With Canada having lost their opportunity to earn on-ice glory, Canadian poker players seem hell bent on reclaiming a little glory on the felts. Dan Idema has given the Great White North its third 2011 World Series of Poker bracelet, following the earlier triumphs of Tyler Bonkowski and Mark Radoja. Idema’s victory over the 152-strong field at Event #27, the $10K NLHE Championship, was even sweeter considering he placed second at the same event in 2010. Idema’s heads-up opponent, Matt Gallin, placed 16th at this event last year. As we’re so used to saying in 2011, it’s Idema’s first ever bracelet, plus the $378k is kinda cool too. The $234k Gallin takes home is his largest career cash, so he’s got that to console him, plus finishing second now apparently means he wins the thing next year, so buck up, Matt!
There aren’t many nations that take their hockey as seriously as Canada, but the Ukraine definitely comes close. So it’s only fitting that Idema’s triumph came hot on the heels of Oleksii Kovalchuk’s victory at Event #26, the $2,500 NLHE Six-Handed. The 21-year-old Kovalchuk’s win makes two for the Ukraine at the 2011 WSOP, following Eugene Katchalov’s Event #5 win. Kovalchuk outlasted 1,378 players, including heads-up opponent Ionel Anton, to earn his first-ever (sense a theme yet?) bracelet and just shy of $690k. Anton ‘settled’ for $428k.
More evidence of the increased popularity of this year’s WSOP came on Friday, when over 3,700 old fogies registered for Event #30, the $1k Seniors NLHE Championship. That’s a substantial boost over last year’s mark of 3,142, which is doubly impressive when you consider a not insignificant percentage of this event’s participants presumably, er, ‘retire’ each year. However, the senior tsunami irked many of the players who don’t count themselves among the ‘greatest generation,’ because the sheer size of the field delayed the start of Event #31, the $3k Pot-Limit Omaha. To which we say, the old folks may be the ones with wonky bladders, but it’s the disrespectful young crybabies who deserve to be wearing diapers.