The 2012 World Series of Poker kicked off last week with the $1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em Event. The event saw near-record entries with over 2,000 players competing for their share of a staggering $2.8 million. The final table took 3 days to reach and finally awarded the first bracelet of the WSOP to Brent Hanks. His first win at the WSOP added a cool $517,725 to his wallet. In total, 216 players cashed. Some of the more notable names were Phil Hellmuth in 61st, John Juanda in 25th, and former runner up in the Main Event Paul Wasicka finished in 20th. Vanessa Selbst was among the well-known players at the final table, and was looking to end a 4-year drought of female players winning an event at the WSOP. She was actually the last to do so back in 2008. Unfortunately, she couldn't pull through and finished in 4th place for $161,345. However, her win did put her over the $5 million mark in worldwide lifetime poker winnings. We’re sure to see more of her in the months to come.
The big pros are starting to make some noise in the first few events as well. Daniel Negreanu made his first final table of the series in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold 'Em event. He was not able to secure his 5th bracelet, however, and finished in 5th place for $41,683. John Juanda continued his consistent play and finished 18th for $7,254.
The most impressive feat so far at this year's WSOP is Mike Sexton's cash in multiple events. Sure, this doesn't sound like a big deal; many players will cash in more than event this year. Sexton’s cash is so impressive because he was playing multiple events at the same time. He first entered the $3,000 Heads Up Mixed Event. Shortly afterward, he began play in the $1,500 Stud Eight or Better that ran simultaneously. He went deep in both and finished in the top 16 in each event. Many players will play events that run at the same time, but this is the first time in WSOP history a player has finished in the top 16 in two events running simultaneously.
The Heads Up mixed event was the first of its kind at the WSOP. 317 players played alternating levels of No Limit Hold 'Em and Pot Limit Omaha. Leif Force ended up champion after defeating 9 players on his way to a $207,708 payday. Past Main Event runner ups David Williams and Josh Arieh finished 13th and 14th while Annette Oberstad came in a respectable 8th.
The $1,500 Stud Eight or Better event featured one of the toughest fields in recent memory. Looking at the roster of entrants was more like looking at a Who's Who of poker. Todd, Brunson, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Sexton, David Singer, Daniel Negreanu, and more were among the 622 players registered. Only one could win, and that winner came in the form of Cory Ziedman. Ziedman may be remembered for his supposed slow roll of Jennifer Harman in the 2003 WSOP. The televised hand aired on ESPN in 2003 and showed Ziedman taking time to call a bet from Harman on the river with the Royal Flush. When the hands were flipped over, Harman was visibly upset over Ziedman's actions. Cory claims he misread his hand and to his defense it appeared that way.
Long time poker pro Andy Bloch finally reached Gold with his first bracelet in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Event. He defeated fellow pro Barry Greenstein heads up to win the elusive bracelet and $126,363 in cash. Andy has been a long-time WSOP participant and has made many deep runs including a few final tables, but could never close the deal. Also at the final table was David Williams. Williams has been off to a good start at the 2012 WSOP with 2 deep finishes and 1 final table.
So far no big name pro has won a bracelet, but many are making it close. Each final table to date has featured at least one big name and most are at least cashing. It will be interesting to see which one will win the first bracelet. Follow all the WSOP events on PokerNews.com with their 2012 WSOP Live Coverage presented by PokerStars.
The first week of the 2012 WSOP events brought a lot of great poker, but it wasn't all business for these professional poker players. Check out Vanessa Rousso and Friend's WSOP Kickoff Party video, brought to you buy CardPlayer.com.