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WSOP 2009

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Event #15, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em, Final Report

Official Report
Event #15
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $5,000
Number of Entries: 655
Total Net Prize Pool: $3,078,500
Number of Places Paid: 63
First Place Prize: $692,690
June 6-8, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Brian Lemke Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet and $692,690 in Prize Money
  2. One of the Youngest Final Tables in History Competes in 2009 WSOP Event #15 – Average Age of Nine Finalists is 24.8 Years
  3. Brian Lemke Dedicates WSOP Win to His Late Cousin, Justin Shronk

The Winner

The 2009 World Series of Poker $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Brian Lemke, from Norristown, PA which is located in the Philadelphia area.

Lemke is 32-years-old and is self-employed. He has previous performed various odd jobs, most notably a bartender. He is a part-time pro, who plays mostly online.

Prior to this victory, Lemke’s biggest live poker win was about $8,000. He won about 80 times that amount in this tournament.

Lemke was emotional following his victory. At the table, he wore a shirt in tribute to his late cousin – Justin Shronk – who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on April 22, 2009. Shronk was a producer for the poker radio show “Poker Road.”

Lemke dedicated his win to Justin Shronk. On his shirt was written: “No matter how long we live and breath, and whether or not we remember the name JUSTIN, we will never ever forget the force of nature that was SHRONK.”

“We always used to talk poker. When (Shronk) moved out here to Las Vegas to take the gig with Poker Road, he was going to show me around. But I never got to take advantage of that,” Lemke said. “I know he is up there looking down now. He should have been right here with me.”

He was with me the whole time – the entire time. I know he brought that queen for me,” Lemke said, referring to the winning card on the final hand of the tournament.

“It was a much tougher field than I am used to playing in,” Lemke observed when discussing the large number of entries and challenging competition.

“I miss him and that bracelet is dedicated to him, my family, my grandma, and his mom,” Lemke said.

“I still can’t believe this happened,” he said. “I envisioned this happening, but right now I feel like I am still….I’m sure it is going to settle in when I walk out of here.”

Lemke commented that his final opponent, Fabian Quoss is a great player. Lemke stated he sat with Quoss during much of the later stages of the tournament and developed a healthy respect for his adversary. “I kind of feel bad for sucking out on him,” Lemke said. “But that’s poker – I’ll take it.” Note: Lemke caught a three-outer on the final hand of the night.

Lemke collected $692,690 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Lemke stated that he plans to invest his winnings, via conventional financial means. He also stated that he plans to move to Las Vegas and will use some of the fund to move and perhaps buy a home. Prior to victory, Lemke had been looking at places to live in Las Vegas.

Lemke was cheered on to victory by about a dozen friends, all dedicate poker player. He stated that he learned a great amount about skills from his friends, especially Mark Hern. “This win is theirs, too,” he said.

Lemke has a ten-year-old son, which he supports.

According to the official records, Lemke now has 1 win, 1 final table appearances, and 1 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. This was his first time to cash.

The Final Table

The final table contained two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – David “the Dragon” Pham (2 wins) and Thomas “Thunder” Keller (1 win).

Poker is for players of all ages. But this was quite possibly the youngest final table composition in WSOP history. Here are the ages of the nine finalists – 21, 21, 22, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 32.

The oldest player at the table, Lemke (32), ended up winning.

The runner up was Fabian Quoss, from Nuremberg, Germany. He is a 27-year-old student.

The third-place finisher was Thomas “Thunder” Keller, from Scottsdale, AZ. Once the top cash-game player in Arizona, Keller won his gold bracelet back in 2004, the last year the WSOP was played at Binion’s Horseshoe.

The fourth-place finisher was Mike Sowers, from Thomasville, NC. This was his second time to make a WSOP final table. He finished 8th in last year’s Pot-Limit Hold’em world championship.

The fifth-place finisher was Lika Gerasimova, from Yakutiya Suntar, Russia. Gerasimova is another top player from what is indisputably one of the world’s hottest poker markets – Russia.

The sixth-place finisher was Danny Illingworth, from San Diego, CA. This was Illingworth’s first live tournament since turning age 21.

The seventh-place finisher was Isaac Baron from Menlo Park, CA. He is another 21-year-old poker player. Baron made it to the final table of last year’s European Poker Tour championship in Monte Carlo.

The eighth-place finisher was Billy Kopp, from Erlanger, KY. He is a 22-year-old student at the University of Kentucky who did very well at last month’s WSOP Circuit series at Harrah’s New Orleans.

The ninth-place finisher was Christian Iacobellis, from Rye, NY.

The defending champion from 2008 was Scott Seiver, from Cold Springs Harbor, NY. He entered this year’s tournament but did not cash.

Other In-the-Money Finishers

Other former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Erik Seidel, Nenad Medic, Hasan Habib, David “the Dragon” Pham, Dan Heimiller, and Kathy Liebert.

With this cash, Erik Seidel now has 53 in-the-money finishes, which ranks seventh on the all-time list.

Tony Cousineau cashed in this event (44th). He now holds the somewhat dubious record – albeit one that many players would envy -- as the player who has cashed the most times without ever winning a WSOP gold bracelet, with 36.

Odds and Ends

The tournament was played over three consecutive days. On Day Three, the final table was dealt out on ESPN’s Main Stage. The “secondary stage,” located nearby, hosted the other finale played on the same day. Most days at the WSOP this year will include two final tables.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

The Event

The $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event attracted 655 entrants. This created a prize pool totaling $3,078,500. The top 63 finishers collected prize money.

The chip leader at the end of Day One was Calixo Clemenceau, from Aritiba, Puerto Rico. He ended up cashing in 61st place.

When heads-up play began, Fabian Quoss enjoyed slightly greater than a 4 to 1 chip lead over Brian Lemke. But during the match, Lemke became the aggressor and gradually chipped away at his opponent. Quoss was clearly unlucky on what turned out to be the final hand of the night. When the final hand was dealt, the players were close to even in chips, with Lemke holding the advantage.

The final hand of the tournament came when all the money went into the pot pre-flop. Quoss had A-Q. Lemke had A-8. Lemke appeared to be in big trouble, but managed to hit a three-outer on the turn to make a straight. The final board showed J-10-9-Q-x, giving Quoss top pair, but Lemke the straight.

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 6th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Tuesday, June 9, at 2:30 am.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Lemke, Brian $692,690 Norristown PA
2 Quoss, Fabian $427,911 Nuremberg Germany
3 Keller, Thomas $280,851 Scottsdale AZ
4 Sowers, Mike $194,930 Thomasville NC
5 Gerasimova, Lika $142,688 Yakutiya Suntar
6 Illingworth, Danny $109,871 San Diego CA
7 Baron, Isaac $88,783 Menlo Park CA
8 Kopp, Billy $75,115 Erlanger KY
9 Iacobellis, Christian $66,403 Rye NY
10 Pham, David $47,501 Cerritos CA
11 Inselberg, David $47,501 Long Beach NY
12 Busquet, Olivier $47,501 New York NY
13 Neu, Matthias $35,341 Floersheim Germany
14 Benefield, David $35,341 Fort Worth TX
15 Bonding, Lars $35,341 Las Vegas NV
16 Grippo, Nicholas $27,029 Arlington Heights IL
17 Braband, Thomas $27,029 Oshkosh WI
18 Jaka, Faraz $27,029 San Jose CA
19 Goosen, Steven $21,026 Abbotsford BC, Canada
20 Liebert, Kathleen $21,026 Las Vegas NV
21 Turyansky, Alexander $21,026 Sourbruden Germany
22 Seidel, Erik $21,026 Las Vegas NV
23 Tollerene, Benjamin $21,026 Mansfield TX
24 Fox, David $21,026 Coram NY
25 Fish, Darryll $21,026 Las Vegas NV
26 Atkins, Jerry $21,026 New York City NY
27 Verrett, Steven $21,026 Cross Plains WI
28 Leppo, Robert $17,085 Danville CA
29 Medic, Nenad $17,085 Niagara Falls ON, Canada
30 Slaubaugh, Cody $17,085 Henderson NV
31 Habib, Hasan $17,085 Downey CA
32 Holt, Karga $17,085 Atlanta GA
33 Boyd, Howard $17,085 West Chester OH
34 Lacay, Ludovic $17,085 Cornebarrieu France
35 Rios, Jesse $17,085 Salida CA
36 Ingles, Jared $17,085 Baton Rouge LA
37 Dehn, Thomas $14,191 Langen Germany
38 Staudenmaier, Luke $14,191 Imperial PA
39 Boudreau, Kevin $14,191 Colorado Springs CO
40 Merrifield, Steven $14,191 Morgantown WV
41 Lent, Gary $14,191 Rancho Cucamomga CA
42 Peters, David $14,191 Toledo OH
43 Seiver, Scott $14,191 Las Vegas NV
44 Cousineau, Anthony $14,191 Daytona Beach FL
45 Somerville, Jason $14,191 Stony Brook NY
46 Roberts, Brent $11,944 Staten Island NY
47 Strzemp, John $11,944 Las Vegas NV
48 Bucherl, Konstantin $11,944 Regensburg Germany
49 Desveaux, Scott $11,944 Napanee ON, Canada
50 Stewart, Neil $11,944 Cheshire United Kingdom
51 Gavatin, Mats $11,944 Lidingo Sweden
52 Pinteric, Domen $11,944 Kamnik Slovenia
53 Makhija, Amit $11,944 Brookfield WI
54 Grant, Darren $11,944 Toronto ON, Canada
55 Stothmann, Malte $10,159 Frankfurt Germany
56 Nguyen, Anh Van $10,159 Mississauga ON, Canada
57 Brogdon, Edward $10,159 Thorndale TX
58 Karp, Ryan $10,159 West Chester PA
59 Lee, Kwang $10,159 Clarksville MD
60 Charania, Mohsin $10,159 Chicago IL
61 Clemenceau, Calixto $10,159 Aritiba Puerto Rico
62 Dewitt, Jason $10,159 Mishawaka IN
63 Heimiller, Daniel $10,159 Las Vegas NV

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