The 50th World Series of Poker is approaching its third weekend at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and we decided we’d take a look back at the big winners through the first 24 events. Some big name poker pros have added WSOP gold to their resume, with one former Main Event champion finally winning his second career bracelet 26 years after becoming the World Champion of Poker.
The Story So Far at 50th World Series of Poker
The 50th World Series of Poker runs from May 28th to July 16th in Las Vegas. A total of 89 bracelets are on offer at this year’s WSOP, with the following pros having added their names to the WSOP history books:
Ben Heath Wins 50th Annual High Roller
Event #5 was the $50,000 50th Annual High Roller, with UK high rolling pro Ben Heath outlasting a star-studded final table. Heath’s opponents included such players as Chance Kornuth, Nick Petrangelo, Sam Soverel, Andrew Lichtenberger, and Dmitry Yurasov. In fact, Heath was the only player at this final table without a WSOP bracelet.
That all changed by the end of the event. Heath battled Lichtenberger in a back and forth heads-up encounter that ultimately came down to an A-K vs AJ confrontation. Heath had the superior chips, but the inferior hand. However, the flop gave him a pair of jacks and those jacks held to give him his first WSOP bracelet and a $1.48 million top prize.
Scott Clements Wins $1,500 Dealers Choice for Third Bracelet
Scott Clements is a well-known mixed games player with two WSOP bracelets prior to the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Event. In this card game, players get to pick whatever format of poker they like, with everything that’s played at the WSOP on the table.
This final table had a strong crew of mixed game players. This included Clements, Benny Glaser, Wes Self, Mike Ross, and Tim McDermott. Noaya Kihara was the least well-known of those at the final table.
Ultimately, it was Clements facing McDermott and he held a monster chip lead. McDermott was never able to close the gap and eventually it all ended during an NL Hold’em hand with McDermott running K-2 into the K-10 of Clements.
Clement’s third career WSOP bracelet also netted him $144,957 in prize money.
Frankie O’Dell Wins Record Third Omaha Hi-Lo Bracelet
Frankie O’Dell isn’t well known among the “TV poker” crowd due to his focus on mixed games. However, those of us with any experience in the real world of poker know Frankie well. O’Dell came into the final table of the $10k Omaha Hi-Lo Championship looking to become the only player in WSOP history with three Omaha Hi-Lo titles.
To accomplish this, he had to survive a murderer’s row at the final table. Shaun Deeb, Robert Mizrachi, Owais Ahmed, Jake Schwartz, David Benyamine, and Australia’s Robert Campbell were all at the final table.
Heads-up play was eventually reached between O’Dell and Owais Ahmed. At that stage, O’Dell had about 75% of the chip in play. Ahmed never got close and O’Dell ultimately took him out when his nut flush draw got there on the river against two pair.
O’Dell told PokerNews.com: “Basically, the wind blew my way and I got the win. I had an opportunity today. I had chips, we had the best Omaha players in the world in this tournament and I ended up on top.”
For the win, O’Dell received his third career WSOP bracelet, all in Omaha Hi-Lo, and $443,641 in prize money.
Eli Elezra Wins $1,500 Seven Card Stud
Eli Elezra is definitely a player that both casual and serious poker players all know. The Israeli pro rose to prominence primarily due to his exposure on High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, and other TV poker shows. He added to his resume on Sunday at the 50th World Series of Poker by winning the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Event.
Despite being a $1,500 event, this was still a stacked final table. Rep Porter, David Singer, Valentin Vornicu, Anthony Zinno, and Scott Seiver were all among those at the final table. Heads-up play in this one was between Elezra and Anthony Zinno with Elezra holding nearly a 2:1 chip lead.
Zinno was able to storm back to take the chip lead, but Elezra wrestled it back. Once Elezra got the lead back, he never relinquished it again. Ultimately, Elezra took down the event with a six-high straight against a missed open-ended draw for Zinno.
Elezra added to his storied career with his fourth career WSOP bracelet and $93,766 in prize money.
Jim Bechtel Finally Wins Second Career Bracelet in $10K NL 2-7
Back in 1993, Jim Bechtel won the WSOP Main Event. Since then, he has made final tables, but he had not tasted WSOP gold. That was until Tuesday night at the 50th World Series of Poker when he won the $10k NL 2-7 Single Draw event. He also set the record for the longest time between WSOP bracelet wins.
Bechtel didn’t have an easy time of it, having to outlast Jean-Robert Bellande, Prahlad Friedman, Darren Elias, Paul Volpe, and old school grinder Vince Musso at the final table. Heads-up in this event was a throwback to the old days of poker with Bechtel battling Musso for the title.
Musso started heads-up a slight chip lead and extended it to almost 3:1 before Bechtel came storming back. The pair swapped the lead a couple of times before the final hand. Bechtel shoved all-in pre-draw and Musso made the call for his tournament life.
Musso had a pat J-9-6-4-2 and Bechtel held 8-6-4-2 and drew one. He turned over a nine and that was good enough to give him his first WSOP bracelet in 26 years.
After winning the bracelet, Bechtel admitted he seldom plays poker anymore but 2-7 Single Draw is a form of poker he believes he can compete in against anyone. He proved that fact with his win in this event. Jim Bechtel is no longer a one-hit WSOP wonder, finally taking down his second career bracelet.