One Year After Taking Sixth in this Same Event, Zeidman Returns Again -- and Triumphs
 
Ageless Wonder, UK's Chris Bjorin Cashes for 62nd Time in Career, But Finishes Second

 
 
Las Vegas, NV (May 31, 2012) -- Motivation can come from many different sources, even from some people that might be surprising.  Just ask Cory Zeidman, winner of the latest World Series of Poker gold bracelet event, held in Las Vegas.                                
 
Zeidman was propelled to his biggest career victory by none other than former NFL star Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, the flamboyant ex-Dallas Cowboy linebacker from the Tom Landry-era, who gave his friend several pep talks during the final day of what turned out to be Zeidman's greatest poker triumph.
 
During breaks in the tournament action, Zeidman called his close friend back in Texas on his cell phone, who has since become a highly sought-after motivational speaker.  Henderson provided just the right mix of solace and guidance, giving Zeidman an extra boost of confidence that enabled him to overcome one of the most champion-heavy final days in recent WSOP memory.   
 
Given his connections to star athletes like Henderson through his full-time work in sports marketing, it's no surprise that Zeidman shares a winner-take-call mentality.  Take for instance, his unusual pattern of results playing in World Series of Poker events over the years.  When Zeidman cashes -- which has now occurred eight times with his most recent feat -- he tends to go very deep.  Indeed, there are no min-cashes on Zeidman’s tournament resume.  He’s no slacker.  When he enters an event, Zeidman plays with a single purpose in mind --  to win.
 
"I would have been devastated if I would have come back this year and finished second," Zeidman stated in a startling interview, just moments after his victory.  "I had to win this.  I knew this gold bracelet was going to be mine."
 
Indeed, Zeidman's previous showings in WSOP events includes placing 6th all the way to 39th (which occurred in the 2003 Main Event Championship).  That’s a pretty impressive record when one considers the mentality of many fellow non-pro players, which is to somehow get into the money above all else, giving up the chance of building enough chips to make a serious run at victory.  It’s like sacrificing one’s own heart on some Mayan alter, trying to appease the sun gods and Zeidman would have none of that.  
 
Zeidman’s tournament strategy, tenacity, and will to win -- whether it came from former footballer Henderson or some deeper hunger from within -- paid off royally in spades on Thursday night when he managed to out-duel a lion’s den of final-day survivors en route to his first-ever WSOP title.  Zeidman’s jubilation came in the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split event, which was worth $201,559 in prize money.  Given the strength of his competition, Zeidman could be doubly-proud of his accomplishment.
 
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split has become an event popular with many of the game’s most accomplished tournament players.  As proof, the list of in-the-money finishers in Event #4 reads like a virtual “Who’s Who” in poker over the past 20 years.  Names gracing the official results included multiple big names – including Chris Bjorin, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, Todd Brunson, Marsha Waggoner, Linda Johnson, Frank Kassela, Mike Sexton, David Singer, Jerrod Ankenman, and Frankie O’Dell.  And that was just the list of uber-notables that cashed in the top twenty.  Then, there was Nadell, the other Mizrachi, Madsen, Shak, Bell, Appleman, Billirakis, Schneider, Shchmelev, Waxman, and Filippi who populated the 21-64 range.  You get the idea.
 
See OFFICIAL RESULTS here.
 
The runner up was longtime tournament veteran and two-time gold bracelet winner, Chris Bjorin – who shows absolutely no signs of slowing down as an accomplished tournament player.  Bjorin may very well be playing the best poker of his life at the moment as he continues to defy conventional wisdom that seniors can no longer compete amongst the wave on former online wunderkinds.  This marked Bjorin’s 62nd time to cash at the WSOP, which now ranks fifth all time.

The tournament included not only a relatively surprising finale outcome, but a number of other dramatic storylines, as well.  
 
First and foremost, the longest drought for female gold bracelet winners has now hit the 223-event mark.  That’s right --- 223 tournaments have been played at the WSOP since a female scooped the final pot of an open tournament.  This eclipses the seemingly endless string of events played between 1982 and 1996, which had zero female winners in open events over what amounted to a 14-year femme famine.  

Vanessa Selbst remains as the last female to win an open event, which took place in the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha championship, held in 2008.  With two more stag winners for Event #3 and Event #4 on this day, the longest void in WSOP history has now been surpassed – a dubious factoid, indeed.  

The other big development was Mike Sexton’s double cashing in simultaneous poker events.  While the WSOP is one of the few tournaments which allows for the possibility of participants playing in two events at the same time, few players have been able to manage even a minimal overlap, let alone three straight days which are in conflict.  Sexton’s cashing in two events simultaneously (Event #3 and Event #4) -- where all three playing days overlap -- is unprecedented.

Furthermore, Sexton has proven once again that he’s among the very best at Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split.  This was his 11th time to cash in this event since 1985, which is a phenomenal feat.  In fact, he finished as the runner up in 2011, and then ended up as the 15th-place finisher this year.  Oh one more thing -- Sexton also won this event – back in 1989.

But this was not a good day for females – even though they took four of the top 13 money spots – an unusually high number of any WSOP event.  This was not a good day to be a longtime pro, with previous WSOP titles.  This was not even a good day for Mike Sexton, who endured yet another painful disappoint by coming up just short of another victory.  The day, the hour, and the tournament belonged to someone else – Cory Zeidman, who hereby becomes the fourth player to win a gold bracelet at this year’s WSOP.
 
Note:  The official report of this tournament, with much more news and official data, will be posted soon to WSOP.com.


-- by Nolan Dalla