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Praz Bansi Wins No-Limit Hold'em Gold Bracelet – His Second
The winner of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship (Event #5) was Praz Bansi. He is a 32-year-old professional poker player from London, England. Bansi collected more than half a million dollars for first place -- $515,501 to be exact – plus his second WSOP gold bracelet. Bansi’s first victory took place at the WSOP in 2006. He also finished third in last year’s WSOP Europe Main Event championship, held in London. Bansi topped a huge field of 2,092 players and won the game’s most coveted prize. The tournament began on Memorial Day and ended late on Wednesday night. His victory was cheered on at the Rio in Las Vegas by a huge gallery of spectators. The runner up was Vincent Jacques, a first-time WSOP participant from Quebec. Among those who also cashed were last year’s Poker Hall of Fame inductee Dewey Tomko. WSOP Circuit top pro Dwyte Pilgrim finished in-the-money. Other well-known names who cashed included David Bach, Antonio Esfandiari, and Chad Brown.
The Champion – Praz Bansi
The $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em champion (Event #5) is Praz Bansi, from London,
Bansi is 32-years-old. He is single.
Bansi is a professional poker player. He has been playing full time for about six years. Prior to playing poker, Bansi worked as a personnel recruiter.
Bansi now has more than $2.5 million in accumulated overall tournament winnings worldwide. He also crossed the million-dollar threshold in WSOP winnings with this victory.
Bansi’s first cash took place in 2005 at a tournament called the European Poker Classics. His first WSOP cash was in 2006, when he took 73rd place in a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament. Two weeks later, he won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event.
Bansi collected $515,501 for first place in his latest WSOP victory. He was presented with his second WSOP gold bracelet.
Bansi finished third in last year’s WSOP Europe Main Event championship held at the Empire Casino in London. He later said that was the toughest field he had ever encountered.
According to official records, Bansi now has eight in-the-money finishes, four final table appearances, and two wins. His career WSOP earnings now total $1,417,300.
With this win, Bansi becomes tied with only two others as the only English players in history with multiple WSOP gold bracelets. The others are Chris Bjorin (2) and John-Paul Kelly (2).
On which means more, the first gold bracelet or the second: “That’s a tough one. I have not really thought about it yet, but I think this one means a bit more. There are quite a few guys in the UK who have one gold bracelet. But two is a rare thing.”
On what this victory means when compared with other major tournaments where he’s played: “The EPT’s and the other tournaments are important, but to me – the World Series is everything.”
On the transition from working a regular job to playing poker for a living: “I worked in recruitment. I decided after a few months that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. But I stuck it out because of family and the things they expected me to do, and everything. But then I started playing (poker) and got a bug for the game and decided I just couldn’t do the nine-to-five in an office.”
On superstitions: “I have many. It’s ridiculous….I know it’s stupid. It does not really affect the cards, but after you hang around poker a long time and all you hear is unlucky this and unlucky that….”
On adjusting his expectations upward at this WSOP, now that he has already won a gold bracelet: “We’ve been saying that if we get off to a good start as a group (of friends) we think we can go on and win 3 or 4 bracelets between us. I hope I might make another score. I know it’s a bit greedy to ask.”
The Final Table
The final table consisted of only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Praz Bansi.
Final table participants ranged in age from 21 to 42. Six of the nine players were aged in their 20s.
Six of the nine finalists cashed for the first time in this tournament.
The runner up was Vincent “Vluff” Jacques, from Quebec (Canada). “Vluff” is his online poker name. He is 21-years-old and is a student. This was his first time to cash in a WSOP event. He collected $320,913.
The third-place finisher was Calvin Kordus, from Anchorage, AK. This was his first WSOP cash.
The fourth-place finisher was David Tuthill, from St. Petersburg, FL. This was his first WSOP cash.
The fifth-place finisher was Tomer Berda, who is originally from Israel. He now lives in Menlo Park, CA. This was his best finish in three WSOP cashes. He previously owned a successful software development company before getting seriously involved in poker.
The sixth-place finisher was Don Offord, a.k.a. “Little He-Man.” He lives in Broomfield, CO. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP. His goal, he says, is “to be a superstar.”
The seventh-place finisher was Hugh Bell, from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. He is believed to be the highest WSOP finisher in history from the Caribbean nation.
The eighth-place finisher was David Sands, from Las Vegas, NV. This was his fourth WSOP cash.
The ninth-place finisher was Kyle Knecht, from Cincinnati, OH.
The final table officially began at 6:15 pm and ended at 2:30 am.
Other In-the-Money Finishers
The top 80 finishers collected prize money. Aside from those who made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Thomas Alenius, David Bach, Humberto Brenes, Antonio Esfandiari, and Todd Wittles.
With his cash in this tournament, Humberto Brenes now has 56 in-the-money finishes, which moves him one spot ahead of T.J. Cloutier. Brenes is now alone in sixth place all-time.
Odds and Ends
This is the 835th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: This figure
The final table was played on the secondary stage, inside the Amazon Room at the Rio.
Poker has reached the stage where a 2,000-player field no longer causes much of a stir.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight). The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year. The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament, usually 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 are permitted by both public and members of the media.
Bansi requested that the national anthem of the United Kingdom (“God Save the Queen”) be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.
No-Limit Hold'em has been the only game included on the WSOP schedule every year since inception in 1970.
The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from May 31st through June 2nd, 2010.
The tournament began on Memorial Day weekend.
The final table officially lasted 8 hours and 15 minutes.
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