California poker pro collects $259,730 top prize in Event #18

Johnson collects his second WSOP gold bracelet

Attendance for another big buy-in event up over last year

Jared Talarico finishes as runner up

Phil Hellmuth posts 116th career WSOP cash, more than any player in history



Name:  Marco Johnson
Age:  30
Current Residence:  Walnut Creek, CA (USA)
Marital Status:  Married
Children:  None
Profession:  Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes:  33
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances:  8
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament):  2
Best Previous WSOP Finish:  1st (2013)
Total WSOP Earnings:  $1,773,314


Winner Quote:

“I started playing H.O.R.S.E. seven years ago because I grew up next to Chip Reese’s sister, and H.O.R.S.E. was always his game.  I decided I wanted to be really good at this, so that’s where I focused my energy….this feels good to win a bracelet in a mixed event, for sure.”


Marco Johnson is the newest member of poker’s double gold bracelet club.

The poker player from Walnut Creek, CA won the $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament, which was played over three days and nights and just concluded at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Johnson collected $259,730 in prize money, making this one of the biggest wins of his career.

This marked Johnson’s second win at the series, following a previous victory at the 2013 WSOP where he won the $2,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em title.  He now has two wins, 33 cashes, and several deep runs to go along with what amounts to close to $2 million in earnings at the annual summer Las Vegas classic.

“This one feels a lot better, for sure,” Johnson said afterward.  “I just got married and my wife is six-months pregnant, so with a kid on the way, this is more special.

Johnson also confided that he had an additional financial interest in the outcome of this finale.

“I also had two of my friends make a bet for a significant amount of money that I would win a gold bracelet this year, so they also won a lot of money – so that feels good.”

Johnson won his victory by dominating a final table which included a mix or pros and amateurs.  There were only two former WSOP winners among the final eight – Johnson and Gerald Ringe.

The final moment of triumph came when the big stack scooped the final pot of the tournament against Jared Talarico who finished as the runner up.  The final outcome seemed to be a foregone conclusion to some extent, given that Johnson began the heads-up battle with an 11-1 chip advantage.  He took a few losses, but then closed out the victory relatively quickly.

I was the most excited coming into this year that I’ve ever been,” Johnson said.  “I’ve been that way each year for the nine years that I’ve come to the WSOP.  But I do get more and more excited about it.  In the past, I’ve focused a lot on cash games.  But this year, I decided to focus on tournaments.  So, it’s nice to win a bracelet this early.”

This tourney attracted 400 entries which created a prize pool totaling $1,092,000.  This was yet another big-buy in event which saw an increase in entries over 2015 when 376 players signed up.

Aside from the winner, here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:

Second Place:  Jared Talarico, from Houston, TX finished as the runner up.  He collected $160,522 in prize money, his biggest score ever at the WSOP.  Talarico, a graduate of TCU posted his fourth cash at the series in a most impressive run.

Third Place:  Gerald Ringe, from London, UK took third place.  He was one of two finalists aiming for a second gold bracelet, but came up two places short.  Ringe won the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tourney last year, and with this impressive showing added another six-figure score to his WSOP resume.  Third place paid out $108,522.

Fourth Place:  Todd Ickow, from Valpraiso, IN finished in fourth place.  He has cashes dating back 13 years.  This was his deepest run at the series, which paid $75,397.

Fifth Place:  Glenn Englebert, from Sicklerville, NJ took the fifth-place position.  He only has six cashes at the series, to date.  However, four of the in-the-money finishes have been final table appearances – including a 4th, two 5th-place finishes, and a 9th.  He added another $53,259 to his career WSOP earnings.

Sixth Place:  John Crisp, from Zapata, TX finished in sixth place.  This was his second time to cash at the WSOP.  It was also his biggest score, which paid $38,409.

Seventh Place:  Toma Kalaj, from New York City ended up as the seventh-place finisher.  He was paid $28,291 in what was his second time to cash at this year’s series.

Eighth Place:  Chino Rheem, from Los Angeles, CA was the first player to bust off the final table.  The high-stakes gambler perhaps best known for finishing third in the 2008 WSOP Main Event Championship, added $21,294 to his total career earnings at the series, which now has surpassed $2.5 million.  Rheem now has 25 cashes and at least one in-the-money finish in each of the last 12 years at the WSOP.



Frankie O’Dell, a two-time gold bracelet winner, finished in 10th place.

Eli Elezra, a four-time gold bracelet winner, came in 11th.

Michael Gathy, fresh off his runner up finish in the Seven-Card Razz event two days earlier, and a two-time gold bracelet winner, finished in 12th place.

Chris Bjorin, a two-time gold bracelet winner born in Sweden and now residing in London, finished in 17th place.

Bruno Fitoussi, the popular French poker player and former executor for the Aviation Club in Paris, took 18th place.

Vasili Lazarou, a two-time gold bracelet winner, finished in 23rd place.

Brock Parker, a three-time gold bracelet winner, finished 24th.

Dan Idema, a three-time gold bracelet winner, finished 33rd.

Aaron Steury, a gold bracelet winner, finished 39th.

Justin Bonomo, a gold bracelet winner, finished 40th.

Steve Zolotow, a two-time gold bracelet winner, finished 41st.

Phil Hellmuth, Jr., a 14-time gold bracelet winner and member of the Poker Hall of Fame, finished 45th.  This marked his 116th cash at the WSOP, more than any other player in history.

Other notable players who cashed beyond the top 50 included – Robert Mizrachi, Mike Leah, Shannon Shorr, and Glenn Cozen.



The age range of participants spanned from 21 to 92.  The oldest player in the field was Constantine Zdanowic.

The average age of players was 44 years.

The breakdown of nations represented was 318 Americans and 82 players from elsewhere.  The top five counties represented were – United States, Russia, Great Britain, Canada, and France.

The field was 94.7 percent male and 5.3 percent female.



For this event’s official final results (listing all players who finished in-the-money), please visit:

For Marco Johnson’s official player profile page, please visit:

For the live reporting logs for this event, please visit:

To access licensed images from this all other 2016 WSOP gold bracelet events, please visit:

For the live stream archive of this event, please visit:
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)