[RR] “Other than the Main Event champion, what was the biggest news of this year’s World Series of Poker?” Roderick the Rock inquired.
[SS] “Phil Hellmuth won his record 15th bracelet in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold ‘Em turbo”, Stan the Stat responded. “He’s now an impressive five ahead of Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey. Ivey returned with four cashes, so the race isn’t over yet, but Hellmuth is so far ahead of the next active player, that nobody else is likely to catch him for a long time. Erik Seidel has eight bracelets, but none in over decade. Daniel Negreanu is active enough but has just six (Jeff Lisandro may be a better bet, also at six).”
[LL] “Hellmuth will play every single event if anyone starts closing in”, Leroy the Lion chipped in. “I wouldn’t count Ivey out, but only if he realizes that bracelets will add more to his legacy than any amount of high stakes cash game winnings ever could.”
[SS] “Hellmuth’s bracelet was also his fourth in the 2010’s, tied for the lead with George Danzer (who got to four first in 2016), Jason Mercier (who tied him later that year), Brian Hastings and Brian Rast (who each won one bracelet this year), and Joe Cada and Shaun Deeb (the two double-bracelet winners this year). Impressively, Hellmuth has 11 bracelets in other decades while those other six have combined for just 1 (Mercier in 2009).
There hadn’t been a double-bracelet winner by the time the Main Event started, but the Main Event had been moved up a couple of weeks, and Deeb, Cada, and Justin Bonomo all pulled it off in the remaining 13 events. Cada jumped into The Closer,1 just two days after his 5th place Main Event finish, while Bonomo, who’s on a tear this year, captured the Big One for One Drop for ten million dollars to leap from third in the career tournament earnings list to first over Negreanu and Seidel.
[RR] “How did the women do?”
[SS] “No female won a solo, open event, but Nikita Luther took down the $1,000 Tag Team event, splitting $175,805 with her teammate Giuseppe Pantaleo. She was just the third Israeli to win a bracelet, and not surprisingly, the first female.
And Fahrintaj Bonyadi won the Super Seniors at age 83. She was a whopping 23 years above the eligibility cutoff, and she and her son Farzad Bonyadi became the first mother and son to win bracelets.
The highest finishing female in a solo, open event was Kate Hoang, who was the runner up to Julien Martini in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for $148,150. Katherine Fleck was third in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud, while Carol Fuchs, who won the $1,500 Dealers Choice Six Handed in 2015, was third in the Mixed $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better.
[LL] “Vanessa Selbst probably would have won at least one bracelet if she hadn’t retired.”
[SS] “Certainly possible. There were a record 78 events, producing a record 79 winners from 18 different countries:”
||Canada, England, France, Russia
||Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Columbia, India, Israel, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Spain
- Despite its name, “The Closer” was only the second to last event to finish, with the Big One for One Drop starting and ending last.