Las Vegas, NV
I got stuck in a meeting and missed Phil Ivey's bracelet ceremony. Had I known that Jack Binion would be in the house handing out the bracelet to Ivey, then I would have blown off my meeting! Anyway, thankfully the Frenchies were there and snapped photos.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so starting writing in your own head and check them out...
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Ah, don't forget about the third day of Razz, which started with two tables and finally dwindled down to the final table. I was lurking on the rail a bit with British semi-pro/journalist Marc Convey, who was sweating his mate Stuart Rutter. Could a Brit win another bracelet? Could I be sweating another British bracelet bet? Yes and yes.
Dee Tiller, who looked like an extra from the National Rodeo Finals, bubbled off the final table in 9th place. When the final table of eight was set, Melville Lewis held the lead with Jen Harman, the Russian Banker and pot-limit Stud guru Vladimir Schmelev, Frank Kassela, and Stuart Rutter still alive. Rutter was at a disadvantage as one of the shorties when the final table began, meanwhile Kassela was seeking bracelet number two of this series.
John Juanda's lead in the POY race was in jeopardy with Kassela and Schmelev both going deep. A victory in the Razz event would secure them the top spot and anything else would put them within striking distance of Juanda. The scary thing is that if Schmelev finished in the top 2 or 3, he and Juanada would have been 1-2 in the POY standings -- a remarkable feat considering neither had won a bracelet this summer!
According to Eric Ramsey, with seven players to go, a chop was discussed so six of the final seven could play in the 5pm 10K HORSE event. They could not settle on anything specific and played through, mainly because according to BJ Nemeth, Harman was quoted as saying, "I don't buy bracelets; I win them."
Someday, I'll post a list of players who I know for sure bought their bracelets and players on my "suspected to buy" list. Heck, maybe that will be a chapter in the sequel to Lost Vegas (which will be my tell all book that I'll write when I officially leave poker -- so many pros, agents, tournament staff, and random suits promised me to spill the beans once we both were out of the biz. Be afraid. Be very afraid!)
Anyway, Many of the final table Razz players headed over to HORSE for an hour on their dinner break. Stuart Rutter's bid for a bracelet ended when he departed in 7th place. Jen Harman went out next in 6th place, thereby ending the "will a woman win a bracelet" watch. Both players immediately sauntered over to the 10K HORSE event.
When it got four-handed, Kassela won a massive pot to thrust him ear the top. Schmelev got crippled and busted out soon after in 4th place. Kassela smelled blood in the water. In was just a matter of time before he had a feeding frenzy with former chipleader Melville Lewis and Maxwell Troy.
And just like that, Frank Kassela came out of nowhere to win the Razz event. He secured a second bracelet this summer and seized the top spot in Player of the Year standings.
Kassela joined an elite group of players who have woon bracelets in the modern era (since 2000). That list includes....
Multi Bracelet Winners Since 2000...Note that winning multiple bracelets does not guarantee a win in the POY, due to how the point system is weighted. However, it definitely helps your cause. Just ask Lisandro, Madsen, and DonkeyBomber.
2000 - Jesus Ferguson
2001 - Scotty Nguyen and Nani Dollison (includes a Ladies Only event)
2002 - Phil Ivey (3) and Layne Flack
2003 - Johnny Chan, Jesus Ferguson, Layne Flack, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda, and Men the Master
2004 - Scott Fischman and Ted Forrest
2005 - Mark Seif
2006 - Bill Chen and Jeff Madsen
2007 - Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider
2008 - John Phan and Jesper Hougaard (includes a WSOPE)
2009 - Jeff Lisandro (3), Phil Ivey, Greg FBT Mueller, Brock Parker, and JP Kelly (includes WSOPE)
2010 - Frank Kassela
Congrats to Kassela for his second bracelet. Always good to see an old-school good guy get bestowed with one of poker's top achievements. The way this year is running, Kassela is going to have to put up anther deep run to strengthen his lead. A handful of players like Juanda and the Russian banker don't look they are going to slack off the rest of the summer.
Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 27...
One of those hectic days with three final tables (but two still had at least two tables remaining and to play down to the final table).
Event #36 Donkulus Day 4 and Final Table: Scott Montgomery, aka, the Canadian Rainman became only the third November Niner alumni to win a non-Main Event bracelet. This year Eric Buchman and Phil Ivey both took down the bling. Montgomery is an odd cat, and that's saying a lot in the eclectic world of poker. Alas, congrats to the people from the land of Canadia who won yet another bracelet. Maby if Negreanu gets hot or maybe Terrance Chan will win a bracelet, so we can start calling this the Canadian Invasion? Canada produces an superfluous amount of comedians, hockey players, and poker writers. Now it's time for them to start exporting bracelet winners!
Event #39 NL Shootout: Day 3 of this event started with 14 players amid slight controversy and they were going to play out in an MTT format for the rest of the tournament. JC Tran and Annette Obrestad were the two biggest names remaining. Tran busted out in 13th place, while Annette attracted a flurry of rabid fans, many of them curious of the Norwegian phenom. Sadly, Annette busted out in 11th place in a three-way hand that also busted another player, denying everyone a chance at watching her final table. Derric Haynie won that massive multi-way pot, claimed two scalps, and began the final table of the shootout as the overall leader.
Queen Bee Busto
Alas, Annette Obrestad didn't advance to the final table, which means that the ladies lost a legit opportunity at a bracelet. Jen Harman was still alive in the Razz final table when Annette busted out, as the focus (and pressure) shifted to the veteran's shoulders.
Annette will get another shot at a final table, but will it be this year? At the least, she gave everyone in the media a "good sweat" the last two days and provided plenty of excitement on the rail for the public. It's always refreshing to see spectators flock to Annette's rail because they genuinely want to observe one of the premier NL MTT players in the world, and not gawk at a Playboy model with an pedestrian grasp of the game who is nipping out of a tube top and providing plenty of spank-worthy material for Wicked Chops Poker, Donk Down, and all of the other forums.
Anyway, in case you were wondering, 21-year-old Steven Kelly won the shootout and joined the 21 Club (I just made that up -- a group of 21 year-old players who won WSOP bracelets, which includes Annette15, even though she was much younger when she won the WSOPE Main Event).
Cliche of the Day... the Hallways: I composed a Top 5 list of different cliches you'll see roaming the hallways in between the Pavilion and the Amazon Ballroom.
Top 5 Hallway Cliches...Photos courtesy of Harper & Benjo.
1. Autograph hound using kid as bait. Almost every afternoon I spot this guy and his young daughter. She's clad in a WSOP hat with over a dozen signatures. He's been stalking out the hallways in search of pros to autograph the hat. How could pros decline a signature from an adorable little girl squealing that they are her favorite poker pro? I wonder if the guy thinks he can sell the hat on ebay for enough money to pay for his daughter's college tuition?
2. Random dude on laptop. There's always one guy sitting on a bench with his laptop on his lap and trying to crack into the media's WSOP wifi. I have to presume that he either desperately wants live updates or he wants to play a couple of SNGs.
3. Lonely woman with a book. I call these poker widows. I guess they have enough experience with tournaments that they're smart enough to bring a book along with them and sit out in the hallways on a bench, instead of trying to read inside the noisy ballroom or Pavilion. In six years I have never seen any of these poker widows actually reading a poker book. Oprah's book of the month club books are commonplace.
4. Eskimo Clark. The silent bearded one is always walking somberly in the hallways.
5. Fat guy getting his feet massaged. Well, it's an ugly job but some one has got to do it.