Top 5 Stories from the 2009 WSOP
The first 56 events of this year's WSOP have not gone by without some memorable moments. With the Main Event commencing this weekend, let's take a look back at the top five stories from this year's WSOP thus far:
#1: Lisandro's Stud Trifecta
With all of the great players in the game of poker, winning two WSOP bracelets in one year is really tough. Winning three is close to impossible. However, Jeff Lisandro did just that this year making him the first to do so since Phil Ivey in 2002. What makes Lisandro's feat even more impressive is that he won a bracelet in each of the three major Stud variants. His first bracelet came in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event that drew a field of 359 players. Ten days later, Lisandro won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo World Championship over a field of 164 players. His work was not yet done. In the very next event he entered, the $2,500 Razz event, Lisandro once again captured WSOP gold, this time over a field of 315 entrants. It could be a decade or more before any player is ever able to repeat Lisandro's accomplishment of winning three WSOP bracelets in one year.
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#2: Ivey Captures Gold... Twice
There is no question that the biggest financial winner of this year's WSOP is Phil Ivey. Very early in the series, Ivey captured a bracelet in the $2,500 buy-in 2-7 Lowball event. The $96,000 first-place prize from that event was mere pocket change to Ivey compared to what that win netted him in prop betting action. Rumors have it that Ivey won anywhere from $3 million to $10 million off of high stakes gamblers who had bet against him to win a bracelet. Some of these gamblers had the nerve to double down on their bets against Ivey. Nine days later, he made them pay by winning his second bracelet of the year, this time in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo event. No one other than Ivey and a few closely connected friends know for sure how much he won from these prop bets, but conventional understanding is that it was in excess of $10 million. To put that in perspective, the winner of this year's Main Event will probably walk away $8 million or less.
#3: Ville Wahlbeck Cashes in Five World Championship Events
Fin Ville Wahlbeck quietly turned in one of the most consistent displays of proficiency in WSOP history. In the ten open-field World Championship events played prior to the Main Event, Wahlbeck recorded cashes in five of them! These five cashes included a win, a second place finish, and a third place finish. Wahlbeck won the $10,000 buy-in Mixed Game World Championship, a tournament that rotates between eight different poker variants. That win alone speaks volumes about Wahlbeck's mixed game skills, but he wasn't done there. He also finished 2nd in the 2-7 Lowball World Championship and 3rd in the Seven Card Stud World Championship. As if this wasn't impressive enough, Wahlbeck showed up to the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event and finished 6th in a field of 95 players for $220,000. If he can cash in the Main Event, it will give him six cashes in World Championship events in just eleven opportunities. Keep in mind these tournaments are filled with basically nothing but the game's best players. Astounding.
#4: Brock Parker Goes Back-to-Back
In the late hours of June 5th, Brock 't_soprano' Parker won gold in the $2,500 Six-Handed Limit Hold'em event by defeating Daniel Negreanu heads-up. One might assume such an achievement would have Parker partying until sunrise. Apparently it didn't. Just a few hours later, he was back at the tables again in the $2,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event. Sure enough, Parker parlayed his reason to party by winning that event too! Most players go their whole lives hoping to win a WSOP bracelet and never succeed. Brock Parker won two bracelets in a matter of 72 hours this year!
#5: Greg 'FBT' Mueller Destroys Two Limit Hold'em Fields
After this WSOP, it would be pretty hard to suggest that anyone other than Greg Mueller is the best limit hold'em tournament player in the world. He made a nearly airtight case for why he should be regarded as such by winning the $10,000 World Championship for $460,000 over a field of 185 players. A few days later, Mueller gave the poker world an encore by winning the $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout for $194,000 in a field of 571 players. These were the Canadian's first two career bracelets after previously losing heads-up on two separate occasions in search of WSOP gold.