One year after winning nearly one-third of the bracelets available in Las Vegas, a non-American bracelet winner was still lacking after the first fifteen bracelets were awarded. The drought was broken June 8 when Belgium’s Davidi Kitai and Germany’s George Danzer won bracelets. Their wins started the ball rolling as three more foreign players earned bracelets during the week.
Davidi Kitai earned his third career bracelet by winning the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Six-Max making it five total bracelets for Belgium*. European countries with fewer bracelets than Belgium include Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Finland, Portugal and Hungary.
*According to WSOP records, the other Belgian bracelet winners are Michael Gathy (two) and Marc Naalden (one). Some sources consider Naalden from the Netherlands although in Kitai’s interview, he stated Naalden was Belgian.
On June 10, Dominik Nitsche picked up his third bracelet, and second of the year after winning the WSOP National Championship in Atlantic City, won a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event for the second time. The 23-year-old Nitsche surpasses Phil Ivey as the youngest player to win three bracelets at the World Series of Poker as he also becomes the all-time German bracelet winner.
The United Kingdom remains the leader with the most bracelets from outside of North America with 29. The other countries with at least 10 bracelets: Germany (13), France and Italy (11 each) and Russia joined the list with 10 after Alex Bilokur won the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship June 14.
The first United Kingdom player to pick up a bracelet in 2014 was John Kabbaj in Event 25: $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, for his second career bracelet. Kabbaj’s first bracelet win in 2009 was marred by the WSOP’s decision to play the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” at his bracelet ceremony, which angered many of his fellow countrymen. No such controversy at this year’s bracelet ceremony.
Brandon Shack-Harris was unable to repeat his earlier bracelet win as he finished 2nd to Danzer in the $10,000 Razz. Shack-Harris moves over the $500,000 mark in career earnings in just nine cashes. Shack-Harris holds down second place in the WSOP Player of the Year standings, powered by BLUFF, as Justin Bonomo leads.
The $627,462 won by Dan Heimiller in the $1,000 Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship was his largest cash in a tournament career featuring over 150 tournament cashes and $4m in live tournament earnings.
Dennis Phillips continues to impress with his ability to navigate large tournament fields. Phillips has outlasted 21,833 players in his four best WSOP finishes: 3rd at the 2008 Main Event, 45th at the 2009 Main Event, 2nd at the 2012 Seniors Championship and 5th at the 2014 Seniors Championship.
Doug Polk earned his best tournament result in an event with a buy-in of less than $10,000 in his win at the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Turbo.
Andy Philachack once again experienced that distressing feeling of being so close to a bracelet, but unable to take down the top spot. Philachack finished second for the second time in his tournament career as Doug Polk won Event #23: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Turbo. The accelerated format meant the winner was decided in just over 14 hours of tournament play.
Tommy Hang had similar experiences as Philachack, making the top four at his previous four WSOP final tables. The fifth time was the charm, just in time for Father’s Day as he won his first bracelet in the $1,500 HORSE.
Chris Wallace’s win in the $10,000 HORSE was his biggest tournament result by far in his career, nearly doubling his lifetime tournament winnings. His previous best result was in his native Minnesota, winning the 2012 Hallow-Scream Main Event at Running Aces Harness Park. You can check out his writing as a regular BLUFF Magazine contributor.
Kevin Eyster joined Kyle Cartwright as winners of WSOP Circuit Main Events during the 2012-2013 season when he snagged the bracelet in Event 24: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Six-Max, denying Pierre Neuville’s as the tournament extended to a fourth day.
John Hennigan’s quest for a third WSOP bracelet fell short for the fourth time as he was defeated by former Marine Sergeant Ted Gillis in Event 19: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 9. Hennigan last tournament win was at the 2008 WSOP Ante Up for Africa charity event.
The short-lived return of the Carnivale of Poker at the Rio in 2013 didn’t grab the attention of the poker community that the WSOP may have expected, but it was a very good series for Andrew Rennhack. He made five final tables to take down the Player of the Series title. Rennhack improved on that performance with his win in Event 26: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em, pocketing over $408,000.
Humberto Brenes continues to rack up the cashes, leading everyone with seven at the WSOP. His most recent result was a 14th place finish in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship, earning $25,327, his best so far. Last year, Daniel Kelly cashed eight times in the first 29 events in Las Vegas, but didn’t cash again. Will the same fate happen to Brenes?
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