David “Bakes” Baker Wins Second WSOP Gold Bracelet
Mega-Stacked Final Table Includes Six Former Gold Bracelet Winners – With 25 Combined Victories
Phil Ivey Makes Fourth Final Table Appearance in 2012
Phil Hellmuth Misses Chance for Gold Bracelet Number 13 – Finishes Fourth
25 of 32 Gold Bracelets Won By Americans – To Date
2012 WSOP Crosses Midway Point: 32 Gold Bracelets Won – 29 More at Stake!
David "Bakes" Baker Wins $10,000 Buy-In H.O.R.S.E. Tournament (Event #32)
Popular Poker Pro Baker Gets His Just Desserts -- and Second WSOP Gold Bracelet
Baker Just "One of the Same Five/Six Guys"
Everyone who watched the poker movie "Rounders" remembers the classic line delivered by Mike McDermott, played by Matt Damon.
"I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every year?"
At the time, hard-core poker fanatics reacted to the line with a mixture of reverence and ridicule. In fact, the "same five guys" do not "make it the final table every year." As evidence, all one must do is look at just about any final table in any event played at the WSOP and you will see plenty of new faces and unfamiliar names. You will not see the same five guys.*
Oh wait. Scratch that. Never mind.
Let's leave out the latest WSOP final table played tonight, at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Damon's character must have been talking about the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship, which was Event #32. Indeed, this final table was a virtual "Who's Who" of poker, a celebrity-studded clash of theatrics, and a reminder that the very best players in the world always seem to shine the brightest at the WSOP.
Consider the lineup of final table players – six former gold bracelet winners, with a combined 25 WSOP titles between them, making it the second-most stacked final table in history. Only the inaugural $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship played back in 2006 started with a finale full of more glittering gold bracelet victories amongst its finalists. That finale included a combined 27 wins.
Alas, just as Damon said -- the same five (make that six) guys did end up making the final table this time.
Most notably was Phil Ivey, who rolled into his fourth finale at this year’s series – an astounding accomplishment given the big field sizes and highly-competitive nature of the higher buy-in events he usually plays.
Another player who made it yet again was Phil Hellmuth, fresh off his12th gold bracelet victory, which took place in the Razz tournament, completed just five days ago. Remarkably, this was Hellmuth's sixth time at a final table within the past two years. It’s no surprise that Hellmuth continues to distance himself from mere mortals as the all-time WSOP leader in final table appearances, currently at 46 (and counting).
If you're still not convinced Damon was on to something, then there's John Monnette, a name that is becoming increasingly familiar to those who follow WSOP action. Just two weeks ago, Monnette won Event #10 – good for his second win in two years. This marked his third final table appearance in 2012, which ranks second only to Ivey.
Dan Kelly has been here before, as well. Three final tables, plus a WSOP victory in 2010. Then, there's Abe Mosseri, who's sat quite comfortably at five final tables, including this one. He won his gold bracelet in 2009.
Finally, there was David "Bakes" Baker -- making his fifth career WSOP final table appearance. His gold bracelet victory came in 2010.
As one of the six guys who make it to the WSOP final table every year, Baker made this most of this opportunity. He deliberately and methodically outmaneuvered and ultimately outlasted players who most observers consider the very best in the world at their respective games -- for instance, Hellmuth in Hold'em, Monnette in Stud, and Ivey in well, just about everything.
Baker collected $451,779 in prize money for first place, which places him close to $1.5 million in career earnings. He also collected gold bracelet number two, following a win two years ago in the $10,000 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball World Championship.
So in the end, maybe Damon was right. Only he should have said "the same six guys," instead of five.
*You may also see a woman, something Damon's character completely overlooked.
Las Vegas, NV (June 18, 2012) -- David Baker was the winner of the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship (Event #32). He topped one of the toughest and most experienced fields ever assembled for any WSOP event. Six of the nine final table players were former gold bracelet winners.
Baker is a 25-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV. He enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2010, when he final tabled the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, finishing sixth. Baker followed up that performance with a win in the $10,000 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event – good for his first gold bracelet.
Baker is a dedicated poker pro who started playing seriously while in college. He gradually improved to the point he was making a living at the game, mostly toiling away in online poker games. Baker now plays in some of the biggest and toughest cash games in the world.
This marked his second WSOP gold bracelet victory.
MEET THE LATEST WSOP CHAMPION – DAVID “BAKES” BAKER
Note: Baker uses “Bakes,” in part to differentiate himself from another notable poker pro with the same name. In most of his official records, he is listed as DAVID BAKES BAKER.
The $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion (Event #32) is David “Bakes” Baker, from Las Vegas, NV.
Baker is 25-years-old.
Baker was born in Charlotte, NC. But he grew up in Bloomfield Hills, MI which is a suburb of Detroit.
Baker started out competing in play money games online, where he learned how to play.
Baker attended Michigan State University for two years.
Baker played poker part-time, mostly online while attending college. He eventually decided to attend a technical institute in Miami, FL, where he transferred for one year.
While living in Florida, Baker continued to play poker. He enjoyed his first major score in poker when he won $30,000 in 2006.
He invested more time and energy in improving his game and has been playing professionally ever since. Baker credits former WSOP gold bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst with coaching him and helping to improve his game.
Baker is dating “Poker Queen” Maria Mayrinck, from Brazil. She was in the crowd to cheer him to victory at the final table.
According to official records, David Baker now has two wins, seven final table appearances, and 16 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WINNER
Question: So, the 2010 bracelet versus this 2012 bracelet. Which one is better?
Baker: This one for sure. The first one was nice, but it was only a one hundred person tourney, it was in a game that I have practiced but people don’t play as much. It didn’t have as much prestige as this one. This one there were a lot of very good players at the final table that were on top of their game. This one feels like more of an accomplishment. Obviously the first time, you can never get over that. But, this one feels really good and probably a little bit better now that I’m a little more seasoned.
Question: There were 25 gold bracelet wins combined at this final table, which was the second most in history. Is there more pressure in this type of environment?
Baker: Yeah there’s definitely more pressure. The stage is packed, everyone is watching, and the two most famous players in the game are right there. So yeah, the spotlight is on and you don’t want to make a bad play, you don’t want to make a mistake, and the money adds to the pressure. Definitely a higher standard of play was required this time.
Question: Are you taking a day off to celebrate?
Baker: No, I don’t think so. I mean, the only thing that might make me not play tomorrow is that there is only one hour of late registration. If there was four hours, I’d be in there for sure. It’s the WSOP, you can do well here and not have to work for the rest of the year. So, I got to keep going and I’m still not out of player of the year and that’s something I would like to do.
Question: Do you take pride in being good at games outside of No-Limit?
Baker: I don’t know if I take pride, but I definitely enjoy it. When I started playing these games, No-Limit was getting really stale for me and I didn’t want to play it. Playing a bunch of different games keeps me fresh and keeps me interested in the game of poker. I’m happy that I was able to get to a high level at these games, but it was the same process that got me decent at No-Limit Hold’em. So, I just have a lot of fun with it playing the different games and I’m happy that the practice has paid off.
Question: What’s tougher? The play at this final table or the big cash game in Ivey’s Room (at Aria Poker Room)?
Baker: They’re a lot different. Sometimes, I wish we play straight HORSE in there but we play so much draw in that mix that it’s not even comparable. We play Omaha/Eight and we play Stud/Eight and sometimes Hold’em. It’s a much different mix. But, John (Monnette) was tough in that mix and he was tough in HORSE too, so at least that part was consistent.
Question: Could you tell us about the support you had on the rail tonight?
Baker: Oh sure, my mom was here, she flew in. She didn’t even tell me she was coming and she was here for my rail. My girlfriend was here. I had all of my friends. Everyone was shouting, and I’m very thankful for everyone that came out and supported me.
Question: How about the Brazilian rail?
Baker: Yeah, the Brazilian rail was amazing. The Brazilians multiply. You let one on your rail, and you get thirty. That’s exactly how I want it. And when they talk it’s like thirty sounds like three hundred, its perfect.
Question: Talk about HORSE and make a pitch that supports HORSE being the best overall test for the best all around player.
Baker: I think the game is really a good test of the best all around player. But I think that Draw has gotten so big that you can’t just have a HORSE tourney anymore and have like an all around player. If there’s no Draw in the mix, then it’s just played so widely now that if a player isn’t good at Draw then I don’t know if they can be one of the best overall players. John is amazing at Draw. HORSE is definitely a good test, but I think that the 50K might be a better test.
ODDS AND ENDS
This was classified as WSOP Event #32, since it’s the 32nd gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas. The tournament was played over four days, starting on Saturday at 5 p.m. and concluded on Tuesday morning at 12:45 a.m.
The total duration of the final table was about nine hours.
The final table was the second-most stacked final table with former gold bracelet winners, measured by total wins at time of play. This finale included players with a combined 25 gold bracelets won – Phil Hellmuth (12), Phil Ivey (8), John Monnette (2), Abe Mosseri (1), Dan Kelly (1), and David “Bakes” Baker (1).
The ninth-place finisher was Mori Eskandani – best known as the owner and producer of ESPN’s WSOP telecast the past two years. He owns Poker Productions, which is responsible for the main stage setup that features many WSOP final tables.