Darren Woods has given the UK its third World Series of Poker bracelet by taking Event #19, the $2,500 6-Max Limit Hold’Em. A former accountant, Woods will likely enjoy tallying up the $213k he earned (along with his first-ever bracelet) by outlasting the 353 other players over the event’s three days of play. When it got down to heads-up action, Kim Nguyen held a chip advantage, but Woods quickly dashed her dreams of becoming the first woman to take a 2011 title. Nguyen, whom Woods admitted “knows what she’s doing,” takes home just shy of $132k. Nguyen is the second woman to earn runner-up honors (after Maria Ho’s second place in Event #4). The last women to take a WSOP event title was Vanessa Selbst in 2008. Meanwhile, with half the tourney still to come, the Brits are already threatening to eclipse their record bracelet haul (five) of 2010.
Lest the Brits get too cocky, Dallas native Foster Hays quickly hoisted the US flag by taking Event #18, the $1,500 NLHE. The event boasted a record field of 3,157, beating the previous record held in 2007 (by a mere six players, but hey, a record’s a record). When it got to the final table, Hays eliminated five of his eight opponents, including runner-up Casey Kelton, to take $735k and the shiny pretty thing (his first). Kelton settled for just shy of $455k.
While Event #18’s field was only six players up over 2007’s record, it was up almost 35% over the previous year. Continuing the trend displayed over the first week of play, six events in Week Two posted larger fields than 2010. Three events saw declines, but as two of these were $10k buy-ins (and thus much smaller fields to begin with), the impact on overall participation is minimal. Clearly, cutting off US players’ access to online poker isn’t hurting their desire to come out and play.