Poker enthusiasts may be sad that the 2012 WSOP is three-fourths of the way finished, but they’ve got to be happy about some of the incredible stories that have recently played out. Phil Ivey making his fourth and fifth final tables, Michael Mizrachi winning a second $50k Player’s Championship, and Naoya Kirhara making Japanese poker history are just a few of the big stories that we’re going to cover here.
Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Several noteworthy things happened in this tournament, beginning with Carter Phillips winning a second career WSOP gold bracelet along with $664,130. Joe Cada, who won the 2009 WSOP Main Event, finished runner-up to Phillips and earned $412,424. Poker babe Cherish Andrews also had a solid showing after taking fourth place and collecting $210,083.
Event #32: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. – Despite being on a final table with Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey and other noted pros, David “Bakes” Baker prevailed in this star-studded tournament. For the victory, Baker earned $451,779 and his second career WSOP gold bracelet while Hellmuth (4th, $134,056) and Ivey (5th, $99,739) had a great tournament too.
Event #33: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Poker pro Max Steinberg won his first career gold bracelet after outlasting a huge 2,795-player field and beating Switzerland’s Samuel Gerber heads-up. His prize for winning was $440,238 while Gerber collected $273,385.
Event #34: $5,000 Six-Handed PLO – Naoya Kirhara made history by becoming the first Japanese poker player to win a WSOP event. After beating out 419 players and earning $512,029, Kirhara spoke about his desire to get sponsored by an online poker room when he said, “Now I am living on poker, but I want to be a sponsored player. So being the first Japanese bracelet winner means the possibility of that is bigger and bigger.”
Event #35: $2,500 Mixed Hold’em – Chris Tryba added an exclamation point to his poker career by outlasting a 393-player field to win this tournament along with $210,107. Remarkably, Phil Ivey made his fifth final table of the 2012 WSOP after finishing in eighth place ($21,699); he’s still searching for career WSOP bracelet #9 though.
Event #36: $2,500 Eight Game Mix – In a come-from-behind victory, Craig McCorkell became the first Brit to win a 2012 WSOP tournament after triumphing over 587 players. Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari looked poised to win Event #36 since he had 80% of the chips when the final table dropped down to three players. However, a few unlucky hands saw him bust out in third place, which left McCorkell and Jeremiah Fitzpatrick to battle for the title. After falling way behind Fitzpatrick heads-up, McCorkell mounted a huge comeback to win the tourney and $368,593.
Event #37: $2,500 Eight Game Mix – Friends and poker colleagues Greg Mueller and David Baker (no relation to the Event #32 winner) saw themselves battling against each other for the bracelet here. After a memorable heads-up match between two skilled players, Baker walked away with the victory ($271,312), while former hockey player/current poker pro Greg Mueller finished runner-up ($167,637).
Event #38: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Dung Nguyen grabbed both his first career WSOP cash and bracelet after defeating a 2,534-player field in Event #38. His prize for the victory was certainly impressive after he collected $607,200.
Event #39: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha – Jan-Peter Jachtmann became the first German winner at the 2012 WSOP when he captured this PLO event along with $661,000. Jachtmann’s PokerBlat Magazine figures to get a major boost from its publisher’s recent victory.
Event #40: $2,500 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em – Previously, Ronnie Bardah was best known for struggling to a 24th place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event after he began experiencing muscle spasms and uncontrollable twitching. Fortunately he had no such trouble while cruising towards a victory in this short-handed Limit Hold’em event. The Israeli-American’s prize for winning was $182,088.
Event #41: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Laying claim to one of the most interesting back stories this year, former Calvin Klein underwear model and police officer Greg Ostrander navigated through a 1,394-player field and on towards the $742,072 first place prize. He stopped runner-up Jackie Glazier ($458,996) from becoming the second woman to win an open 2012 WSOP event. As for Ostrander, the Rochester, New York police officer quit his job after being viciously bitten during an arrest.
Event #42: $2,500 Omaha/7 Card Stud (8 or Better) – Despite having never played Omaha/7 Card Stud 8 or Better, Oleksii Kovalchuk pulled off a seemingly impossible victory here. After collecting a $228,014 first place prize, the Ukrainian said, “It’s like a fairytale. A guy who sits in the tournament and doesn’t know the rules and wins. How can that happen? How do you explain that?”
Event #43: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Living up to his nickname of “Bad Beat,” British poker pro Neil Channing still remains one of the best players never to have won a WSOP bracelet after finishing second to Henry Lu. A joyous Lu collected $654,380 for outlasting Channing and the 2,770 players in this tourney.
Event #44: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Rocco Palumbo became the first Italian to win in the 2012 WSOP after he survived this massive 2,949-player field to win $464,464. Before dedicating himself to poker, Palumbo was an accountant in Italy; however, he might be long gone from this profession after the $464k windfall.
Event #45: $50,000 Player’s Championship –Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi has provided one of the best tales of the 2012 WSOP since he won his second $50k Player’s Championship. Following the win, Mizrachi collected a $1,451,527 fortune and became the first person ever to win the $50k Player’s Championship twice. He now has $14,069,764 in live poker tournament winnings, which ranks him fourth all-time.