The poker-playing Mizrachi clan has another WSOP bracelet to celebrate, and we’re only one week into the World Series of Poker 2015.
One of the best things about the tournament series is that it provides a chance for the top professional players in the world to show their skills, while also giving amateurs the opportunity of a lifetime to win prestigious poker events.
But while recreational players will certainly have their days at the 2015 WSOP, the early events have rewarded poker pros with most of the gold bracelets.
Possibly the most notable winner in the first few days of the WSOP this year has been Robert Mizrachi. One of the four poker pro Mizrachi brothers, Robert joined his brother in a tie for the family lead by capturing his third WSOP gold bracelet after winning the $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo event.
“It’s what we play for, it’s what all players play for,” Mizrachi told WSOP.com, on winning a WSOP bracelet. “Winning here is what it’s all about.”
Another pro to cash in early in the World Series was Nick Petrangelo. While you might not be as familiar with his name, he is putting together a massively successful year, having already won a $5,000 event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and final-tabling the $25,000 High Roller in that same festival before winning the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout over the weekend.
Petrangelo wasn’t the only pro at the final table, as he beat Jason Les heads up and had to contend with Brian Lemke, Leo Wolpert, and Loni Harwood, among others. There was even some Hollywood star power at that table, as actor James Woods finished in seventh place.
For Petrangelo, seeing Woods contend for a bracelet was no surprise.
“I’ve played with him some and have many friends who see him at Foxwoods all the time,” he said. “For someone who is probably really busy and involved in things, for a part-timer, he really has a solid game.”
One event that seemed destined to produce an amateur winner was the $1,000 Hyper Hold’em tournament, a fast-paced event that barely took more than one day to play out. But even with the fast pace, it was an experienced tournament pro who came out on top in the end.
The winner was John Reading, a 26-year-old pro from St. Paul, Minnesota. Like Petrangelo, Reading may be having a bit of a coming out party this year, as he won his first WSOP Circuit ring in April as well.
In the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament, fans may have recognized several prominent names at the final table, including Joe Ebanks, Amir Lehavot, Greg Merson, and Bryn Kenney. But it was Michael Wang who ended up taking down the title, adding to his own strong tournament poker resume.
While Wang hasn’t had much success at the WSOP until his win this year, that’s not a reflection of his tournament poker skills. He’d had several close calls, including a second-place finish at the Hollywood Poker Open last year, and a third-place result at the Irish Open in April were among his top results, and he now has over $1.15 million in live tournament earnings.
So with all these pros winnings, what hopes do amateurs have of grabbing some WSOP glory of their own? The answer may lie in some of the largest events in the tournament, including the biggest tournament in live poker history.
The $565 Colossus tournament is still ongoing, and with 39 players remaining at the start of Day Seven, there are numerous unknown players in contention for the top prize. The weeks to come will also offer plenty of opportunities for recreational players to score big wins, including the Millionaire Maker, which begins on June 5, and the Monster Stack, starting on June 12.