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Zack Zwerner, founder of the biggest bingo enterprise in America and former high-level casino executive, is the latest gold bracelet winner at the 2006 World Series of Poker, (WSOP) capturing $341,426 after three grueling days of Omaha High-Low 8/OB.
The victory was the 59-year old Zwerner's first at the WSOP and the first time he'd ever cashed in a WSOP event. Zwerner hadn't played in a WSOP event in nearly 15 years, but was inspired to play the event once again when his 21-year old son took a serious interest in the sport. His largest victory before Wednesday was a sixth place finish in a $1000 Omaha Hi-Low Split tournament at the 2000 L.A. Poker Classic to win $3,015.
"My son started crying, he was so happy," Zwerner told WSOP officials after driving home to show his two grown sons the gold bracelet. "When I saw him crying, well I started crying too."
It took 28 minutes of heads-up play featuring multiple all-ins before Werner's Ah-8d-7c-4h caught both a flush and the low to defeat second-place-finisher Rusty Mandap. Mandap received $176,813 for his efforts.
The final table featured a mix of professional and amateur players, including poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, who entered the final nine as the favorite, but exited unceremoniously in seventh place. This was Negreanu's second final table appearance in the 2006 WSOP.
Down to the Final Table in Event # 9 - $5000 No Limit Hold'em
Phil "The Poker Brat" Hellmuth is currently in third chip position behind leader Quoc Al "Vinny" Vinh and Marcel "The Flying Dutchman" Luske heading to the final table of Event # 9.
Final Table Chip Positions
Quoc Al "Vinny" Vinh - $784,000
Marcel Luske- $458,000
Phil Hellmuth Jr.- $461,000
Isabelle Mercier- $301,000
Douglas Carli- $273,000
Eugene Todd- $240,000
Thomas Schreiber- $200,000
Dan Smith- $117,000
Hellmuth is vying for his tenth gold bracelet, a total that would tie him for the all-time lead with poker legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. Hellmuth already broke the "In the Money" record of 49 cashes earlier this Series.
This is Hellmuth's third cash of the 2006 WSOP, brining his career total to 52. Berry Johnston and Men "The Master" Nguyen are in second with 49 cashes. Neither player has cashed in 2006.
Vinh, who according to live blogs has been verbally battling with Hellmuth since they began playing at the same table, is coming off a solid 2005 WSOP where he finished 2nd in a $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament and cashed in a $1,500 Razz event.
Luske, a fan favorite who sports his sunglasses upside down in tense moments, made a name for himself in the 2004 Main Event with his table antics, appearance, and singing, as well as his 10th place finish. The Flying Dutchman is a staple in the European poker community and cashed four times in the 2005 WSOP.
Although Event # 9 has the most interesting mix of professionals at this year's WSOP, Thursday's biggest attraction may be Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier, winner of the 2004 World Poker Tour Ladies Event and a nominee for the 2006 European Rookie of Year title. She is only the second female competitor to make a final table in this year's WSOP. This is her second finish in the money in 2006.
End of Day One at Event # 10- $1,500 7-Card Stud
The first Stud tournament of the 2006 WSOP drew only 478 participants. Despite the small field, it took WSOP officials 15 hours and 22 minutes to narrow the group down to the money. Beginning today at noon (July 6), 40 players will battle for tomorrow's coveted eight final table seats.
John Hoang (79,000 chips) has a commanding lead over young-gun David Williams (second with 55,300 chips) and the rest of the competition. Hoang has one WSOP final table appearance, placing 4th in a $2000 Stud event in 2004.
David Williams, who finished 2nd to Greg "Fossilman" Raymer in the memorable 2004 WSOP Main Event and netted $3.5 million, has cashed only twice before in WSOP events, but is a staple on the WPT circuit and considered one of the better young players in the world. His tournament winnings in 2006 exceed $600,000 to date.
Johnny Chan, the all-time leader in WSOP victories with 10 (tied with Doyle Brunson), is lurking the background in twentieth position with $12,600 chips. Only one of Chan's bracelets has come in 7-Card Stud (1994). Chan won his tenth bracelet in 2005 to take the all-time lead, only to watch Brunson tie his mark days later.
Other Notable Chip Positions
12. Jim McManus $20.3 k
15. Humberto Brenes $16.8 k
37. David Sklansky $2.2 k
Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. Email your comments and questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .