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Greg "FBT" Mueller breaks through at WSOP18 June 2009
Event #33 $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold'em
1. Greg "FBT" Mueller Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet
2. Mueller Finally Gets a Well-Deserved WSOP Win -- After Seven Final Table Appearances and Two Runner-Up Finishes the Last Three Years
3. Good Neighbors? Canada and Mexico Collect WSOP Gold Bracelets on Same Day – USA Shut Out
4. 2009 WSOP Crosses $60 Million Mark in Prize Money – as Two-Thirds of Events So Far Exceed $1 Million in Prize Money
The Winner --
· The 2009 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em world champion is Greg "FBT" Mueller, from Vancouver, BC (Canada).
· Mueller is a 37-year-old professional poker player. He is a regular player on the major tournament circuit.
· Prior to playing poker for a living, Mueller played professional ice hockey in Europe. He played for nine seasons for a team based in Germany. He retired in 1999.
· Mueller is fluent in both English and German languages.
· Mueller has done modeling and has been featured in television commercials.
· Mueller is 6'4" and weighs 225 pounds.
· Mueller started playing poker seriously on his many road trips while a hockey pro. He insists that poker is a game that allows him to exercise the same competitive instincts he utilized as a pro athlete.
· Mueller's first WSOP cash took place in 2003.
· Prior to his victory, Mueller endured two disappointing runner-up finishes. He appeared on the first ESPN broadcast of the 2007 and lost heads-up to Steve Billirakis, who at the time became the youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner in history. Last year, he finished second again, losing the gold bracelet to Philip Tom.
· Mueller collected $460,841 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.
· According to the official records, Mueller now has 1 win, 6 final table appearances, and 18 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
· Mueller currently has $1,321,352 in WSOP winnings.
· With this victory, Mueller officially became the 127th player in WSOP history to win in excess of $1 million.
· There was some poetic justice in Greg Mueller's victory on this day. Play at the final table was paused about midway into the action due to a special ceremony to honor the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup, which was unveiled to the poker world. The Stanley Cup was placed up on a pedestal, only a few feet away from the final table where Mueller was sitting. Mueller spent much of his early life playing ice hockey, so he knew very well what the Stanley Cup meant. In a casual conversation during the break, Mueller joked with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that he wanted to touch the cup (Bettman was a good sport about it, and agreed). The night was truly memorable as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined WSOP Commissioner (and half-brother) Jeffrey Pollack onstage to honor the poker players and recent winners. Meanwhile, Mueller's attention remained fixated on the Stanley Cup, which had been his aspiration for so many years. Mueller later commented that the Stanley Cup being place close by motivated him to play better at the final table and win poker's ultimate prize – the gold bracelet.
Winner Quotes (Greg Mueller) –
· On finally winning his first WSOP gold bracelet after coming so close numerous times: "It's like huge eight lifted off my shoulders. I was starting to think I was a second-place pony there for a while. I had nightmares, even heads-up. When he won a pot against me, I thought, 'My God, this could be the biggest choke ever.' But, it feels unbelievable and I am so happy right now."
· On the NHL's Stanley Cup being close by and what it meant to him as a former hockey pro: "To be real honest, when they did this – seeing the NHL players and seeing the Cup and hearing the anthem, I had goose bumps. I was so jacked you know because of the anthems and the hockey. I saw the Stanley Cup and I said to myself, 'maybe this is destiny. Maybe this is my night."
· On how this final compared to the others: "The funny thing was – this was probably the toughest final table that I had. Everyone at the table is a helluva' player and a great tournament player. It's the crème de la crème kinda' thing. I really did not put any pressure on myself. I was low on chips yesterday. I climbed back to average today. And the net thing I knew, I said – oh boy, here we go!"
· On whether he enjoys the final table experience: "It's awesome. It really is awesome. It just sucks when you get knocked out, or do not win. Everything except for first sucks. But leading up to it, the night before, at the final table, I think it's amazing."
· On why he loves poker: "It's for the competition."
· On some of the secrets to his victory: "I never panicked once. I was just really disciplined. I was really confident. Never were my chips in jeopardy. Never was I really low. I had a good table image. I stole when I had to steal. It's weird. This was like the least-stressful final table I have ever been at, but it might have been the toughest."
· On the big hand where he took over the chip lead for the first time: "When I hit my straight flush (against Chad Brown's nut flush), I said 'Today is my day."
· On what the WSOP gold bracelet means, when asked if winning a WSOP event places him into a different category than before: "I think it does. Like I said, I have always done very well at the World Series. It is the one place where I play a lot of events. I made a bunch of final tables. People were giving me the recognition. But until you close the deal and win, I think that puts you in a separate category."
The Final Table --
· The final table contained one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Daniel Alaei (2 wins).
· The final table included players from three different nations – including Canada, Holland, and the United States.
· There were three Canadian players at the final table, the most of any event held so far this year. The top two finishers were Canadians.
· The runner up was poker pro Pat Pezzin, from Toronto, ON (Canada). He now has 14 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP, and 3 final table appearances. This was his highest finish, both numerically and financially. Second place paid $285,195.
· The third-place finisher was popular poker pro and former actor Chad Brown, from Margate, FL. He has three runner-up finishes as WSOP final tables and is clearly on the short list of best poker players to have not won a gold bracelet. Brown now has 26 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. Interesting Side Note: While Brown was playing for his first WSOP win, fiancé and poker star Vanessa Rousso was busy playing at the final table of the an NHL Charity poker tournament going on at the same time, which was only a few feet away. Rousso's final table was taped for broadcast in the fall on ESPN. Brown's play was carried live on ESPN 360's online broadcast.
· The fourth-place finisher was Daniel Alaei, from Los Angeles, CA. The two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner came up short in his attempt to win a third title, and gain his second WSOP victory at this year's WSOP.
· The fifth-place finisher was Matt Hawrilenko, a former options trader-turned poker pro from Boston, MA. Hawrilenko is widely-acknowledged as one of the best Limit Hold'em players in the world. He concentrates mostly on high-stakes cash games.
· The sixth-place finisher was Matt Glanz, from Lafayette Hill, PA. Glanz is another player who has come close to victory many times at the WOP. This was his fourth time to cash at this year's WSOP.
· The seventh-place finisher was Michiel Brummelhuis, from Amsterdam, Holland. This was his second time to make a WSOP final table the last two years.
· The eighth-place finisher was Soheil Shamseddin, from Houston, TX. The poker pro has numerous wins in other tournaments, but has yet to win at the WSOP. Shamseddin is always one of the final table's most interesting personalities. He tends to play fast and is known to acquire chips or bust out early. This time, his aggressive tendencies did not work and he finished eighth.
· The ninth-place finisher was Kenny Hsiung, from Los Angeles, CA. It was a disappointing day for Hsiung, who was making his first WSOP cash in three years. He arrived at the final table with the chip lead but was never able to establish any momentum.
In-the-Money Finishers --
· Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Daniel Alaei, Philip Tom, Howard Lederer, Todd Brunson, and Ralph Perry.
· Howard Lederer's 40 WSOP cashes now places him 18th on the all-time list.
· The defending champion from 2009 was Rob Hollink, from Groningen, Holland. He entered this event but did not cash.
Odds and Ends --<
· This is the 22nd of 33 tournaments completed thus far at this year's WSOP, with greater than a $1 million prize pool.
· All 57 tournaments on the 2009 WSOP schedule (plus WSOP-Europe) are categorized as "gold bracelet" events. However, this is also known as a World Championship event. Starting last year, all $10,000+ buy-in tournaments were designated as official World Championships. There are ten such events.
· 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.
· Even though winner Greg Mueller has roots in two countries – Canada and Germany, he selected the Canadian national anthem to be played. Hence, "O Canada" will be heard and Mueller's ceremony.
The Event --
· The $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em world championship attracted 185 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $1,739,000. The top 18 finishers collected prize money.
· The tournament was played over three consecutive days.
· The End of Day One chip leader was Jennifer Harman, from Las Vegas, NV. She ended up finishing in 12th place.
· Kenny Hsiung was the chip leader coming into the final table. He ended up finishing ninth.
· Mueller came into the final table ranked sixth out of nine players. But the chips stacks were largely even between the top six players. He seized the chip lead about mid-way through the 11-hour finale.
· The decisive hand of the tournament took place when Mueller made a straight flush against Chad Brown, who presumably had the nut flush (his cards were not shown). Mueller and Brown went back and forth with a flurry of raises and re-raises before Brown surrendered his chip lead to Mueller – a fatal mistake from which he could recover.
· When play became heads-up between Mueller and runner up Pat Pezzin, the two players realized they shared at least one common trait – they were both Canadian. "It's going to be 'O Canada' for sure," Mueller beamed to his fellow countryman and rival.
· The tournament officially began on Monday, June 15th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Thursday, June 18th, at 1:15 am.
WSOP Statistics –
· Through the conclusion of Event #33, the 2009 WSOP has attracted 32,142 entries. $64,117,613 in total prize money has been awarded to winners.
· Through Event #33 – the nationalities of WSOP gold bracelet winners reads as follows:
United States – 23
Note: Last year 19 of the 59 gold bracelet events were won by non-Americans (32 percent). In, 2007, the number was 15 of 55 (29 percent). In 2006, the number was 5 of 45 (11 percent).
· Event #33 winner Greg Mueller is to be classified as a professional player. He has played professionally for several years and is a regular on the poker tournament circuit. Accordingly, the "Pro-Am" gold bracelet scoreboard (excluding Event #1 – Casino Employees) currently reads:
Professionals -- 22 wins
Amateurs -- 5 wins
Semi-Pros -- 4 wins
· Nine of the 33 winners this year (27 percent) were previous gold bracelet winners. There have been two double winners in 2009 -- Brock Parker and Phil Ivey.