Saturday, June 12, 2010

BJ's WSOP Report: Week 2

By BJ Nemeth
Las Vegas, NV

The first two weeks of the WSOP are now in the record books, and there are about five weeks left before we reach the November Nine. I'm BJ Nemeth, and I'll be guiding you through the biggest stories each week and the stats that summarize the rest.


1. Tom "Durrrr" Dwan Comes One Spot Away From Winning the Biggest Bet of the Year

Even with five weeks left in the WSOP, it'll be tough to top Tom "Durrrr" Dwan's final table as the biggest night of the 2010 WSOP. It was an electric night when all eyes in the poker world were focused on one thing -- would Durrrr win his first bracelet and cash in an estimated $10 million or so in prop bets?

Durrrr was the chipleader with 21 players left at the start of the final day, and still had the chip lead when they reached the final table. As Durrrr was coasting, Eli Elezra bought Huck Seed's action at a reduced rate, which made Elezra one of a few players who is betting more than $1 million that Durrrr fails to win a bracelet this year. (There are quite a few bets in the six-figure range too.)

Durrrr lost the chip lead at the final table, and became the short stack when there were three players left. Still, it was a heavy sweat for the high-stakes players who bet against Durrrr, many of whom were playing less than 50 yards away in Event #15 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo), and following the action via Twitter and PokerNews live updates.

Durrrr checks his cards while he is playing heads-up for the bracelet against
New Zealander Simon Watt

When heads-up play began, Durrrr faced a 2.5-to-1 chip deficit against New Zealander Simon Watt. He was never able to close the distance much beyond that, and after losing a bunch of his stack on a board of Jh-10h-2d-Ah (he bet big on the turn, but quickly folded to Watt's all-in), Durrrr open-shoved for 13 big blinds with Qd-6c. Watt called with pocket nines, and they held up to give him the victory.

And, according to Mike Matusow, save the high-stakes poker economy.

It was the most dramatic sweat yet for the high-stakes prop bettors, made sweeter for them because Durrrr fell short. The fans in the crowd (and on the internet) seemed to be rooting heavily for Durrrr to win, which would have been a much bigger story.

But with 30-something events left, the question is whether or not Durrrr will make another final-table run at winning this bet. It seems that the only story that will be able to top Durrrr's near-bracelet is a Durrrr bracelet.

2. John Juanda and Vladimir Schmelev Make Final Tables Look Easy

Like Ville Wahlbeck did a year ago, John Juanda and Vladimir Schmelev keep crushing championship WSOP events ($10,000 or higher buyins). They've each reached three final tables in championship events, on their way to matching Wahlbeck's record of four.

In fact, out of Juanda's last nine WSOP cashes (dating back to his victory in the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event), eight have been final tables -- an amazing streak. (Thanks to Eric "Willing2Die" Sonstegard from the PokerRoad forums for the tip on Juanda's streak.)

Vladimir Schmelev shakes hands as he busts in seventh place in Event #15
($10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo). This was his third final table in $10,000 or
higher buy-in events.

3. Men the Master Wins Bracelet #7

Any time a player wins their seventh WSOP bracelet, it's big news. Yes, Men "The Master" Nguyen is unpopular within the poker industry, and received comparatively little coverage for his accomplishment. But Nguyen is now sixth on the all-time bracelet list, tied with Billy Baxter and Phil Ivey.

While the circumstances (and ages) were vastly different, contrast the hype around Nguyen's seventh bracelet with the hype around Ivey's seventh bracelet last year. By the end of the WSOP, Nguyen's victory will seem like an afterthought.

Brandon Adams buys Men Nguyen drinks when they are heads-up in Event #10
($10,000 Seven Card Stud)

* * *


Event #8, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
2,341 players (last year: 2,506)
Winner: Pascal LeFrancois, $568,974

Event #9, $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em
650 players (last year: 633)
Winner: James Dempsey, $197,470

Event #10, $10,000 Seven Card Stud
150 players (last year: 142)
Winner: Men "The Master" Nguyen, $394,807

Event #11, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
2,563 players (last year: 2,638)
Winner: Simon Watt, $614,248

Event #12, $1,500 Limit Hold'em
625 players (last year: 643)
Winner: Matt Matros, $189,870

Event #13, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em
3,042 players (last year: 6,012)
Winner: Steven Gee, $472,479

Event #14, $1,500 2-7 Draw
250 players (last year: 147, with a $2,500 buying)
Winner: Yan Chen, $92,817

Event #15, $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo
170 players (last year: 164)
Winner: Frank Kassela, $447,446

Event #16, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em (6-handed)
1,663 players (last year: 1,459)
Winner: Carter Phillips, $482,774

Event #17, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em
792 players (last year: 655)
Winner: Jason Dewitt, $818,959

Event #18, $2,000 Limit Hold'em
476 players (last year: 446)
Winner: Eric Buchman, $203,607

Event #19, $10,000 2-7 No-Limit Draw
101 players (last year: 96)
Winner: David "Bakes" Baker, $294,321

* * *

United States: 13
Canada: 2
England: 2
Hungary: 1
New Zealand: 1

The WSOP Player of the Year race is finally taking shape with 19 events completed, and there are 14 players who have accumulated more points than a single bracelet winner. Here are the top five POY contenders after 19 events:
1. John Juanda: 160 pts
2. David Baker: 145 pts
3. Vladimir Schmelev: 155 pts
4. Michael Mizrachi: 145 pts
5. Matt Matros: 130 pts
It's interesting to note that Juanda and Schmelev haven't won bracelets this year, but they have both reached three final tables in events with buyins of $10,000 or more. (For the record, higher-buyin events receive the same POY points as the $1,000 and $1,500 events -- but it's an impressive achievement worth noting in the top stories of the week.)

Last week, nobody had reached the three-cash mark, and now we have two who have cashed four times -- Ted Lawson and Chris Viox. There are 30 players who have three cashes under their belt, which is too many to list here. The record for cashes in a single WSOP is 10, set by Nikolay Evdakov in 2008. Min-cash master Allen Kessler already has three -- could this be the Year of the Chainsaw?

Last week, I mentioned that the earliest a woman could final table an event would be Event #9 ($1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em), because that was the earliest event that still had women in the field. As it turned out, there were nearly three women at that final table. But Melissa Hayden slightly missed the mark by finishing 13th, and Julie Farkas bubbled the final table in 10th. That left J.J. Liu, who went deep and managed to finish third.

Liu's feat was matched three days later by Jennifer Harman, who finished third in Event #15 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo). Harman is the only woman who has won two WSOP bracelets in open events -- it would have been fantastic to see her win a third.

Jennifer Harman is one of the best players in the world, male or female. She
finished third in Event #15 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo).

All eyes were on Annette Obrestad coming into this year's WSOP, but so far, she has only managed a single cash (72nd place in Event #17, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em). Obrestad will need to step up her game if she doesn't want the media and the fans to label her first WSOP in Las Vegas as a disappointment.

Last week, nobody had made more than one final table. This week, there are five, and two of them have already made three. We know the record is at least five (notably achieved by Daniel Negreanu in 2004 on his way to WSOP Player of the Year), but I need to do more research to find out if anyone has ever reached six in a single Series.
John Juanda
4th in Event #2 ($50,000 Poker Players Championship)
5th in Event #15 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo)
4th in Event #19 ($10,000 2-7 No-Limit Draw)

Vladimir Schmelev
2nd in Event #2 ($50,000 Poker Players Championship)
7th in Event #10 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud)
7th in Event #15 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo)

Michael Mizrachi
1st in Event #2 ($50,000 Poker Players Championship)
6th in Event #10 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud)

Matt Matros
1st in Event #12 ($1,500 Limit Hold'em)
9th in Event #18 ($2,000 Limit Hold'em)

Jameson Painter
5th in Event #7 ($2,500 2-7 Triple Draw)
7th in Event #12 ($1,500 Limit Hold'em)

Justin Bonomo is laying 10-to-1 odds (he'll put up $10,000 to your $1,000) that someone who lives in Panorama Towers will win a bracelet this year. That list of players was frozen before the WSOP began (to be fair), and it includes 66 players, plus another 2 who will qualify starting June 18th. To see all the names, check out Justin Bonomo's post in the 2+2 thread by clicking here.

With a bracelet victory by David "Bakes" Baker Friday night, Bonomo won his bet. However, I thought it would be interesting to continue tracking Panorama's results, which might help people set a line for next year. (In 2009, Bonomo offered 7-to-1 odds on the same bet, and the only Panorama resident to win a bracelet was Greg "FBT" Mueller, who won two.)

Here are the Panorama players who have reached a final table so far in 2010:
David "Bakes" Baker: 6th place, $272,275
Event #2 ($50,000 Poker Players Championship)

David Sands: 8th place, $67,221
Event #5 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold'em)

Nick Binger: 3rd place, $37,857
Event #14 ($1,500 2-7 No-Limit Draw)

David "Bakes" Baker: 1st place, $294,321
Event #19 ($10,000 2-7 No-Limit Draw)
* * *

All photos by BJ are courtesy of Greasie Wheels.

There's your recap for the second week of the 2010 WSOP. Thanks to Pauly for giving me an outlet for my creative non-photographic juices (sounds disgusting). I'm working for Greasie Wheels this summer, which is providing the official WSOP photography for Harrah's. Check out my official WSOP Photo Blog on

You can also read BJ's WSOP Report: Week 1.


  1. Best Pai Gow shirt ever.  Thought of you man.,default,pd.html?cgid=mensSaleTShirts-1&selectedColor=260


  2. lightning363:22 AM

    Poker Bloggers Breakfast June 20.