Barny Boatman

2013 WSOP: Boatman Breaks Through, a Second “One Drop,” and the Ladies Event

Barny Boatman won his first WSOP bracelet in Event #49 ($1,500 NLHE) (Photo: Eddie Malluk/WSOP)

Barny Boatman won his first WSOP bracelet in Event #49 ($1,500 NLHE) (Photo: Eddie Malluk/WSOP)

A dozen more bracelets have been awarded at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino over the last week at the 2013 World Series of Poker. Among the past week’s highlights have been a One Drop sequel (a.k.a. the $111,111 buy-in “One Drop High Rollers), the Ladies event (in which for the first time in three years only women played), and the $25K NLHE 6-max. Meanwhile, leading the week’s headlines among the winners was original Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman who at age 58 won his first WSOP bracelet and the first for the U.K. this summer.

Here’s a quick overview of what has been happening poker-wise the big ballrooms in the Rio over the past week.

Event #42 ($1,000 NLHE): Szecsi Wins First for Hungary in 2013

Norbert Szecsi of Budapest, Hungary became just the fourth WSOP bracelet winner from the small central European country and the first this summer by taking down another of the $1K no-limit hold’em tourneys, topping a field of exactly 2,100 to earn a $345,037 first prize.

It was the fourth WSOP career cash for the 22-year-old Szecsi who with six players remaining was the short stack but managed to come all of the way back for the win, outlasting Chris DeMaci (who finished third) and the U.K.’s Rory Mathews (who finished fifth) along the way. Last year’s WSOP Main Event sixth-place finisher Andras Koroknai was on the rail cheering on his fellow countryman in this one.

Event #43 ($10,000 2-7 NL Draw): Martin Beats Tough, Small Field

The $10K Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball (No-Limit) event drew the smallest field of the summer (by far) as just 87 players took part, with the American Jesse Martin ultimately prevailing to win his first WSOP bracelet after having cashed 30 times previously at the WSOP.

Though the field was small, it was filled with numerous bracelet winners and highly regarded players as is usually the case for the $10K 2-7 NL Draw event. The seven-handed final table alone had five bracelet holders in Layne Flack (who has won six), Jeff Lisandro (five), David “Bakes” Baker (two), John Hennigan (one), and Konstantin Puchkov (one).

Event #44 ($3000 NLHE): Pulusani Denies Brits First Bracelet

Last Friday saw the $3K no-limit hold’em event end in dramatic fashion with Sandeep Pulusani coming back from a 7-to-1 chip disadvantage versus the U.K.’s Niall Farrell to win Event #44 and his first WSOP bracelet.

A music blogger from Huntsville, Alabama, Pulusani was short-stacked for nearly the entire final table but managed to wait out others’ eliminations then win several all-ins versus Farrell to prevail. A total of 1,072 played in the event, down from the 1,394 who played in the same event a year ago.

Event #45 ($1,500 NLHE Ante Only): Victory for Volpe

Ben Volpe earned yet another bracelet for the U.S. in Event #45, the uniquely-structured “Ante Only” $1,500 no-limit hold’em event. The event featured no blinds — only a “bring-in” bet to start the betting before the flop — and increasing antes from start-to finish. A total of 678 players participated, with Volpe earning $201,399 for the win

Blair Hinkle (who finished fourth) and Chris Moorman (who finished fifth) were among the final tablists, with Tommy Vedes (10th), Aaron Massey (12th), and David Vamplew (16th) also making deep runs.

Event #46 ($3,000 PLO8): Shchmelev Ships It

Russia got on the bracelet board in the $3,000 pot-limit Omaha hi-low tournament when Vladimir Shchmelev finally broke through after making several high-profile final tables in the past to win at the WSOP, earning $279,094 for topping the field of 435 who took part.

Mel Judah finished runner-up and thus one spot shy of claiming a third career bracelet, while “Miami” John Cernuto took fifth, and Allyn Jaffrey Shulman finished eighth.

Event #47 ($111,111 One Drop High Rollers NLHE): $4.83 Milly for Gregg

Hopes and expectations leading up to this year’s version of the “One Drop” — a $111,111 buy-in tournament with tourney fees going to the Guy Laliberte’s One Drop charity — were that for 100 players to enter would be a remarkable total. In the end, though, 166 participated, with the field comprised of both high-roller pros and businessmen much as was the case for last summer’s $1 million version of the event.

That large field created a large prize pool, with eventual winner Anthony Gregg taking away a $4,830,619 chunk of it. After finishing runner-up in the $50K Poker Players’ Championship last summer, Chris Klodnicki took second in this one to earn a nearly $3 million prize. Businessman Bill Perkins finished third and last year’s One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari took fourth.

Event #48 ($2,500 LHE 6-max.): Fourth Time Charm for “CrazyMarco”

Following the trend of online phenoms breaking through at the WSOP, Marco Johnson finally won his first bracelet in the $2,500 short-handed limit hold’em event, following fellow online stars Jared Hamby and Steve Gross into the winner’s circle.

Johnson bested a field of 343 and a final table including Finland’s Juha Helppi (who finished third) and Maria Ho (who finished sixth). Johnson had finished second three times before in WSOP events, including earlier this summer in Event #31 ($1,500 PLO8 event) as well as in this same event in 2012 when he lost out to Ronnie Bardah.

Speaking of Johnson and runner-up finishes, “CrazyMarco” was the player whom some will recall finished second in a 2007 tournament on Absolute Poker to “POTRIPPER,” with the latter’s call of Johnson with ten-high on the final hand heightening Johnson’s suspicions about possible cheating. Johnson emailed AP for hand histories and was sent the Excel file including all players’ hole cards — not just his — which became an initial thread leading to the unraveling of the insider cheating scandal on AP.

Event #49 ($1,500 NLHE): Boatman Gets Brits On Bracelet Board

It was a memorable scene at the “mothership” in the Amazon Room last Saturday night as the popular Barny Boatman won his first WSOP bracelet in Event #49, another $1,500 no-limit hold’em affair. The famous “British rail” was in full force, with various chants, renditions of “London Bridge is Falling Down,” and ultimately shouts of joy once Boatman outlasted the American Brian O’Donoghue for the win.

One of the original four founders of the Hendon Mob forum (now also the home of the valuable tourney database), Boatman earned $546,080 for his victory in the 2,247-person tournament. Boatman’s win marked the first and so far only bracelet for the U.K. this summer. It was his 25th career WSOP cash and fourth final table.

Event #50 ($2,500 10-game, 6-max.): Wong Wins

The $2,500 10-game mixed event returned to the WSOP for the second time this week, attracting 372 entries after 421 played it a year ago. The tournament has players rotate six hands at a time through the five H.O.R.S.E. events, NLHE, PLO, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 NL Draw, and Badugi.

Steve Wong prevailed this year, outlasting two British players — Sebastian Saffari (runner-up) and Philip Sternheimer (third) — to win the bracelet and $220,061 first prize. Last year’s WSOP Main Event 12th-place finisher Scott Abrams took fifth, and Greg Raymer finished 11th.

Event #51 ($10,000 Ladies NLHE; $1,000 for women): Bicknell Binks, No Men Play

Many were wondering if the WSOP’s plan to thwart men from playing in the Ladies event would work this year. The official buy-in was raised from $1K to $10K, with women receiving a special “discount” of $9K to participate as allowed by a Nevada law permitting “discounted pricing or special offers based on sex.”

And indeed, it worked, as there were no men among the 954 who entered, with Kristen Bicknell winning the bracelet and first prize of $173,922, thereby notching a 10th bracelet for Canada this summer. Among those making deep runs was Poker Hall of Famer Barbara Enright who finished 25th. Enright has won the Ladies event twice before, a third bracelet in an open-event, and finished fifth at the WSOP Main Event in 1995, the only woman ever to have made the ME final table.

Response from the poker community both to the strategy and its result was uniformly positive, with many taking to Twitter and the forums regarding it. For the past three years, a handful of men had entered the Ladies event.

Event #52 ($25,000 NLHE 6-max.): Sung Snares Second

The always highly-competitive $25K no-limit hold’em short-handed event saw Steve Sung win his second career WSOP bracelet and a $1,205,324 first prize. That will mark the third-largest first prize of the summer (not counting the Main Event), following the $111,111 One Drop High Rollers and the $50K Poker Players’ Championship.

The event concluded with Sung and Phil Galfond battling for just over 50 hands heads-up, with Sung starting with a small lead, widening it, Galfond coming back to take a 2-to-1 advantange, then Sung retaking a 2-to-1 advantage himself in three hands without a showdown before whittling Galfond down further and finally finishing him off.

A total of 175 played the event, back on the schedule this year for the first time since 2010 when 191 played. Dani Stern (third), Stephen Chidwick (fourth), Max Lehmanski (fifth), and Richard Lyndaker (sixth) rounded out the tough final table.

Event #53 ($1,500 NLHE): Success for Shaffer

Finally this afternoon saw a short extra fourth day of Event #53 play out in order to determine a winner of the $1,500 no-limit hold’em event. It was another near-miss by the Brits as Brett Shaffer of Kansas defeated the U.K.’s David Vamplew heads-up to win the bracelet and $665,397 first prize.

This one went late into the evening last night, with play concluding after Loni Harwood finished her Event #53 run in fourth place. Finland’s Arttu Raekorpi ended up taking third in the event. With 2,816 entrants, Event #53 had the largest field by far of any of the $1,500 NLHE events this summer.

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