2010 WSOP: The Year of the Brit

Palace Guards at Buckingham Palace, London
These Brits mean business.

Not even the Poker Brat could withstand the wave of British success that has washed over this year’s WSOP. The Brits have now collected five bracelets in 2010, which is a new record for any non-U.S. country in a single WSOP.

English pro Steve Jelinek is the latest British bracelet winner, taking down the $1.5k PLO High-Low Split event for a payday of $245,871.

He joins fellow countrymen Praz Bansi, James Dempsey, Richard Ashby, and Mike Ellis in the esteemed group of WSOP victors.

Jelinek's victory didn't come easy. For a moment it looked as though Hellmuth could be on the verge of a record setting 12th bracelet, especially when he hit a two outer on the river to stay alive at the final table. The cards didn't fall right for Hellmuth after that and he was eventually eliminated in 7th place.  

Jelinek is happy to share the spotlight with his countrymen, but he takes issue with fellow bracelet winner James Dempsey's belief that the British "old guard" appears to be on the way out.

"The new young [U.K.] players, so many of them are doing quite well, I am not surprised at all," Jelinek said. "But I am part of the old school."

Jelinek recognizes the magnitude of his victory, especially in light of his recent struggles. After besting the field of 847, Jelinek confessed that he had been struggling with bankroll management and poor play leading up to the WSOP.

"I've been down on my luck and my bankroll was down a bit, so I decided to come to the WSOP this year to try and get a gold bracelet and continue my poker career," a clearly relieved Jelinek said. Mission accomplished on that goal, as the $245k ought to replenish a depleted bank account.

This is Jelinek's first WSOP victory, with three prior cashes and one final table to his name.

The group of English players may not be done yet, with players such as Neil Channing, Stuart Rutter and James Aikenhead already posting deep tournament runs and appearing to be playing at the top of their games.

Canada is another country to keep an eye on as the neighbors up north already have four bracelet winners in 2010 and could tie the record set by the Brits with another victory.

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