Through the conclusion of Event #24 at this year’s World Series of Poker, the gold bracelet count by nations and states reads as follows:
8 – Nevada
4 – New York
2 – California
2 – Canada
2 – Missouri
1 – Germany
1 – Italy
1 – Maryland
1 – Michigan
1 -- Pennsylvania
1 – South Carolina
Through the conclusion of Event #24 at this year’s World Series of Poker, the “Professionals versus Amateurs” gold bracelet scoreboard reads:
Professionals – 18 wins
Amateurs -- 4 wins
Semi-Pros -- 2 wins
The $2,500 buy-in Half-Pot-Limit Omaha / Half-Pot-Limit Hold’em championship attracted 457 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $1,051,100. The top 45 finishers collected prize money.
This is the first time this event has ever been included on the WSOP schedule. While many “mixed game” tournaments have taken place in the 39-year history of the WSOP, these two games had not been combined together exclusively until this tournament. A similar event last year proved successful, as a Half-Pot-Limit Omaha / Half-Omaha High-Low Split tournament was scheduled.
Pot-Limit poker is generally more popular in Europe than the United States and elsewhere. Many of the top players in England, Ireland, France, and elsewhere specialize in this form of poker. Not surprisingly, 13 of the 45 players who cashed in this tournament were Europeans – and an Italian player ended up winning the title.
The tournament was played over three consecutive days. On Day Three, the final table action took place on the secondary stage, near the ESPN feature table area, which was dealing out the conclusion of the $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event.
The tournament winner was Max Pescatori, from Milan, Italy. Pescatori, who actually spends more time in Las Vegas than his home in Europe, tours regularly on the American poker tournament circuit. He is 37-years-old.
Pescatori collected $246,509 for first place. He also earned his second WSOP gold bracelet. Pescatori won his first gold bracelet in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event in 2006. This was his 17th WSOP career cash.
When Pescatori won his first WSOP victory on July 7, 2006, it occurred on the same day that Italy won the World Cup (soccer championship).
Pescatori (actually spelled “pescatore”) means “fisherman” in Italian language. “It’s really a good name to have in poker,” he says.
Pescatori is nicknamed “the Italian Pirate.” He got his clever name because he often wears a bandana at the poker table and looks very much like a swashbuckler.
“The joy (of this win) can never be the same as winning my first one when Italy won the World Cup,” Pescatori said in a post-tournament interview. “The first bracelet is always the best one. But this second win is also important because it is the confirmation of skill. This serves to affirm to myself and gives me confidence that I am pretty good.”
The second-place finisher was Kyle Kloeckner, from St. Louis, MO. Prior to turning to poker as his career, he was a college student who majored in philosophy.
Five-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Allen Cunningham took fourth place.
High-stakes cash game player Minh Ly took eighth place. This was his 12th career WSOP cash.
Other former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed included Howard Lederer (12th) and Hilbert Shirey
Through the conclusion of Event #24, only one player has cashed five times to date – Nikolay Evdakov, from Moscow, Russia. Evdakov is in serious contention to challenge the record set for “Most WSOP Cashes in a Single Year,” shared by four players -- Michael Binger (2007), Chad Brown (2007), Phil Hellmuth, Jr. (2006), and Humberto Brenes (2006), with eight in-the-money strikes.
The current Milwaukee’s Best Light “Player of the Year” standings shows Erick Lindgren on top of the points list with one gold bracelet win and three cashes.