WSOP 2015: First Online WSOP Bracelet Goes to Anthony “holdplz” Spinella

PhD student Andrew Barber defeats the great and good in the $10k HORSE event.

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PhD student Andrew Barber defeats the great and good in the $10k HORSE event.
WSOP.com

Event #59: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em

Alex Lindop has made it bracelet number two for Britain, defeating Frenchman Aurelien Guiglini in heads up play to take the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em title.

The 25 year old will be taking $531,037 in winnings back home to Stoke-on-Trent, where he plans to throw a party.

“It really feels amazing to win,” Lindop said. “I’d had a few deep runs before, but they always fizzled. To come here and have this happen is just amazing. There are no words to describe the feeling I have right now.”

Two out of the final four players were French, but both failed to gain the honor of a first bracelet for their country at this year’s WSOP. Former bracelet winner Haixia Zhang also failed in her quest for a second. In fifth place Jamie Gold also made a good run at winning a second bracelet—his first came when he won the Main Event in 2006 to pocket $12 million in prize money.

Event #61: $1,111 The Little One for One Drop

The 4,555 entries for the Little One for ONE DROP created a prize fund big enough for the top six finishers to all win over $100,000 The top prize of $645,969 went to German player Paul Hoefer who at 24, is even younger than Alex Lindop.

“It’s really unbelievable to win and have all my friends here with me,” Hoefer said as he exulted in his win. “The German poker community is super. We have been very tight-knit for a couple of years now. We are like a family.”

Two former bracelet winners made it to the final nine, John Reading finished 4th, and Brett Shaffer finished in 9th place. Reading won his first bracelet in event #6 this year, while Shaffer has two bracelets, one won in 2013, and one in 2014.

The event was played to benefit the One Drop Foundation and attracted British multi-millionaire businessman Paul Newey who had entered the $1 million buy-in Big One for ONE DROP in 2014. After making sure that his charitable contribution had been made, Newey left the tournament with chips still in front of him.

He wandered across the strip to the Aria Resort to play in the Super High Roller cash game—a decision which paid off as the amateur took $300,000 in profit from the professionals during the game.

Event #62: $1,500 Bounty No-Limit Hold’em

Everyone who made it to the final table of the bounty event was playing for their first bracelet, but New Jersey player Jack Duong finally clinched it.

This was Duong’s second time at the WSOP, but until this event, he wasn’t having a good year. “I was having a terrible series up to this point,” Duong said. “I bricked everything. I was stuck like $75,000 coming into this tournament.”

This win not only turned his luck around, but it has given him a remarkable WSOP record. He has cashed in only three events, but all three have been final table finishes. Duong’s first place prize money of $333,351 puts him well in profit for the series.

Runner-up Vitezslav Pesta was one of two Czech players who made the final table. He enjoyed prize money of $206,734, while his fellow countryman Vojtech Ruzicka picked up $42,228 for coming in 7th.

In total, there were 2,178 entries for this inaugural bounty event, where one third of the prize fund was allocated to knocking other players out of the tournament. Every knockout qualified for a $500 bounty. Duong picked up 11 bounties on his way to the victory.

Event #63: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E Championship

By the time the 204 players who entered the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E Championship had been reduced to 12, there were still eight former WSOP bracelet winners left in the event.

But as so often happens in poker, none of them could keep up with underdog Andrew Barber who went on a blistering run to totally dominate the final table. Barber is currently studying for a PhD at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He plans to keep on learning and teach when he has finished his doctorate.

“I could have come here (to the WSOP) and won the Main Event and it wouldn’t change my plans,” Barber said. “I would still show up day one of school ready to go in and study. That’s my interest. That’s my passion.” He can no longer plead student poverty, as the first prize for this event added up to $517,766.

Barber beat Viacheslav Zhukov heads up to take the title. Zhukov has two WSOP bracelets, but Barber completed his domination of the tournament after disposing of his Russian opponent in just 40 minutes.

Former 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem came in 5th and 1998 Main Event champion Scotty Nguyen finished in 7th.

Event #64: WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em

The first ever WSOP bracelet event where most of the tournament was played online ended with a live final table where the last six players played down to the bracelet.

The hybrid event drew 905 entries and appropriately, online professional Anthony Spinella emerged as the winner taking $197,743 in prize money to go with his first WSOP bracelet. The win gave him his fourth cash of the series.

“It feels good to win this,” said Spinella. “I’ve been playing for a long time now and always want to win one, so this really feels great.”

Spinelli is a member of the poker exodus that followed Black Friday, and now plays from Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Playing as “holdplz” he has $2,667,633 in online tournament winnings at PokerStars and $1,863,671 from Full Tilt.

He dominated the final table which took only three hours to complete. He defeated Hunter Cichy to take the title—Cichy picked up $116,066 for second place.

The event gave Mike Gorodinsky another deep run. He finished in 26th place, sufficient to put him in pole position in the WSOP Player of the Year race. Runner-up in the 2012 Main Event, Jesse Sylvia, also managed to cash.

July 05, 2015
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