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Jul 12, 2017

International Players who Won at the 2017 WSOP

By RTR Dennis

With the World Series of Poker based in Las Vegas, it's no surprise that the majority of winners are American. This is why it's fun to see international players win gold bracelets too. After all, many of them travel thousands of miles to compete in the world's biggest poker extravaganza.

Who are the international winners at the 2017 WSOP? Let's take a look at each non-American player who earned a bracelet this summer.

Liv Boeree (UK) and Igor Kurganov (Russia) - Event #2: $10,000 Tag Team NL Hold'em

Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov battled through a 102-team field to win this event along with $136,982 apiece. This victory marked both Boeree and Kurganov's first WSOP bracelets. The win is extra special because London's Boeree and St. Petersburg's Kurganov have been dating for several years. "We just saw each other in Australia or the Bahamas and fell in love," Boeree said. "We've been inseparable ever since."

Adrian Mateos (Spain) - Event #15: $10,000 NL Hold'em Heads-up

Madrid's Adrian Mateos first made his mark on the poker world as a 19-year-old, winning the 2011 WSOP Europe Main Event and €1,000,000. The Spaniard is more than a one-hit wonder, though, winning a 2016 WSOP $1,500 Summer Solstice event ($ 409,171) last year. Mateos added yet another victory to his resume this year by taking down the $10k Heads-up Championship and $324,470. "[It feels] really good, for sure," Mateos said. "I think it's pretty hard to have three bracelets and I have it. So I'm pretty happy."

Pablo Martz (Canada) - Event #20: $1,500 NL Hold'em Millionaire

Amateur poker player Pablo Martz came to the 2017 WSOP this summer with friends. The Montreal native planned to play in a few events before heading back to Canada. But after navigating through the 7,761-player Millionaire field and winning $1,221,407, Martz decided to stay. “I think we are going to be staying the rest of the summer, at least until the Main Event is over,” he said. “I’m going for WSOP Player of the Year now.”

Joseph Di Rosa Rojas (Venezuela) - Event #23: $2,620 The Marathon

1,758 players turned out for the deepstacked event known as "The Marathon." And Joseph Di Rosa Rojas, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, claimed victory along with $690,469. What Di Josa Rojas enjoys most is the rush he got from playing on the final table. "It's incredible," he said. "I played a lot of hands, and ... I don't know!"

James Obst (Australia) - Event #26: $10,000 Razz Championship

Eric Kurtzman looked poised to take the $10,000 Razz Championship crown after a dominating final table run. But Australia's James Obst snatched victory from Kurtzman with a comeback heads-up performance. Kurtzman settled for the $163,867 second-place prize, while Obst earned $265,138 and his first bracelet in 25 WSOP cashes.

Chris Moorman (UK) - Event #27: $3,000 NL Hold'em 6-handed

Chris Moorman has more online poker tournament winnings than anybody else with $14 million. He's also earned $5.1 million in live tourneys. But until Event #27, the one accolade that had eluded him was a gold bracelet. The Brit can mark this off his list after winning a $3k NLHE 6-handed tournament along with $498.682. “I feel like any time you win live, it’s just a lot more real,” Moorman said. “All your friends are there celebrating with you and particularly a lot of my online success was when I was living in the UK I would be playing all through the night and maybe win a tournament about five or six in the morning and I would just be there on my own.”

Vladimir Shchemelev (Russia) - Event #32: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8's or Better

After winning Event #32 along with $193,848, Vladimir Shchemelev not only became the second Russian to win at the 2017 WSOP, but also the second player from St. Petersburg. This is Shchemelev's second-career bracelet, as he also won a 2013 WSOP $3k PLO event ($279,094). "The first bracelet was tough," he said through an interpreter. "It took me like nine final tables before I won my first bracelet. It was important for me to win my first bracelet, so I was kind of nervous. Today, I was very calm."

Christopher Frank (Austria via Germany) - Event #33: $1,500 NL Hold'em

Christopher Frank, a German poker pro living in Austria, secured his first bracelet by winning a $1,500 NL Hold'em event. He also added $384,833 to his career live winnings of $1.52 million. "I’ve been playing the live circuit for pretty long, and I’ve always dreamed of winning something big," he said. "And now I’ve done it."

Nadar Kakhmazov (Russia) - Event #36: $5,000 NL Hold'em 6-handed

Moscow's Nadar Kakhmazov has been coming to the WSOP for a few years now. But he never had much luck until taking down this $5k NLHE event along with $580,338. "I am very happy," Kakhmazov said. "I have wanted to do this for three years, but every time I lose two big pots, deep in the tournament. However, that late-event run-bad ended here."

Rifat Palevic (Sweden) - Event #39: $1,000 NL Hold'em Super Turbo

Rifat Palevic racked up a few WSOP cashes from 2009-11. But he started playing locally in Sweden so that he could take care of his young daughter. 2017 marked the first time that Palevic left Sweden for a poker event, and it turned out to be perfect timing since he won the Super Turbo event and $183,903. "I have a daughter and she is becoming 12 now in September," he said after winning. "I was playing a lot outside Europe and Sweden, but now I'm playing more now home in Sweden and local games in Europe. It's like when my wife and family have vacation, it's the World Series."

Dmitry Yurasov (Russia) - Event #42: $10,000 NL Hold'em 6-handed

Moscow native Dmitry Yurasov has had a pretty successful international poker career, racking up over $2 million in winnings. But he experienced his first big success in America by winning the $10k NL Hold'em 6-handed event and $775,923. Afterward, Yurasov said that he owes a large part of his success to online games. "It helps because you always keep yourself in shape by playing online," Yurasov said through an interpreter. "So, it's kind of easy when you come back to live and you have so much experience playing short-handed games."

Ben Baruch Maya (Israel) - Event #43: $1,500 NL Hold'em Shootout

Ben Maya overcame a 1,024-player field to win Event #43 and $257,764. His day job is in the real estate business, and Maya normally only plays cash games. This is why even he was surprised by his victory. "I don't play tournaments at all. I played one tournament this year," he explained. "Tournaments are so exhausting for me. I play tournaments so many hours - I get so tired."

Christopher Brammer (UK) - Event #45: $5,000 NL Hold'em

After winning a $5k NLHE tournament and $527,555, Southampton's Chris Brammer credited his win to running well. “It's a turbo tournament," he said. “The blinds went up fairly quickly and that creates a lot of all-in action. I won pretty much all of them. I got a lot of good cards as well. I could shove into them, put pressure on them. I was dealt a lot of good hands.”

Max Silver (Ireland via UK) - Event #53: $3,000 Limit Hold'em 6-handed

Max Silver, a British poker pro who lives in Dublin, Ireland, earned his first gold bracelet by winning Event #53 and $172,645. The win is extra sweet for Silver because he had 25 WSOP cashes and $3.5 million in tournament winnings before finally getting a bracelet. "Amazing," he said, "I've had several nice scores, but this is just amazing."

Andres Korn (Argentina) - Event #56: $5,000 NL Hold'em

In 2015, Franco Ivan Luca became the first Argentinian to win a WSOP bracelet. Now, we can add Andres Korn to the list of Argentinian winners since he won Event #56 and $618,285. Korn defeated Taiwan's Pete Chen ($382,122) heads-up to seal the win. "This was beautiful," Korn said regarding the victory. "I connected with every flop. I won every flip -- the cards just kept coming my way. It was my way."

Artur Rudziankov (Czech Republic via Belarus) - Event #58: $1,500 NL Hold'em

Ivan Luca’s mention is interesting because he beat Artur Rudziankov heads-up to claim a 2015 WSOP $1k NL Hold'em event. Rudziankov would get redemption, though, winning the Event #58 $1.5k NLHE tournament and $395,918. "Things started out better for me," the Czech said, referring to when he played Ivan Luca heads-up the first time. "I had more confidence this time around. And of course I got lucky a couple of times."

Jens Lakemeier (Austria via Germany) - Event #59: $2,500 Big Bet Mix

Another German who now lives in Austria, Jens Lakemeier overcame a 112-player field to win Event #59 along with $112,232. The 23-year-old topped Jason Stockfish ($69,359) in heads-up play to win his first gold bracelet.

Alexandru Papazian (Romania) - Event #60: $888 Crazy Eights NL Hold'em 8-handed

Sponsored by 888poker, everything about this tournament centers around 8s. Case in point, Alexandru Papazian won an $888,888 payout after topping this 8,120-player field. Besides earning a huge payout, Papazian becomes the first Romanian in history to win a WSOP event.

Elior Sion (UK) - Event #62: $50,000 Poker Players Championship

Many of the world's top poker pros were in attendance for the $50k Players Championship. And London's Elior Sion shined the brightest as he won this event along with $1,395,767. With this massive payout, Sion plans to launch a real estate business in London. "Poker has always been like a stepping stone in life," said Sion. "It's let me do the things I really wanted to do. With the win, I'll finally be able to do a few things that I got in the back of my mind."

Sebastian Langrock (Austria) - Event #64: $1,500 NL Hold'em/Omaha 8's or Better

Austria's Sebastian Langrock is no stranger to big scores. In fact, he won a $1 million payout on Germany's version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Now, he's experienced a big poker score after winning Event #64 and $268,555.

Shai Zurr (Israel) - Event #65: $1,000 NL Hold'em

Shai Zurr topped a 1,413-player field to win this $1k NLHE event along with $223,241. This makes Zurr the second Israeli to win at the 2017 WSOP. “I am so happy to join the bracelet-winner family and also the Israeli bracelet-winner family,” he said.

Heidi May (Australia) - Event #70: $1,000 Ladies NL Hold'em Championship

Heidi May, a poker pro from Hobart, Australia, topped a 718-player field to win the Ladies Hold'em Championship and $135,098. May turned heads with her colorful final table shirt, which she says is traditionally worn by fellow poker players who rent a house with her. "This shirt is our house shirt." May said “And every time we make a final table, we wear it. We've already had four final tables wearing this shirt.”