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Top-10 stories from the first half of the WSOP

21 June 2010

Technically, about 60 percent of bracelet events at the 2010 World Series of Poker have been completed. But regardless, we're just two weeks away from the start of the Main Event, and it's as good a time as any to look back at the top stories of this year's WSOP.

10. No end in sight for poker boom
Through 33 events this year, there have been 34,824 entries in tournaments, an increase of nearly 100 players per event. While the fields have been enormous, the total prize pool has actually decreased a bit ($61.8 million this year compared to $62.9 million last year), mostly due to the increase in lower buy-in ($1,000/$1,500) events.

9. Canadian invasion of Vegas
There are plenty of well-known Canadian poker pros (Daniel Negreanu, Isabelle Mercier, Greg Mueller, Sorel Mizzi, Evelyn Ng, and Gavin Smith, for instance). And while these Canadians have been playing lots of events at the WSOP, there's been a new wave of Canadians that have been killing the games. Aadam Daya won $625,872 in the first $1,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament (Event #3) of the summer, Pascal LeFrancois won the second $1,500 No Limit Hold'em tournament (Event #8) for $568,974 and Miguel Proulx won $315,311 with a win in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament (Event #28).

8. Farha wins third Omaha bracelet
Sammy Farha is most famous for finishing second to Chris Moneymaker in the 2003 Main Event. But the Lebanese gambler has another claim to fame as one of the best Omaha players in the world. He proved it last week, claiming his third WSOP bracelet in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better World Championship for $488,241.

7. Obrestad overhyped
This year's WSOP marks the much-ballyhooed American debut of Annette Obrestad, who burst into the spotlight by winning the first World Series of Poker Europe Main Event in 2007 at just 18 years old. Now 21, she is of legal age to play in Vegas, but her performance so far has not matched the lofty expectations hoisted upon her. She has played in 11 events, cashing twice, but was first to bust after the bubble both times. She is down $17,221 so far in this year's series, but one big cash can erase that "small" deficit rather quickly.

6. Men the Master is back
Men "the Master" Nguyen won his first WSOP bracelet since 2003 when he captured the $10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship title for $394,807. The bracelet was Nguyen's seventh, moving him into a tie for sixth on the all-time bracelet winner's list. The Master proved that his comeback was no fluke over the weekend, finishing second in the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Six Handed event to take home $412,746.

5. Men enter Ladies event
Speaking of "Men," perhaps the biggest controversy of the 2010 World Series of Poker so far was the emergence of a coed ladies event. About a dozen men decided to enter the $1,000 Ladies No Limit Hold'em Championship on the grounds that having a limited field amounted to discrimination. Most of the personalities in the poker community weighed in on the decision, and the majority opinion has been that the boys who crashed the party were out of line.

4. Juanda looking for POY title
The WSOP Player of the Year race is heating up, with Nguyen, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and James Dempsey all tied at the top of the standings with 180 points. John Juanda is also in the hunt, tied for seventh with 160 points. He has made three final tables and will take the lead in the points race if he makes his fourth final table today; he starts Day 3 of the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event with the chip lead with 25 players remaining.

Dempsey has led the charge for the Brits, posting one first- and one second-place finish.

Dempsey has led the charge for the Brits, posting one first- and one second-place finish. (photo by GreasieWheels)

3. The British are coming, the British are coming
Speaking of Dempsey, he has been the leader of a British takeover of the WSOP. The Brits have won four bracelets, including Dempsey's title in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em tournament, and four runner-up finishes, including Dempsey's second place effort against Farha.

2. Mizrachi wins Poker Players Championships
Just weeks after Mizrachi had his financial troubles revealed in media reports, he won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for a whopping first-place prize of nearly $1.6 million. Mizrachi further solidified his financial footing with two more final-table finishes worth a combined $118,681.

1. Dwan close but no cigar
Rumor has it that Tom "durrrr" Dwan stands to win eight figures in prop bets from fellow professional poker players if he wins his first WSOP bracelet this year. The 23-year old cash game phenom has been much more active at this year's WSOP as a result, and he came close to taking a big chunk out of a lot of players' bankrolls in Event #11, a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament. Dwan reached heads-up play with Simon Watt, but Watt got the better of Dwan to win the title and the admiration and thanks of everyone who bet against Dwan this year.
Top-10 stories from the first half of the WSOP is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.