Phil Laak Wins First World Series of Poker Bracelet
Event #1 of the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe was a £2,650 No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed tournament. Amazingly, it sold out after attracting 244 players. Unabomber Poker front man Phil Laak walked away with £170,000, but perhaps more importantly, his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Laak now has over $500,000 in career WSOP earnings and prior to Event #1, he had just two career WSOP final tables to his name. He’s virtually been absent from the WSOP money list since 2005, when he finished as the runner-up to 10-time bracelet winner Johnny Chan in a $2,500 Pot Limit Hold’em tournament for $156,000. “The Unabomber” explained the significance of the win to WSOP officials: “The main thing to me is now is that I don’t have to listen to all the ragging I get from everyone when I play. Eighty percent of the time, it’s all I hear – that I don’t have a gold bracelet yet. Well, that’s all gone now.”
Laak is fresh off spending 115 straight hours at a $10/$20 game at the Bellagio in June, a new Guinness World Record. He admitted that he would help buy his mother a house in Los Angeles with a portion of his WSOP Europe winnings after he defeated Andrew Pantling heads-up. In the final hand of the WSOP Europe kickoff tournament, Pantling was all-in and ahead with A-9 of hearts against Laak’s K-5. The flop of 7-4-4 with two hearts gave Pantling a flush draw, but a five on the turn set him behind. Needing to catch an ace, nine, or heart on the river to survive, Pantling watched as a black queen fell, ending the tournament. He walked away with £105,000.
London poker pro Chris Bjorin, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, took third place for £70,000. Bjorin ran pocket queens into Laak’s pocket kings on his final hand and “The Unabomber” hit a king on the flop to add insult to injury. Bjorin’s elimination narrowed Pantling’s chip lead to 3:2 entering heads-up play against Laak. Bjorin now holds the record for the most WSOP Europe cashes with five and WSOP Europe final tables with three. Oh yeah, there have only been 12 WSOP Europe events held.
Fourth place went to David “Davidp18” Peters, an online poker pro who called all-in on a board reading K-Q-2-4-2. His pocket eights were no match for Pantling’s K-J and the American took home £48,000. Peters had a stellar 2010 WSOP run, finishing second in a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament in Las Vegas for $350,000. The latter event, the final $1,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament on the 2010 WSOP slate, saw Dutch poker player Marcel Vonk come away with the win.
Laak donned a cast on his arm bearing the Union Jack flag after injuring himself in an ATV accident in August. Laak wasn’t done there, however, as he immediately entered Event #2 of WSOP Europe. Laak Tweeted on Thursday, “New chunk of cheeze I am after! Yes, it’s true, I went from last event straight over the 5k plo.” At the time of writing, 49 players remain in the £5,250 Pot Limit Omaha event out of 120 entrants. Laak owns the 28th largest stack at 27,500, trailing Bjorin’s field-pacing stack of 204,000.
The Main Event of WSOP Europe begins on September 23rd and stretches for six days. Last year, CardPlayer Magazine owner Barry Shulman edged out PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu in the finale of the £10,350 buy-in tournament. All of the action from the 2010 running of WSOP Europe is emanating from the Casino at the Empire in Leicester Square in London.
Here’s how the kickoff Six-Handed tournament paid out to its final table:
1. Phil Laak – £170,802
2. Andrew Pantling – £105,506
3. Chris Bjorin – £70,473
4. David “Davidp18” Peters – £48,202
5. Ilan Rouah – £33,617
6. Willie Tann – £23,900
Other notable names who finished in the money included:
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest WSOP Europe results.
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