Henderson resident Eric Baldwin won the $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold'em World Series of Poker championship Thursday at the Rio.
The 26-year-old poker pro earned his first gold bracelet and a first place prize of $521,991 outlasting a field of 2,095 players.
This was Baldwin's second final table appearance and seventh in-the-money finish for $649,711 career winnings at the World Series of Poker.
Baldwin moved to Henderson from Wisconsin last year to concentrate on playing poker full-time.
“Last year, I was coming out here several times a year, not just for the WSOP," Baldwin said. "I would come out for some tournaments and I was here for almost half the year. So, I figured I’d just buy a place out here. Plus, I hate shoveling snow.”
Official event report from the World Series of Poker
Total Net Prize Pool: $2,859,675
Number of Places Paid: 219
June 16-19, 2009
The Winner --
Baldwin was born in Peoria, IL. But he grew up in Beaver Dam, WI.
Baldwin attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He earned his college degree in psychology, with a minor in mathematics.
Baldwin was a member of the UW-Whitewater college baseball team that won the Division 3 National Championship in 2005. The name of the team was the Warhawks. He played right field.
A few of Baldwin’s college baseball coaches were present. By coincidence, they were on a recruiting trip and learned that Baldwin was playing for a WSOP gold bracelet.
Prior to winning his WSOP title, Baldwin had enjoyed success in several tournaments. Most notable were wins at the Venetian (Deep Stack Series) for $198,000 and the Bellagio (WPT preliminary) for $147,000.
Baldwin plays mostly live poker. However, he also plays online tournaments, particularly on Sundays when some bigger events are offered.
Winner Quotes (Eric Baldwin) –
On what it means to win a WSOP gold bracelet: “I’m head over heels. It’s far above anything else that I have ever done. I can’t event talk about it accurately right now, because it hasn’t sunken in yet.”
On earning a degree in psychology with a minor in mathematics: “That translates pretty well to poker.”
On his final opponent, Jonas Klausen: “First of all, he’s just an amazing player. He’s aggressive but also knows when to put the brakes on. He’s an unbelievable player. He looks so comfortable and confident that I am sure he will be back here (to a final table).”
On live poker versus online poker: “I enjoy playing live more.”
On having his friends around to support him: “Some of the people who came here are not just some of the best poker players, but they are my best friends. We are all from different parts of the country. But we share common characteristics. I think we make each other better. I am so glad to have a base of friends like that.”
On his future plans and goals. “My dream is to be sponsored by Miller Lite. That’s kind of a joke. But I like to drink Miller Lite. I want to throw that out there. If Miller Lite needs a guy in the poker world, just give me a free supply, and we’re golden.” Note: WSOP official sponsor Milwaukee’s Best Light is made by Miller Brewing Company, which also makes Miller Lite.
On what he will do with $521,991 for first place: “One of my friends told me that if I ever cash for more than a quarter-million I have to buy an old junk used car and then throw $10,000 rims on it. I hope he does not make me do it. But if he does, I am probably going to go out and buy an old Cutless (Oldsmobile) or something like that, and put some rims on it.”
The Final Table --
The final table contained only former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Roland de Wolfe (1 win).
The final table included players from four different nations – including Denmark, England, Sweden, and the United States.
The runner up was Jonas Klausen, from Odense, Denmark. This was his fourth time to cash at the WSOP and second final table appearance. Klausen collected $322,371 in prize money for second place.
The runner-up’s hometown is the same as the reigning world poker champion, Peter Eastgate. Odense, Denmark’s greatest export might very well be great poker players.
Had Klausen won, this would have been gold bracelet number seven for Danes.
The third-place finisher was James Taylor, from Cumming, GA. He is a 22-year-old student who attends Georgia Tech University. This was his first time to cash in a live poker tournament. Taylor collected $213,045 in prize money.
The fourth-place finisher was Benjamin D. Scholl, from Philadelphia, PA. He is a recent graduate of New York University. Scholl now works as a trader. This was Scholl’s first cash at the WSOP.
The fifth-place finisher was Roland de Wolfe, from London, England. Four days ago, he won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split world championship. De Wolfe had a shot at becoming the third double-winner at this year’s WSOP. But he instead busted out midway through the finale on Day Three and settled for fifth place.
The sixth-place finisher was Andrew Youngblood, from Dearborn, MI. He is a 26-year-old poker pro making his third WSOP in-the-money finish.
The seventh-place finisher was Steven Bradbury, from Mirfield, England. This was Bradbury’s first time to cash at the WSOP.
The eighth-place finisher was Martin Jacobson, from Stockholm, Sweden. Jacobson has done quite well in tournaments over the past year – with a second-place finish at WPT Venice and a third-place finish at EPT Budapest.
In-the-Money Finishers --
Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Roland de Wolfe, Phil Hellmuth, Quinn Do, Gary Gibbs, James Mackey, Allen Cunningham, Steven Hohn, Paul Darden, Roland De Wolfe, Patrick Poels, Matthew Keikoan, Alexander Kravchenko, Thor Hansen, Chris Ferguson, and Dan Schmiech.
Phil Hellmuth’s cash gives him 71 for his WSOP career – which ranks first on the all-time list.
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson’s cash gives him 58 for his WSOP career – which ranks third on the all-time list.
Thor Hansen’s cash gives him 45 for his WSOP career – which places him into a 14th-place tie on the all-time list.
Allen Cunningham’s cash gives him 38 for his WSOP career – which places into a 20th-place tie on the all-time list.
The defending champion from 2009 was Jesper Hougaard, from Copenhagen, Denmark. He did not event this event.
The Event --
The End of Day One chip leader was Jonas Klausen, from Odense, Denmark. He ended up finishing in second place.
Klausen was also the chip leader coming into the final table.
Eric Baldwin came into the final table ranked second out of nine players. He seized the chip lead when play became heads-up in what was a 7-hour finale.
The decisive hand of the tournament took place late when Klausen was dealt Q-10 and flopped top two pair. But Baldwin had 4-4 and flopped a set of fours. The board was a nightmare for Klausen, which showed Q-10-4. Baldwin’s set of fours held up, which did massive damage to Klausen’s stack. Baldwin later described the course of events as a “cooler hand.” His comment reflected the notion that neither player could have gotten away from the hand, thus it was somewhat fortunate for Baldwin that he was on the favorable side of the break.
The final hand of the tournament came when Baldwin had about an 8 to 1 chip advantage. Baldwin’s 10-10 raced against Klausen’s A-Q. With the large crowd shouting for aces, queens, and tens – neither player improved his hand. That mean the pocket tens dragged the final pot of the night, giving Baldwin his victory.
The moment he won, Baldwin jumped into the crowd and was mobbed by about a dozen supporters, including his girlfriend.
The tournament officially began on Tuesday, June 16th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Friday, June 18th, at 12:05. WSOP Statistics –
Through the conclusion of Event #34, the 2009 WSOP has attracted 34,237 entries. $66,977,288 in total prize money has been awarded to winners.
Through Event #34 – the nationalities of WSOP gold bracelet winners reads as follows:
United States – 24
United Kingdom – 2
Canada – 2
Russian Federation – 1
Finland – 1
Australia – 1
Sweden – 1
Mexico – 1