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Jun 23, 2015

2015 WSOP Quick Recaps: Events 36-40

By RTR Dennis

The latest round of tournaments from the 2015 WSOP saw Brian Hastings become this year's first multi-bracelet winner, Brazilians once again display their poker passion, and a senior champion in need of a nap. So without further delay, let's discuss these stories as well as other action from Events 36-40 of the 2015 WSOP.

Event #36: Corrie Wunstel Becomes Christian, Wins Big in $1.5k PLO

Corrie Wunstel is counting his blessings even more these days after topping a 978-player field to win this $1,500 PL Omaha event along with $266,874. "I became a Christian a few months ago," Wunstel said. "This victory is all for him and his glory. I had nothing to do with it. This victory really means nothing to me without him and his blessing." The Baton Rouge grinder needed all the help he could get from the powers above, considering how brutal the final table was. Five-handed play alone lasted for three hours. Eventually, Wunstel's heads-up match with Kevin Saul (2nd, $165,147) was suspended for an unscheduled fourth day.

Event #37: Byron Kaverman Beats Doug Polk to Finally win Gold Bracelet

Prior to the 2015 WSOP, Byron Kaverman had built a pretty nice poker career that included over $4.2 million in live tournament cashes. However, the one thing escaping him was a gold bracelet, which he finally crossed off the list in this $10,000 NLHE 6-Handed event. Kaverman beat out a field of 259 players to win the $657,351 top payout. And afterward, he remarked how the final table was one of the "toughest lineups there is." Given that he faced famed high stakes pro Doug Polk (2nd, $406,261) heads up, it's easy to see how intense the competition was.

Event #38: Thiago Nishijima Wins $3k NLHE with Brazilian Supporters Going Crazy

We learned from 2014 November Niner Bruno Politano just how passionate Brazilian poker players can be. And this theme was definitely evident from Thiago Nishijima's rail, as he battled through a 989-player field in this $3,000 NL Hold'em tournament. On a final table that included players from six different countries, including American and 2012 WSOP Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia (3rd, $211,731), Nishijima emerged victorious with a $546,843 payout. Following the victory, an enthusiastic Nishijima said, "Having all of them with me here and thousands back in Brazil who were watching on online was like having the whole country behind me."

Event #39: Brian Hastings Wins Second Bracelet of 2015 WSOP

Brian Hastings is definitely shedding his reputation as just an online poker cash pro, winning his second gold bracelet of the 2015 WSOP and third overall. This time around, Hastings topped a 380-player field in a $1,500 Ten-Game Mix event to collect $133,403. Hastings, who won the $10k Seven Card Stud Championship just 10 days earlier, said he really felt like he'd win throughout the tournament. “I really felt like it - yeah I thought I’d win," he said. “You have to feel that way when you go into one of these, but I think I’m going to win almost every time I sit down and play." Given how good the 26-year-old has been at poker over the last several years, it's little surprise that he was this confident.

Event #40: Travis Baker "Needs a Nap" After Winning $1k Seniors Hold'em

Travis Baker's comment following his $1,000 Seniors NLHE victory was fitting for the event: "I'm an old man now. I need a nap." The truth is, though, Baker isn't really that old (50) and he had more than enough juice to power through this 4,193-player field. In fact, the construction manager from Tulsa, Oklahoma looked downright speedy as he eliminated players en route to the $$613,466 top payout. Once the final table got down to the last five players, it took Baker just 35 minutes to knock out the remaining four participants. "I saw Moneymaker win in 2003 and since then, I’ve been playing mostly small tournaments around, like in Choctaw and Hard Rock Tulsa," he said afterward. "But I’ve never experienced anything like this."