A bunch of British players headed home from Vegas this year with shiny new WSOP bracelets nestling in their luggage. There were four UK WSOP bracelet winners at this year’s Series along with numerous deep runs and near-misses.
Paul Hizer undoubtedly faced the largest number of opponents when he carved his way through a 13,565-entry field in the $400 Colossus to score a career-best cash of $414,490. Hizer has been a poker pro for six years and had already notched up some $450k in live tournament winnings before arriving in Vegas. However, he had never actually won a tournament. He said: “This year’s WSOP was an incredible experience and certainly one I won’t forget in a hurry. But even after such an incredible two months filled with a mixture of emotions, lots of deep runs and a World Series of Poker bracelet under my belt, I still feel very unaccomplished in the game. My dream when I got into poker was to win the Main Event and I’m going to do everything I can to make this possible in the future.”
Hizer (pictured above Photo: Danny Maxwell, PokerNews), who will be competing at EPT Barcelona in August, added: “Winning the event is still so surreal but it’s starting to sink in slowly. I’ve watched the final table back a few times now as large parts of it were such a blur. I guess I was just so focused and zoned in whilst trying not to let such a big moment get the better of me. The more I think about it I feel extremely proud of what I’ve achieved but now I’m ready and even more hungry to have success in the future.” The Colossus also gave another Brit a big Colossus score with James Scott finishing fourth for $146,680.
Harry Lodge (pictured below) also acquired his first ever WSOP bracelet after taking down the online $7,777 Lucky 7's High Roller for $396,366 – while sitting all alone at an empty table at the Venetian! Lodge had to fight off competition from the likes of David Peters , Daniel Negreanu, Mike Watson and Dario Sammartino on the final table to snag the title and coveted WSOP bracelet. He said: “It's been a goal of mine to win a bracelet since I started playing poker although the moment that I won was, itself, slightly underwhelming. I was playing a live tournament at the Venetian which bagged up around midnight and I didn't fancy risking my phone connection so I was sat at a table in the empty poker room with nobody around. I did get a funny look from the cleaner when I celebrated my win at 2AM!!”
Up next for Lodge, along with so many other British players, is EPT Barcelona which is taking place in the Catalan capital from August 8-12. Lodge added: “PokerStars run a great tournament and Barcelona is always a good combination of large fields and great weather.”
Patrick Leonard (pictured with Espen Jorstad below)also had a debut bracelet win when he and WSOP Main Event champion Espen Jorstad took down the $1,000 Tag Team event for $74,042. Leonard, who has been ranked the world’s top online MTT player multiple times and has more than $18 million in live and online earnings, has had a taste but is still hungry to win more bracelets in the future. Patrick said: “It’s been a good series! 13 cashes, 1 bracelet, a little bit of profit and also watched Espen, my close friend and tag team partner, win the Main!”
Leonard looks to head back to Vegas at least once more in 2022, to play the WPT Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio in October, and the WPT World Championship at the Wynn in December is also a likely contender. Leonard says his next live event will most likely be the giant PokerStars festival EPT Barcelona which is taking place in the Catalan capital from August 8-12.
Rob Cowen won a WSOP bracelet for the second year running after taking down the $50k PLO High Roller for a career-best cash of nearly $1.4 million. He then came close to winning yet another bracelet in the $10k PLO Hi-Low, finishing third for $271,219 – and ended the Series with a fourth-place finish in the Tournament of Champions for $75k. The Swansea native now has more than $3 million in live tournament winnings including his previous best cash of €475,410 after taking down the EPT Prague High Roller in March.
… And the lucrative near misses!
Numerous British players had big scores at the WSOP even if they didn’t manage to get their hands on a bracelet. Gary Whitehead, a regular on the UK poker scene especially at GUKPT and Grosvenor events, narrowly missed winning his first WSOP bracelet event when he was runner-up in the $800 NL Deepstack. Whitehead (pictured below), who will be competing at UKIPT Nottingham this weekend, faced a tough final table in the Deepstack which included Ari Engel and Dublin born Marc MacDonnell. Gary’s $170k payday – by far the largest of his live poker career – brings his total live tournament winnings to more than $438,000. He said: “This was my first WSOP since the pandemic and reaching the final table of a bracelet event was an absolutely incredible feeling. To then reach heads-up was something that every poker player dreams of! I was gutted not to win the bracelet but it’s an experience I will never forget – especially playing it right next to where the Main Event was taking place!”
Benny Glaser (pictured below) who remains the most prolific UK bracelet winner with four WSOP titles to his name, cashed in four events this year and won $464,420 for his fourth-place finish in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. His WSOP winnings now total nearly $2.7 million. EPT Vilamoura champion Toby Lewis had two near-misses at this year’s WSOP – finishing eighth in the $10k PLO for $124,611 and fifth in the $5k Freezeout for $154,806. He has now won more than $8 million in live tournaments around the world and is ranked 6th in the UK all-time money list. Ben Heath who won a bracelet in 2019 and was runner-up last year in the Super High Roller for more than $2 million, had another huge score this year with a third-place finish in the $100k High Roller for $805,024. Talal Shakerchi also made the final table in the $100k, busting in sixth place for $321,437.
Article Credits: Mad Harper, Mark Valentine
Photo Credits: WSOP, PokerNews, Danny Maxwell