Joe Ebanks Wins WSOP 2011 $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Event

joe EbanksJoe Ebanks’ “dream” plan came to fruition after seven years in Las Vegas last night as he secured his first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) with victory in the $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event.

The 26-year-old from Ohio also collected $1,158,481 for his victory after defeating skilled British online poker player Chris Moorman in their heads-up encounter, as well as outlasting a 474-strong field, in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Former Ken State University student Ebanks – who majored in psychology but quit his college studies after almost three years to become an online pro – also saw off the likes of third-placed finisher Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier on his way to collecting the biggest, so far, cash prize at this summer’s WSOP.

Ebanks, who is considering quitting the USA for Canada to continue his flourishing online career, can certainly look to the future with “more confidence” and is determined to “come back and win more bracelets”.

The latest first-time gold bracelet winner – whose previous best finish was 22nd in this year’s $1,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event – now stands on $1,198,982 in WSOP winnings after four successive years of attending the Vegas series, although he has actually been a full-time poker player for around six years.

Ebanks’ also improved his WSOP record to one win, one final table appearance and six cash finishes, but emphasised that his “dream come true” had been a long time in the making as his success – particularly after collecting the title from “one of the best events” – arrived after first starting to play “poker seriously seven years ago”.

He also considers picking up over one million dollars to be an “amazing” achievement, although – having been “backed in the tournament” – he won’t “get all of it”. However, Ebanks also stated that picking up a sizeable portion of that seven-figure sum is “still more than anything I have ever won, so it’s amazing”.

Ebanks’ victory really is an incredible accomplishment due to the quality of player he outlasted, with the likes of Frenchman Grospellier – who collected his first WSOP success in the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship for $331,639 prize – Davidi Katai (45th), Daniel Alaei (43rd), Phil Laak (28th), Joe Cada (26th) and Ben Lamb (12th) also seen off on his way to the crown.

In fact, the excellence of pretty well every finisher down to the lowest paid, for 48th place, made event #46 probably the hardest to win at this summer’s WSOP, with Essex-based Brit Moorman proving a particularly tough nut to crack following his four earlier cash finishes – for third, 11th, 18th and 66th – this year.

Moorman has now won $1,051,466 at this year’s WSOP after picking up $716,282 for his runner-up spot last night.

However, Ebanks – who defeated Moorman on the fourth day of the event – has pointed out that he may have to quit the United States to continue his online career after the events of ‘Black Friday’ on April 15, when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) shut down several online poker sites.

The latest WSOP bracelet winner stated that he has “lost a lot money” because of the government’s decision to make it impossible for American players to access their online poker accounts and will “have to move if I want to continue playing” – probably once “the series is over” come the middle of this month.

Meanwhile, Tulsa’s Lamb has opened up a big lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race following his 12th place finish, to add to his earlier first place – in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship – as well second in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event.

Lamb now stands on 572.65 points, well ahead of Moorman on 486.20, while third-placed Grospellier has 479.25, Phil Hellmuth is fourth on 458.25 and Ebanks has shot up to eighth on 360.

Top 10 placings and payouts from the WSOP 2011 $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event:

1. Joe Ebanks (USA) – $1,158,481

2. Chris Moorman (UK) – $716,282

3. Bertrand Grospellier (France) – $447,074

4. Tristan Wade (USA) – $292,866

5. Taylor Paur (USA) – $198,140

6. Mike Sowers (USA) – $138,301

7. Ben Tollerene (USA) – $99,493

8. Jeremy Menard (USA) – $99,493

9. Nick Grippo (USA) – $73,695

10. Matthew Hyman (USA) – $73,695