"Yeahp!" Hanks wins first bracelet
Andrew Feldman [ARCHIVE]
ESPN.com
June 1, 2012
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It typically takes a couple of weeks before a WSOP event produces a final table that truly steals the attention away from the rest of the action at the Rio. In 2012, it took only a few days, with Brent Hanks winning his first WSOP bracelet by defeating the field of 2,101 in Event 2, $1,500 no-limit hold 'em. Hanks earned $517,725 for the victory as he outlasted a final table that included former WSOP bracelet winners Vanessa Selbst, Andrew Badecker and JP Kelly.

Surrounded by close friends and supporters yelling "Yeahp" with every scooped pot, the 29-year-old elementary school teacher turned professional poker player played a brilliant final table and overcame the tough challenge of Jacob Bazeley during heads-up play.

"It feels really good. It's quite an accomplishment," said Hanks after his victory. "It's the best achievement you can have in your poker career for tournaments. It's awesome."

This was Hanks fourth WSOP final table since 2008, previously finishing fourth, fifth and sixth. He's also earned $2.6 million in online tournament play.

While the key pots at the final table were ultimately the ones that determined his success, the only pot that truly mattered when telling the story of Hanks' tournament is the one played on Day 2 when he was down to a single blind and ante. All-in before the cards were even dealt, Hanks doubled up and began his run toward history.

"I got about damn low as you can get," he said. "I didn't have even enough in chips to cover the small blind and I … won four pots in five consecutive games to get right back to 20 to 25 blinds. … I was back in the tournament."

Hanks began the final table second in chips behind Bazeley. After Richard Park's elimination in ninth, Hanks eliminated two-time WSOP bracelet winner Kelly in eighth. Kelly's $49,621 in winnings pushed him over the $1 million earnings mark at the WSOP. This was his 12th WSOP cash.

As Hanks continued to hold steady in the middle of the pack, Badecker seemed ready to capture his second bracelet in two years, holding the chip lead with seven to go. Selbst moved into the lead after eliminating Michael Kaufman in seventh, but she gave away a third of her stack to Hanks less than 20 minutes later when her turned straight couldn't beat Hanks' rivered full house. Given her style of play, it's common to see Selbst's chip stack fluctuate greatly, and this final table was no exception.

Abdyl Konjuhi fell in sixth to Hanks (A-2 loses to A-K), and Ryan Schmidt made a misread on his elimination hand when he failed to believe Badecker's river shove and called off his stack with second pair (Badecker held two pair). With four remaining, Badecker and Hanks were notched at the top.

Selbst's run came to an end in fourth when she moved all-in with K-7 and was called by Badecker's K-Q. Earning $161,354, Selbst moved into second on the women's all-time money list. This was her first WSOP final table since 2008, but her successes over the past year have earned her a consistent spot in ESPN.com's poker rankings.

"Ah well, still plenty of series left for bracelets," said Selbst on Twitter.

Three-handed action is simply going to remembered as the massacre of Badecker's stack. After back-to-back coolers (where one big hand runs into another big hand), Badecker went from being the chip leader to finishing in third place. Bazeley first doubled through Badecker on a board of K-Q-10-8-10 as Badecker's Q-10 ran into Bazeley's K-K. Moments later, Badecker five-bet all-in with 10-10 and ran into the Q-Q of Hanks. That was it. Badecker earned $224,029, giving him more than $600,000 in WSOP earnings since 2011, and said very factually on Twitter that it was a, "Pretty good start to #WSOP2012."

Hanks and Bazeley shared a meal on Day 2 and joked that they would be heads-up for the title. With their premonition now a reality, they began heads-up play extremely deep, leading to a two and a half hour battle. Neither was able to pull away, and it all came down to one key pot where Bazeley five-bet all-in with 9-9 and was up against the A-8 of Hanks. An ace on the flop was all that it would take and moments later, Hanks became the newest WSOP champion.

Bazeley earned $322,294 in his eighth WSOP cash and although this may have been his biggest live score to date, the 29-year-old pro established himself as one of the best online players in the world with more than 2.5 million in online earnings.

Other notable finishers include Dan Smith (17th), Paul Wasicka (20th), John Juanda (25th) and Phil Hellmuth (61st). This was Hellmuth's 86th career WSOP cash.

Below are the complete results of Event 2 at the 2012 World Series of Poker:

Event 2: No-limit hold 'em

Buy-in: $1,500

Entries: 2,101

Prize pool: $2,836,250

Players in the money: 216

Notable finishers in bold

1. Brent Hanks ($517,725)

2. Jacob Bazeley ($322,294)

3. Andrew Badecker ($224,029)

4. Vanessa Selbst ($161,345)

5. Ryan Schmidt ($117,921)

6. Abdyl Konjuhi ($87,231)

7. Michael Kaufman ($65,377)

8. JP Kelly ($49,621)

9. Richard Park ($38,106)

10. Kennii Nguyen ($29,923)

11. Joseph Cino ($29,923)

12. Neil Willerson ($29,923)

13. Todd Keikoan ($23,655)

14. Kwinsee Khoa Tran ($23,655)

15. Kennth Strickland ($23,655)

16. Nicolas Verkaik ($18,890)

17. Dan Smith ($18,890)

18. Cody Zartman ($18,890)

19. Andras Stumpf ($15,287)

20. Paul Wasicka ($15,287)

21. Hoa Pham ($15,287)

22. Azim Popatia ($15,287)

23. Eric Anderson ($15,287)

24. Sadan Turker ($15,287)

25. John Juanda ($15,287)

26. Grzegorz Derkowski ($15,287)

27. Derek Wolters ($15,287)

28. Brian Egger ($12,479)

29. Joseph Couden ($12,479)

30. Marco Palacios ($12,479)

31. Deepak Bhatti ($12,479)

32. Antoine Nowak ($12,479)

33. Michael Moore ($12,479)

34. Justin Gavejian ($12,479)

35. Jussi Jaatinen ($12,479)

36. Adam Wessley ($12,479)

37. Alan Sass ($10,324)

38. Michael Lai ($10,324)

39. Bradley Craig ($10,324)

40. Candida Ross-Powers ($10,324)

41. Laurent Perrin ($10,324)

42. Grant Kassel ($10,324)

43. Jamie Coulter ($10,324)

44. Ronald Sullivan ($10,324)

45. Danny Smith ($10,324)

46. Paul Soucy ($8,565)

47. Kenneth Kottwitz ($8,565)

48. Michael Lee ($8,565)

49. Ubaid Habib ($8,565)

50. Jason Sagle ($8,565)

51....
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