Another round-up of poker news including Doyle Brunson calling time on a legendary poker career, Justin Bonomo keeping the streak alive, and much more.
It’s not often that someone wins a fourth major tournament in a row, takes his annual haul of shillings into the $14.8m mark, and gets relegated to the basement of Calling The Clock, but that happens when a legend appears on the scene.
The name ‘Doyle Brunson‘ hasn’t been synonymous with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) for a very long time – five years in fact. The tens and the deuces shook with excitement as the legend parked up his mobility scooter by the rail for the last shot at a third WSOP Main Event title back in 2013. He would finish in 409th place and leave the Amazon Room to a standing ovation.
I had never seen anything like it.
If I were inside the Rio this week, I would have seen it happen again.
Out of the blue, Brunson not only announced that he would be late regging the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship, but it would be the last tournament he would ever play. After close to 70-years in the game, the man with the Stetson hat was retiring, choosing to spend his final years with his wife, Louise.
What followed was incredible.
Look, Brunson is a polarising figure as a man, but as a poker player he is THE man. Unless you have a piece of someone’s action, or a friend sitting at the table, it’s unusual to have someone to root for with such enthusiasm.
Poker isn’t football.
There is no Manchester United.
But this week was different.
For 30-hours everyone in poker got to cheer someone on as the 95 entrant field began to condense, and as it did, Doyle and his son Todd remained with their butts firmly seated on tables. Moving into the final day, there were 11-players remaining, including both Brunson’s.
Going to bed that night, it was like Christmas Eve, with poker players all over the world having a reason to get up in the morning. During our morning prayers and meditations, we asked the Poker Gods to give us a Brunson family heads-up showdown.
It didn’t happen.
Todd’s journey fell in 10th, but his father, his teacher, his mentor – made the final table where his last appearance in the iconic stage he helped build ended in sixth. The man got up, tipped his hat, and headed to the scooter, as every poker player, dealer and dog stood up to pay homage to the man who has done so much for this great game of ours.
Brian Rast went on to win his fourth bracelet, beating Mike Wattel, heads-up, for the title, and I was almost angry at the man for spoiling what would have been the happiest ending of all happy endings.
And the man in the basement because of Brunson’s incredible performance is Justin Bonomo.
Bonomo won seven matches to take down the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $185,965, a fortnight after winning the $5m first prize in the Super High Roller Bowl (SHRB), and sandwiched in between were back-to-back victories in $25k ARIA High Rollers for $650,000.
There is no-one alive hitting the deck with greater aim than this guy, right now.
We also saw a few peeps winning million dollar prizes this week. Brazil grabbed a bracelet when Roberly Felicio won the COLOSSUS for a million bucks, and Arne Kern bestest a final table that included Joe McKeehen, Sam Razavi, Justin Liberto and Barny Boatman to take down the Millionaire Maker for $1.1m.
Jeremy Harkin earned $129,882 for winning the $1,500 Dealers Choice, Benjamin Moon banked $315,346 after winning the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Big Blind Antes, and Daniel Ospina earned a sliver of gold for Colombia with victory in the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw for $87,678.
Andrey Zhigalov put Russian on the 2018 WSOP map with a $202,787 win in the baby H.O.R.S.E, Ognyan Dimov won Bulgaria’s third bracelet when he took down a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed event for $378,743, and Adam Friedman won his second bracelet in the $10,000 Dealer-s Choice 6-Handed for $293,275.
Craig Varnell continued to prove he is the man for the massive field occasion with victory in the $565 Pot-Limit Omaha event for $181,790, Jeremy Wien won the $537,710 top prize in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, and Philip Long won the first bracelet of the year for the Brits after winning the $1,500 Eight Game Mix event for $147,348.
In more WSOP news, there will be a World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) event in the Fall. The KIng’s Casino in Rozvadov will take care of the action. There will be ten bracelets up for grabs and over €13m in guaranteed prize money.
Finally, Phil Ivey will appear in the One Drop this year. Ivey’s return to the WSOP coincides with his ambassadorial work with Virtue Poker, and his new partners have created a Piece of Ivey promotion where ten freerollers can win 30% of $100,000 of Ivey’s WSOP events, including 5% of his One Drop action. To get involved, visit the Virtue Poker website.
Outside of the WSOP
There’s not much that happens outside of the Rio during WSOP, but we do have a few things to catch up with this week.
Daniel Negreanu joined the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Scorsese and Malcolm Gladwell on Masterclass – an upmarket online training centre. The face of PokerStars has created a 30+ online video training product, and we should be able to catch up with the man later in the week to ask him some questions on the project.
Triton Poker and partypoker have teamed up again, this time on party’s turf. Partypoker MILLIONS Sochi will include a $50,000 and $100,000 High Roller, both carrying the Triton Poker Sigel, extending a partnership that saw partypoker sponsor the Russian live stream during Triton’s event in Montenegro.
Nauv Kashyap defeated 360 entrants to win the $1,500 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) event in New Zealand. Kashyap earned $118,385 for the win. And Mélanie Hafeli defeated 286 entrants to win the WPTDeepStacks Main Event in San Remo for €57,081.
Time ladies and gentlemen.
Someone has just called the clock.