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Best of Ryan McLane
WSOP weekend - two new champions, Hellmuth reaches 60 cashes18 June 2007
By Ryan McLane
Chicago amateur wins first bracelet
Ben Ponzio never planned to win a World Series of Poker tournament, arranging his Las Vegas trip in a way that ensured minimum usage of vacation days at his Chicago-based radio DJ job.
When he made the $2,000 No Limit Hold'em final table (Event #25), he decided to take a day off. It turned out to be the right decision, as Ponzio took down the title and a few years' salary Sunday night. His one-extra day of vacation netted him nearly $600K.
"I didn't want to take an extra vacation day until I knew I would get this far," Ponzio said.
But this DJ does not plan to put down the microphone just yet.
"Sure, I'm going back to work," Ponzio said. "Six-hundred thousand (dollars) is a lot of money. But it's not enough to live on the rest of my life."
Ponzio has played three straight WSOPs with limited success (one cash in 2005). His total career tournament earnings before Sunday night totaled less than $9,000.
Schwartz outlasts pros in $5,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament
Ralph Schwartz, a 28-year old Wall Street money manager from New York City, outlasted a sea of big names to win his first gold bracelet in the $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament (Event # 26).
Schwartz has been playing competitive poker for four years, but has only one major tournament cash on his resume – a 100th place showing in 2007 WSOP Event #3. He collected $3,500 for that cash, a pittance compared to the $275k pay day he took home Sunday night.
Tournament circuit regular and Full Tilt Poker professional Bill Gazes finished second, overcoming a large chip-disadvantage when play was five-handed. Gazes has made seven WSOP final tables since 1997, but has never been able to secure the top spot. The $197K he earned Sunday night puts him above $2 million in career tournament earnings.
Phil Ivey made his second 2007 WSOP final table in this event. He finished fourth, but is still searching for his sixth gold bracelet. Ivey has not won a bracelet since 2005, but he does have four top-five finishes in the last two years.
Robert Mizrachi also made his second 2007 WSOP final table, finishing fifth. Both final tables have come in H.O.R.S.E events (sixth in the $2,500 Event #16).
Event #9 winner Alex Kravchenko finished 10th.
Hellmuth records 60th WSOP cash
The self-proclaimed "Record Man" broke his own record for career cashes again, this time in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Event #28. Hellmuth added to his most-career cashes lead last night by securing number 60. If he makes the final table, he will tie T.J. Cloutier for most WSOP final table appearances with 39.
WSOP weekend - two new champions, Hellmuth reaches 60 cashes is republished from CasinoVendors.com.