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The 2012 World Series of Poker kicked off two weeks ago in Las Vegas Nevada and in that short amount of time, there have been numerous big stories including Phil Hellmuth's record 12th bracelet victory. In addition, women have been a dominating factor this year making numerous open event final tables. Not all the news is good as overall numbers have been down this year after a record setting year in 2012.
Several big names have won bracelets this year and among them is the all-time bracelet leader at the WSOP, Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth extended his bracelet total to 12 after winning the $2,500 Razz Event on Sunday night. He hadn't won a bracelet in five years but came close last year after finishing 2nd in three events.
Andy Bloch is no longer "the best player without a bracelet" after winning the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Event on June 2nd. Bloch is perhaps best known for finishing 2nd to the late Chip Reese in 2006 at the $50,000 HORSE Event. Since that time, Bloch has had multiple near-misses at final tables, but finally broke through with this performance.
The last woman to win an open event bracelet was Vanessa Selbst who won the $1,500 PL Omaha Event in 2008. So far this WSOP, two women have played heads-up for bracelets and five different women have made final tables, including Selbst. Patricia Baker played heads-up for the bracelet in the Employee's Event and Amanda Musumeci played for the bracelet in the $1,500 NL Hold'em ReEntry event. Unfortunately, neither were able to take down the title. Women typically make up 3 to 5 percent of the total field at the WSOP, so to have so many do well says a lot of the state of women's poker.
Perhaps the biggest story of the WSOP outside of Hellmuth's 12th bracelet win is the drop in overall attendance so far this year. Just about ever event has either seen a drop in attendance or a significant drop in total prize pool. The first $1,500 NL Event of the year saw over a 20 percent drop over the same event last year and many events are seeing a 5 to 10% decrease in numbers. Many attribute this to the effective shutdown of online poker in America while others are blaming the global economy. There are others that think that the WSOP is just having an off year and that after multiple years of growth, they were due for a down year.
With over 30 events left including the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship, the $1 Million buy-in Big One for One Drop charity event, and the $10,000 Main Event, there is still plenty of stories left to be told. Will Phil Ivey betting millions on WSOP bracelet pay off and will last year's Player of the Year Ben Lamb make another strong showing this year? Time will tell and the poker world will be watching.
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