The 2013 World Series of Poker is in the books, at least until the November Nine return in four months to determine a winner in the Main Event. That tournament attracted 6,352 players, including well over a dozen Team PokerStars Pros. Of those, just six made the money. They included Humberto Brenes, Isaac Haxton, Jake Cody, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Ivan Demidov and Marcel Luske. Interestingly, this wasn’t the first taste of Main Event success for any of these men.
For example, Costa Rica’s Brenes, who owns two gold bracelets and has more than $2.2 million in WSOP earnings, first cashed in the Main Event way back in 1987 when he finished 14th for $12,500. The very next year, he made the final table of the $10,000 buy-in event and ultimately finished in fourth for $77,000. Had it not been for three other players–Johnny Chan, Erik Seidel and Ronald Graham–Brenes would have been a WSOP Main Event champ. Brenes went on to add a 26th-place finish in the 1990 WSOP Main Event; 25th in 2000; 41st in 2003; 36th in 2006; 83rd in 2007; 736th in 2010; and ultimately 584th in this year’s Main Event.
Likewise, Team Online’s Haxton finished 94th in the 2007 WSOP Main Event for $67,535 before taking 455th this year for $24,480, while the UK’s Cody took 647th in 2011 for $19,359 before besting that with a 400th-place finish this year for $28,063. France’s Grospellier, who is another bracelet winner, has also had success in the Main Event finishing 370th in 2008 for $28,950; 122nd in 2009 for $40,288; and 295th in 2013 for $32,242.
One Team PokerStars Pro who has had tremendous success in the WSOP Main Event is Russia’s Demidov; in fact, he made his career by finishing runner-up to Peter Eastgate in the 2008 Main Event for $5,809,595. Since then Demidov has been representing PokerStars in tournaments around the world, but it wasn’t until this summer that he was able to get something going in the tournament that made him a household name. Demidov was the penultimate Team Pro in the field and finished in 280th place for $37,019.
Demidov’s final hand came in Level 20 (6,000/12,000/2,000) when he raised to 35,000 only to have Christopher Kinane three-bet to 85,000. Demidov responded with a four-bet shove for more than 700,000 and Kinane quickly called with the A♣A♥, which had the Russian’s A♠K♥ dominated. The board ran out 9♣J♥A♦5♦2♠ and that was all she wrote for the 2008 runner-up.
That left Luske as the last Team PokerStars Pro remaining in the Main Event. If you recall, “The Flying Dutchman” actually made his name in the same tournament back in 2003 when he sang his way to a 14th-place finish for $65,000, and then followed that up by bubbling the Main Event final table in 2004 after finishing in tenth place for $373,000–the best finish of Dutchman in the Main Event up to that point. Luske’s wouldn’t cash in the Main Event for another eight years when he placed 102nd for $52,718, and interestingly, he managed back-to-back cashes once again by taking 261st in this year’s tournament for $37,019.
Unfortunately for Luske, he wouldn’t become the first Dutchman to make the final table. That honor went to Michiel Brummelhuis, who is a member of this year’s November Nine. Nonetheless, we congratulate Luske on being the last Team PokerStars Pro standing in the 2013 WSOP and to all the other team members who had success in Las Vegas over the summer.
Photos courtesy Poker Photo Archive