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News & Notes from the 50th World Series of Poker

 

Action continues at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, with several notable achievements taking place.  Here are the latest standouts from the 50th Annual WSOP through 35 completed events.

 

Through 35 events (of 90) at this year’s WSOP, here is where some of the key metrics stand:

 

  • 83,054 entries (thru 35 events) – Already more than any WSOP between 1970-2014
  • $82,767,489 in prize money awarded (thru 35 events) – Already more than any WSOP between 1970-2004
  • 12,820 places paid (thru 35 events) — Record is 18,105 established last year
  • 25 — $1 million+ prize pools
  • 12 — $2 million+ prize pools
  • 5 — $5 million+ prize pools
  • 2 — $10 million+ prize pools
  • 5 – Events with 5,000 or more entrants (Event 3, 9, 19, 32 and 34)
  • 2 – Events reaching the Top 10 in terms of field sizes all-time (Event 3 (1st) and Event 19 (8th)
  • 1 – Largest $500 buy-in tournament in history (Event #3, Big 50, 28,371 entries)
  • 1 – Largest $1,500 buy-in tournament in history (Event #19, Millionaire Maker, 8,809 entries)
  • 1 – Largest $600 buy-in tournament in history (Event #9, Deepstack No-Limit Hold’em, 6,150 entries)
  • 1 – Largest $1,000 buy-in tournament in history (Event #34, Double Stack, 6,214 entries)
  • 50 — # of different countries who have captured a WSOP Gold Bracelet, with Nigeria being the latest

 

Tiger Woods of Poker?: Tiger Woods just won his first major in nearly 11 years when he captured the Masters crown in April.  It also marked a record 14-year gap between Masters victories for Woods.  But he still has a long way to go to catch poker’s Jim Bechtel.  Bechtel won Event #21 at the WSOP this year, the $10,000 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship.  It marks his first WSOP victory since 1993, when he won the WSOP Main Event and its $1,000,000 prize.  The 26-year gap between victories is a WSOP record.

 

The Rare 50-50-50 Club: Of course during the 50th Annual WSOP would a 50-year-old win the 50 and over Seniors Championship right? Another huge field turned out for the annual Seniors Championship (Event #32), eligible to those 50 and above.  There were 5,916 entrants in all, creating a juicy $5,324,400 prize pool. Howard Mash, a 50-year-old financial advisor, from Coconut Creek, Florida was victorious, winning $662,594 – or 662 times his initial investment.  Not sure Mash’s regular job has seen an ROI that high in four days!  Mash just turned 50 in April, playing in this event for the very first time.

 

Back to Back:  It is hard enough to win a WSOP gold bracelet these days, but winning the same event in back-to-back years, now that is a rare achievement. Adam Friedman just pulled off the feat in the prestigious $10,000 buy-in Dealer’s Choice event.  Dealer’s Choice allows players to pick from one of twenty different poker variants when it is their turn to choose.  Being able to successfully play all these games is difficult enough and what Friedman has done is remarkable, besting 110 others in 2018 and 121 this year.  Friedman is just one of four players in the past decade to pull of the back-to-back feat in the exact same event.  They are:

 

  • Adam Friedman – $10,000 Dealers Choice (2018 & 2019)
  • James Moore – $1,000 Super Seniors (2016 & 2017)
  • Tuan Le – $10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship (2014 & 2015)
  • Thang Luu — $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low 8 or Better (2008 & 2009)

 

Finally, Eh:  We congratulate the Toronto Raptors on winning the NBA championship, the first time the title has been claimed north of the border.  Finally the Raptors winning has rubbed off on Canadian poker players here in Las Vegas.  It appeared prior to their victory, Canadian poker players were too distracted by the Raptors to claim a poker title.  With a win in Event #29 on Friday, the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event (isn’t that a basketball game too?) Mueller became the first Canuck to win a WSOP event this year.  The former professional hockey player, Mueller claimed Canada’s 60th all-time WSOP gold bracelet.  Canada was on a 67-event drought streak, their longest since going 74 events without a win over the 2013 and 2014 WSOP calendar.

 

Ate for Eight:  Having tasted WSOP victory, you tend to crave tasting it again. Eight players thus far in 2019 have done just that – claim victory again – each fortunate enough to win their second (or more) WSOP title.  Michael Mizrachi, by virtue of his win in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better event (Event #27), became the first player this decade to capture five WSOP gold bracelets.  Other repeat winners this year include:

  • Eli Elezra (Event #20, 4th victory)
  • Scott Clements (Event #10, 3rd victory)
  • Frankie O’Dell (Event #18, 3rd victory )
  • Adam Friedman (Event #35, 3rd victory)
  • Greg Mueller (Event #29, 3rd victory)
  • Rami Boukai (Event #23, 2nd victory)
  • Jim Bechtel (Event #21, 2nd victory)

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