Las Vegas, NV
Are the Brits that good?
Or is it that the Scandis are not here in large numbers like they have in previous years? Tax issues have kept many of the Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians away, while the Brits have been pouring into Nevada since the WSOP began. As a result: three bracelets and almost a dozen final tables. Neil Channing and Sam Trickett were both runner ups, which means that five bracelets were within the grasps of the Brits during the first 16 days of the WSOP.
Maybe they are making up for the Sex Pistols God Save the Queen national anthem flap from last summer. I thought it was bad ass, but it drew some criticism. This year, we will be blessed with a third airing of God Save the Queen. Praz Bansi got to hear it first, followed up by "Flushy" and now Richard Ashby gets the opportunity to have his national anthem played for everyone at the Rio.
Snoopy was right, but downplayed the abilities of the Brits, which is why I ran around placing as many bets as I could on British bracelet futures. Homer was a little more assertive with his prediction that the Brits will ship five bracelets this summer. He knew the Scandis were going to be sitting this summer out, along with a lot of the big European pros (from Germany, Italy, France, Spain) who wanted to attend the World Cup matches in Africa instead of grinding away in the wastelands of Nevada.
The British Invasion is here and they have become an occupation force. The scary thing is that Snoopy listed a bunch more Brits who could legitimately win bracelets this year. We shall see if the Brits win five bracelets this summer. Three bracelets down, two to go.
While Robert Green is the Goat of the Day in the United Kingdom, there's a slight cheer for Richard Ashby of North London when he became the third British player to win a bracelet this summer when he won Event #21 $1,500 Stud.
"Stud was actually my first game," explained Ashby. "And I've been playing it a long time."
Ashby's father originally taught him the game. A few years later he won the first ever tournament he played... a £10 Stud event.
I first came across Ashby at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. He was among the contingency of Brits who flew down under to play in the Aussie Millions every January. Ashby was there for the cash games and he's usually been among the small group of players who buy-in to the $100,000 High Roller event. For an unassuming guy looking more like a bank teller, Ashby is a cash game baller.
Sometimes you can find Ashby at the nose bleed 7-game mixed tables on Full Tilt with the other high-stakes sharks. In Vegas, he's been playing 25/50 PLO cash games. At the end of 2009, Ashby took down a Stud tournament at the Poker EM in Baden beating Serguey "Volvo" Pomeranzev. Those Russians are tough Stud players, but Ashby easily handled him.
Ashby hoped that his Stud run good would continue onto Vegas, but his final table was not going to be a pushover with "Pearljammer" Turner, Canadian pro Pat Pezzin (who I think is staked by Negreanu), Sorel Mizzi (another Canuck), and Dan Heimiller (the second ginger at the table who took 9th in the Stud 10K event and was at his second WSOP final table).
Ashby was way behind Christine Pietsch when heads-up play began. The outcome was going to be a big story regardless... Ashby would become the third Brit to win while Christine would be the first woman to win a bracelet in 2010, and with the Ladies bracelet coming up the next day, that meant only one more woman had to win a bracelet in order for Matusow to run down the Strip naked.
"She was a tough player, very aggressive." Ashby said of Pietsch's play. "When she got a hand, she wasn't scared if you hit three to a flush or four to a flush, and she never put the breaks on. She played fearless. She played really well."
Third British Bracelet - Richard Ashby
Brits are always humble. When Nolan Dalla asked him if he found his niche with Stud, Ashby responded, "I've had a bit of success with the game. I should probably play more."
Wen I asked Ashby if he would trade a World Cup title for England in exchange for his bracelet, he said an emphatic, "Definitely not."
Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 16...
Event #20 PLO Junkiement Final Table: Just when you thought someone fell off the face of the planet... Tex Barch, one of the final table players from the 2005 Main Event, and part of the last crew to ever play out a final table inside Benny's Bullpen, won his first bracelet.
Event #22 1K Ladies NL Day 2: Michele Lewis got closed to the money, but busted before the bubble. Jess Welman, Lacey Jones, Liv Boeree, and Linda Johnson all cashed along with former Ladies' champ Sweet Svetlana.
I think Lee Watkinson's wife made the final table, along with one of Michalksi's Team Pokerati Asia players La Sengphet, who at one point held the chiplead.
Lacey Jones You'd Better Watch Your Speed
Event #23 Limit 6-handed Day 2: I barely paid attention to this event, but they are down to 13 players with Sugar Bear Barbieri as the chipleader. Dutch Boyd is in the hunt for another bracelet and JJ Liu is also seeking her second final table of the series.
Event #24 Donkukus 3.0 Day 1: Never set foot inside the Pavilion during a donkulus. However, Frenchman (and Team PokerStars Pro) Arnaud Mattern survived his day in the killing field and he is among the chipleders.
Event #25 10K Omaha 8: Um.... too busy to even pay attention, but I heard that the Russians are making a run with Alex 'KGB' Kravchenko and Vladimir Schmelev is among the leaders and that David Benyamine is chugging along with a hefty chip lead.
Photos courtesy of Harper & Benjo.