Casino City "Keys to the City" WSOP Awards

16 August 2006

By Aaron Todd and Ryan McLane

Now that the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has reached its exciting conclusion, Casino City reporters Aaron Todd and Ryan McLane are ready to hand out their "Keys to the City" Awards for the best performances.

As a leading provider of international poker news, Casino City has been following the WSOP from our home office in Newton, MA and live from the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. We have closely monitored the action and are confident our selections represent the best of the best in the 2006 WSOP, including The "Male and Female Most Outstanding Players" as well as the "Most Consistent Players." Our reporters have also made their selection for the "Best Moment of the 2006 WSOP."

Male Most Outstanding Player

Allen Cunningham (One Bracelet - $4,324,969 - Three Final Tables - Six Cashes)
Deciding the most outstanding male performer from the 2006 WSOP was a difficult decision for the Casino City staff, but in the end, his consistent play coupled with his amazing run at the WSOP Main Event makes Allen Cunningham our Male MOP. Cunningham, who was the 2005 WSOP Player of the Year, had six cashes, three final tables, one gold bracelet and a fourth place finish at the Main Event in 2006. His gold bracelet came in the competitive $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with Rebuys event and the win made him only the fourth player in poker history to win four gold bracelets before the age of 30.

Honorable Mentions -

Phil Hellmuth (One Bracelet - $1,190,002 – Four Final Tables – Eight Cashes)
Only Cunningham's run in the 8,773-player Main Event kept "The Poker Brat" from claiming Casino City's top honor. Perhaps his best WSOP since he won three bracelets in 1993, Hellmuth set two WSOP records (57 cashes, 36 final table appearances) and tied the most prestigious record in all of poker by winning his tenth gold bracelet in Event #43, a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament.

Jeff Madsen (Two Bracelets - $1,467,852 – Four Final Tables – Four Cashes)
Bursting onto the tournament poker scene at the 2006 WSOP, Madsen became the youngest player to win a gold bracelet; then a week later, became the youngest person to win two. Every one of his cashes was a final table appearance and when Madsen made a final table, he never finished worse than third.

William Chen (Two Bracelets - $833,672 – Three Final Tables – Six Cashes)
Outstanding performances by Cunningham, Hellmuth, and Madsen in the second half of the WSOP were the only things capable of nudging Chen from Casino City's top award. Chen's run at the 2006 WSOP was amazing, proving he may become an elite player in the years to come. Using his premier math skills, Chen grabbed two bracelets, made three final tables and cashed six times en route to his Casino City Male MOP Honorable Mention.

Female Most Outstanding Player

Cyndy Violette (Zero Bracelets - $167,662 – One Final Tables – Seven Cashes)
While Cyndy Violette failed to win a WSOP bracelet in 2006, she did earn Casino City's Female Most Outstanding Player Key to the City. Violette was a model of consistent play in the 2006 WSOP, finishing tied for third with seven cashes. Her top finish was a third-place showing in the $5,000 Seven Card Stud championship, and she beat over 95 percent of the field in the Main Event, finishing 400th.

Honorable Mentions -

Clare Miller (One bracelet, $247,814, One final table, One cash)
The winner of Casino City's Female Most Outstanding Player Key to the City at mid-season, Miller won the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Seniors event. While she failed to cash again, she still makes it on our honorable mention list as the only female player to win an event against men in 2006.

Mary Jones Meyer (One bracelet, $236,094, One final table, One cash)
Winner of the $1,000 Ladies' No Limit Hold'em event.

Most Consistent Player

Phil Hellmuth
After cashing in the very first event of the 2006 WSOP, Hellmuth stated his game was in "Tip Top Shape." Although Hellmuth's boastful statements always need to be taken with a grain of salt, the statistics at the conclusion of the WSOP back up his claim. Hellmuth led the tournament field with eight cashes (tied with Humberto Brenes), bringing his career total to a record 57. He also surpassed Poker Hall of Fame member T.J. Cloutier's WSOP final table appearances record of 35 by grabbing his 36th appearance at the final event of 2006. And the cherry on top? Hellmuth won his 10th bracelet, just one week after losing another bracelet opportunity by one river card.

Honorable Mentions -

Allen Cunningham
Arguably the best poker player in the world, Cunningham became only the fourth player to win four bracelets before the age of 30 in 2006, plowing through a field of 8,769 players to finish 3rd in the Main Event, making three final tables and cashing in six events. His performance in 2006 is that much more impressive when combined with his 2005 WSOP Player of the Year award.

William Chen
Not only did Chen earn the best new nickname at the 2006 WSOP (Bling, Bling), he also was one of this year's most consistent players. The math whiz won two bracelets, made three final tables, and cashed in six events. His play at the final table of the $2,500 Six-handed No-Limit Hold'em event was so impressive he went from fifth chip position to winner in just four and a half hours, the shortest final table of the 2006 WSOP.

Humberto Brenes (Two Bracelets, $448,290, One Final Table, Eight Cashes)
The grandfather of Costa Rican poker players proved once again in 2006 that he is a formidable WSOP tournament opponent no matter how big the fields are. Tied with Hellmuth for the most cashes at the 2006 WSOP with eight, Brenes' most impressive accomplishment was his 36th place finish in the Main Event. Brenes only made one final table, but when it comes to tournament consistency, only a couple of players performed better than Brenes.

Best Moment

Phil Hellmuth Claims his 10th Career WSOP Bracelet
After two final table appearances, including a runner-up finish, Hellmuth finally closed the gap between Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and himself with his 10th WSOP bracelet.

The final table was epic, with Hellmuth holding off Finnish star Juha Helppi in a dramatic heads-up battle. The crowd, clearly pulling for the "Poker Brat," chanted "10! 10! 10!" throughout the night.

After winning the title, Hellmuth was clearly relieved, excited and overwhelmed all at once. In a touching subplot, Hellmuth embraced his wife, and nearly jumped for joy when he saw his son. While the Main Event championship garnered the biggest field and payday in poker history, Hellmuth's title was clearly the most historic moment of the 2006 WSOP.


AT OffSuite

Mucking McLane

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