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WSOP 2009

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Event #50, $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout, Final Results

Official Report
Event #50
Limit Hold’em Shootout
Buy-In: $1,500
Number of Entries: 571
Total Net Prize Pool: $779,024
Number of Places Paid: 64
First Place Prize: $194,854
June 26-28, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Greg “FBT” Mueller Wins Second WSOP Gold Bracelet
  2. Three Former WSOP Gold Bracelet Winners Finish 1-2-3 in Limit Hold’em Shootout
  3. “2009 – Year of the Repeat?” – Another Former Champion Wins Yet Again
  4. A WSOP First – 2009 Series Produces Four Double-Winners (Previous Mark of Three Double Winners in a Single Year Falls with Mueller’s Victory)

The Champion

The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Limit Shootout champion is Greg Mueller, from Vancouver, BC (Canada).

“FBT” stands for “Full-Blown Tilt.”

Mueller is a 37-year-old professional poker player. He is a regular player on the major tournament circuit.

Prior to playing poker for a living, Mueller played professional ice hockey in Europe. He played for nine seasons for a team based in Germany. He retired in 1999.

Mueller is fluent in both English and German languages.

Mueller has done modeling and has been featured in television commercials.

Mueller is 6’4” and weighs 225 pounds.

Mueller started playing poker seriously on his many road trips while a hockey pro. He insists that poker is a game that allows him to exercise the same competitive instincts he utilized as a pro athlete.

Mueller’s first WSOP cash took place in 2003.

Prior to his first victory which took place on July 17th, Mueller endured two emotionally-crushing runner-up finishes. He appeared on the first ESPN broadcast of the 2007 and lost heads-up to Steve Billirakis, who at the time became the youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner in history. Last year, he finished second again, losing the gold bracelet to Philip Tom.

Mueller says he has played about half of the events on this year’s schedule, to date.

Mueller collected $194,854 for first place. He was also awarded his second WSOP gold bracelet.

In Event #33, Mueller won the $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em World Championship. This victory (again, in Limit Hold’em) reaffirms his status at the best limit tournament player in the world at this time.

This was Mueller’s third final table appearance at this year’s WSOP – finishing 1st, 1st, and 7th.

According to official records, Mueller now has 2 wins, 6 final table appearances, and 19 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings now total $1,516,206.

Mueller becomes the fourth player to win two (or more) gold bracelets at this year’s WSOP – joining Jeffrey Lisandro, Phil Ivey, and Brock Parker.

This is the first time in the 40-year-history of the WSOP that four players have won gold bracelets within a single year. The previous record was three players in one year, which has happened two times (1993 and 2002).

Winner Quotes (Greg Mueller)

On winning a second WSOP gold bracelet so quickly after winning his first: “They say good things come in threes. There are still two more events, so who knows? It feels unbelievable, especially because the player I beat (Marc Naalden) is such a great Limit Hold’em player. He was the player coming into today who I thought would be the toughest to beat. I’m really, really happy with this one.”

On his confidence level playing Limit Hold’em (as opposed to other games): “A few times I valued bet with ace-high, and got paid off. When (Naalden) turned his cards over and was staring at the board (in defeat), it just pumped me up more because I was really making some thin value bets.”

On former gold bracelet winners finishing 1-2-3 at the final table and the experience factor: “Oh, experience is important big time. The last two final tables I won I caught a lot of cards and got lucky for sure. But when you get into this situation, experience counts. You don’t panic when you get into a negative situation. It’s just like in sports. You see sports team when they get into a playoff drive -- they sign a 40-year-old experienced player who might be a little slower. But the experience is more important.”

One what he is doing different this year than in years past: “I know the tournament is won late in the night. If I lose a hand early, I’m not going to get rattled. If I miss a bet, I’m just going to shake it off. These are long tournaments, and I think that adjustment has really helped me.”

On the comparison between his first win and his second: “Obviously, the first victory is really special. It’s your first accomplishment. But winning two in one year is so tough and it puts me into a very elite category. Phil Ivey did it and the others, too. It also shows that my first win was not a fluke and that I can play a good Limit Hold’em game.”

On feeling pressure to win: “There was less pressure this time, because I (had) already won one. But you always want to win. If I would have got second, I would have gone home and pouted. But as far as pressure goes, I don’t think I had much pressure until I got heads-up and had the chip lead. Then, I said to myself – ‘I can’t blow this.’ That’s when the pressure comes.”

The Final Table

The final table included three former WSOP gold bracelet winners – David Williams (1 win), Greg “FBT” Mueller (1 win), and Marc Naalden ( 1 win) .

The final table included players from four different nations – including Argentina, Canada, Holland, and the United States.

This is unquestionably becoming the “Year of the Repeat Winner.” There have already been 14 former champions who won bracelets again this year. Four players are repeat winners during this year alone. It was notable that the top three finishers in this event were all former winners. This comes after the final table held on the previous day, when the top two finishers were former bracelet winners.

It was particularly striking that the top two finishers both previously won their gold bracelets playing Limit Hold’em.

The runner up was Marc Naalden, from Antwerp, Belgium (Note: He is Dutch). Naalden won the $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event, held last week. For second place, Naalden collected $120,614 in prize money.

The third-place finisher was David Williams, from Las Vegas, NV. He won his gold bracelet in 2006 playing Seven-Card Stud. Williams is perhaps best known for his second-place finish to Greg Raymer in the 2004 WSOP Main Event. Williams has now accrued over $4.3 million in career WSOP earnings.

The fourth-place finisher was Millie Shiu, a.k.a. “Poker Snoopy.” She is from Las Vegas, NV. Shiu missed becoming the first female gold bracelet winner at this year’s WSOP. She was the sixth female to make it to a final table in 2009. Shiu is a poker pro who previously worked as a hair stylist.

The fifth-place finisher was Matt Sterling, from Brownstown, IN. He won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Harrah’s Rincon last year. With was Sterling’s eighth time to cash at the WSOP.

The sixth-place finisher was Flaminio Malaguti, from Greenville, NC. This was his first time to cash in three years at the WSOP.

The seventh-place finisher was Joep Van Den Bigaart, from Nijmegen, Holland. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP.

The eighth-place finisher was Jose “Nacho” Barbero, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Had Barbero won, he would have become only the second South American WSOP gold bracelet champion in history (Alexandre Gomes, from Brazil was the first). This was Barbero’s fifth time to cash, and was his highest WSOP finish, to date.

In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Marc Naalden, David Williams, Greg Mueller, Humberto Brenes, Tom Schneider, Ben Ponzio, Brock Parker, and Dan Heimiller.

Humberto Brenes’ in-the-money finishes gives him 55 for his career. This currently ranks fifth on the all-time cashes list – behind Phil Hellmuth, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, and Berry Johnston.

Dan Heimiller’s in-the-money finish gives him 36 for his career. This currently ranks 29th on the all-time cashes list.

The defending champion in the event from 2008 was Matthew Graham, from Pearland, TX. He entered this year’s tournament, but did not cash.

Odds and Ends

A shootout tournament means players advance based on winning a series of table matches. The shootout format is single elimination. The number of matches depends on the number of tournament entries. In this event, the winner was required to win three consecutive matches.

Each match is played like a single-table satellite, with only one winner from each table.

Day One began with 571 players. There were 64 matches played – with an average of 8 players starting at each table. The shortest match lasted 7 hours. The longest match lasted 13 hours. At the end of Day One, 64 players (all the winners) advanced to Day Two.

Day Two resumed with 64 players. There were 8 matches played with 8 players starting at each table. At the end of Day Two, 8 players (all the winners) advanced to Day Three, which was the final table.

Day Three resumed with 8 players, which was the final table.

The ESPN broadcast stage was dark on this day. Three more events are scheduled, which are split between ESPN 360 and Bluff Media. For a complete broadcast schedule of all events, go to:

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 $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em championship attracted 571 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $779,024. The top 64 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

All events at this year’s WSOP give players triple chips (three times the amount of the buy-in). Players began Round 1 with 4,500 in chips. Winners advanced and began Round 2 with 45,000 in chips. Winners advanced and began Round 3 with 450,000 in chips.

When heads-up play began, Mueller enjoyed a 4 to 1 chip advantage over Naalden. The Dutch player drew event and then took the lead temporarily, in a duel that lasted two hours. But Mueller regained his advantaged and gradually wore down Naalden in a fury of raises and re-raises whenever he believed he held the edge. The final hand came when Mueller and Naalden both flopped top pair (kings), but Mueller’s higher kicker played and scooped the pot.

After Mueller’s win, several experienced poker players watching the action remarked that Mueller never seemed to miss a bet and was able to extract the most chips out of his opponent when he held the advantage during a hand. This was arguably the key difference in the match.

For the third consecutive night, the final table drew a very large and enthusiastic crowd. Several hundred spectators crammed around the ESPN secondary stage and cheered back and forth as favored players traded chips. Mueller and Naalden seemed to enjoy the most vocal crowd support, which was fitting since they ended up finishing 1-2.

The final table lasted about nine hours – about average in duration.

The tournament officially began on Friday, June 26th, at noon. The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 28th, at 11:30 pm.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Mueller, Greg $194,909 Vancouver BC, Canada
2 Naalden, Marc $120,614 Roosendaal The Netherlands
3 Shiu, Millie $77,138 Las Vegas NV
4 David Williams $51,145 Las Vegas NV
5 Sterling, Matthew $35,058 Brownstown IN
6 Malaguti, Flaminio $24,824 Greenville NC
7 Van Den Bijgaart, Joep $18,136 Nijmegen Netherlands
8 Barbero, Jose $13,655 Buenos Aires Argentina
9 Hoivold, Andreas $4,356 Kristiansand Norway
10 Ponzio, Ben $4,356 Elmwwood Park IL
11 Tanniru, Robert $4,356 Henderson NV
12 Neckar, Jonathan $4,356 Las Vegas NV
13 Schneider, Thomas $4,356 Scottsdale AZ
14 Petersen, Jacob $4,356 Baton Rouge LA
15 Buchanan, Shawn $4,356 Abbottsford BC
16 Panos, Peter $4,356 Orland Park IL
17 Brenes, Humberto $4,356 San Jose Costa Rica
18 Halioua Michel $4,356 Thornhill ON, Canada
19 Pan, Qinghai $4,356 Las Vegas NV
20 Ray, Kyle $4,356 Fayetteville GA
21 Michaud, Norman $4,356 Bakersfield CA
22 Heimiller, Daniel $4,356 Las Vegas NV
23 Ray, Robert $4,356 Moss Point MS
24 Dang, Trai $4,356 Whittier CA
25 Ginzburg, Roman $4,356 Los Angeles CA
26 Leah, Michael $4,356 Brooklyn NY
27 Kraus, Daniel $4,356 Karlsrune GM
28 Boudreau, Jeffrey $4,356 Evergreen Park IL
29 Dwek, Jonathan $4,356 Toronto ON, Canada
30 Byrne, Michael $4,356 Oak Laun IL
31 Konst, Lennart $4,356 Xanten-Vynen Germany
32 Bellande, Jean Robert $4,356 Las Vegas NV
33 Campbell Robert $4,356    
34 Binger, Nicholas $4,356 Las Vegas NV
35 Witteles, Ronald $4,356 Palo Alto CA
36 Gallman, James $4,356 Granbury TX
37 Parker John $4,356 Silver Springs MD
38 Goddard, Brian $4,356 Huntington Bh CA
39 Early, Benjamin $4,356 Chester VA
40 Lauria, Bob $4,356 Norwich CT
41 Siegal, Jeffrey $4,356 Daly City CA
42 Beasley, William $4,356 Hollywood FL
43 Thorpe, Michael $4,356 La Mesa CA
44 Oliveira, Raul $4,356 Rio de Janeiro Brazil
45 Hagen, Andreas $4,356 Hafrsfjord Norway
46 Plastik, David $4,356 Las Vegas NV
47 Helppi, Juha $4,356 Helsinki Finland
48 Hiatt, Samuel $4,356 Dekalb IL
49 Wan, Lap $4,356 Alhambra CA
50 Cordovez, Diego $4,356 Las Vegas NV
51 Pechac, James $4,356 Phoenix AZ
52 Shlez, Vadim $4,356 Brooklyn NY
53 Buckley, James $4,356 Los Angeles CA
54 Haakenson, Erik $4,356 San Francisco CA
55 Kittle, Scott $4,356 Redlands CA
56 Geary, Jim $4,356 Glendale AZ
57 Snow, Alan $4,356 Lynnwood WA
58 Kim, Steve $4,356 San Jose CA
59 Locicero, Marco $4,356 Iseo Italy
60 Patelidas, Antonio $4,356 Las Vegas NV
61 Keown, Clinton $4,356 Evansville IN
62 Henson, Raymond $4,356 Spring TX
63 Toh, William $4,356 Las Vegas NV
64 Lennaard, Ken $4,356 Norrtalje Sweden

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