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Canadian wins first four-handed WSOP bracelet, $392K

19 June 2012

Not too long ago, if anyone would have proposed that a game called "Four-Handed No-Limit Hold'em" would debut at the World Series of Poker and attract 750 players from 35 different nations, the notion would have been unthinkable.

But that's exactly what happened at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas last weekend, when a new Hold'em format -- four-handed play -- was introduced for the first time as a gold bracelet event.

The genesis of the game can be found in the online poker world. Like its closely-related six-handed counterpart and cousin, the game was initially an oddity. But as time passed and online players began looking for a greater variety of games and new challenges, four-handed play became popular enough to warrant its own world championship class.

Naturally, the game has strongest appeal with short-handed specialists. There are very few nits or campers in four-handed games; and the passives who do exist, often see their chip stacks reduced to mere skeletons, erased from the table by the more aggressive and talented vultures, constantly pecking at the scraps.

Timothy Adams, a business school graduate, proved to be the ultimate vulture capitalist, devouring everyone who posed the least bit of resistance to his perpetual acquisition mode. The 26-year-old professional poker player from Burlington, Ont., took three days to end up as last player sitting at the final table, which played out on the ESPN Main Stage on a late Saturday afternoon.

"Three days of four-handed poker is crazy because most of the time you’re playing deep," said Adams. "So it’s like you're playing a deep cash game, four-handed, for 12 hours a day. And I mean, yeah, I have a lot of experience playing shorthanded. Like, that’s kind of what I specialize in online, playing three-handed, four-handed, five-handed, six-handed. So, not once did I really feel uncomfortable during the poker tournament. But it’s an incredible tournament. Awesome. I mean, I hope the World Series of Poker has more four-handed tournaments because I think everyone that I’ve spoke to had great things to say about it."

Adams collected $392,476, plus the WSOP gold bracelet. With his victory, Adams became the third Canadian gold bracelet winner at this year's WSOP -- following victories by fellow maple-leaf waving countrymen Ashkan Razavi and Simon Charette.

Indeed, the response to this new tournament was nothing short of overwhelming by virtually everyone who played it, saw it, or covered it. The $2,500 entry fee didn't dissuade nearly three dozen nations from having players in the tournament race.

Based on the big turnout and overwhelmingly positive response to this year's inaugural, there's little doubt this fourhanded format will be a staple on the WSOP schedule for years to come. It's just as certain that the WSOP will continue to push for new games and innovations that allow the world best poker players -- and those that aspire to be great -- to continue putting themselves to the ultimate test.

It's a test that Timothy Adams passed proudly, and with flying colors. Whatever happens in the future, he will forever be able to claim he was the first (and right now, only) Four-Handed No-Limit Hold'em World Champion.

Brendan Rubie of Sydney, Australia was the runner-up, claiming $242,458 in prize money, while James Schaaf of Culver City, Calif., (third, $164,823) and Anthony Gregg of Columbia, Md., (fourth, $114,711) also made the final table.

The top 80 players finished in the money. Noteable players who cashed included: Eric Froehlich (15th), Sam Stein (16th), Tony Dunst (18th), Brian Rast (22nd), Joe Tehan (24th), Jeff Madsen (25th), Jon Turner (39th), Annette Obrestad (41st), Lex Veldhuis (46th), Humberto Brenes (55th), Josh Brikis (57th), Gavin Smith (58th), and Isaac Haxton (74th).

Modified from tournament notes provided by WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla.

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