Rapid Reaction: Danzer Does it Again, Doubles Down on WSOP Gold
German pro George Danzer made World Series of Poker history on Thursday by becoming the first player to win two championship events in the same year. Danzer bested a field of 134 runners to take down the title in Event #38: $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Championship, with the win coming just 11 days after he won his first career WSOP bracelet. That win came in Event #18: $10,000 Seven-Card Razz Championship, which means Danzer has now captured two of the most coveted bracelets on this year's schedule.
On his way to the title Danzer was forced to deal with, and dispatch, one of the most talented final table lineups to be assembled at the Mothership stage this year. Standing between him and history was 2010 Main Event runner-up John Racener, who finished second with a bracelet on the line yet again, as well as Calvin "Cal42688" Anderson (3rd), who won his first career bracelet last week. Respected pros Brian Hastings (4th), Jeffrey Lisandro (5th), Chris George (6th), David Singer (7th), and John Monnette (8th) each tried their best to topple Danzer at the final table, but in the end Germany would be gifted its third gold bracelet of this year's WSOP — after his countryman Dominik Nitsche won Event #21: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em.
Final Fantasy IX: Danzer is no stranger to the bright blue spotlight shining at the "Mothership" final table stage, as he has made the trip three times already this series. In addition to his dual bracelet wins this summer, Danzer finished in fifth place in Event #5: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball Championship. What's more, Thursday's win marked the ninth final table appearance for Danzer at the WSOP — in just 13 career cashes.
Danzer placed fifth in last year's $50,000 Poker Player's Championship, and sixth in $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better. The year before that Danzer nearly won the same event, finishing as the runner up in that year's edition of $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better, and he added a third place run in $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit that summer as well.
All told, Danzer has made the final table an incredible 69 percent of the time when he cashes in WSOP competition, and after closing things out with a win twice already this time around, Phil Hellmuth may soon have another contender to deal with in the all-time bracelet race in the years to come.
Throwing Up the Deuces: By virtue of becoming the summer's first two-time bracelet winner, Danzer has carried on a tradition of sorts here at the WSOP. Most of the game's all-time greats, in addition to several superstars from poker's new school, have double dipped on their way to a return trip to the winner's circle. Of the 13 players with six gold bracelets to their credit, only two have climbed the counts without snagging a pair of wins in one series — Mayfair Club alumni Erik Seidel and Jay Heimowitz (Daniel Negreanu straddles both sides of this list, as a six-time bracelet winner with two wins in one year, but not in the same series.
All told, Danzer was the 40th player to pocket a pair of bracelets in a single summer at the WSOP, joining the likes of legends like Stu Ungar (1981), T.J. Cloutier (1994), Dan Harrington (1995), and Phil Ivey (2009) — along with players like Scott Fischman (2004), Mark Seif (2005), and Bill Chen (2006), each of whom has failed to add to their bracelet count since accomplishing the feat.
Should Danzer continue his torrid run here at the 2014 WSOP and win one more before the series concludes, he would join the aforementioned Hellmuth (1993) and Ivey (2002), along with Ted Forrest (1993), Jeffrey Lisandro (2009), and Puggy Pearson (1973) as the only players to turn the trifecta.
The Champ is Here: The addition of 12 highly prestigious $10,000 Championship events across a wide variety of disciplines seems to have motivated the professional community. It was in Event #32: $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Championship that 2009 Main Event winner Joe Cada cemented his legacy as more than a one-hit wonder, by adding a second gold bracelet to his résumé. And in Event #13: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship a former member of the "best player without a bracelet" club broke through, as Paul Volpe notched his first WSOP victory in a fitting arena for one the world's best all-around players.
The Championship events have been Danzer's domain though, plain and simple. Along with his win on Thursday, which was worth $352,696, and his title in $10,000 Seven-Card Razz Championship ($294,792), Danzer has made two more legitimate attempts to win the most difficult tournaments on the schedule. His fifth place run in $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball Championship was good for another $70,308, while a ninth place finish in the Six-Max Championship won by Cada added another $49,061 to his series haul. All told, Danzer has finished in the top 10 in four of the seven $10,000 Championship events to conclude thus far.
Blitzkrieg: As mentioned, Danzer has combined with Nitsche to give Germany three gold bracelets this summer (and four overall counting Nitsche's WSOP Circuit National Championship triumph in May), an especially strong showing in a year that has been largely dominated by Americans in that regard. When fellow German Daniel Engels and his six WSOP cashes so far — just two off of Humberto Brenes' lead — are added to the mix, Germany has represented itself with a true show of force on the felt. However, the incredible prowess of German-born players on the global tournament trail has been impossible to ignore in recent years. Ole Schemion, Philipp Gruissem, Marvin Rettenmaier, Fabian Quoss, Tobias Reinkemeier and their friends from the Fatherland have crushed the competition in high-roller events and on the EPT, so it is no surprise to see Germany topping the international bracelet count midway through the series.
Racener Can't Cross the Finish Line: After falling to Jonathan Duhamel to end the 2010 Main Event, Racener is no stranger to close calls at the WSOP, and Thursday marked yet another bracelet chance to slip through his fingertips. After fighting back admirably from a severe chip disadvantage during three-handed play, one which saw him plummet to 100,000 with the big bet at 100,000, Racener stormed back to force a heads-up match with Danzer. With his chance at redemption now at hand, Racener watched destiny dance with Danzer instead just as she had once done with Duhamel, forcing him to wait for another shot to secure the gold.
Racener has registered eight top-25 finishes of his 15 cashes at the WSOP since nearly winning the Main Event, so it stands to reason that his next chance will be coming sometime soon.
Double 0 Seven Stud: Anderson nearly accomplished the same feat as Danzer ultimately did, coming quite close to a second bracelet win in less than a week's time. What's more, Anderson nearly made it two-for-two in seven card stud events, and along with his eighth place finish in Event #22: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, he now has three final table appearances to his credit midway through the series.
Announcing Himself: Baseball has Vin Scully, and football John Madden. At the WSOP, the voice which brings bustout hands to life from the broadcast booth belongs to Norman Chad. An acclaimed sportswriter and a proud graduate of the University of Maryland — we believe they are the Ragin' Cajuns — Chad is no slouch when it comes to the gentleman's game of seven card stud. He finished in 10th place on Thursday, recording the second-best result of his career after a sixth place run in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better two years ago ($36,093). Chad now has four career WSOP cashes, with all coming in seven card stud hi-lo.