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1st-time WSOP bracelet winner donates all earnings to charity

Gershon Distenfeld won his first World Series of Poker bracelet Wednesday — and no money.

That’s because he pledged to donate his entire $204,063 purse from the $1,500 No-limit Hold’em Shootout to charity.

“I’d love to offer a challenge to every bracelet winner to give away 1 percent of their money to the charity of their choice,” Distenfeld told PokerNews. “There’s no lack of needs out there. If I could have a lasting impact in the poker community, it would be that.”

The WSOP awards trophy bracelets for tournament victories.

Distenfeld, a New Jersey resident who works in finance, got the attention of the poker world last year when he made the final table of the U.S. portion of the hybrid online/live WSOP Main Event. He finished eighth for $125,885 and donated all of that money to charity.

Distenfeld defeated a field of 800 entries in the shootout, in which players must defeat their entire table before moving on to the next one. The 800 entries began at 80 10-handed tables. Those 80 winners then played at 10 eight-handed tables to determine the final table of 10.

Distenfeld won heads-up against Johan Schumacher, who won $126,133.

“I’ve always dreamt of winning (a bracelet), and it’s one of those things you think is never going to happen,” Distenfeld said. “I just don’t know what to say. I even teared up a little bit, which is not very like me.”

Rast, Bonyadi add to bracelet totals

In other final tables Wednesday, Brian Rast won his fifth WSOP bracelet, and Farzad Bonyadi claimed his fourth.

Rast won the $3,000 No-limit Hold’em six-handed event, defeating a field of 997 entries to win $474,102.

Bonyadi won the $10,000 No-limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship, defeating a field of 122 entries to win $297,051.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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