The World Series of Poker seems to be a magnet for record breakers, and this year's spectacular, which kicked off at the Rio in Las Vegas on 1 June, is proving no exception. Steve Billirakis (21 and ten days) has busted the latest record, becoming the youngest player ever to win one of the coveted bracelets and the huge wad of cash that goes with it.
Playing in the $5 000 buy-in Mixed Hold ‘Em event Billirakis bested a field of 451 in the half-‘n-half competition that included the likes of Gus ‘The Great Dane' Hansen and Phil Hellmuth, former World Champions Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, Andy Black, Phil Ivey and T. J. Cloutier, among many others.
Chris Ferguson was eliminated early, and he was followed later on by Phil Ivey, David ‘DevilFish' Ulliott, Freddy Deeb and Nam Le, leaving the top ten survivors headed by Greg Mueller with chip counts ranging from 87 500 up to 130 000.
Billirakis ultimately beat the very experienced and talented Greg Mueller in a truly tough heads up, and joins the ranks of outstanding "young guns" like Jeff Madsen and William Chen who took the WSOP by storm last year in their events.
Six figure paychecks, including Mueller's second placing $328 287 extended right down to position five in the final table, with fifth placed Fred Berger getting a bank balace booster of $108 105. The money bubble extended through to the 45 final survivors, with the late-arriving Cyndy Violette the first to cash at $11 658 with her 45th place finish.