The World Series of Poker has handed out its first gold bracelet of 2011 to Sean Drake, winner of Event #1, the Casino Employees NLHE competition. Some 850 traditionally unsung casino heroes took the field on Day 1, 77 of which moved on to Day 2, when a winner was expected to be crowned. But with four players clinging on to their WSOP dreams like Oprah on a baked ham, a third day was required to settle the matter. In the end, Drake, a part-time poker dealer from Folsom, California, outlasted Jason Baker to take the title and $82,292.
The highly-touted WSOP ‘grudge matches’ were thrown a bit of a wobbler when Erik Seidel couldn’t make his appointment with Johnny Chan because Seidel was off playing in Event #3, the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo. (Apparently, Seidel can’t hold a grudge.) The match will be rescheduled for an as-yet undetermined date.
The other two ‘best served cold’ tilts went off as scheduled. Chan finally got a measure of revenge on Phil Hellmuth for spoiling Chan’s attempt to three-peat as WSOP Main Event champ way back in 1989. Yeah, somehow we don’t think Chan really feels all that better for it.
Sam Farha had less luck getting payback on 2003 WSOP champ Chris Moneymaker. Unlike Chan v. Hellmuth, who started with similar stacks and played a single round for all the marbles, Moneymaker and Farha played a best two-out-of-three format. In the first round, the pair started with the same chip counts they held at the start of their 2003 final table heads-up play, and Moneymaker proved that history really does repeat itself by coming out on top. In the second round, the chip stacks were reversed, and this time Farha scored the win. The third match began with equal stacks, but Moneymaker ultimately dashed Farha’s dreams by the narrowest of margins, taking the final hand K-J to K-10. O-K?