Nenad Medic Wins Impressive First Final Table

by , Jun 2, 2008 | 2:38 am

Results are in from Event #1. For some reason I thought Medic was an Arizonan — but turns out he’s a Serb now living in Canada.

Regardless, who knew such amazing action was going on? I think ESPN gets a hit with their first episode … and I gotta say, even though it was apparently all going down a tequila-bottle’s throw from the press box, I am looking forward to seeing how Nenad beat such an impressive field:

Official Report
Event # 1
Pot-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $ 10,000
Number of Entries: 352
Total Net Prize Pool: $ 3,308,800
May 30-June 1, 2008

Final Results:

1 Nenad Medic $794,112.00 Niagara Falls Canada
2 Andy Bloch $488,048.00 Las Vegas Nevada
3 Kathy Liebert $306,064.00 Las Vegas Nevada
4 Mike Sexton $248,160.00 Las Vegas Nevada
5 Amit Makhija $198,528.00 Brookfield Wisconsin
6 Chris Bell $157,168.00 Raleigh North Carolina
7 Patrik Antonius $124,080.00 Helsinki Finland
8 Mike Sowers $99,264.00 Thomasville North Carolina
9 Phil Laak $74,448.00 Dublin Ireland

Nolan Dalla’s official report below:

10. John Kabbaj $49,632.00 London England
11. Ryan Young $49,632.00 Torrance California
12. Nikolay Evdakov $49,632.00 Moscow Russia
13. David Benefield $41,360.00 Fort Worth Texas
14. Chris Gildone $41,360.00 Cleveland Ohio
15. Justin Newton $41,360.00 Tucson Arizona
16. Andreas Krause $33,088.00 Stuttgart Germany
17. Alexander Kostritsyn $33,088.00 Moscow Russia
18. Michael Pesek $33,088.00 Carol Stream Illinois
19. Eli Elezra $26,470.00 Henderson Nevada
20. Rolf Slotboom $26,470.00 Amsterdam Netherlands
21. Anthony Licastro $26,470.00 Long Valley New Jersey
22. Dustin Woolf $26,470.00 Los Angeles California
23. David Stroj $26,470.00 Tijuana Mexico
24. Vivek Rajkumar $26,470.00 Seattle Washington
25. Ted Lawson $26,470.00 Plantation Florida
26. Joseph Sanders $26,470.00 Lima Peru
27. Jerri Thomas $26,470.00 Hamilton Ohio
28. Ben Sprengers $23,162.00 Plantation Florida
29. Raphael Zimmerman $23,162.00 Omaha Nebraska
30. Mark Newhouse $23,162.00 Chapel Hill North Carolina
31. Matthew Graham $23,162.00 Las Vegas Nevada
32. Chuck Pacheco $23,162.00 Los Angeles California
33. David Bach $23,162.00 Athens Georgia
34. Marco Johnson $23,162.00 Walnut Creek California
35. Tommy Vinas $23,162.00 Houston Texas
36. Kazuki Ikeuchi $23,162.00 Tokyo Japan

Tournament Notes:

• This event attracted one of the most accomplished fields in history. Of the 352 entrants, 84 were former WSOP gold bracelet winners – amounting to about 24 percent of the field. The 84 former winners hold a combined 143 gold bracelets between them – which amounts of about 20 percent of all the gold bracelets won in the 39-year history of the WSOP.

• All four of the former WSOP “Player of the Year” winners – Daniel Negreanu, Allen Cunningham, Jeff Madsen, and Tom Schneider – entered this event.

• Eight former WSOP champions played in this event. They included Jamie Gold, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Jim Bechtel, Berry Johnston, Tom McEvoy, and Doyle Brunson.

• The tournament began with a short opening ceremony, which included a recital of “Viva Las Vegas” by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas marching band. The ceremony also included welcoming remarks by Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP Commissioner. Pollack stated that all WSOP gold bracelet winners will be awarded “Diamond Status” at Harrahs Entertainment properties, entitling many special rewards and privileges.

• The customary “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement was made by ten-time gold bracelet winner and two-time world champion Doyle Brunson.

• No question, the World Series of Poker (emphasis added) is truly global. Of the 36 players who finished in-the-money, 11 different nations were represented – including Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, and the United States.

• Four different nations were represented at the final table – including Canada, Finland, Ireland, and the United States.

• This was the first WSOP event of the year to be televised by ESPN. The final table was played on the ESPN stage, surrounded by the Milwaukee’s Best Light All-In Lounge. Seating for WSOP final tables remains free and open to the public.

• Prior to the final table start, Mike Sexton made the astute observation that this might have been the only final table in poker history which included five (or more) players who each won a million dollars-plus in a single tournament, not including the WSOP Main Event. Sexton, Bloch, Medic, Antonius, and Liebert have all accomplished that feat.

• Another interesting side note was that Mike Sexton had more career WSOP final table appearances (20) than the rest of the eight-handed final table combined.

• Mike Sexton also currently ranks ninth on the all-time number of cashes list in WSOP history, with 45.

• If the very first hand of the first final table is any indication of what’s to come at this year’s WSOP, things should be exhilarating. On the first hand of play, Phil “the Unibomber” Laak moved all-in with pocket jacks. High-stakes poker shark and heartthrob Patrik Antonius called his raise and showed pocket kings. A jack on the flop brought wild cheers from the crowd and a dance from Laak. But a king on the river gave Antonius the pot, leaving Laak low on chips. He busted out only a few hands later holding the same dreaded hand – pocket jacks (Nenad Medic’s pocket aces won the pot).

• Laak’s final table appearance was short, but highly memorable. Known for his unpredictable antics, Laak brought along a stack of “Post It” notes to the table. When he moved all-in (three times), Laak wrote private notes and then approached ESPN’s rolling TV cameras. While his opponent was contemplating a decision, Laak wrote “Please Fold!” and other whimsical comments.

• Phil Laak was joined by poker aficionado and former Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly, who sat among the capacity crowd.

• The 2008 Pot-Limit Hold’em world champion is Nenad Medic. He is a 25-year-old professional poker player from Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada). Medic was born in Serbia. He is single, but has a devoted girlfriend who was following the final table action back in Canada.

• At a final table filled with thrilling moments, perhaps the most exciting hand took place when play was three-handed. Kathy Liebert moved all-in with her pocket sixes. Andy Bloch moved all-in over the top with his pocket nines. Nenad Medic called with pocket queens. Medic’s higher pair held up, and he maintained the chip lead for the remainder of the tournament.

• The winning hand was Medic’s 7h-5h against Bloch’s 9h-9d. After the flop came 8h-5s-4h, Medic re-raised all-in with his combination straight and flush draw. Bloch called with his overpair (nines). The Jh on the turn gave Medic his heart flush, which scooped the final pot of the night.

• Today (June 1st) marked Andy Bloch’s 39th birthday. He started play at the final table with the chip lead. It was a mixed blessing for Bloch to win $488,048 in second-place prize money, but not win his most-justified first WSOP gold bracelet. Bloch is perhaps best known in poker for his near heroic second-place finish to poker legend Chip Reese in the 2006 $50,000 buy-in HORSE championship, which included an all-time record eight hours of heads-up play.

• Afterward, Bloch commented: “Obviously, there are more important things in life than winning poker tournaments. I know its sacrilege for a poker player to say that. But all you can do in poker and life, in general, is do your best, and play your best – and hopefully the best thing will happen. That’s all I do when I sit down at a poker table. I try to play my best.”

• When play was at four-handed during a break, Mike Sexton (who was till alive in the tournament) remarked that he thought eventual winner Nenad Medic is “one of the toughest No-Limit Hold’em players (he) has ever seen.” Sexton’s high praise proved to be well-deserved as Medic ended up as the champion.

• The seventh place finisher was Patrik Antonius. The Finnish-born poker star, who now lives in Las Vegas, has become one of the top high-stakes players in the world. He regularly plays in (and often dominates) cash games with seven-figure swings. However, Antonius has yet to achieve every poker player’s dream – winning a WSOP gold bracelet.

• James Gorham was the unfortunate bubble victim. He finished in 37th place. Only the top 36 players were paid.

• Jerri Thomas became the first woman to cash at the 2008 WSOP. The former gold bracelet winner (2000 – Seven-Card Stud) took 27th place, worth $26,470. This marked her 11th career WSOP cash.

• Not to be outdone, another former WSOP gold bracelet winner Kathy Liebert became the first female to make it to a final table at the 2008 WSOP. She finished in third place and collected $306,064.

• Former major league baseball star Orel Hershiser played in this event. The former National League MVP and World Series (of baseball) MVP played most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hershiser has become an avid poker player in recent years.

• The tournament was played over three days. The first day included ten levels and was played from 12 noon until 12:45 am (352 players played down to 70). Day Two was played from 2 pm until 4:45 am (70 players played down to nine). The final table of nine players was played on Day Three and started at 3 pm and ended at 11:45 pm.

• While all 55 WSOP tournaments on the 2008 schedule are categorized as “gold bracelet” events, this is also known as a “world championship” event. This means the winner of this event is the “Pot-Limit Hold’em world champion.” Beginning this year, all $10,000+ buy-in tournaments are designated as official “world championships.” This means a total of ten WSOP tournaments are world championships. This includes eight preliminary tournaments with $10,000 buy-ins, the $50,000 buy-in HORSE event, and the main event.

• This was the first time that a $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em event has ever been included on the WSOP schedule. The previous highest buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament in history was $5,000. Last year’s $5,000 buy-in tournament (Event #13) attracted 398 players. Given the doubling of the entry fee in 2008, there were some concerns about the number of players this event would attract. However, 352 players entered Event #1, creating the largest Pot-Limit Hold’em prize pool in poker history. The total prize pool for this tournament amounted to a record $3,308,800. The top 36 players collected prize money.

• 2008 Pot-Limit Hold’em world champion Nenad Medic received $794,112. This now stands as a record amount of prize money paid to the winner of a Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament.

• ESPN will air the telecast of this event on July 22, 2008.

Note: All results are official and may be reprinted by media.

5 Comments to “Nenad Medic Wins Impressive First Final Table”

  1. DanM

    BTW, just noticed that Phil Laak has himself listed as from Dublin, Ireland. I never thought of him as an Andy Black homie – always thought of that as more Californian.

  2. UK Poker Player

    Hey – THanks for the post and the great play by play action. I follow this site all the time for stuff like this. As a fellow Canadian, I couldn’t be prouder of Nenad Medic!!!

  3. TBR

    I note from this picture that perhaps the best change the WSOP made this year (and didn’t really go mentioned) was changing the beyond-$5,000 denomination chips so there are no longer the confusing varying versions of orange/salmon.

  4. Fawcett

    That is TBR’s way of reminding everyone he has made if far enough in a WSOP tourney to gather 5k chips…those pesky colors must have been the source of the first to out in 5 hours in the main event last year, huh? GO BATFACES!!!

  5. TBR

    et tu, Fawcett? Sadly, too true, sir, too true.