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The PokerNews Top 10: Top 2009 WSOP Performances

Jeff Lisandro

It has been a summer full of amazing individual achievement at the World Series of Poker, with no less than four players winning multiple bracelets, and several others with five or more cashes and several deep runs. With only the Main Event to go, it’s a good time to look back and consider the top ten performances from this summer. It should be noted that the following list does not strictly mirror the points model employed by the WSOP to determine its player of the year, although many of the names on this list appear at the top of the POY list as well. Nor does the list rate players strictly according to the number of cashes a player has accumulated or total winnings earned, but rather the overall consistency of a player’s achievements at this year’s WSOP, with added weight given to those who managed to realize the goal of every poker player who enters a WSOP event by capturing the bracelet.

10. Barry Greenstein — 7 cashes, 2 final tables, total winnings $161,243; Daniel Negreanu, 8 cashes, 2 final tables, total winnings $331,860

Both Greenstein and Negreanu came up short this summer in their quests for bracelets, but both once again ably proved themselves as belonging among poker’s elite. Greenstein’s seven cashes came in a variety of games (limit hold’em, mixed hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, seven-card stud hi-low 8-or-better, H.O.R.S.E., no-limit 2-7 draw lowball). The California resident made two final tables this year, finishing ninth in the $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha event (No. 40) and fifth in the $2,500 Mixed Hold’em (Limit/No-Limit) event (No. 47).

Negreanu’s eight cashes also came in many different varieties of poker (limit hold’em, mixed hold’em, PLO/PLH, seven-card stud, seven-card stud hi-low 8-or-better, Omaha hi-low 8-or-better, 2-7 triple draw). Toronto’s most famous poker player managed a fourth-place finish in the $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi-Low 8-or-Better event (No. 18) and had a near miss by finishing runner-up in the $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event (No. 14).

9. John Juanda — 4 cashes, 4 final tables, total winnings $170,745

The 2008 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event winner had a stellar 2009 WSOP, making no less than four final tables. Born in Indonesia and now residing in California, Juanda finished fifth in the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud event (No. 16), fourth in the $10,000 World Championship No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event (No. 23), ninth in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event (No. 30), and fourth in the $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Limit event (No. 55).

8. Steve Sung — 2 cashes, 2 final tables, 1 bracelet, total winnings $883,380

Sung earned his first ever WSOP bracelet in the so-called “Stimulus Special” $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event (No. 4) during the first week of the series. That meant he bested the largest field in any event this summer — 6,012 — outside of the Main Event itself. The native of South Korea, who now makes his home in California, followed up on his Event No. 4 victory with an impressive third-place finish in the $10,000 World Championship No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw event (No. 23).

7. James Van Alstyne — 3 cashes, 3 final tables, 1 bracelet, total winnings $519,080

Van Alstyne’s summer just kept getting better as it went along, with three final tables all in mixed-game events. Born in Georgia and currently residing in Las Vegas, Van Alstyne finished sixth in the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event (No. 12) in which players play eight different games (the H.O.R.S.E. games, plus 2-7 triple draw, pot-limit Omaha, and no-limit hold’em). Then he finished as the runner-up in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event (No. 21). Finally he broke through and won Event No. 31, the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event, thus capping off a remarkable WSOP.

6. Greg “FBT” Mueller — 3 cashes, 3 final tables, 2 bracelets, total winnings $709,635

After taking seventh in the $10,000 World Championship Seven-Card Stud event (No. 6), Mueller came back two weeks later to win another of the $10,000 World Championship events, the Limit Hold’em event (No. 33). Then the one-time professional hockey player from Vancouver turned around and became the fourth player this summer to win multiple bracelets when he took another limit hold’em event, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout (No. 50).

5. Ville Wahlbeck — 6 cashes, 4 final tables, 1 bracelet, total winnings $1,082,176

Not only did all of Wahlbeck’s cashes this year come from deep runs, but five of the six came in the $10,000 buy-in World Championship events, the only exception being his 12th place finish in the $2,500 Razz event (No. 44). During the first week of the Series, the Finnish pro took third in the $10,000 World Championship Seven-Card Stud event (No. 6), first in the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event (No. 12), and 13th in the $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi-Low 8-or-Better event (No. 18). He then nearly won the $10,000 World Championship No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event (No. 23), finishing runner-up. Wahlbeck then capped off his WSOP with a sixth place in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event (No. 49).

4. Brock Parker — 4 cashes, 2 final tables, 2 bracelets, total winnings $806,870

Along with Wahlbeck, Parker was the talk of the WSOP in the early going after he became the first player this summer to win two bracelets. In fact, the Maryland native’s victories came in two consecutive events, as Parker entered the second the day after winning the first. Both were also in short-handed events, the first in the $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event (No. 14), and the second in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event (No. 19). Parker would additionally cash in Events 29 and 50, both also hold’em events.

3. Phil Ivey — 5 cashes, 3 final tables, 2 bracelets, total winnings $356,994

Ivey added to his already formidable stature in the poker world by capturing two more bracelets this summer, bringing his overall total to seven. Ivey won the $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event (No. 8), then also landed the $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better mixed event (No. 25). The native of California and New Jersey resident would additionally final table the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout (No. 41), as well as cash in another hold’em event (No. 13) and a pot-limit Omaha event (No. 30).

2. Vitaly Lunkin — 4 cashes, 3 final tables, 1 bracelet, total winnings $2,696,385

Lunkin ends the summer as the highest earner over the first 56 events — by a long shot — having started off the Series in grand fashion by winning the prestigious $40,000 buy-in 40th Annual No-Limit Hold’em event (No. 4). After scoring a modest cash in the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event (No. 12), the Russian would come close to winning a second bracelet on two more occasions, finishing runner-up in Event No. 40, the $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha event, then taking fourth in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event (No. 49) after having had a sizable lead at the final table.

1. Jeffrey Lisandro — 6 cashes, 3 final tables, 3 bracelets, total winnings $807,521

Lisandro tied an all-time WSOP record this summer by winning three bracelets, taking down the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud event (No. 16), the $10,000 World Championship Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better event (No. 37), and the $2,500 Razz event (No. 44). The native of Australia who now makes Italy his home just missed another final table, finishing ninth in the $10,000 World Championship Seven-Card Stud event (No. 6), and additionally cashed in a pot-limit Omaha event (No. 35) and a pot-limit Omaha hi-low event (No. 27).

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