Event 1 of the 2009 World Series of Poker – the $500 buy-in Casino Employees competition – has passed into the history books with winner Andrew Cohen (39) appropriately commenting that it was more about the prestige of that WSOP bracelet than the money….although the latter was nice, too with the first placing prize at $83 778!
This year's edition of the employees event was the ninth, and although registrations were lower by over a hundred at 866 than last year, when 980 players entered, it still carried the ambience of good sportsmanship, friendly joshing and excitement as in past years.
Cohen, who's fine-tuned playing has no doubt been influenced by his friendship with Alex Outhred, who is an instructor at the WSOP Academy, and pro Floyd Lewis played a flawless game and always looked quiet but dangerous as he moved through the field into the second day and a place amongst the 81 survivoirs at that stage.
His experience in regular Las Vegas Strip poker tourneys then saw him in good stead through to the nine player final table that included 4 poker dealers, 2 casino game dealers, a bartender like himself and two others.
The heads up was a duel between two bartenders: Cohen works at the The Palms Casino and his opponent, Paul Peterson, has a similar position at the Mandalay Bay’s bar. Cohen's five-to-one lead going into the heads up made sure it was quickly resolved despite a good fight by Peterson, and the winner's prize – and that much prized WSOP bracelet – were his. Paulson's second placing prize was worth $51 787.
The big win will give Cohen the financial wherewithal to enter more events than he had planned. The poker-playing bartender originally intended to invest in three $1 500 buy-in events and a $1 000 buy-in event, but now says he will likely add the $10 000 buy-in Main Event to his ambitions.