Joe Ebanks has become the first 2011 World Series of Poker winner to crack the million-dollar prize barrier. The 26-year-old Ohio native outlasted 473 other players to take Event #46, the $10k Six-Handed NLHE Championship, earning his first ever bracelet and a cool $1.158m in the process. Ebanks took it in stride. “Unluckily, I was backed, so I don’t get all of it … my portion of it is still the biggest cash I’ve ever had.” Ebanks’ previous biggest WSOP cash was $11,345 for 43rd place at a six-handed event in 2010. Even sweeter was the way Ebanks earned it over the course of four days, with a final table that included Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and ultimate runner-up Chris Moorman (who took home $447k and $716k respectively).
Event #47, the $2,500 Mixed High-Low, has gone to Karachi-born Owais Ahmed. From a starting field of 450, current Irvine, California resident Ahmed earned his first bracelet and just shy of $256k. This was Ahmed’s second WSOP final table, having placed fifth at a $1,500 Seven-Card Stud in 2010. In four years of coming to the WSOP, Ahmed had cashed five times, but this most recent payday nearly quintuples all his previous paydays combined, so it’s a good day. Even better knowing he started heads-up play with a 3-1 chip disadvantage to 2010 WSOP $50k Poker Player’s Championship winner Michael Mizrachi. The 27-year-old amateur Ahmed claimed that once “I put my glasses on, I was in my zone. And when I do that I’m as good as anybody in the world.”