Andrew Badecker has defeated a 1,440-strong field to take the World Series of Poker Event #13, the $1,500 NLHE Shootout. Badecker, a former curtain salesman turned poker pro, is yet another first-time bracelet winner, as all previous winners have been at this year’s WSOP. The 23-year-old Connecticut native entered the final day’s play as chip leader and never really looked back, despite facing four WSOP bracelet holders (David Pham, Dan Kelly, Erik Cajelais and Vitaly Lunkin). Badecker ultimately took down Robbie Verspui heads-up to earn $369k for the win while Verspui made do with $228k.
Event #14, the $3k Limit Hold’em, went to yet another first-timer, Tyler Bonkowski. (Seriously, does the ‘S’ in ‘WSOP’ now stand for ‘socialist’? As in, let’s spread the bracelet wealth around? Does Joe the Plumber know about this?) Bonkowski defeated a field of 337 to take just shy of $221k for the victory. Bonkowski is the first Canadian to take top honors at this year’s WSOP, injecting some sorely-needed diversity into the US/UK rivalry that had dominated play up to this point. Brandon Demes, who at one point held a 4-1 chip lead during heads-up play, was forced to settle for second place and $136k.
Of course, given that we’re not into the second week of WSOP action, it’s about time we start our Phil Hellmuth 12th bracelet watch. Hellmuth’s long awaited triumph would be a fitting way to break the first-timer hot streak, Hellmuth made the final table at Event #16, the $10k No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship, although he started the day seventh in chips against a field that includes John Juanda, Nick Schulman, Greg Raymer and Richard Ashby. Can the Poker Brat show the ‘bracelet brats’ how it’s done?