The Carnivale of Poker may not have returned to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this year, but the absence of the series sure didn't slow down Andrew Rennhack.  The Seattle, Washington-based resident found success at the Rio last year in the Carinvale of Poker series, winning the Player of the Series honors, but just because that slate of events was gone didn't mean Rennhack's poker hot streak was over. In fact, this year, he decided to up the stakes a bit by winning a gold bracelet and $408,953 in the latest $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event.

"Winning the Carnivale Best-All Around was nice, but that wasn't my goal when I came out here last year," Rennhack said afterward.  "I came out here to win the gold bracelet.  I had to wait an extra year, but I guess it was all worth it."
Rennhack prevailed at a table stacked with professionals, including California-based poker pro, Michael Katz, who finished in second place.  Even though he was surrounded by players dedicated to the game full time, this semi-professional managed to emerge victorious.  Fittingly, Rennhack's day job is owning and operating a business that provides ATMs. It is fitting for a man who just printed nearly half a million dollars in money to put in his bank account.
"I think [not being a pro] gave me some advantage," Rennhack explained.  "I think some of the other players tightened up at the final table.  They may have been thinking about the pay jumps, whereas I was just playing it one hand at a time.  You just have to play one hand at a time and make the decisions that way....that's the way to think about it."

This is the fifth career WSOP cash for Rennhack and his first final table appearance.  This time last year, Rennhack was playing in a $365 HORSE event for an $18,479 payday, now he is a bracelet winner.  It is true what they say about the WSOP--there is something for everyone be it Carnivale or the circus of a gold bracelet event.

In many ways, the final table felt a bit like a home game, as a number of Las Vegas-based poker pros with mutual friends clashed against one another. Michael Katz, Ryan Welch, and Tony Gargano all shared friends on the rail, and in the brief time Dan Smith (9th) was at the table, he had some shared acquaintances cheering him on as well.

The final table began with Welch holding a substantial chip lead, but thanks to several all-in confrontations, the chips made their way around the table, eventually ending up in Gargano's stack, while Welch fell short of his second gold bracelet in fourth place.  Even Gargano came up short of heads-up action, as Katz took several chips off him, and Rennhack finished him off in third.  Welch was the only bracelet winner at the table, but Smith, Gargano, and Katz were all returning to the final table.

The latest $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event drew 1,594 players, generating a prize pool of $2,151,900. The top 171 finishers each earned a payday. Some of the notables in the money include Martin Finger (138th), Brandon Cantu (98th), Mohsin Charania (89th), Jesse Martin (78th), Soi Nguyen (40th), Phil Hellmuth (29th), Darren Elias (18th), and Will Failla (11th).

Here are the final table results for the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Event 26:

1st: Andrew Rennhack - $408,953
2nd: Michael Katz - $252,826
3rd: Tony Gargano - $166,384
4th: Ryan Welch - $119,946
5th: Reed Goodmiller - $87,797
6th: Heinz Kanutzki - $65,202
7th: Geremy Eiland - $49,106
8th: Eric Rappaport - $37,486
9th: Dan Smith - $28,986