Casino City's WSOP Mid-Series Awards Column
With half of the 2006 WSOP already in the books, Casino City reporters Aaron Todd and Ryan McLane are ready to hand out their inaugural "Keys to the City" Awards, this round for the best of the best in first-half WSOP performances. As a leading provider of international poker news, Casino City has been following the WSOP from our home office in Newton, MA and live from the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. We have closely monitored the action and are confident our selections represent the best of the best in the 2006 WSOP, including The Male and Female Most Outstanding Players as well as the Most Consistent Players. The awards take into account all of the action up to and including WSOP Event # 24.Look for Casino City's "Key to the City" awards again in August, immediately following the conclusion of the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
Male MOP - William "Bling Bling" Chen - (2 bracelets, $786,129, 2 FT, 5 Cashes)
Relatively out of nowhere, Bling Bling has taken the 2006 WSOP by storm, capturing two gold bracelets and cashing in three more events. While one win might be a fluke, two is the sign of a solid player and Chen looks like he may be a force to reckon with in events and years to come. Known as a mathematical wizard, Chen will have several more chances to tie Phil Ivey and Ted Forrest for most bracelets in a single WSOP (3). Our WSOP first-half Most Outstanding Player "Key to the City" Award goes to this Lafayette, PA native.
Chip Reese - (1 Bracelet, $1,784,640, 1 FT, 1 Cash) Is arguably the best all-around-cash-game player in the world. Won the largest mixed-game tournament in WSOP history, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E event.
Jeff Madsen - (1 Bracelet, $758,500, 2 FT, 2 Cashes) In his first WSOP, the 21-year old is making his appearances count, becoming the youngest player in WSOP history to win a gold bracelet. Placed third in his first WSOP final table.
Allen Cunningham - (1 Bracelet, $635,352, 1 FT, 3 Cashes) The WSOP Player of the Year in 2005 won his fourth gold bracelet this year, making him one of four players to win four before turning 30.
Female MOP - Claire Miller - (1 Bracelet, $247,814, 1 FT, 1 Cash)
If you are a 61-year old grandmother and you defeat 1,184 of the world's top senior poker players, you automatically get our vote for Female Most Outstanding Player. Won the $1,000 Event #19 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Event, despite facing a final table that included Ron Rose and Jon "JV" Vorhaus, both poker authors and formidable players.
Mary Jones Meyer - (1 Bracelet, $236,094, 1 FT, 1 Cash) Won the Ladies World Championship (Event # 15).
Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier - (0 Bracelets, $177,678, 1 FT, 2 Cashes) Finished fifth in the $5,000 WSOP Event # 9 No-Limit Hold'em tournament.
Most Consistent Player - William "Bling Bling" Chen -
Not surprisingly, Casino City's Most Outstanding player halfway through the 2006 WSOP is also our most consistent competitor. He's two for two at WSOP final tables and has cashed in five tournaments, including 61st in Event # 2, which at the time (June 27th) was the second largest land-based poker tournament ever played.
Andy Bloch - (0 Bracelets, $1,112,707, 2 FT, 4 Cashes) Narrowly missed winning the most exciting and grueling WSOP tournament in history ($50,000 H.O.R.S.E Event #20). Has two final table appearances and four cashes so far, plus he earned style points for taking a penalty to ensure WSOP officials used unmarked cards during the opening rounds of the H.O.R.S.E event.
Carlos Juan Mortensen - (0 Bracelets, $191,426, 2 FT, 4 Cashes) He's so focused in the 2006 WSOP, he told tournament officials that he would enter the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament, even if he was playing the final table of Event #17, which started after the H.O.R.S.E event began.
Phil Hellmuth Jr. - (0 Bracelets, $490,356, 2 FT, 4 Cashes) Coming off a dismal 2005 WSOP, Hellmuth seems focused in 2006, trying to claim his record-tying 10th gold bracelet. Of all the big names competing in this year's series, he's played the best.
Phil Ivey - (0 Bracelets, $846,444, 2 FT, 3 Cashes) A fan favorite, Ivey has not disappointed so far this year, finishing third in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament and second to Sam Farha in Event #12.
John Hoang - (0 Bracelets, $255,822, 2 FT, 3 Cashes) With little recorded WSOP history to speak of, Hoang has burst onto the WSOP scene early in 2006, making two final tables including a second place.