Poker professional and chess master Ylon Schwartz earned his first World Series of Poker bracelet on Saturday by winning Event #27, the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. The 2008 November Niner outlasted 888 competitors over four days of play to earn $267k and the shiny, pretty WSOP bling. There were still three players at the table when Friday’s hard stop rule kicked in at 1:15 in the morning, so the trio – Schwartz, four-time bracelet winner David Chiu and Stephen Chidwick – decided to pack it in and square off Saturday afternoon. Chidwick was knocked out early and Chiu met his demise early into Seven-Card Stud play. Chiu took home $165k and Chidwick earned $112k. God bless him, Schwartz said he intended to “get a bottle of expensive wine” and “marinade with this moment.”
Later on Saturday, Timothy Adams earned his first bracelet and $392k by taking down Event #28, the $2,500 NLH Four-Handed. Adams outlasted 749 hopefuls over three days, a period that Adams described as “a blur. I mean, three days of four-handed poker is crazy.” Brendon Rubie earned $242k for his runner-up status, with James Schaaf third ($164k) and Anthony Gregg fourth ($114k).
Day 2 is in the books at a record-setting Event #29, the $1k Seniors NLHE, which saw a whopping 4,128 players over the age of 50 cash their pension checks at the registration table. That’s a 10% bump over 2011’s 3,752 entrants, making it the largest starting field in WSOP history. WSOP director Ty Stewart said it was “the most electric atmosphere we’ve had yet.” (Probably all those pacemakers.) Sunday will see a mere 33 geezers return to play for $603k and the bracelet, which we hope the winner doesn’t confuse with his medic alert bracelet, otherwise the paramedics won’t know how to save him.
Sunday will also see final table action in Event #30, the $1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball, with Brandon Cantu ahead in chips and Rep Porter, Michael Mizrachi and Erick Lindgren hot on his heels.
Overall, the number of entrants through the first 29 events of the 2012 WSOP is down around 3% from 2011. This year’s tourney has lured 28,394 entries, compared to 29,421 in 2011. Bluff Magazine analyzed the 22 events of 2012 that are directly comparable to 2011 and found 12 had failed to top the previous year while 10 had posted gains. Among these 22 events, attendance was down 8.9% from last year. As for the money math, 2012’s prize loot to date was $44.9m, down almost 15% from 2011, but the $1m buy-in Big One for One Drop event kicking off July 1 should obliterate any concerns of finishing in negative territory.
Speaking of, Tony Guoga has announced his withdrawal from the Big One, leaving the number of ‘confirmed’ entrants at 41 of a maximum 48. Several other players – including Mike Sexton, Ben Lamb and Mr. 12 Bracelets himself, Phil Hellmuth – have indicated they’ll be on the WSOP’s next published list. Tony’s own site PokerNews claims Mr. G was waylaid by scheduling conflicts due to his managerial relationship with the Lithuanian national basketball team, which is traveling to Venezuela around the same time as the Big One is due to wrap up.