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Jul 09, 2015

2015 WSOP Quick Recaps: Events 56-60

By RTR Dennis

The big buy-in tournaments have rolled out at the 2015 WSOP, with both the $111,111 ONE DROP High Roller and $25,000 PLO Championship taking place. It's little surprise that the champions of these events earned $4 million and $1.1 million respectively. While all of this was going on, a familiar, but rarely seen face, from the 2006 WSOP made his mark at the world's biggest poker event again. Let's discuss this mystery player along with all the big stories from Events 56-60 of the 2015 WSOP.

Event #56: Kevin MacPhee wins First Bracelet in $5k NLHE Turbo

With over $3.6 million in tournament winnings prior to the 2015 WSOP, Kevin MacPhee was already an accomplished poker player. However, he took his career to another level by topping a 454-player field in this $5,000 NL Hold'em Turbo event. MacPhee faced the Ukraine’s Igor Yaroshevskyy heads up, which proved difficult with the latter's rail going crazy. However, MacPhee kept his cool and powered on towards the $490,800 top payout. "It’s all in good fun and it doesn’t rattle me at all. I know that everyone is just trying to have a good time," he said following the win.

Event #57: Takahiro Nakai becomes Second WSOP Champ from Japan

Japan has pretty restrictive laws against poker and gambling in general. So it's impressive that they now have two gold-bracelet winners, thanks to Takahiro Nakai's victory in this $1,000 NL Hold'em tournament. Nakai, who was playing in just his second-ever WSOP event, outlasted a big field of 2,497 players to win the $399,039 top prize. He also survived some tense hands with Mel Wiener (2nd, $248,034) as the two battled back and forth in heads-up play. But in the end, Nakai prevailed and joined Naoya Kihara (2012) as the only other Japanese WSOP victor.

Event #58: Jonathan Duhamel wins $111k One Drop and $4 Million

It was almost five years ago that Jonathan Duhamel won the 2010 WSOP Main Event and $9 million. So it's fitting that this summer, he got the second-biggest win of his career by taking down the $111,111 ONE DROP High Roller. The Canadian battled through a brutal 135-player field to grab his second-career gold bracelet and $3,989,985. As if this story wasn't big enough, final-table play was stopped when a spectator suffered a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. Also, runner-up Bill Klein decided to donate his entire $2,465,522 payout to Guy Laliberte's ONE DROP foundation, which provides clean drinking water to third-world countries.

Event #59: Alex Lindop wins $1.5k NLHE, Jamie Gold takes 5th

Usually the champion is the one taking the headlines in a WSOP event. But 2006 WSOP Main Event winner Jamie Gold grabbed much of the press here after finishing fifth and collecting $120,952. What's noteworthy about this is that Gold's poker career was thought to be all but dead prior to this finish. In other news, Alex Lindrop actually won this $1,500 NLHE tournament, topping a 2,155-player field to earn $531,037. This also makes Lindrop the second British player to win at the 2015 WSOP.

Event #60: Anthony Zinno wins $25k PL Omaha High Roller and $1.1 Million

Last year saw Anthony Zinno earn the WPT Player of the Year award on the strength of two huge wins in the same month. Well, the momentum hasn't slowed for Zinno since he's now final tabled five events at this summer's WSOP, including winning the $25,000 PLO High Roller. Zinno proved he belongs with the elite pros by fighting through a 175-player field and essentially dominating the final table to win $1,122,196. What's really impressive about Zinno's five final-table appearances is that they've all come in difficult events with buy-ins ranging from $5k to $111k.