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2012 WSOP Event Recaps 1-15

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As always, the World Series of Poker is in a constant state of evolution since they've made some big changes from last year. The 2012 WSOP will feature 61 bracelet events (three more than 2011), and they've added an intriguing "Big One for One Drop" tournament. The latter is especially noteworthy because this record-breaking $1 million buy-in event will see many of poker's biggest stars take the felt.

But the Big One for One Drop won't happen until July 1st, and there are more pressing matters to discuss now such as the first 15 events of the 2012 WSOP. Taking this into account, let's recap the biggest stories that happened in Events 1 through 15.

Event #1: $500 Casino Employees Hold'em - Harrah's Rincon Casino (California) blackjack dealer Chiab Saechao reigned supreme over the other casino workers in this tournament, which earned him $70,859 and a gold bracelet.

Event #2: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em - Andrew Badecker (3rd), Vanessa Selbst (4th), and J.P. Kelly (8th) all made strong runs at adding another WSOP bracelet to their resume. However, it was former fifth grade teacher Brent "bhanks11" Hanks who beat out a 2,101-player field to win this tourney along with $517,725. Interestingly enough, Hanks is backed by well-known poker pro Jason Mercier, who shared in the $518k windfall.

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Event #3: $3,000 Heads-up No-Limit/Pot-Limit Omaha
- Leif Force captured his first WSOP gold bracelet and $207,708 after winning 11 straight heads-up matches. Following his victory, the Tallahassee-based poker pro explained how he excelled in the Omaha part of this tournament by saying, "I play Omaha because I hate folding and I love to play hands. It's just such an enjoyable game, and even the people who play Omaha are more fun in general."

Event #4: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better - There were plenty of ladies left at the end of this tournament with Marsha Waggoner (9th), Bonni Rossi (8th), and Xuan Liu (6th) all making the final table. But it was Cory Zeidman and Swedish poker legend Chris Bjorin battling for the $201,559 top prize; Zeidman won this heads-up match along with the aforementioned cash prize.

Event #5: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha - Bulgaria's Nick Jivkov didn't let nerves stop him in this PLO tournament as he overcame a 639-player field to win $189,818. He talked about his anxiousness by saying, "I was a little bit nervous at first. As I started building up a stack and busting people one by one, I got a lot calmer. Towards the end, when heads-up began, I had a lot of confidence in myself and my game." It's also worth mentioning that poker star Daniel Negreanu took fifth place ($41,683) in this tourney.

Event #6: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Mixed Max - This mixed max tournament featured an interesting format where tables were 9-handed on Day 1, 6-handed on Day 2, and heads-up on Day 3 and 4. The final day of heads-up matches was particularly hard on Frenchman Aubin Cazals, who took nine hours to defeat Warwick Mirzikinian in the semi-finals, and five hours to beat Joseph Cheong in the finals. That said, his $480,564 first place payout was well-deserved!

Event #7: $1,500 Seven Card Stud - Over his 18-year poker career, Andy Bloch has established himself as one of the world's best tournament players. However, one thing had eluded him throughout these years - a WSOP bracelet. Bloch was finally able to get the monkey off his back in this 367-player tournament after defeating Barry Greenstein heads-up to collect the bracelet and $126,363.

Event #8: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better - The big story here was Gavin Griffin chasing his first WSOP bracelet since 2004. Griffin, who shot to poker stardom in his early 20's, was hoping to win a bracelet and atone for nearly going broke during the past few years. Unfortunately, his comeback trail was stopped one spot short after 71-year-old Herbert Tapscott beat him heads-up for the title; Tapscott earned $264,400 for the victory.

Event #9: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry - A woman hasn't won an open WSOP tournament since 2008 when Vanessa Selbst did it. So it's no surprise that people were really excited when Amanda Musumeci battled Ashkan Razavi heads-up for the bracelet here. But Razavi started with a 6-to-1 chip advantage in this matchup and never was in danger as he went on to collect the $781,398 first place prize. Musumeci may not have won a bracelet for the ladies, but she did earn $481,643 for second place.

Event #10: $5,000 Seven Card Stud - Just one year after winning a 2011 WSOP Eight Game Mix tournament, John Monnette came back and won this Seven Card Stud event along with $190,826. Other notable finishes came from Eugene Katchalov (9th), Bryn Kenney (7th), Jeff Lisandro (5th) and Perry Friedman (4th).

Event #11: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha - This 970-player field produced a very diverse final table with the US, Canada, Ukraine, France, and the Netherlands all being represented. Vincent Van Der Fluit won one for the Dutch after beating Charles Tonne heads-up to win $265,211.

Event #12: $10k Heads-up No-Limit Hold'em - Brian Hastings has spent the bulk of his poker days in high stakes online games, where he's won millions of dollars. However, Black Friday forced him to move out of the US to continue playing at the biggest poker sites, and he's never quite settled down anywhere since. But Hastings looked completely settled during this tournament as he easily defeated Jason Mo in the heads-up final to earn $371,498.

Event #13: $1,500 Limit Hold'em - Semi-retired urologist David Arsht gave himself a nice retirement bonus after collecting the $211,921 top prize in this tournament. He beat out 730 players and defeated Stephen Hung heads-up to secure the victory.

Event #14: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout - Brandon Schaefer has proven to be one of the more interesting stories at the 2012 WSOP. Just last year, he quit playing poker professionally to focus on becoming a military helicopter pilot. Luckily he didn't completely give up on poker since Schaefer managed to overcome 1,138 players to win this tournament along with $311,174.

Event #15: $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split 8 or Better - Several big-time poker pros made this final table including Phil Ivey (7th), John Monnette (3rd) and Todd Brunson (2nd). Ivey was particularly notable because he claims to have skipped the 2011 WSOP since the now-defunct Full Tilt Poker mishandled player deposits. But even more newsworthy than this is how Adam Friedman won the tournament along with $269,037.

  
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