Germany Enters Circle of Nations with WSOP Gold Bracelet Wins
Another WSOP Event Sells Out – Ninth Event at This Year’s World Series Reaches Full Capacity
Total Purse at 2009 WSOP Surpasses the $100-Million Mark – With Main Event Still to Come
The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Carston John, from Reutingen, Germany. The city of Reutingen is located near Stuttgart.
Joh is 45-years-old. He is a professional poker player, who plays online poker regularly. Joh also owns part of a small business involved in sports gambling in Germany (which is legal).
Joh is fluent in both German (his native language) and English.
Joh finished high school, served in the military, and also attended college. He worked various jobs until discovering an aptitude as a backgammon player.
Joh competed in international backgammon tournaments and played in various clubs for many years. He competed throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s in Germany and throughout Europe. One of Joh’s friends from the backgammon tournaments was Danish poker player Gus Hansen.
Joh ws caught up in the poker book around 2002 and 2003 which attracted many European players.
Joh’s preferred poker game is Pot-Limit Omaha.
Prior to his win, Joh had two major cashes in Europe. He took second at Casino Bergenz last year, and then finished seventh at the Irish Open, also held in 2008. His combined live tournament winnings totaled $219,542 prior to this win.
Joh arrived at this year’s WSOP intending to play only about 4-5 tournaments, including the Main Event.
Joh collected $664,426 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
According to official records, Joh now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 1 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings now total $664,426.
Joh becomes the first player from Germany to win a gold bracelet this year. He is the first German player to win since Sebastian Ruthenberg (Hamburg, Germany) won the Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split championship in 2008. The first German national to win a WSOP event was Matthias Rohnacher (Mannheim, Germany) in 1997. The German player with the most WSOP wins is Eddy Scharf, with two gold bracelets.
On what motivated him to become a poker player: “My friends started playing poker and I saw them winning. Some of them even moved to Las Vegas. I saw them and I said to myself, ‘if they can do it and make some money, so can I.”
On the German poker scene: “In backgammon, the nations are very close. We have the nations compete and they are all close. But in poker, it is very different. Like this event, it is so huge. I know some other German players, but most of the time I hand around with those I know. I do not think poker is really a nation’s cup, actually. I think it is more an individual sport. It’s nice to win it for your country. But poker is not quite so popular in Germany, so I am not sure if will mean as much there. The same thing happened in backgammon. The game used to be dominated by the Americans. Then, the Germans and the Scandinavians started playing and winnings and suddenly things were changing. In poker, I think we are starting to see the same thing.”
One being the oldest player at the final table, and winning: “It takes a lot of energy in these tournaments to go deep. I never thought about the money or anything. I was just taking it one step at a time. I was short on chips much of the way. But I just stuck with it and played on….Normally, the older players like me do not win the bracelet. You see every final table with six, seven, or eight players in their 20s. It is more difficult for an older player to win it. I have a lot of respect for the older players because you have to play ten levels and you might be here 13 or 14 hours each day.”
On winning $664,426 in prize money: “I will continue to live the life I have. I already have a comfortable life. But this makes it easier. I now have a bigger bankroll.”
On what winning a WSOP gold bracelet means: “The bracelet means a lot because you have it for the rest of your life. Whatever you hot later on, you can always say you won a bracelet. Even if you stop playing poker – you just have it. If you come second, you really have nothing. You have the money. But nobody talks about that. It is just like that in sports. Everyone remembers the winner.”
The Final Table
The final table included no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. This was the 15th table of 50 (completed) events this year with no previous winners.
The final table included players from five different nations – including Canada, France, Germany, Greece, and the United States.
Six of the eight final table players were age 27 and younger. The oldest player at the table (Joh) ended up as the winner. He is 45.
The runner up was Andrew Chen, from Mississauga, ON (Canada). He enjoyed two big cashes recently – fifth place at the Latin American Poker Tour championship in Costa Rica, and third place at the EPT event in Prague (Czech Republic). Chen is 21-years-old and collected $412,632 for second place.
The third-place finisher was David Walasinski, from Columbus, OH. He recently graduated from the Ohio State University, at age 21. Next he is considering attending law school. Tuition should not be a problem. This was his first WSOP in-the-money finish, worth $272,405 in prize money.
The fourth-place finisher was Steven Levy, from Peabody, MA. He is a 22-year-old professional poker player. Levy has won several online poker tournaments. This was his fifth time to cash at the WSOP, and marked his highest finish to date.
The fifth-place finisher was Owen Crowe, from Halifax, NS (Canada). He has performed very well in events with big fields, such as this tournament. Crowe is best known for having finished 15th in last year’s WSOP Main Event, which paid $463,201. He also made it to a final table of another $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event played last year.
The sixth-place finisher was Thibaut Durand, from Argentan, France. He previously cashed in two European Poker Tour events, held in Deuville and Dortmund. This was Durand’s first time to cash at the WSOP.
The seventh-place finisher was Georgios Kapalas, from Athens, Greece. He won first place at a Greek Poker Tour event, held a few months ago. He also cashed at EPT-Barcelona. Kapalas is also a dedicated Magic the Gathering player, which has created quite a number of top young poker stars and gold bracelet winners.
The eighth-place finisher was Jason Helder, from Lancaster, PA. He is a poker pro, who mostly plays online. This was Helder’s first time to cash at the WSOP.
The ninth-place finisher was Nate Page, from Portland, OR. He is a stay-at-home dad, raising three children. Incredibly, this was Page’s first major poker tournament entry. He played a small tournament at home with friends to raise enough money to pay for a seat into this event. Page parlayed an impossible dream into a final table appearance at the WSOP and more than $80,000 in prize money.
Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Men “the Master” Nguyen, Grant Hinkle, Steve Hohn, and Howard “Tahoe” Andrew.
Men “the Master” Nguyen’s 78th-place showing gives him 64 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. This currently ranks second on the all-time cashes list. Note: The leader is Phil Hellmuth, with 73 career cashes.
Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Howard “Tahoe” Andrew enjoyed his last win back in 1976. Proving once again that poker is a game for players of all ages, Andrew cashed for the third time at this year’s WSOP. He holds the record as the player with the most consecutive WSOP years attended – now at 35.
The defending champion in the event from 2008 was J.C. Tran, from Sacramento, CA. Note that he won the corresponding event on last year’s schedule (there are multiple $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments). He entered this year’s tournament, but did not cash.
Odds and Ends
This event was a complete sell out. This was the ninth tournament to reach maximum capacity at this year’s WSOP. This is the most gold bracelet events ever to sell out within a single year. A complete “sell out” means every seat at every available table is sold and additional players are/were turned away at registration. A complete sell out occurs are various numbers, based on the total tables and seats available for tournament use. Events which have sold out this year include: 4, 7, 22, 24, 28, 29, 39, 43, and 51.
This was the third-largest tournament (in attendance) of the 2009 WSOP.
This is the sixth of seven $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournaments on the 2009 WSOP schedule. This game and buy-in level has consistently proven to be the most popular draw on the schedule in recent years, aside from the Main Event.
An alternative lower buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament (less than $10,000) has been included as part of the WSOP schedule every year since 1973. Over the years, these buy-in amounts have ranged from $1,000 up to $5,000. However, more $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournaments have now taken place at the WSOP over the past 39-years than any other event.
The previous five $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em events held this year attracted 2,791 -- 2,506 -- 2,638 – 2,095 – and 2,781 players respectively. Attendance this year is consistent with previous years when the earlier events tend to attract bigger fields, followed by a slight decline at the WSOP enters its third and fourth week, then bigger turnouts at the Main Event approaches.
Day One began with 2,781 players. Day Two continued with 349 surviving players. Day Three continued with 30 players. The final table did not begin play until 7 pm on Day Three.
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 $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship attracted 2,781 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $3,796,065. The top 297 finishers collected prize money.
The tournament was played over three consecutive days.
The end of Day One chip leader was Christopher Bonita, from Winthrop, MA. He cashed out in 103rd place.
The chip leader at the start of the final table was Jason Helder. He suffered a brutal run on the feature table and busted out first, in eighth place.
Carsten Joh started play at the final table ranked seventh in chips, out of eight players. After being a distant third in chips when play was three-handed, took control late in the tournament and defeated Andrew Chen in heads-up play.
When heads-up play began, Joh enjoyed a slight chip lead over Chen. It took 33 minutes for Joh to close out the victory. Chen missed a diamond draw on the final hand of the night, while Joh dragged the last hand of the tournament with trip sixes.
The final table lasted about seven hours – slightly below average in duration.
The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 27th, at noon. The tournament officially ended on Tuesday, June 29th, at 2:05 am.