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Weekly World Series of Poker Recap

Jake Cody Wins Triple Crown, Eugene Katchalov Wins First Bracelet


The first week of the 2011 World Series of Poker has been nothing short of spectacular. After Tournament Director Jack Effel kicked off the festivities with the $500 Casino Employees Event the 42nd Annual summer series was officially underway.

Later that night, Phil Ivey shocked the poker world when he released an official statement from his facebook page, stating that he was boycotting the WSOP and filing a lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker for failing to pay back their U.S. customers after Black Friday. Tiltware then issued a followup statement, calling Ivey’s actions “frivolous and self serving.”

Despite the stunning announcement, the poker world pressed on with the WSOP which featured two grudge matches from former final table heads up matches. In the rematches, Johnny Chan got revenge on Phil Hellmuth and Chris Moneymaker once again defeated Sam Farha.

Card Player was also able to get a look at the official charity of the WSOP for 2011, which is Phil Gordon’s Bad Beat on Cancer. The poker world was then informed of another charity opportunity from members of the high-stakes community, when it was announced that 2012 will see the world’s first $1 million buy-in tournament, to benefit the One Drop Foundation.

Take a look at all of the major happenings from the first week of the WSOP.

Sean DrakeEvent No. 1 — Sean Drake Claims Summer’s First Bracelet

Sean Drake, a part-time poker dealer who works in Folsom, California, overcame a massive field of 850 to win this summer’s first WSOP bracelet in the $500 Casino Employees Event.

Drake was primarily an online player before Black Friday and had won more than $150,000 this year on the virtual felt before being forced back into the live arena.

For his victory, the 27-year-old claimed $82,292. The runner-up, Jason Baker from Saskatchewan, Canada, picked up $50,807.

You can read more about Drake’s victory in Card Player’s official recap or watch his victory video below from Card Player TV.

Jake CodyEvent No. 2 — Jake Cody Wins Poker’s Triple Crown

After battling through a tough field that included 128 of the world’s best poker players, England’s Jake Cody emerge with the victory in the $25,000 Heads Up Championship Event.

Cody defeated Gus Hansen in the final four and online superstar Yevgeniy Timoshenko in the finals to secure the $851,192 payday.

Even more impressive, Cody picked up his first career bracelet, which along with an EPT and WPT win, makes him poker’s third ever Triple Crown winner. Cody joins Roland De Wolfe and Gavin Griffin as the only three player to earn the honor.

You can read more about Cody’s victory in Card Player’s official recap or watch his victory video below from Card Player TV.

Francesco 'Cheech' BarbaroEvent No. 3 — Cheech Barbaro Wins Largest Omaha Eight-Or-Better Event In WSOP History

A total of 925 entrants turned up for the biggest Omaha Hi-Lo tournament in WSOP history. After three long days of play, Chicago’s own Francesco “Cheech” Barbaro claimed the title, along with $262,283 and his first bracelet.

The 37-year-old entered the final day as the chip leader and cruised to the victory once five-handed play began. Incredibly, this was the first WSOP event that Barbaro had ever entered.

You can read more about Barbaro’s victory in Card Player’s official recap.

Event No. 4 — Allen Bari Wins First Career Bracelet

It took an unanticipated, extra day of play, but Allen Bari finally got the monkey off his back with his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Event, defeating 865 players for $874,116, the largest prize of the summer thus far.

Bari topped a stacked final table that included runner-up Maria Ho, as well as the red hot Farzad Bonyadi, and online pros Ricky Fohrenbach, Sean Lefort and Nicholas Blumenthal.

Ho picked up the biggest score of her career for the second place finish, earning $540,020, but was understandably upset that she couldn’t close out the tournament.

You can read more about Bari’s victory in Card Player’s official recap or watch his victory video below from Card Player TV.

Eugene KatchalovEvent No. 5 — Eugene Katchalov Wins First Career Bracelet

Eugene Katchalov made three WSOP final tables in 2010, but his first bracelet eluded him. After tearing up the rest of the tournament circuit, it was only a matter of time before he won summer gold.

Finally, in the $1,500 Stud Event, Katchalov broke through for the win and a first-place prize of $122,909. Amazingly, Katchalov was down over 5-1 heads-up against second-place finisher Alessio Isaia before storming back for the title.

Katchalov has now amassed over $7 million in career earnings after topping the 357-player field.

You can read more about Katchalov’s victory in Card Player’s official recap or watch his victory video below from Card Player TV.

Event No. 6 — Harrison Wilder’s Wild Ride To a Bracelet

Harrison Wilder not only sought a career in poker, he was encourage to by his parents. The 29-year-old has been a professional since he decided to quit school at the University of Oregon and the move has finally paid off in the form of a WSOP bracelet.

Wilder topped 675 players in the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Event to pick up $205,065, the largest score of his career. Wilder is normally a $40-$80 player in the Las Vegas cash game scene, but likes to take some shots at tournaments when the WSOP rolls into town.

Wilder defeated a final table that included Scott Clements, Mitch Schock, John Myung and Thomas Jamieson, who finished runner up for $126,605.

You can read more about Wilder’s victory in Card Player’s official recap.

Event No. 7 — Amir Lehavot Wins Pot Limit Hold’em Championship

The first $10,000 event of the summer went to Florida’s Amir Lehavot, who bested 249 of the world’s best players in the Pot Limit Hold’em Championship. Lehavot picked up $573,456 for the win, narrowly topping the $421,680 he earned for making the final table of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic main event. He now has over $1.5 million in career earnings.

As with most $10,000 event, this final table was chock full of notables including Michael Benvenuti, Mclean Karr, Eric Cloutier, Nicolas Levi, Stephen Chidwick, Sam Stein and eventual runner up, Jarred Solomon.

With his victory, Lehavot has moved into the top ten of the Card Player Player of the Year race. You can read more about Lehavot’s victory in Card Player’s official recap.