The 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event is just around the corner, kicking off on Monday July 2. The winner of that one will ultimately grab the headlines, but there have already been some pretty interesting stories to emerge out of the Vegas desert this summer…
The FIFA World Cup comes but once every four years. The same goes for the Olympics, presidential elections, and, up until recently, Phil Ivey sightings.
As poker fans and players, then, we’re pretty lucky to get the WSOP every year. For a month and a half each summer, thousands upon thousands of players congregate within the halls of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in an attempt to win a bracelet. The most prestigious of all? The $10,000 Main Event bracelet, of course.
But that doesn’t mean the other 77 other bracelets awarded throughout the series are throwaway; far from it. In fact, we’ve seen some pretty awesome stories crop up as the days tick on.
Here are five of the top stories from the 2018 WSOP so far.
Farzad ‘Freddy’ Bonyadi is a 59-year-old poker player from Tehran, Iran. He has three WSOP bracelets to his name, winning his first back in 1998 for $430K, his second in 2004 ($87K), and his third in 2005 ($595K).
Why am I telling you this? Well, because at this year’s WSOP, the winner of the $1K Super Seniors Event was one Farhintaj Bonyadi. Farzad’s mum.
For the first time ever (we think – don’t hold us to that!) there is a mother and son duo who have both won pieces of poker jewellery. Farhintaj Bonyadi outlasted a couple of thousand people to take home the $311,451 first-place prize and the bracelet, overcoming a 4.5:1 chip deficit heads-up to clinch the victory.
“She wants to catch me now,” Farzad told WSOP reporters after his mother’s win. “She did it all on her own. I told her to play patiently when she was short and she did it. I think she played masterfully today.” “
I’m just so happy!” added Farhintaj.
She’s happy all right
You normally have to be within the Rio to bag yourself a bracelet, but the times they are a’ changin’. You don’t even need to be in Las Vegas anymore.
Matthew Mendez, known on PokerStars as ‘MattEMenz’, became the first player in WSOP history to win a bracelet from New Jersey, after he took down the $565 WSOP.com ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed event.
The win banked Mendez $135,077, plus a free family holiday as the WSOP are flying him and his nearest and dearest out to Vegas for the bracelet ceremony.
Here on the PokerStars Blog, we’re very familiar with the work of Nick Petrangelo. He’s a regular on the PokerStars Live tours, playing just about every high roller and super high roller going.
Petrangelo took down the $100K NLHE High Roller event early in the series for an enormous $2.91 million score, the largest of his stellar career to date. It also gave him his second bracelet, having won a $3K SHOOTOUT back in 2015.
Another massive result for Petrangelo
There were plenty of other familiar faces at the final table too, with Elio Fox (2nd), Ayman Hata (3rd), Andreas Eiler (4th), Bryn Kenney (5th), Stephen Chidwick (6th), Jason Koon (7th, and Adrian Mateos (8th) rounding out the finale.
Everyone wants to win the WSOP Player of the Year title, even if they won’t admit it. The main reasons being that, by winning it, you’ve undoubtedly had a very highly profitable summer. And the second reason being that, when you return next year, you’ll see a big ol’ banner of yourself hanging in the Amazon Room.
The two players sitting at the top of the POY leaderboard currently are Shaun Deeb (2,662.25 points) and John Hennigan (2,616.86), both of whom have picked up bracelets this year.
Deeb’s no.1 right now…
Deeb took down the $25K PLO High Roller event for his third bracelet and a cool $1.4 million, having already cashed in nine events leading up to it. Meanwhile Hennigan, who won the $10K H.O.R.S.E. for $414,692 and his fifth piece of WSOP gold, followed up that win immediately by finishing runner-up in the highly coveted $50K Poker Players Championship event for another $765,837 (we’ll get to that in a moment). Not a bad few days for Johnny World, though.
…but Hennigan isn’t far behind
There are no double bracelet winners…yet.
There are no two ways around it: Michael Mizrachi is a sick human being. You’d have to be to pony up fifty grand and put yourself in the firing line of the world’s best poker players every year, only to win the event three times in the 12 years it has existed (2010, 2012, and now 2018).
Three-time champ, Michael Mizrachi
Mizrachi captured his fourth bracelet when he won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship yet again, defeating the aforementioned Hennigan heads-up for the $1,239,126 winner’s prize. The final table also included Dan Smith (3rd), Mike Leah (4th), Benny Glaser (5th), and Aaron Katz (6th).
He told WSOP reporters: “It’s quite an accomplishment. To win the first one was amazing. The second one was great. The third one is unheard of.”
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.