EVENT #66: $777 Lucky Sevens (No-Limit Hold’em)
PRIZE POOL: $3,095,400
FIRST PLACE PRIZE: $487,784
PLACES PAID: 468
DATES: July 3-6, 2015
Connor Berkowitz Rolls a Seven
25-Year-Old New Jersey Poker Pro Wins $777 Lucky Sevens Debut and a WSOP Gold Bracelet
Berkowitz’s First WSOP Cash is a Big One
Final Tourney Before 2015 WSOP Main Event Draws 4,422 Entries
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION:
Name: Connor Berkowitz
Birthplace: Freehold, NJ
Current Residence: Manalapan, NJ
Marital Status: Single
Number of WSOP Cashes: 1
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: None
Total WSOP Earnings: $487,784
[Note: All statistics above include the results of this tournament]
The final tournament before the Main Event Championship concluded tonight at the 2015 World Series of Poker, taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Connor Berkowitz topped another huge field of 4,422 players and won his first gold bracelet. The 25-year-old poker pro collected first place prize money in the amount of $487,784.
The first-of-its-kind “Lucky Sevens” No-Limit Hold’em tournament had a buy-in of $777, which created a prize pool in excess of $3 million. The top 468 players collected prize money, with Berkowitz coming out with the largest share. The competition took four days and nights to complete, extending into an unscheduled finale on the ESPN Main Stage.
Berkowitz is from Manalapan, NJ. Before playing poker full time, he graduated from the College of New Jersey. He worked for Chase Bank for a time, before deciding to try grinding out a living in online poker tournaments (where Internet poker is legal and regulated). Now, he’s about to make nearly a half-million dollar deposit.
Remarkably, this was Berkowitz’s first time ever to cash in a WSOP event of any kind. This was his first trip to the WSOP and only the second event he’d played.
“This is like a dream for me,” Berkowitz said afterward. “I’m speechless. I literally don’t know what to say other than this is a dream come true. It’s every poker player’s dream.”
Much of the final table and fourth day belonged to David Yu, who was the chip leader during much of the way. However, Yu got into trouble late and Berkowitz ran away with the prize. When heads-up play commenced, Berkowitz was ahead by nearly a 4-to-1 margin. He closed out the victory in less than a half hour.
John Armbrust, from Austin, TX finished as the runner up, which paid a nice consolation prize of $301,615.
Berkowitz has been playing poker full time since January of this year. He acknowledged that winning such a large sum will make the transition much easier. Berkowitz was also humble in thanking his rail and many who watched and cheered for him via live-stream coverage on WSOP.com.
“To all my friends and family who are watching, that was huge to me,” Berkowitz said. “Knowing they were rooting for me really made me want to win even more. Like I said, this is an absolute dream.”
Also of note was Matt Matros’ deep run, finishing in 8th place. Matros enjoyed his first final table appearance in three years with this showing. The Brooklyn-based writer and semi-pro poker player won gold bracelets in three consecutive years (2010-2012).
Following Berkowitz’s finish in the top spot, the descending order of results was as follows:
Second Place: John Armbrust, from Austin, TX finished in 2nd place, which paid $301,615. He is the executive director of a charter school in the Texas capitol.
Third Place: David Yu, from Foster City, CA finished in 3rd place, which paid $217,173. The Chinese-born statistician cashed for the second time at this year’s series.
Fourth Place: Jeffrey Dobrin, from Las Vegas, NV finished in 4th place, which paid out $160,496. This was his best WSOP-related performance, although he’s previously won a WSOP Circuit gold ring (14 cashes on the Circuit, as well).
Fifth Place: Faraz Jaka, from San Jose, CA finished in 5th place, earning him $119,606. He’s been playing poker as a pro for ten years, and now has posted 28 WSOP cashes. With this prize, he’s close to $1 million in career earnings at the series.
Sixth Place: John Gallaher, from Lebanon, TN finished in 6th place, which paid $89,890. He is a 49-year-old optometrist who also goes by the poker nickname, “Johnny Run Good.” He ran pretty good in this event, at least until play reached six handed. Gallaher owns two WSOP Circuit gold rings after winning at stops in Southern Indiana and Cherokee, NC.
Seventh Place: John Zimmerman, from Las Vegas, NV finished in 7th place, which paid $68,098. He is a 73-year-old retiree originally from North Carolina. This was Zimmerman’s first time to ever cash at the WSOP.
Eighth Place: Matt Matros, from Brooklyn, NY finished in 8th place, which paid $52,033. The writer-teacher and serious part-time semi-pro won gold bracelets in three consecutive years (2010-2012), but came up short in this tourney. This was his deepest run since that last victory, three years ago. Each of Matros’ WSOP wins were in Limit Hold’em, which is his specialty.
Ninth Place: Massimo Mosele, from Torino, Italy rounded out the final table with a 9th-place finish, which paid $40,085. He is a 49-year-old poker pro who has been playing mostly online for the past eight years.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS:
Aside from the final table finishers, other gold bracelet winning players who cashed included – Kevin MacPhee, Brett Shaffer, Dominik Nitsche, Ken “Teach” Aldridge, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Eric “Air” Holum, Eric Baldwin, and Ben Yu.
EVENT DIRECT LINKS:
For this event’s results, visit:
For Connor Berkowitz’s official player profile page, visit:
For the Live Reporting Log for this event, please visit:
For photos from this event, please visit:
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)