Shulman Wins WSOP-E
Negreanu Becomes All-Time Tournament Money Winner

+Semi-renegade video of the knockout blows

by , Oct 2, 2009 | 9:15 am

It was a seemingly epic battle for a queen’s ransom that went well into the wee hours GMT … old-school poker in Poker’s N€w World, if you will.

And making his second consecutive go at the WSOP-E main-event title, runner-up Daniel Negreanu would come up two outs short of being “happy” that he just became the biggest winner in the history of tournament poker.

Negreanu knocked out six of the other final table-ists to get heads-up. And yet in the end Barry Shulman — CardPlayer’s overlord emeritus — held strong in a war of presumably tight aggression to win £801,603 (= $1,283,687 USD). That, of course, is almost exactly the amount his son Jeff has been guaranteed for making the November Nine. No added pressure/father’s shadow issues for sure.

Negreanu’s second-place finish and £496k payday propelled him to the top of the all-time tourney-money leaderboard, passing Jamie Gold and Phil Ivey — who now needs to finish 6th-or-better this November to re-pass Negreanu as the winningest tournament player ever.

(Thanks, Lance, for the deets!)

Here’s video of the final two hands from The Casino at the Empire, Leicester Square:

(If for some reason the above vid disappears, you can find the original page here.)

For those of us debating how ESPN and PokerPROductions (a different film crew than the gang producing WSOP-LV episodes) should do their broadcasting jobs … it seems this 6-day event will be shown in 2 hours, not 20 … and that includes squeezing in the Caesar’s Cup! While that may not seem to do poker-junkie justice to a tournament that kept a bunch of us jaded, immune-to-tourney-hype types checking in on the action for more than 16 hours of final table play, I suppose movie-length could work, too.

UPDATE: Clarification of ESPN’s programming intent in the comments below (from ESPN sources who would know). They plan to give it way too much more coverage than implied above.

Click below for Nolan’s official write-up/script:

2009 World Series of Poker Europe Presented by Betfair
Casino at the Empire (London Clubs International)
(Leicester Square) London, UK

Official Final Report
WSOPE Event 4
2009 WSOP Gold Bracelet Event: 61
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: £10,000 (= $16,020 USD)
Number of Entries: 334
Total Net Prize Pool: £3,340,000 (= $5,348,677 USD)
Number of Places Paid: 36
First Place Prize: £801,603 (= $1,283,687 USD)
26 September to 1 October 2009

Tournament Report

Event Headlines –

1. Card Player CEO Barry Shulman Wins 2009 World Series of Poker Europe Championship

2. Card Player Ace Barry Shulman Wins Second WSOP Gold Bracelet

3. Thrilling 5:00 AM Poker Hand Decides Fate in Fantastic Finish

4. Poker Titans Shulman and Negreanu Battle Heads-Up for Three Hours in WSOP Europe Finale – Card Player CEO Victorious

5. Negreanu Now the All-Time Leading Money Winner (Overall) in Poker Tournament History — $12 Million in Earnings, and Growing

6. World Series of Poker Continues to Impress: Overall Tournament Attendance for All WSOP Europe Events Increases 19.7 Percent over Last Year

7. Sixty Gold Bracelets Won – With One to Go: WSOP Main Event Final Table Championship Begins on November 7th

The Champion (Barry Shulman) –

· The 2009 World Series of Poker Europe £10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event champion is Barry Shulman, from Las Vegas, NV.

· Shulman is the 63-year-old CEO of Card Player Magazine and Shulman Media.

· Shulman was born in Seattle, WA. He became a millionaire through real estate investments. After retiring from real estate during the mid-1990s, Shulman moved to Las Vegas to play poker professionally and bought the poker industry’s leading publication, Card Player magazine, in 1999. He initially served as its President and Publisher. His son Jeff, assumed the role of Editor at Card Player in 2001.

· Barry’s son, Jeff Shulman, is one of the famed “November Nine,” who will compete for the 2009 world poker championship next month.

· Shulman’s wife Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman is also a dedicated poker player. She plays regularly on the tournament circuit and competes in many WSOP events. Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman supported her husband from the audience during the entire 16.5-hour finale.

· Shulman became a grandfather recently.

· Shulman collected £801,603 for first place. The cash prize is equal to about $1,283,687 in U.S. dollars.

· According to official records, Shulman now has 2 wins, 8 final table appearances, and 14 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

· Shulman currently has $1,574,955 in career WSOP winnings.

· This was the second victory at WSOP Europe ever by a player from the United States. Nations which have placed players in the winners’ circle at London include: Denmark (2), Finland, Afghanistan (1), Germany (1), England (1), Canada (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), and the United States (2).

Winner Quotes (Barry Shulman) –

Note: WSOP Europe Main Event champion Barry Shulman was interviewed moments after his victory.

· On where this victory ranks among his many accomplishments in both business and poker: “It’s a lot of fun for me to be here right now. It’s been great. When I moved to Vegas, I took up poker. I tried to prove that I could beat the best in the world. I got pretty good for a while, but then I started to focus more on my business at Card Player (magazine). Since then, I have not been playing as hard. Now, I’m back on the winning trail and feeling very good about it.”

· On there this final table ranks in terms of toughness: “When I broke into poker, the big tournaments had like 100 people…. and when I would sit down at the table I would know 6 or 7 of the players at my table. But since the days of Chris Moneymaker and Internet poker, now I only know maybe one-third of the people. This tournament – because it was a relatively small field (compared to regular WSOP events in Las Vegas) – attracted the best players in Europe and brought over the best player in the United States. So, there just were no weak spots, to use a poker expression – at least at my tables.”

· On his thoughts as “the hand” played out: “The truth is, because it was on television and we were heads up, I knew I got in with the best hand (holding pocket aces). When the jack came on the turn (giving Negreanu three-of-a-kind and making him the huge favorite), I had pretty much given up. I said to myself, ‘well, at least I am not going to be embarrassed here. What are you going to do? That’s poker.’ When the ace came (on the river), I just about passed out.”

· On what still motivates him to play and compete in many of the world’s toughest poker tournaments: “I love winning. I also have a wife who has expensive tastes.”

· On what he will tell his son, Jeff Shulman, who is one of the November Nine finalists: “I did my part. Now, you do your part. It’s your turn to win.”

· On his pick to win the 2009 WSOP Main Event: “Take a guess.”

The Final Table –

· The final table included six former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Daniel Negreanu (6 wins). Chris Bjorin (2 wins), Jason Mercier (1 win), Praz Bansi (1 win), Matt Hawrilenko (1 win), and Barry Shulman (1 win).

· The final table was played nine-handed.

· The final table included two members of the famed “November Nine,” which will play for the world poker championship, to be held next month in Las Vegas. James Akenhead arrived at this final table ranked second in chips (he is ninth in chips going into the N9 championship). Antoine Saout arrived at this final table ranked sixth in chips (he is eighth going into the N9 championship). Russian poker pro Ivan Demidov was the only other player to make it to both final tables at the WSOP Main Event and WSOP Europe, which was accomplished last year.

· The final table was played on the main stage of the Empire Casino. The cozy confines of the Empire made for a cavernous atmosphere. All seats were filled to capacity. Spectators lined the surrounding rails and staircases in order catch a glimpse of the action. As players were eliminated and day turned to night, the crowd size actually grew as there were far more spectators than space available. A nearby bar, located adjacent to the feature table supplied a steady stream of (ahem) refreshments.

· It took more than five hours to eliminate the first player from the finale. That moment finally came when James Akenhead was knocked out late in the afternoon. This fell short of the WSOP record for longest span at a final table without an elimination, which is about six hours. Once Akenhead went out first, four more eliminations quickly took place within a 90-minute span.

· Despite so many accomplished tournament players at the final, local poker pros Praz Bansi and James Akenhead enjoyed the most rousing cheering sections. The home field advantage seemed to particularly favor Bansi, who constantly turned and looked to the crowd for their support and enthusiasm.

· The ultimate winner Barry Shulman arrived at the final table ranked fourth in chips out of nine players. He took the lead about two-thirds of the way through the finale, then see-sawed back and forth with Daniel Negreanu before finally prevailing.

· When heads-up play began, Negreanu enjoyed slightly better than a 3 to 2 lead over Shulman. The exact chip counts were: Negreanu with 6,180,000 vesus Shulman with 3,855,000.

· During a short break while the two finalists were being re-positioned, Negreanu was interviewed at tableside and remarked: “Playing against Barry (Shulman) is dangerous. There is no pressure on him. That makes him very difficult to play against, because I can’t be sure where I am at. I’ve played a lot of hours with Barry and think I have him somewhat figured out. But he’s got at least one advantage against me, which is having no pressure.”

· During the same break in the action, Barry Shulman was interviewed briefly. He commented: “This is exactly what I was hoping for. To be playing heads up for the gold bracelet, especially with Daniel. It’s perfect. I’m on a complete freeroll. I’m having a lot of fun.”

· After about an hour of heads-up play, a critical hand took place. Shulman was down about 5-3 in chips and after the flop, he moved all-in on a flush draw. He held the A-5 of hearts and was down to a heart draw when the board showed Kd-8h-6h. Negreanu called the all-in semi-bluff instantly and tabled two black aces. Negreanu was two cards away from the championship. But a heart on the turn saved Shulman from extinction, and deflated Negreanu’s momentum. That critical hand gave Shulman about a 3 to 1 advantage.

· Negreanu never gave up. It took another two hours, but Negreanu finally regained the chip lead. There were no all-in moments, nor memorable hands along the way. Rather, Negreanu simply managed to chop away slowly at Shulman. About three hours into heads-up play, the two well-known poker personalities were about dead-even in chips.

· Poker fans everywhere will certainly be talking about what is destined to become known as “the hand.” The dramatic climax of this event rivaled the legendary Mansour Matloubi vs. Hans “Tuna” Lund’s late confrontation during the 1990 WSOP Main Event (often described as the most exciting hand in WSOP history). WSOP Europe’s decisive hand came when Negreanu was dealt Q-J. Shulman was dealt A-A. After the flop came J-x-x, Negreanu (holding top pair — jacks) bet out and Shulman raised all in (with an overpair — aces). Negreanu thought for a few minutes, and then finally announced, “Call.” Negreanu didn’t know it, but he was way behind. As the crowd rose to its feet, screaming for various cards, the turn nearly blew the roof off the Empire Casino. It was a jack, giving Negreanu a near-miracle catch and putting him a single card away from winning what would have been a fifth WSOP gold bracelet. Negreanu, blushing from the good fortune, stood in marked contrast to the ever-somber Shulman, who was desperately drawing to two outs. With his tournament life on the line, down to two remaining aces, the bullet hit. It was an ace — striking Negreanu between the eyes and lifting Shulman to the doorstep of his second WSOP career title. Following screams of horror from everyone except those sitting in the Shulman camp, the room went nearly silent as the full effects of the hand began to set in. It was the most exciting hand of the 2009 WSOP and, once broadcast to a global poker audience, is destined to be remembered for years to come.

· It’s hard to imagine an anti-climatic final hand. But Negreanu’s pocket fours were ultimately crushed by Shulman’s pocket tens. A ten flopped – good for a set – which amounted to running up the score after the game was over. The carnage was complete at 5:17 am in front of a packed casino, who had all witnessed one of tournament poker’s most thrilling finishes.

· Echoing the rivalry ignited by the inaugural Caesars Cup held the previous week won by Team Europe, which saw Team Americas humiliated by Team Europe – this final table was comprised of a mix of (5) Europeans and (4) Americans.

· The runner up was Daniel Negreanu, from Las Vegas, NV. Negreanu is one of the world’s most famous poker personalities. He holds four WSOP gold bracelets. With his second-place finish in this tournament, which amounted to £495,589 in prize money, Negreanu became the all-time leading money winner for career lifetime earnings. He now has more than $12 million in tournament winnings, which puts him slightly ahead of Phil Ivey. Note that Ivey can re-take the lead should he finish higher than seventh in this year’s Main Event. The race is on.

· Negreanu has now made back-to-back final table at WSOP Europe Main Events. He finished fifth in last year’s championship.

· The third-place finisher was Praz Bansi, from London, UK. The former WSOP gold bracelet winner ($1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em in 2006) seized the chip leader late in the finale. But he was not able to sustain his momentum. Bansi lost two big hands late, resulting in a third-place showing. His share of the prize pool amounted to £360,887.

· The fourth-place finisher was Jason Mercier, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The end result was a bitter disappointment for the former gold bracelet winner, who has been one of tournament poker’s most successful players over the past year. Mercier, who won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event earlier this year, also won the EPT championship at San Remo (Italy) as well as the £1 Million Showdown, in London. Mercier had higher ambitions in this finale, given his lofty chip advantage from the start. But Mercier ultimately lost his lead, his edge, and the remainder of his chips and ended up as the fourth-place finisher – worth £267,267 in prize money.

· The fifth-place finisher was Markus Ristola, from Helsinki. He hoped to become only the third Finnish citizen ever to win a WSOP gold bracelet – following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Jani Vilmunen and Ville Wahlbeck who both won titles earlier this year. But Ristola came up short when he was eliminated on a big hand against Daniel Negreanu. Ristola ended up with £200,367 in prize money.

· The sixth-place finisher was two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, Chris Bjorin, from London, UK. Bjorin was short-stacked midway through the final table and lost holding A-J against A-Q on his final hand. This was Bjorin’s third cash at this year’s WSOP Europe – the most of any player. He finished 6th in Event #2, 11th in Event #3, and 6th again in the Main Event. Bjorin has now finished in-the-money 50 times in WSOP events, which ranks eighth on the all-time list. Sixth place paid £150,267.

· The seventh-place finisher was Antoine Saout, from St. Martin des Champs, France. Saout lost a race to Daniel Negreanu when his pocket fives were cracked by A-Q suited (Negreanu made a flush). That bounced the Frenchman from the finale, which was good for £114,228 in prize money. Saout returns to the poker limelight again next month, as one of the November Nine.

· The eighth-place finisher was Matt Hawrilenko, from Boston, MA. The former WSOP gold bracelet winner collected more than $1 million for his victory in the $5,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship (Event #56) held earlier this year in Las Vegas. Hawrilenko specializes primarily in cash games, particularly short-handed Limit Hold’em. Poker master Lee Jones called Hawrilenko “one of the top two or three heads-up Limit Hold’em players in the world. The cash game crowd considers him a major deity.” Hawrilenko’s tournament game isn’t bad either, evidenced by four final table appearances this year in WSOP events. Eighth place paid £87,074.

· The ninth-place finisher was James Akenhead, from London, UK. He is one of this year’s “November Nine,” who will play for the WSOP Main Event championship in Las Vegas next month. On his final hand, Akenhead moved all-in pre-flop with A-K and was called by Daniel Negreanu, holding two kings. The big pair held up, eliminating Akenhead. He’ll have another shot at his first gold bracelet on November 7th. Ninth place paid £66,533.

· The final table started at 12:45 pm on Thursday, 1 October. Play ended at 5:17 am. The duration of the finale was 16 hours and 32 minutes, counting breaks.

In-the-Money Finishers –

· The top 36 finishers collected prize money.

· Twelve of the 36 players who cashed (one-third) were former WSOP gold bracelet winners.

· Tony Cousineau, from Daytona Beach, FL finished in 13th place. Cousineau holds a somewhat dubious record (that most any poker player would long for). He has finished in the money 42 times, which is the most of any player who has not yet won a gold bracelet. Cousineau was visibly disgusted when he had plenty of chips late on Day Four, but lost with A-K to a runner-runner flush. “I’m the king of the snake-bitten,” Cousineau shrieked – fittingly ending up as the thirteenth-place in this tournament.

· The 14th-place finisher was English football (soccer) superstar Teddy Sheringham. The 43-year-old semi-retired athlete previously played for the club Manchester United, as well as England’s World Cup team. He has also been awarded an MBE, which is the Member of the Order of the British Empire. Sheringham has become a devoted poker player in recent years. This was his most impressive tournament performance, to date.

· Former WSOP gold bracelet winner Ram Vaswani, from Hendon, UK finished in 15th place. He won the Limit Hold’em Shootout championship in 2007. Vaswani is the youngest member of the famous “Hendon Mob,” a group of five star poker pros based near London. Vaswani is also the only player to date who has made it to four European Poker Tour final tables.

· Doyle’s Brunson’s deep run in this event fueled intense interest worldwide, particularly on Day Four. At one point, Brunson climbed into the top six in chips. But he lost a series of late pots and ended up going out in 17th place. Brunson now has 34 career cashes and nearly $3 million in WSOP lifetime winnings. Brunson was the 1976 and 1977 world poker champion.

· Poker pro Liz Lieu, from Las Vegas, NV was the highest female finisher in this year’s championship tournament. She ended up in 22nd place, and has yet to win her elusive first WSOP title.

· Arnaud Mattern, from Paris, France received a mixed blessing on what was his 30th birthday. He was eliminated on 30 September (his birthday) finishing in 23rd place, which was a disappointment. However, Mattern collected a posh birthday gift totaling £25,918.

· Six-time gold bracelet winner Men “the Master” Nguyen’s 26th-place finish in this tournament gives him 67 career cashes in WSOP events. This currently ranks second on the all-time WSOP cashes list, behind Phil Hellmuth, who has 75.

· John Kabbaj, from London, UK finished in 28th place. He won his first WSOP gold bracelet earlier this year in the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship. Kabbaj’s victory was made even more memorable for the official gold bracelet ceremony held the following day. A rogue version of “God Save the Queen” by the British punk band, the Sex Pistols, was played to honor Kabbaj, instead of the more traditional version of the national anthem.

· Steve Zolotow finished in 32nd place. Zolotow has been playing tournament poker for more than 20 years. Zolotow, also known as “Z” and “The Bald Eagle,” started out playing poker at the legendary Mayfair Club in New York City. He has since won two WSOP gold bracelets.

· David “Devilfish” Ulliott was less than thrilled with his 35th-place finish. The brassy former WSOP gold bracelet winner, who is one of the UK’s most famous poker stars, was displeased at being placed at the feature table multiple times during the tournament. “These kids, they get on television, and they start to play differently,” Ulliott grumbled. “They don’t want to make fools out of themselves, so they play better. Me? I don’t need to be on television. I’ve been on TV hundreds of time. Everyone knows who I am.”

· David Docherty, from Coatbridge, Scotland finished in 36th place. This marked his second in-the-money finish this year at WSOP Europe.

· Players reached the money at the conclusion of Day Three. This amounted to the completion of 17 Levels, or about 26 hours of tournament play.

· Among the 36 in-the-money finishers, the following nine nations were represented: United States (15), England (10), France (3), Brazil (2), Germany (2), Hungary (1), Israel (1), Finland (1), and Scotland (1).

Odds and Ends –

· World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) includes the final four gold bracelet events of the 2009 calendar year. WSOP events 1-57 were played in Las Vegas from 26 May through 15 July. WSOP Events 58-61 (a.k.a. “WSOPE”) were played in London, England from 18 September through 1 October.

· The championship final is classified as “WSOPE Event 4” as well as “WSOPE Event 61” as it is the 61st WSOP gold bracelet event of the 2009 calendar year.

· This marks the third consecutive year of WSOPE, presented by Betfair. In 2007, three gold bracelet events were played. In 2008, four gold bracelet events were played.

· All WSOPE results are included in official WSOP records — including all-time wins, cashes, final table appearances, and so forth.

· This was Tournament Director Jack Effel’s third consecutive year to oversee all the events played at WSOP Europe. Effel has been the WSOP Tournament Director since 2006. In that span he has already run more WSOP events than any other official in history, other than Jack McClelland and Eric Drache.

· Interestingly, former Binion’s Horseshoe legend Drache was also highly visible at WSOP Europe from start to finish. He’s a consultant to Poker Productions, which is owned by television producer Mori Eskandani. Poker Productions was on hand to film WSOP Europe for broadcast on ESPN.

· All four tournaments took place at Casino at the Empire, located in Leicester Square, in Central London. Leicester Square is best known as the theatre district of the city. Casino at the Empire is part of London Clubs International, which is owned by Harrah’s Entertainment.

· Casino at the Empire holds 35 poker tables. Regular gaming tables were removed during the 16-day duration of WSOPE in order to make necessary room for the large turnout of poker players and spectators.

· WSOP Europe is sponsored by Betfair, which is known as the world’s largest betting exchange. According to Betfair: “The exchange allows customers to choose their own odds and bet against each other.” Betfair is a registered, legal bookmaker in the U.K. and is also licensed in Australia, Austria, and Malta. For more information, visit:

· During the play of this final table, Betfair offered a live betting exchange on the outcome.

· Richard Bloch, International PR Manager for Betfair Poker said: “We are thrilled that Barry Shulman has won the third WSOPE main event title presented by Betfair. He faced tough opposition but showed his class and is a very deserving winner.”

· Shulman was presented with his second gold bracelet by WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, who spoke to the capacity crowd afterward and to television cameras: “This has been quite a year for the entire Shulman Family….Barry has been an industry leader and an important voice in poker for more than a decade. I am honored to present him with the gold bracelet he so richly deserves.”

· The tournament will be broadcast later on ESPN. The two-hour program will air initially within the U.S. on 7 February 2010. Coverage will also include the inaugural Caesars Cup, a poker team match between Team Europe and Team Americas, which concluded on 25 September. Air dates in Europe and elsewhere will be announced soon and are expected to be sometime early in 2010.

The Tournament –

· This was a six-day tournament.

· The tournament attracted 334 entries. This was slight decline from the championship event played at the same time last year, which attracted 362 entries.

· Tables were played nine-handed during most of the tournament.

· Players started this tournament with 30,000 in tournament chips.

· The buy-in amount for Event #4 was £10,000 (GBP), which is equivalent to about $16,020 (USD) at the current exchange rate.

· Seven of the ten former WSOPE gold bracelet winners competed in this tournament. They were Sharkahn Farnood, Theo Jorgensen, Annette Obrestad, Dario Alioto, Erik Cajelais, Jani Vilmunen, and John Juanda. None cashed.

· Five former poker world champions played in this event, including Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Huck Seed, and Peter Eastgate. Brunson was the only player to cash.

· Day One lasted six levels, which went about 12 hours. The end of Day One chip leader was American poker player Brian Powell. He did not cash. Powell’s no-cash broke a chain of three consecutive Day One leader/winners. In the first three events at WSOP Europe, the End of Day One chip leader won each event. J.P. Kelly led throughout the tournament in event #1. Erik Cajelais led most of the way in Event #2. And in event #3, Jani Vilmunen enjoyed a decisive advantage following play on Day One and went on to win.

· The first day was filled with several highlights. The day officially began with Doyle Brunson performing the traditional “Shuffle Up and Deal” honors. WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack introduced Brunson by saying, “Doyle was there in Las Vegas at the very start of the WSOP forty years ago. Doyle was also with us when we started WSOP Europe three years ago in London. And, we are proud to have him with us today.” Predictably, Brunson’s grand introduction received a standing ovation from players and spectators.

· During an early break in the action, Pollack presented poker pro Jeffrey Lisandro with his prize for winning 2009 World Series of Poker “Player of the Year” honors. Lisandro, who won a record-tying three gold bracelets in events earlier this year in Las Vegas, received three buy-ins into future WSOP Main Events. He will freeroll the 2010, 2011, and 2012 world poker championships, courtesy of Harrah’s Entertainment. Lisandro’s award is valued at more than $30,000.

· Eleven-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth entered the Empire Casino with his usual flair. He repeated his grand in-your-face entrance into this year’s WSOP Main Event. The poker bombast was clad in full regalia dressed as a Roman gladiator and rode through Leicester Square in Central London on a chariot drawn by a white horse. As if that was not enough pomp and circumstance, Hellmuth was encircled by several muscled centurions and concubines wearing white dresses (11 in all, once for each WSOP gold bracelet won by Hellmuth). “It’s great to be me,” the poker legend mused. Hellmuth’s grand arrival brought a mix of gasps, laughter, and puzzled stares from the thousands of people gathered around London’s theatre district witnessing the spectacle.

· Day Two lasted four levels, which went about 7 hours. The end of Day Two chip leader was Ian Munns, from the UK. However, he did not finish in the money.

· Day Two began later than usual, in observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. Instead of a noon restart time, play on Day Two resumed at 5:30 pm in order to accommodate players who observe the solemn holiday.

· Day Three lasted nearly six levels, which went about 13 hours. The end of Day Three chip leader was Matt Hawrilenko, from Boston, MA. He ended up finishing in eighth place.

· The defending champion was John Juanda, who won his fourth WSOP gold bracelet in an epic battle in last year’s WSOP Europe Main Event championship. Juanda was the victor at what turned out to be the longest final table in WSOP history. This year, Juanda survived until Day Three. He was interviewed shortly after being eliminated and made the following statement:

Of course, I am disappointed not to win. But everyone is an underdog here. It’s not like tennis where Roger Federer wins a series of heads-up matches and repeats five years in a row. Poker is not like that. I have to expect this. I always want to win, but I have to prepare myself for the reality that it does not happen very often.

· Day Four lasted five levels, which went about 11 hours. The end of Day Four chip leader was Jason Mercier. He ended up busting out in fourth place.

WSOP / WSOPE Statistics –

· There have been three WSOP Europe Main Event champions:

2007 – Annette Obrestad
2008 – John Juanda
2009 – Barry Shulman

· The four events at WSOP Europe produced 1,254 total entries. Last year’s four events attracted 1,047 total entries. This represents an increase of 19.7 percent over last year. WSOPE has grown 134 percent since its inception just two years ago. Here’s the breakdown, by year:

2007 (3 events) – 532 total players
2008 (4 events) – 1,047 total players
2009 (4 events) – 1,243 total players

· The total amount of prize money awarded at WSOP Europe since its inception in 2007 (through 11 total events) equals a combined £15,206,996, equal to about $24,305,341. This figure exceeds the total amount of money paid out during the first 12 years of the WSOP (1970-1981). Here’s the annual breakdown:

2007 (3 events) – $7,606,303
2008 (4 events) – $8,526,930
2009 (4 events) – $8,172,108

· Continuing with this year’s gold bracelet winners, by nationality:

WINNERS – BY NATION: Through Event #61 (excluding #57, the Main Event) – the home nations of the WSOP gold bracelet winners read as follows:

United States – 37
United Kingdom – 4
Canada – 4
Australia – 2
Germany – 2
Finland – 2
Russian Federation – 1
Sweden – 1
Mexico – 1
Italy – 1
Holland – 1
Hungary – 1
Iran – 1

· Continuing with this year’s gold bracelet winners, by city:

WINNERS – BY CITY: Through Event #61 (excluding #57, the Main Event) – the following cities have produced multiple WSOP gold bracelet winners (Note: Metropolitan area suburbs are included in major city counts):

Las Vegas, Nevada – 11
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) – 4
London, UK – 3
Salerno, Italy – 3
Los Angeles, California – 3
Washington, DC (Maryland and Virginia Suburbs) – 3
New York, NY – 2
Helsinki, Finland – 2

· Continuing with this year’s gold bracelet winners, by profession (pro versus amateurs):

Event #61 winner Barry Shulman is to be classified as a semi-professional player. Accordingly, the “Pro-Am” gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads (not counting Casino Employees Event and the Main Event, which is pending):

Professionals — 42 wins
(Thang Luu, Steven Sung, Jason Mercier, Phil Ivey-1, Rami Boukai, Anthony Harb, Ville Wahlbeck, Keven Stammen, Brock Parker-1, Jeffrey Lisandro- 1, Daniel Alaei, Brock Parker-2, John-Paul Kelly, Jeff Carris, Nick Schulman, Phil Ivey-2, Pete Vilandos, Tomas Alenius, Roland de Wolfe, J.C. Tran, James Van Alstyne, Angel, Guillen, Greg Mueller-1, Eric Baldwin, Jordan Smith, Jeffrey Lisandro-2, Richard Austin, Marc Naalden, Matt Graham, Peter Traply, Jerrod Ankenman, Jeffrey Lisandro-3, John Kabbaj, Jeff Ahmadi, Brandon Cantu, Greg Mueller-2, Carston Joh, David Bach, Matt Hawrilenko, J.P. Kelly – 2, Erik Cajelais, Jani Vilmunen)

Amateurs — 9 wins
(Freddie Ellis, Ken Aldridge, Travis Johnson, Zac Fellows, Michael Eise, Michael T. Davis, Jorg Peisert, David J. Halpert, Tony Veckey)

Semi-Pros — 8 wins
(Vitaly Lunkin, Brian Lemke, Lisa Hamilton, Leo Wolpert, Ray Foley, Derek Raymond, Jeff Ahmadi, Barry Shulman)

· Sixteen of the 60 winners so far this year (27 percent) were previous gold bracelet winners. There were four double winners in 2009 – J.P. Kelly, Brock Parker, Phil Ivey (Main Even pending), and Greg “FBT” Mueller. There was one triple winner in 2009 — Jeffrey Lisandro.

· This year’s WSOP and WSOP Europe awarded $182,594,608 in total prize money.

· This year’s World Series of Poker was the largest in history. A grand total of 62,129 players entered the 61 combined gold bracelet events held in Las Vegas and London.

· The final WSOP tournament of the year is the Main Event championship finale, a.k.a. the “November Nine.” Play begins with the nine finalists on 7 November. The final two survivors play heads-up for the championship on 9 November.

Reporting from London, ladies and gents, thank you and good night!

36 Comments to “Shulman Wins WSOP-E
Negreanu Becomes All-Time Tournament Money Winner

  1. Kevin Mathers

    For some reason, I think Nolan’s report is incorrect about the length of coverage.

  2. DanM

    I dunno, while it was late when he was writing this up, it seems pretty certain and clear about a single episode. And he was sitting in the same room as the people charged with making it.

  3. Kevin Mathers

    IF that’s really the case, then Poker PROductions was wasting a lot of time filming the first 3 days of the ME.

  4. BJ Nemeth

    I agree with Kevin on this — let’s wait for further confirmation on the coverage details. Nolan is definitely “the man,” but there was likely a lot of chaos and confusion last night. Two hours of coverage just doesn’t sound right when it is weighed against the rest of the evidence.

  5. Andrew

    Pretty positive that:
    A) This video probably shouldn’t have been taken
    B) We’re showing 10 episodes of WSOPE, with 8 being the main event.

    In fact, I know B is true. Dates will be released soon.

  6. BJ Nemeth

    There you have it! I’d say Andrew Feldman knows the what’s what about what’s airing on ESPN, and his answer meshes well with the rest of the evidence.

  7. BJ Nemeth

    In the comments of the last post, Poker Shrink posted this comment:

    POKER SHRINK: “The overwhelming tone, particularly on Twitter, was anti-Shulman. Not even pro-Negreanu, it was against Barry Shulman. And while that is to be expected in the forums and other dark holes of the internet; IMHO when someone puts their writing out there as some form of reportage of the facts, then one should also put personal prejudice aside. There are exceptions, gonzo reporting has several outstanding representatives in poker and they should not abide by such ethics. But the collective conscious that leaked out of the mainstream poker media last night was lopsided, prejudice and sad.”

    My response will be posted below.

  8. BJ Nemeth

    In my view, there are several different aspects to this question. I’ll start with the role of Twitter, which I consider to be equivalent to a personal blog. As long as the name on the Twitter account is of the actual reporter (and not the website he or she works for), then it represents the views of that reporter. They can root for whoever they want in their personal Twitter feed, because that’s what it is — personal.


    From what I saw, all the “professional” Twitter accounts (such as @WorldSeriesOfPoker and @PokerNews) reported the news in a neutral fashion. That’s appropriate for those accounts. And people with personal Twitter feeds who were present in an official capacity (such @JeffreyPollack) also reported the information in a politically neutral fashion.


    Among all the tournament reporters, I have probably gone out of my way more than anyone to *not* get to know the players. I tried as long as I could to avoid personal friendships with them, but when you travel on the tour with them, it’s inevitable. You make friends, and you root for them. You see other players that you grow to respect on a deep level, and you root for them. To not do that would be to not be human, or at least not be a poker fan.

    I finally realized that I should compare myself to other sports reporters. Traveling on the tour with the players is similar to a broadcasting team that travels with their local team. For instance, the announcers for the Atlanta Braves travel around the country with the team, and when they announce the games on TV or radio, their bias is blatant and obvious. The same situation exists for most teams (professional and college) around the country. Yes, you occasionally have the network games like Monday Night Football, which are broadcast from a neutral point of view, but those are the exceptions.


    The context of the reporters’ opinions is the issue, because to deny the reporters the right to have (and express) opinions is silly. Everything I read at (the site of the official updates) was fair and balanced, even though Daniel Negreanu is one of the most loved players in the game and Barry Shulman owns the media company that is perhaps the most hated. But the official coverage was fair and balanced, as it should be.

    Check any of the official live update sites: PokerNews, Card Player, WPT Live Updates, and PokerListings. They all report the action without bias. That is where opinions would be out of place.

    But Twitter? That’s more like behind-the-scenes commentary, where opinions are valid. At best, Twitter is a micro-blog, and I certainly wouldn’t have a problem if any of the reporters wrote a personal blog about last night where they were openly disappointed that Negreanu lost and that Barry Shulman won.

    Pokerati comments fall in the same category, and sometimes even the posts are more op-ed than straight reporting (especially when it comes to tournaments). That’s fine, because that’s the nature of this website.

  9. California Jen

    BJ, I’ve wanted to say this for a long time… I agree with you again! I agree with every one of your points above!

  10. BJ Nemeth

    Jen, for the most part I think we agree on the important stuff. Our disagreements just keep the relationship interesting and fun. 🙂

  11. Poker Shrink

    and once again BJ and I disagree. Despite BJ being one of the few members of the poker media who both hold and enunciate very explicit journalistic ethics.

    Last night two poker players were heads up for the WSOPE championship. Certainly everyone has the right to root for a favorite and hate on the other guy, it’s just a game. But if I were hiring poker writers, I would look at their resume and their comments on Twitter and FaceBook. Last night Barry Shulman was a poker player, one of the last two standing in a prestigious tournament. I respect him for that and actually do not care what he does or did for a living. When they are at the table, I apply the same standard to: Amarillo Slim and Shawn Sheikhan. Now for internal poker offenses there is another standard, the one that Russ Hamilton and Dutch Boyd should be judged by.

    But I won’t be hiring any poker writers and soon I won’t be tossing my two chips worth into these discussions. It’s a hard habit to break.

  12. DanM

    I’d like to be on Shrink’s side, but my bias is too clear — I was Shulman all the way. We are myspace friends after all! (LOL.)

    From a philosophical point of view, however … objectivity is a farce, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it, particularly at points when it’s easiest to not be so.

    Twitter is what it is — insight into the people tweeting. Having that info isn’t a bad thing, but indeed, if I were making decisions about hiring someone, without a doubt I would look at their social media presence to get a better picture of what really matters to them.

    @JeffreyPollack and @MatthewParvis were really the only tweets I kept up with — maybe @RealKidPoker too for a bit … because when it came to knowing what was going on, those were the only ones of value to me. JP drew me in to the event, and MP closed it out for me. Not intentional, it just worked out that way based on what they were putting in front of me.

  13. California Jen

    It is sad that my Twitter and Facebook comments can’t be personal. I suppose the same goes for my personal blog. So, if I am frustrated with someone who happens to be a poker player or have an opinion about something, I have nowhere to write those thoughts or ideas? Nothing is sacred?

    I fundamentally disagree with you, Shrink. As long as I keep my feelings out of my paid written articles, I should be able to express my feelings on personal sites or write opinion pieces that are designated as such.

  14. Matthew Parvis

    Out of curiosity, who was overly biased last night. So what our saying Tim, is that anytime someone hires someone to do poker work, their facebook and twitter feed has to be scrutinized for no bias towards anyone player? People work in the poker industry because they are passionate about poker, and with that comes some personal feelings towards certain players. I agree that those feelings should be kept off the felt when being paid to write on an official news outlet.

  15. DanM

    Feelings are for the weak.

    Maintaining self-righteous indignation for all humanity is a better way to go.

    This event was all about Barry and Daniel, whether anyone was there to cover it or not. And that’s why I was thankful for the night of entertainment that those who were there provided.

  16. DanM

    The Poker News shoutbox was biased … though I’m pretty sure that’s the point … to tap into the pulse of the masses.

  17. DanM

    Andrew, thanks for clearing up the ESPN coverage thing — no point in ripping the coverage to shreds before it even happens if we don’t have some semblance of facts to base it on.

    Sorry for publishing the vids, but hey … you know, readers … hope you guys see that it’s probably pretty good promotion for you, but I can see how much more than what is posted here could really cut in on your paid-for turf.

  18. Kevin Mathers

    The guy was shooting from the balcony. It’s interesting to get raw video of the moment now, instead of waiting for 4 months.

  19. Pauly

    Guys, we need to save this discussion for our JPS group therapy session. See y’all at the Lucky Chances Methadone Clinic. Dan, it’s your turn to bring the donuts. Shrink, you get your 1 week chip.

    JPS = Jaded Poker Scribes for you acronym-challenged readers.

  20. Anonymous

    I’m with PokerShrink, but I’m clearly a hypocrite.

    I agree that it’s inevitable for the poker media to root a little bit for their favorite players, but what was going on last night got a little ridiculous.

    You know me and I usually root for whoever has the biggest stack, just so the damn thing ends early, but I have been guilty of an inappropriate fist pump or two when I see a less than likeable guy go down.

    That being said, nothing disgusts me more than seeing a member of the media not only cross the line, but dance on the other side of it. PokerNews even commented on it early on, pointing out a credentialed French reporter who loudly cheered on Antoine Saout at the final table, despite very obviously reporting at the time in the media area.

    It’s become a real problem in Europe, where these very small-time bloggers show up to just follow a select group of three or four fellow countrymen. They inappropriately root on their tracked players, ignore the rest and immediately leave following their elimination.

    Last year’s PCA was a perfect example, when Alexandre Gomes sucked out on Adam Geyer and then went into a tirade, rubbing it in his face. That’s fine, since he’s entitled to look stupid as a player, but when four of his Brazilian bloggers jumped over the ropes to high five him at the table and taunt Geyer, that to me was just wrong.

  21. Dave

    Personally, I would have loved to have seen a live feed. It was done last year and can’t understand why it was not done. I’m sure there may have been technical or copyright reasons…maybe even financial reasons…whatever they were, they robbed poker fans of a chance of seeing some great, enthralling poker.

    I liked the Twitter feed on the site. It was a bit experimental and I imagine a lot of people didn’t realise their Tweeets were being aggregated in that way. It was abused by some people with spam but that will always happen.

    It complemented the pokernews tweets as they only have selected people and you have to be sign up to use the shoutbox on pokernews.

    I used a number of sources for information throughout the night.

    People managed to keep up with events the way they wanted to and I think it was good for poker..I still wish there had been a live feed:(

  22. BJ Nemeth

    Matthew Parvis asked the question, and I’m gonna ask it as well: “Who in the poker media was rooting against Shulman on Twitter?”

    I just sorted through the past 2 days of a Twitter search for “Shulman,” and I only found two negative comments about Barry, both from people I have never heard of before. (Not industry insiders.)

    The unwritten (but occasionally vocalized) rule for fans at final tables is that you can root as hard as you’d like for your player, but you can’t root *against* anyone. As long as you’re cheering for your guy in a positive way, that’s not only fine, it’s encouraged.

    Yes, the poker media should show more restraint, and the examples given above (by Anonymous) are clearly over the line. But on a personal blog or Twitter feed, there is absolutely nothing wrong with rooting for Daniel Negreanu. And I didn’t find any evidence of anyone in the poker media who was openly rooting against Barry Shulman.

    If Daniel Negreanu were playing heads-up against an unknown, you still would have seen an outpouring of support for him, and some of that would have come from the poker media. There’s nothing wrong with that. If Barry Shulman had been playing heads-up against an unknown, it would have been a very different situation. (As I pointed out on Twitter last night, I’d probably root for Shulman against most players — but not Negreanu.)

    So the question to Poker Shrink is this — Which Twitter comments caused you to become (more) disillusioned with the poker media?

  23. DanM

    I know a photographer who writes more words when he is defending a losing point yet he would never know I am tweeting about him when he searches his name. #nation

    I know another tournament reporter who some might say is better than @BJNemeth, and tho not on duty, her descriptions of events were different than what I was seeing = bias by one or both of us #wsop

    RT @Pokerati I once called @GaryWise a douchebag to his face without him realizing it, LOL #truestory

    C’mon BJ, you know how to read between the lines.

    Can’t believe the media is bickering amongst themselves here, when the greatest final table of the year — with all sorts of implications for November and beyond — just went down. But no hate … many times in my career I have missed the truly best stories when they were right under my nose.

  24. BJ Nemeth

    Reading between the lines? Are you telling me that anyone rooting for Daniel Negreanu last night had no other options other than hating Barry Shulman?

    I’d just like to see the negative comments from the poker media. I’ll admit that they don’t need to use the word “Shulman” to be anti-Shulman, but I had to search for something, as I didn’t have enough years available to sift through every Twitter post from the last 30 hours.

    For those who claim the media was publicly showing an anti-Shulman bias last night (as opposed to a pro-Negreanu bias), please provide links or other examples. I’ve actively searched, and haven’t found anything.

  25. DanM

    And no offense, BJ, but I am not going to waste my time to appease you. I search for shit all day. I know what vibe I got from different off-duty folks last night. Made me say, hmm, that’s different. Even if it had 0 to do with BS, it still was some pretty head-shake-worthy pro-negreanu fandom.

    last time I saw something so gag-worthy to my Journo-snob sensibilities was when the media applauded for the PPA at a press conference.

    Anonymous has the best perspective here, I’d say. And c’mon, BJ, don’t ask us to call out our friends and colleagues in a way that has us attaching all sorts of other “issues” to what may or may not have been an off-night. Leave the flame-wars to the forums.

    IMHO, whether you’re in politics, sports, poker, or movies … fanboy-dom is as mortal a sin as insta-hate … and yet it’s a Catch-22, because people get into such professions because they are fans and/or feel passionately about them.

    All I know is it was an awesome final table, I enjoyed following it thoroughly … the coverage was good — DJinn and The Tower get game balls … and I couldn’t believe my own two fingers when I was typing “Bar-ry! Bar-ry! Bar-ry!” But boy, it sure was fun. I actually blew off work to follow … and in doing so got a nice reminder of what’s important to the people we serve.

  26. Kevin Mathers

    Maybe Shrink was looking at areas besides Twitter…

  27. BJ Nemeth

    No, I don’t want you or Poker Shrink to condemn individual poker writers for their negative bias. On the other hand, what you have both done is condemn *all* poker writers for a negative bias that I have actively searched for and not found.

    If you don’t want to name names in public, both you and the Poker Shrink know how to contact me privately. I just want to see some evidence before I allow either of you to condemn poker writers as a group.

    “Even if it had 0 to do with BS, it still was some pretty head-shake-worthy pro-negreanu fandom.”

    If this is your argument, then we agree on the facts — there was a lot of open support for Daniel Negreanu. But if this is the basis for your argument, then you’re not upset about the anti-Barry Shulman sentiments, you’re upset by the pro-Daniel Negreanu sentiments. Those are two *very* different things.

    Personally, and I’ve thought long and hard about this during my 5+ years as a poker reporter, I have absolutely no problem with reporters rooting for players, as long as it stays out of their work and isn’t on display at the tournament itself. (Twitter, Facebook, and personal blogs don’t count.)

  28. DanM

    Nice hand …

  29. California Jen

    I’ll “out” myself. I was on Twitter and Facebook during the final table of the WSOPE main event, and I was actively rooting for Negreanu, even sending a tweet or two to his Twitter account myself. Did I ever say anything negative about Shulman? NO. I wanted Negreanu to win, and when he finished second, I was admittedly disappointed – not by who won, but by who didn’t.

    If I was in London working the event or live blogging for a media outlet, you can bet your butt I would’ve refrained from any such support for Negreanu. But as a spectator, using accounts that are not associated with any media outlet, I was excited about the tournament and its potential outcome.

    When I previously worked “on the clock” for various outlets, I was professional and kept my opinions to myself (unless asked to do otherwise in an opinion piece). But there is a reason that I’ve been a freelance writer for several years now; companies pay for my words, not my time, meaning that my time is MINE. No one can judge me for what I do on my time. If you want my mouth shut and feelings turned off, pay for it.

    For those like Shrink who think that anything I write on any public forum should be used to judge what kind of worker I am and what kind of work I’m able to produce, then I don’t want to work for you. If Twitter and Facebook are used to judge me, then you might as well come into my home and take a look at what’s on my DVR, what’s in my journal, and what I say in text messages to friends. It’s true that those aren’t public forums, but those are just as relevant as something I tweet from my own home during my leisure time.

    Opinions will vary on this, as shown by this thread of comments. But I refuse to accept that a little rah-rah for a poker player from people not on the clock is what’s wrong with poker media. I won’t get into that here, but suffice it to say that people have the right to use their personal blogs and social media accounts as they wish. For those who wish to keep every bit of personal information off the internet, go for it. Use Twitter or Facebook for whatever purpose(s) you choose, but don’t fault me for my choices.

  30. DanM

    ***For those like Shrink who think that anything I write on any public forum should be used to judge what kind of worker I am and what kind of work I’m able to produce, then I don’t want to work for you. ***

    ok, hold on, I’m thinkin’ … clock please …

  31. DanM

    for more on the little media-social media kerfuffle spawned by this match-up, go here:

  32. Brendan

    Jen said “No one can judge me for what I do on my time.”

    That’s just not realistic. SHOULD we judge you for your words written off the clock? Now that’s debatable, but make no mistake, people ARE judging you on every word you put out, like it or not. While you have every right to say as you feel, you should be aware that the great unwashed masses never take off their judgment hats.

  33. Johnny Hughes

    Shrink is not in shape to lecture poker writers.

    My psychology training was two-fold. First learning to be an all-around, professional gambler, trained by the very best in Texas.
    Second, was to gain my Ph.D. and be trained by Professors.
    The first group knew more about folks. Professional gamblers a.k.a. gamblers had a code for emotion, attitude, and math. Conceal emotion. Reveal attitude. Never take the worst of it. No dice. No slots. You cannot afford enemies. You have no heroes. It is close to Zen detachment. Who cares which of them won? I’m for the guy who made the best play on fourth street..the best of it, always the best of it. I switch channels when the money goes in. Who cares about outcomes on a single hand or tourney? If you learn to conceal emotion, you do not have emotion, especially about what card comes. I feel very little on a bad beat, if anything. I do feel bad if I make a bad play, but no one else can impact me. If you show weakness, weakness grows. Whine where we will know you are a sucker to come after. Whine for us, it is music to our ears.

  34. DanM

    Hmm, so I see the video has been ganked. ESPN’s doing, I presume?

  35. Kevin Mathers

    Looks like they decided to take down only that hand, they still have up the elimination hand of Jason Mercier (also on Youtube at

  36. Mean Gene

    I kinda thought that it was universal that all poker media had only one rooting interest–that play end as soon as possible so we could go to the bar/to sleep. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so emotionally invested in a player that I WANTED him/her to win more than I wanted the tournament to end in a reasonable amount of time. Someone has to win, someone has to lose. Let’s not take an unseemly amount of time to suss it all out.

    I don’t think I would ever root or openly campaign for a player using my personal Twitter/Facebook account…though I should probably search my feeds for “Mercier, Isabelle” to see how big a hypocrite I am. And no member of the media should ever be demonstrative on the floor or on the rail during play, something that certainly wasn’t always the case during the WSOP.