It was almost a clean sweep for the USA in Event #53 at the 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, as USA residents took nine of the top ten spots in the competition.
Event #53 was a $1,500 buy-in, limit Texas hold ‘em shootout tournament that had 823 entrants, 90 payouts and a total prize pool of about $1.1 million.
The winner was Matt Graham, a 24-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, earning his first WSOP gold bracelet and $278,180.
Runnerup was Jean-Robert Bellande of Los Angeles, California, USA, landing $173,564.
Third was Joe DeNiro of Studio City, California, USA, denicely winning $107,845.
Fourth was Brandon Wong of Fresno, California, USA, winging up $69,088
Fifth was Dan Wong of Las Vegas, no relation to Brandon Wong, winning $33,701.
Sixth was Spencer Lawrence of London, England, donning $20,221.
Seventh was John Kranyak of New York City, New York, USA, yakking it up after copping $13,480.
Eighth was Andrew Prock of Oakland, California, USA, pocketing $10,335.
Ninth was Mike “The Battler” Kachan of Edina, Minnesota, USA, catching $7,526.
Tenth was Duane Graff of Hickory Hills, Illinois, USA, dunning $5,055.
With Event #53 in the books, the only remaining public event of the 55-event 2008 WSOP is the Main Event, which began Thursday.
There is also a WSOP tournament that is open only to casino employees.
In past years, the Main Event has been the final event of the WSOP.
There were 55 separate tournaments at the 2007 WSOP, for example, and Event #55 was the Main Event.
It’s just been learned that, for some reason, the head honchos at the WSOP rejiggered that this year, so officially, Event #54 at the 2008 WSOP will be the Main Event, while Event #55 at the 2008 WSOP will be the casino employees only tourney.
Event #55, a $500 buy-in, no-limit Texas hold ‘em tourney that starts Monday, will award cash prizes but will not award a WSOP championship gold bracelet to the winner, because the event is not open to the general public.
It’s the only WSOP event of the 55 not to award the coveted gold piece of jewelry to the victor.
(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])