John Hennigan won the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship early Friday during the World Series of Poker at the Rio Convention Center.
It was the third career gold bracelet for the renowned high-stakes cash-game player known as “Johnny World,” who earned more than $1.5 million. Hennigan also will have his name engraved on the Chip Reese Trophy, named after the late poker pro from Las Vegas who was the winner of the inaugural $50,000 buy-in event in 2006.
“It’s the event every high-level poker player wants to win, this one. It’s like a real feather in the cap. I’m just grateful,” said Hennigan, a Las Vegas resident originally from Philadelphia.
“It’s kind of like bragging rights, plus it’s just something that you’ll always carry with you through your poker career. This is the event for us. We all love this event. We all try to never miss it, and I hope it grows in the future with more people playing mixed games.”
The five-day tournament, which is one of the most prestigious in the WSOP, featured the second-largest buy-in of the 65 bracelet events behind only the $1 million entry Big One for One Drop and attracted 102 entrants for a prize pool of nearly $4.9 million.
The tournament consists of eight separate games — Limit and No-Limit Hold ’em, Seven-Card Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowballand two variations each of Seven-Card stud and Omaha.
Brandon Shack-Harris of Chicago finished in second place and pocketed almost $938,000. It was the fourth top-three finish this summer for Shack-Harris, who gained ground on German pro George Danzer in the WSOP Player of the Year race despite missing out on his second bracelet.
Jesse Martin was third, bowing out after nearly five hours of three-handed action. Martin was eliminated late Thursday shortly after Hennigan doubled up and took a commanding chip lead when his two-pair held up against Shack-Harris’ straight and flush draws during a Pot-Limit Omaha round.
“I kind of fell apart there for a while. Jesse Martin really got on me in the Limit Hold ‘em and I was really falling apart. I’m so tired, I haven’t slept much this week,” Hennigan said. “I got lucky on Brandon in that Pot-Limit Omaha hand and it brought me right back into chips, and after that I just couldn’t lose a pot. It was a pretty nice feeling.”
Hennigan finished 12th in the Poker Players Championship in 2012 and was third in the event last year. He finished second in a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold ‘em event earlier this month, and the victory brings his career earnings at the WSOP to more than $3.7 million.
Melissa Burr of Mount Laurel, N.J., finished seventh and made history as the first woman to cash and make the final table of the event.
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