Poker News

There was no shortage of action at the 2011 World Series of Poker (WSOP) on Monday, as three bracelets were clinched in three entirely different events.  To be fair, the final days of two of the tournaments were actually started on Sunday, but the bracelets were won after the clock struck midnight, so we’re going to put them in the books for Monday.

Monday was but a half hour old when the day’s first bracelet was claimed by 29-year old professional poker player Harrison Wilder, formerly of Beaverton, Oregon, now living in Las Vegas.  Harrison took down Event #6, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event, winning $205,065 in the process.

He was in a dominating position entering heads-up play against Thomas Jamieson, holding more than a 2-to-1 chip advantage.  On the final hand, Jamieson was almost down to the felt before the cards were even dealt, so he ended up all-in pre-flop.  His K-T had a decent chance against Wilder’s A-2, especially once the flop came down J-Q-3, giving Jamieson an open-ended straight draw in addition to his two live cards, but he couldn’t hit any of the multitude of outs on the turn or river.

Wilder’s story is an interesting one.  Parents are not generally thrilled when their offspring declare that they are going to take a shot at being a professional poker player, but this wasn’t the case for Wilder.  He was struggling at the University of Oregon, but had taken up an interest in poker, so his parents, of all people, told him he should drop out of school and take up poker full time.  He did just that, eventually becoming good enough to support himself by playing online.  Since Black Friday, he has moved from Oregon to Las Vegas and, get this, his parents went with him.

This was Harrison Wilder’s first ever WSOP bracelet.

Less than an hour after Wilder won Event #6, Amir Lehavot won Event #7, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship.  This was also the first WSOP victory for the native Israeli now living in Florida.

Lehavot was third in chips entering the final table, but by the time he was heads-up with Jarred Solomon, who started the final table as the chip leader, he had a huge lead, 5.415 million to 2.160 million.  Solomon barely got any closer and eventually found himself needing to just find a hand with which to run.  He made his move with A-J, but unfortunately was looked up by Lehavot with A-Q.  The flop of Q-Q-T looked really bad for Solomon, but it actually gave him four outs to the straight instead of the three Jacks that he had to start the hand, so it wasn’t all bad.  Another Ten on the turn gave Lehavot a full house, though, and the tournament was over.

For the win, Lehavot took home $573,456.  He is a former software developer who is now a semi-professional poker player.  Lehavot founded the poker training site PokerWit.com.

The final bracelet of the day went to Matt Perrins, who won Event #9, $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball.  The young Brit had never played the game before the tournament started.  In fact, his only exposure to it came in the form of about 30-minutes worth of YouTube videos that he watched to learn the basics.  Knowing his competition obviously had more experience, he used aggression try to even the playing field.  Apparently, it worked, as Perrins is now $102,105 richer and can celebrate with his best friend, Jake Cody, who won the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship.

On the final hand, Chris Bjorin called Perrins’ all-in and both players elected to draw one card.  Before the draw, Perrins showed 8-6-5-3, leading Bjorin’s T-7-6-3.  Bjorin requested that Perrins draw first so he knew what he had to beat, but as it turned out, it wouldn’t matter, as Perrins drew a 2, giving him an unbeatable hand.

On Tuesday, Event #8, one of the popular $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em events, will be in its fourth day (technically Day 3, as the first day was split into two flights), as the original field of 4,178 continues to narrow.  The final table is scheduled for Wednesday.  Event #10, $1,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em, will be in its second day, also with the final table scheduled for Wednesday.  The same can be said for Event #11, the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better Championship.

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