Marvin Rettenmaier has won the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, earning a hefty $1.196m for going into the record books as WPT Season X champ. Also smiling? Party Poker, who just this week announced that Rettenmaier had joined their sponsored pro roster. Rettenmaier entered final table play on Saturday holding a substantial chip advantage, and despite briefly surrendering that lead to Michael Mizrachi, never looked back on his road to victory. Philippe Ktorza started with the shortest stack but was the last to resist Rettenmaier’s destiny, earning $805k for second place after a wild seesaw heads-up battle. Mizrachi took third and $424k, with the rest of the six-handed final table finishing thus: Nick Schulman ($256k), Steve O’Dwyer ($192k) and Trevor Pope ($155k). The WPT kicks off its Season XI in Cyprus on Aug. 4.
Still at the WPT, Tom Marchese took the $100k buy-in Super High Roller on Friday night, earning $1.3m after overcoming a deep-pocketed field of 27 players. Marchese was actually eliminated early on, but after a trip home for a physical shower and a mental reset, made the fortuitous decision to return to the scene of the crime. It took 77 hands of heads-up play with Andrew Robi to determine the winner, leaving Robi with nothing but his $822k runner-up prize with which to console himself. John Juanda was third ($526k), Daniel Perper fourth ($394k), Bill Klein fifth ($263k) while Justin Bonomo was the final table’s unfortunate bubble boy,
From here, the poker world’s attention shits across town to the Rio, where the 2012 World Series of Poker got underway on Sunday. As tradition holds it, the 43rd annual poker confab kicks off with the Casino Employees Event before the great unwashed hordes show up Monday for Event #2, the $1,500 NLHE. There are seven new events for 2012, including the unprecedented $1m buy-in Big One for One Drop, which, if $100k buy-ins are “super” high-rollers, must make $1m an “ultra” or “supercalifragilistic” high-roller. There’s a mega-satellite on June 30 in which you can win a $1m Big One seat, but it will cost you $25k just for the opportunity. The relatively less pricey but historically more prestigious $10k main event begins July 7.
In another first, the 2012 get-together will feature the WSOP debut of Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom, who is coming off an impressive showing at the PokerStars SCOOP and winning the super high roller at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. While Blom is definitely on board, the poker world is eager to learn whether Phil Ivey believes enough time has passed since Black Friday for him to make his return to live poker in the US of A. Ivey (in)famously skipped the 2011 event, apparently in the belief that there wasn’t enough money on the table to suffer the slings and arrows of outraged players who saw their Full Tilt Poker bankrolls carbon-frozen after the collapse of Ivey’s former sponsor. Quick question for WSOP organizers: would Ivey’s bodyguards have to leave the table area once they’re eliminated from play?