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The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) is possibly one of the most active poker circuits around. Right as the Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina came to an end, the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles kicked off on December 1. The fifth event on the schedule was the $400 No-Limit Hold’em which was taken down by Brian Snell for $9,010.
On a sad note, Norwegian poker legend and “The Godfather of Norwegian Poker”, Thor Hansen passed away on December 5 and will be deeply mourned by the family, friends and fans he left behind.
Nonetheless, on a more positive note, the Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas will host the upcoming “All in for CP” charity poker event for the One Step Closer Foundation that raises funds for those suffering from cerebral palsy (CP).
The $400 No-Limit Hold’em at the 2018 WSOPC Bicycle Casino pulled in 91 entries, creating a prize pool of $30,030. Brian Snell outlasted the field to claim his career`s first gold ring, along with the top prize of $9,010.
Snell has previously scored three times at the WSOPC and has accumulated total winnings of $13,055.
With only the top 12 places receiving payouts, the only players to finish in the money, besides the final tablists were Britton Purvis (11th for $625) and Shane Martin (12th for $625).
Mihail Irodoi had started the final table as the chip leader with a stack of 240,000, while Brian Snell was in fourth place with 195,000, behind Steven Grybas (221,000) and Gladys Landegger (219,000).
The Hawaii native Snell claimed that he has been working on his game and his perseverance on the felt showed as much. Even with Irodoi coming into the final table as the chip leader, Snell held the chip lead for most of the heads-up battle. He took a hit when Irodoi hit a two-outer to regain the lead, but Snell slowly regained the chips he lost and then some.
When the dust settled, it was Snell who was the last player standing. Irodoi took home $5,750 for his runner-up finish and an emotional Snell took home his first WSOP Circuit ring.
1. Brian Snell – $9,010
2. Mihail Irodoi – $5,750
3. Steven Grybas – $3,965
4. Gladys Landegger – $2,880
5. Nikhil Gera – $2,135
6. David Carver – $1,610
7. Alexandre Novaes – $1,240
8. Brett Apter – $970
9. Vartan Vartanian – $775
10. Jeff Yarchever – $625
Following a lengthy battle with cancer, Norwegian poker legend Thor Hansen succumbed to his illness on December 5.
Born on 23 June 1947 in Oslo, Norway, Hansen was recruited by Larry Flynt to play poker in Las Vegas in the mid-1990s. Known as “The Godfather of Norwegian Poker,” Hansen was one of the pioneers for Scandinavian poker players heading to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
His poker career flourished in the late 80’s when he won his maiden WSOP bracelet in the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud in 1988. It would take him another 14 years to win his second WSOP gold which came in the $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball in 2002.
But perhaps his greatest moment in life happened not when he won the gold bracelets but when he met Marcella Braswell, whom he married on Catalina Island, California in 1999.
According to Norwegian poker website Poker.No, “Marcella became his girlfriend, his wife, and best friend.” In fact, Braswell was by Hansen’s side in January 2012 when doctors informed Hansen that he had cancer. The diagnosis was that his cancer was terminal, and that Hansen only had between three and four months to live. Hansen reportedly said that “it was fun while it lasted”, but Braswell stated, “It’s not over.”
And Barwell was right. For the next six years, despite the poor prognosis, Hansen still managed to find the strength to play poker and do so with the trademark smile on his face.
Hansen’s loss was felt far and wide and many from the fraternity took to Twitter to express their sorrow and extend their support to the grieving family.
Thor Hansen was that rarest of things, an International Treasure.
Let’s let his family and friends know how much we all feel the loss of this lovely man.
— Barny Boatman (@barnyboatman) December 5, 2018
I just learned Thor Hansen, the great poker pro from Norway, has passed away. Thor was one of the kindest, most decent, most honest, most universally beloved players ever to play this game. I’m having trouble composing my thoughts. So many fond memories of this wonderful man.
— Nolan Dalla (@nolandalla) December 5, 2018
On December 9, the Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas will play host to the “All in for CP” which is a charity poker event that will benefit One Step Closer Foundation, an organization that raises funds for those suffering from cerebral palsy (CP).
One Step Closer holds two charity poker tournaments each year in Vegas, with the other being held during the WSOP in the summer. The events, in the past have attracted several celebrities from all walks of life, and this has already garnered attention from the last two WSOP Main Event champions, John Cynn and Scott Blumstein.
Founded by Jacob Zalewski, One Step Closer is a unique organization since its founder is well-aware of the challenges associated with CP. Born three months premature in 1983, Zalewski was given just a 3% chance of survival at birth. Despite living with Cerebral Palsy his entire life, Zalewski has considered his disease a blessing, using it to positively inspire others. In 2007, he started the One Step Closer Foundation with the help of the late Sam Simon, creator of the Simpsons.
“I never imagined that we would raise over $1 million and be having regular tournaments for the past 12 years. Every year, I’m truly humbled to see the support that the foundation receives. I want to thank everyone who has ever come out to play in one of our events,” said Zalewski.
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and ‘Suburgatory’ star Cheryl Hines along with Montell Williams will be serving as the main hosts at the event.
“I love Jacob,” said event host Cheryl Hines. “It is truly inspiring that someone who has cerebral palsy has the resources and the spirit to start a foundation to help other people with cerebral palsy. It’s amazing to me and I really admire Jacob and I want to support him in any way I can.”
The poker tournament will feature a $350 buy-in with $100 add-ons and re-buys. There will be $25,000 in cash and prizes distributed among the top 15 finishers, with the winner guaranteed $10,000.
Some of the prizes include a seat and buy-in for Friday Night Poker presented by PokerGo and Stadium, hotel weekend packages at Aria, Bellagio and Planet Hollywood that include hotel stay, dinner and show tickets, and buy-ins into the 2019 Raising the Stakes charity tournament. There will also be a silent auction during the event where guests can bid on various sports memorabilia.
VP of Marketing and Operation for The One Step Closer Foundation Bernard Lee said, “Honestly, I believe that we have some of the best prizes around for a charity poker tournament. However, I don’t think that is the main reason why players come back year after year. The real reasons are that everyone comes to support such a good cause especially Jacob and everyone truly has an incredibly fun time. It is always such a party atmosphere.”