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Angel Guillen Wins First Gold Bracelet at World Series of Poker Event #32

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Event #32 $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em

Event Headlines –

1. Angel Guillen Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

2. Guillen Becomes Second Mexican National in History to Win Poker's Most Coveted Prize

3.
  What Next? Might Angel Guillen be the Chris Moneymaker of Mexico?

4. Angel Guillen-Mika Paasonen Heads-Up Showdown Goes Nearly Six Hours

5. 2009 WSOP Crosses $60 Million Mark in Prize Money – as 21 of 32 Events So Far Exceed $1 Million in Prize Money

The Winner --

· The 2009 World Series of Poker $2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em champion is Angel Guillen, from Mexico City, Mexico.

· Guillen is a 26-year-old professional poker player. He plays mostly online.

· Guillen attended college in Mexico City, and is a few credits short of a degree in economics.

· Guillen has worked in business, concentrating in investments.

· Guillen is fluent in both Spanish and English.

· In addition to playing poker, Guillen also enjoys chess reading, doing math puzzles, and travel.

· Guillen is a strong proponent of legalizing poker in his native country. Guillen says he hopes his victory at the World Series of Poker will inspire more Mexican citizens to take up the game and gradually overturn current laws which forbid casinos and poker tournaments.

· Guillen became on the second Mexican national to win a WSOP gold bracelet. The first Mexican WSOP title winner was Victor Perches, who won the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold'em Shootout in 2006.

· Guillen started playing live tournament poker in January 2009.

· Despite just starting out in tournament poker about six months ago, Guillen came into this year's WSOP with an impressive track record. He finished third in the Latin American Tour's Punta del Este (Uruguay) championship earlier this year. He has numerous other cashes as well, including tournaments in the Bahamas and Monte Carlo.

· Guillen finished second in his only other previous cash at the WSOP. That came nine days ago in the $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament (Event #13). He pocketed $312,800 for that runner-up performance.

· Guillen collected $530,548 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

· According to the official records, Guillen now has 1 win, 2 final table appearances, and 2 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

· Guillen currently has $843,348 in WSOP winnings.

· Guillen's plan was (and remains) to play in many WSOP events. He arrived in Las Vegas with a tournament bankroll of $40,000, which has now grown to over 20 times that amount.

· Guillen's enthusiastic victory brought back memories of last year's win by another Latino player -- Alexandre Gomes, from Brazil. Both players arguably were cheered to victory by the largest and most joyous crowds of any winner during the past two years.

Winner Quotes (Angel Guillen) –

· On the local poker scene in Mexico: "The problem in Mexico is that poker is not legal. So, the growth of poker in our country has been very slow. We are trying to develop that now. We want to make a boom in Mexico. We mostly play online and in underground games – and sometimes in home games. There are no casinos. That's basically how it works. Hopefully, Mexico will soon export more poker players."

· On what makes Mexicans and other Latinos so prideful to win a WSOP gold bracelet: "Latin Americans, in general, are very passionate people. We love to win. We have a different type of life. We get an energy boost when we win. It's like all your hopes and dreams come together. We are very warm people."

· On how his supporters helped him to win: "I feel very fortunate to have the support of my family, my friends and all the people that supported me."

· On his future plans: I plan to keep on playing and learning more as I play. I want to become a well-known player and win many more events."

· On what his win means for Mexico: "Like Chris Moneymaker did for you (in the U.S.), I want to do the same thing in my country. Hopefully, I can."

The Final Table --

· The final table contained no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. This was the 12th of 32 finales held so far this year with no former winners -- which guaranteed a first-time champion.

· The final table was an international mix which included players from six different nations – including Canada, Finland, France, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States.

· The runner up was Mika Paasonen, from Hameenlinna, Finland. He said he got into poker after seeing the 1998 film "Rounders." Paasonen's poker nickname is "Sharkie." Paasonen put up a noble fight, making Guillen battle for every chip. Their heads-up match lasted about six hours.

· The third-place finisher was Jason Boyes, from Calgary, AB (Canada). He had previously cashed in a few events at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. This was his highest WSOP finish ever.

· The fourth-place finisher was Steve Kohner, from Phoenix, AZ. He is a 57-year-old real estate developer. This was Kohner's first WSOP in-the-money finish.

· The fifth-place finisher was Eric Ladny, from Mercerville, NJ. He is a 21-year-old student at Penn State University. He now has three WSOP cashes, all this year.

· The sixth-place finisher was Daniel Makowsky, from Zurich, Switzerland. He is a poker tournament specialist who spends most of his time playing in Europe. Last year, Makowsky was the runner up in a WSOP event.

· The seventh-place finisher was Chris MacNeil, from Peabody, MA. This was his third WSOP in-the-money finish. MacNeil mentioned that he began playing in this tournament on the day of his son Christopher's birthday, and wanted to give his ten-year-old son a special birthday present. A memorable final table appearance at the WSOP and $71,192 in prize money should buy a nice birthday gift.

· The eighth-place finisher was Antoine Amourette, from Rennes, France. He is a poker pro. This was his second time to cash at the WSOP.

· The ninth-place finisher was Clark Hamagami, from Vancouver, BC (Canada). He is a 23-year-old student.

In-the-Money Finishers --

· Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Scott Clements, Chau Giang, Justin Scott, and Jans Orensen.

· Tony Cousineau, from Daytona Beach, FL cashed for the fifth time at this year's WSOP. He currently holds the peculiar record as the player with the most cashes in WSOP history without a gold bracelet victory. His in-the-money finishes currently number 39.

· The defending champion from 2009 was Blair Hinkle, from Weatherby Lake, MO. He entered this tournament but did not cash.

Odds and Ends --

· The $2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em championship attracted 1,534 entries, which is a 14 percent increase over the same event last year, which totaled 1,344 players.

· This is the 21st of 32 tournaments completed thus far at this year's WSOP, with a greater than $1 million prize pool.

· The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner's victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner's nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

· Guillen will be honored with the playing of the Mexican national anthem – which is Himno Nacional Mexicano.

The Event --

· The $2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event attracted 1,534 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $2,791,880. The top 171 finishers collected prize money.

· The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

· The End of Day One chip leader was Jing Shan, from Arcadia, CA. He ended up finishing in 29th place.

· Eric Ladny was the chip leader coming into the final table. He ended up finishing in fifth place.

· Guillen came into the final table ranked seventh out of nine players. In fact, two of the finalists had over 2,000,000 in chips while Guillen began with 604,000. He seized the chip lead about mid-way through the finale, traded the lead back and forth several times during the match.

· The heads-up match between Angel Guillen and Mika Paasonen lasted about six hours. Paasonen was all-in a few times during the fierce battle, but managed to survive each time his tournament life was at stake. When Guillen had about a 2 to 1 chip lead, the final hand of the tournament took place just after midnight when Guillen was dealt 3-3 and flopped a set when the board showed K-4-3. Paasonen moved all-in after the flop and tabled K-10, which was good for top pair. The set of threes held up, and Guillen sealed his victory.

· The heads-up match provided a rare opportunity for those nearby to learn how to count in two different languages. Guillen was cheered on by a dozen or so Mexican fellow countrymen. Meanwhile, Passonen was supported by a more reserved group of Finns. During all-in situations and other critical moments, the players' cards were revealed and fans from the two nations shouted the desired card in the player's native language. The Mexicans shouted the card they wanted, while the Finns countered with their request. It made for a fun and festive finale.

· The tournament officially began on Monday, June 15th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Thursday, June 18th, at 11:05 am.

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