At the 2010 World Series of Poker, Britain managed to take home five WSOP bracelets and hopes were understandably high again in the 2011 WSOP. Could British poker players in 2011 match the fantastic achievements of Praz Bansi, James Dempsey, Richard Ashby, Mike Ellis and Steve Jellinek in 2011?
The Brits got off to an absolute flyer, as Jake Cody picked up his first WSOP bracelet (thus completing the “Triple Crown” of poker – a WSOP bracelet, a WPT title and an EPT title) in the first open event of the 2011 World Series of Poker; Event number two, the Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship.
Cody bested an incredibly talented field, fending off competition from the likes of Gus Hansen, Frank Kassela and in the final itself, Yevgeniy Timoshenko. In addition to the WSOP bracelet, Cody collected $851,192 and in doing so reminded the poker world that British poker is very much on the up.
The second World Series of Poker bracelet to fall into British hands was event number nine, the $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament. Young Matthew Perrins emerged victorious from a field of 275 despite this being his first ever 2-7 Draw tournament, collecting $105,105 for his efforts.
Event number 19 of the 2011 World Series of Poker was the $2,500 Fixed Limit Hold’em (Six Handed) event, which fell to Darren Woods of Grimsby. Darren’s prize was $213,431, in addition to the gold WSOP bracelet of course.
This was the third event to be won by a Brit at the 2011 WSOP despite the series being just a fortnight old and with 40 more bracelets left to be claimed, hopes were high for another amazing British effort at the World Series of Poker.
Sadly though, no more WSOP bracelets would return across the pond. There were a few near misses, such as Chris Moorman’s deep run in event number 26 – the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em (Six Handed) tournament – which which was eventually won by Ukrainian Oleksii Kovalchuk. Moorman finished third for $271,800, but he wasn’t quite done there.
In WSOP event number 46, Moorman went even closer, finishing second to Joe Ebanks in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em (Six Handed) Championship for prize money of $716,282. Sadly though, Moorman will have to wait a little longer for his first taste of WSOP glory.
Richard Ashby came third in one of the toughest final tables seen at the 2011 WSOP; event number 16, the No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship, which saw John Juanda beat Phil Hellmuth heads up. Ashby collected $143,833 by way of consolation for that effort.
Matthew “MUSTAFABET” Ashton of Liverpool finished 6th (for $101,813) in the $10,000 HORSE Championship, before adding a 10th place finish in the Omaha / Seven Card Stud Hi Low Mix event (for a further $17,731) to his poker CV, while Scotland’s David Vamplew managed a fourth place in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, for $141,030.
There is of course one event still to finish at the 2011 World Series of Poker – the $10,000 buy in No Limit Hold’em Main Event. The final table of nine has been set and they will return to the Rio to do battle on November 5th 2011.
Britain could well claim a fourth WSOP bracelet, or indeed another WSOP near miss story, for amongst the field is 22 year old poker pro Sam “SamDMND” Holden, who started out playing in £3 tournaments at his University poker society but has since collected almost $300,000 from online poker and who has guaranteed himself at least $782,115 by making the 2011 November Nine.
Holden will return in November with the short stack, but as we all know, anything can – and frequently does – happen in a poker tournament.
Overall, Britain are currently joint fourth in the 2011 WSOP bracelets table. As is to be expected, the United States has won the most bracelets, but Canada and France have collected a creditable 4 gold bracelets at the 2011 World Series of Poker, with Britain, Ukraine and Russia all taking 3 each so far.
That could all change in November however. No pressure, Sam.