Persistence finally paid off for Brett Shaffer, the winner of the latest gold bracelet event at the 2013 World Series of Poker.  He won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament, which drew such a big field that it took an extra day to complete.

Shaffer has certainly paid his dues as a poker pro.  He's been coming to each and every WSOP for nine straight years.  During the other months, he spent that time grinding away and building up a bankroll back in Beloit, Kansas, only to experience perpetual disappointment during the trips to the WSOP that endured for nearly a decade.

However, on a blistering Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas when the temperature outdoors reached 117 degrees, Shaffer finally caught his own fire and ended up winning a well-deserved first gold bracelet.  He overcame 2,816 entrants – one of the summer's larger turnouts – ultimately winning the prize that made eight previous painful summers of losing worth the sacrifice.

Shaffer collected $665,397 in prize money, which didn't seem to incite much of a reaction from the champ, even though it is one of the largest paydays awarded this summer .  Perhaps Shaffer needed more time to reflect upon the majesty of this one shining moment, undoubtedly the pinnacle of the 30-year-old's poker career.

Shaffer is inherently introspective in the way he views poker and each decision he makes.  For instance, he routinely took his time with important decisions, which at various points put his opponents on edge.  On at least once occasion at the final table, the clock was called on Shaffer.  He didn't mind.  Shaffer contemplated his decision and then finally acted.  He's not a quick and easy kind of guy.

Following his victory, Shaffer was joined tableside by his wife, who sat and watched the victory with tremendous pride.  Once the official photos were done and the interviews were over, the Shaffers exited the tournament area arm in arm and headed to the payout room, ready to collect the $665,000 prize that was waiting for them at the end of the poker rainbow.

Once this year's WSOP ends, Brett Shaffer will go back to Kansas again.  But this time, his return will be different than during all the years before filled with heartache.  This time, he'll return with a gold bracelet.     


Name:  Brett Shaffer
Current Residence:  Beloit, KS (USA)
Age:  30
Marital Status:  Married  
Occupation:  Professional Poker Player
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  8
First WSOP Cash (year):  2006
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  3
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1
WSOP Career Earnings:  $790,597


WSOP:  Tell us how you are feeling now that you’ve won one of the bigger paydays of the summer.
Shaffer:  I am just happy to have my first win, and I am glad it is a bracelet.  You know, I always kind of knew I would eventually have a six-figure cash and that was always my end goal for playing tournaments and coming to the World Series every summer, going broke each summer, and building it back up.  I had one final table before this, but it wasn’t that big. I think $56,000 is what I got.

WSOP: You never had a six-figure cash before and now you’re playing for $600,000.  Did that weigh on you at all?
Shaffer: Yeah, you’re nervous.  I had my nerves rattle me quite a bit, but I feel like I just slowed it down quite a bit and really gathered myself and played hand for hand, and make each decision right then.  I didn’t try to look forward too far and I didn’t try to beat myself up over mistakes I had made.  I made plenty, you know. Everybody at the final table did.  The truth is anybody could have won it.

WSOP: Talk a little bit about the final table experience. It certainly wasn’t an easy final table with David Vamplew, Mike Watson, and Loni Harwood, who has two Circuit rings.
Shaffer: I thought Mike played really well.  He was really difficult to deal with in a lot of spots.  David played well too. I don’t know, you can’t get intimidated by guys you know are going to be making really good decisions.  You just have to get in there, do the best you can do, and do the exact same.

WSOP: You really took your time making decisions at the table. What went through your head when someone moved all-in and you had to make a decision?
Shaffer: Well, a lot of it with live [play] is just collecting reads and focusing on not giving off reads.  It was a lot of work to get the different ones that I wanted and not give off the stuff I didn’t want to give off.  I think I was taking a long time in a lot of my decisions, and I think that got to David a little bit.  He called clock on that one hand a little early.  It had been just right around two minutes, and that’s fine.  After two minutes, you can call clock.  From looking at it from not myself, I was definitely one of the slower players at the table, if not the slowest.

WSOP: You mentioned you’ve been coming to the WSOP for a few years.  How long have you made the trip to Vegas each summer?
Shaffer: Ever since I was 21, so this is my ninth WSOP.  I’ve had some cashes and one final table, but I’ve never done anything like this.

WSOP:  What is it about this event that keeps you coming out year after year?  This moment right here?
Shaffer: No, it’s not the moment. I don’t know…I like the fields.  The fields are really big, you feel like there’s a lot of value, and only at the World Series can you do something like this.


Loni Harwood, from Staten Island, NY became the first female to make two final table appearances at this year's WSOP.  She finished fourth in this event and sixth in Event 31.

Erik Seidel cashed which was the 77th in-the-money finish for his career, which ranks third on the all-time WSOP rankings.