts is available HERE.
 
EVENT #28, the $2,500 buy-in FOUR-HANDED NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament continues with Day Two.  There are 86 players remaining from the starting field of 750.  The current chip leader is Steven Weiss, with two-time champ Brian Rast a close second.  Tony Dunst is also seriously in the hunt as one of the chip leaders.  Action will take place inside Amazon.  The full list of survivors and chip counts is available HERE.

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.
 
4:00 PM
The first MEGA-SATELLITE begins.  The entry fee is $330
 
5:00 PM
EVENT #30 is a $1,500 buy-in DEUCE-TO-SEVEN LOWBALL (NO-LIMIT) tournament that begins with the play of Day One.  Late registration will be available for this event up until about 9:40 pm.* Action takes place inside Amazon.  This is a three-day event.  

EVENT #30 UPDATES can be followed at WSOP.com.  Coverage includes chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at PokerNews.com.

The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #30 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 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.
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* Please note that all listed times are estimates and subject to change
 
-- by Nolan Dalla