Shulman ships 2009 WSOPE title
Known more for being the owner of CardPlayer Magazine and father of 2009 November Niner Jeff Shulman, Barry Shulman carved out a new title for himself early Friday morning in London: 2009 World Series of Poker Europe main event champion.
Besting a final table that pundits are labeling one of the best the WSOP has ever seen, it was apparently long overdue.
"When I moved to Vegas, I took up poker to try and prove I could beat the best in the world," said Shulman, who won a Stud 8 bracelet in 2001.
"I got pretty good for a while and I proved it about 10 years ago. I haven't been playing very hard since then. I went back to work and bought CardPlayer Magazine and here we are again and I'm excited to be working hard at poker and now I'm back on the winning trail and feeling very good about it."
The star-studded final started rather slowly, with the only notable action consisting of the once-shortstacked Daniel Negreanu doubling into contention and Jason Mercier slowly bleeding away his massive chip lead.
Although he came in second in chips, November Niner James Akenhead was actually the first out, shoving with ace-queen against a Chris Bjorin raise only to find Negreanu behind him holding pocket kings.
It didn't get much better for fellow 2009 WSOP Main Event finalist Antoine Saout, who bowed out seventh losing a race to Negreanu just a few minutes after Matt Hawrilenko took eighth shoving rags into Shulman's ace-queen.
A legend in Swedish poker, Bjorin exited the stage next when he moved in with ace-jack and got the call from a dominating Negreanu holding ace-queen.
Fifth place was reserved for the relatively unknown Markus Ristola, who became another victim of the Negreanu onslaught when he put his tournament life on the line with K♦ T♦ only to see Kid Poker call with a weak ace and river a winner.
Negreanu took the lead into four-handed play until the sudden emergence of Praz Bansi, who doubled through Negreanu with queens against ace-jack, moving into the top spot on the leader board a short time later.
But it wasn't long before Negreanu took a stranglehold on the proceedings once again, ending what was an absolutely horrible day for one-time massive chip leader Mercier, calling Mercier's push with nines over sevens to send him out fourth.
Before long, Shulman doubled through Bansi, outkicking the Brit when they both flopped a pair of kings. Left short, Bansi soon shoved with a weak queen only to find Negreanu on ace-queen and he was suddenly out third.
Negreanu took control heads-up and appeared destined to win it all before Shulman got it all in with a flush draw against his pocket aces and turned a flush.
Suddenly the lead had swapped hands, with Kid Poker on the ropes and Shulman favored to win the title. Daniel fought back and took the lead again, until the biggest hand of the 2009 WSOPE main event played out.
Negreanu flopped top pair jacks and check-raised Shulman, only to see him push all in.
Negreanu made the call and found he was behind Shulman's aces until a jack fell on the turn sending the crowd at the Empire Casino into a frenzy and giving Negreanu the lead.
However, it was not to be for Kid Poker, as Shulman hit a shocking ace on the river to grab an almost insurmountable lead.
Within a few hands Negreanu ran fours into tens and although he moved up to the top spot on poker's all-time leading money winners list with the £495,589 second-place prize, the title and £801,603 was Shulman's.
"The truth is, because it was on television and we were heads up, I knew that I got in with the best hand and when the jack came, I had frankly pretty much given up," Shulman explained.
"I said to myself at least I'm not going to be embarrassing myself here, I got it in with the best hand. What are you going to do? That's poker."
And then suddenly, the miracle ace fell.
"I about passed out," added Shulman.
Because of some issues he has with the WSOP, before booking his spot in the November Nine, Jeff Shulman was quoted saying he would throw the bracelet in the garbage if he won it.
His father says he has no such plans for the bracelet he won Friday.
"My guess is he won't either if he wins," Shulman said. "I don't really want to get into the whole thing, but he plans on winning that bracelet and he plans on cherishing it."
Now that he's the 2009 WSOPE main event champ, Shulman said it's up to his son to help the pair make history and he can't wait to issue him the challenge personally.
"I know what I'm going to say, 'OK, I've done my part, you started out doing your part, it put some heat on me, it gave me a lot of incentive to play the very best that I could over here in Europe and now you have a lot of additional incentive in November,'" he said.
"Because if by some chance you can win that, we're going to make World Series history that may never be broken."
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12 March 2018 70