In 2009, Ben Scholl was just three eliminations away from winning a WSOP bracelet. Staring at the $521,991 in first-place prize money, Scholl was knocked out in fourth and watched from the sidelines as Eric Baldwin captured his first WSOP title. Scholl earned $150,132 for that finish, and since that close call, he's cashed a total of four times with a top payday of $10,767.
With four players left in Event 20 of the 2012 WSOP, the $5,000 limit hold 'em world championship, Scholl was second in chips, trailing another player who knows what it's like to come up just short at the WSOP, two-time member of the WSOP main event final table, Jeff Shulman. A weight was lifted off Scholl's shoulders with the elimination of Jesse Martin in fourth and it wouldn't be Shulman's turn this time as he was eliminated in third. There was no stopping Scholl and, after less than an hour of heads-up play, he was holding his first WSOP bracelet.
"It gave me confidence to keep trying," Scholl said of his previous final table appearance. "I didn't really come close to a final table the next few years, but here I am back at one and it was a lot of fun. So I kept trying, and finally actually won a bracelet this year.
The 26-year-old from Trappe, Pa., works as a financial analyst and will have no problem trying to determine how to maximize the $206,760 in prize money. The unique aspect of Scholl's game is that while said he, like millions of others, was influenced by Chris Moneymaker, he prefers limit over no-limit.
"I think you get involved in more pots," he said of limit poker compared to no-limit. "You don't have to risk your entire stack, so you don't have to play quite as carefully. It's kind of more tactical. There are more decisions through the end. You're not going to be in all-in preflop every hand you play late in the tournament or anything like that. You'll play flops, turns, and rivers."
It seemed that the majority of this final table was filled with players who can share numerous "close, but no cigar"-type stories. Scholl defeated Andrew Prock heads-up for the bracelet. Prock now owns eight WSOP cashes and two second-place finishes at the WSOP. Matt Glantz finished in sixth at his eighth WSOP final table. It was his second cash of the Series, as he just missed the final table in Event 16, finishing in seventh. Glantz has $2.1 million in WSOP earnings.
The buy-in to the limit hold 'em world championship was reduced from $10,000 in 2011 to $5,000 in 2012. The new, cheaper price couldn't gain significantly more traction among the pros, only yielding a field of 166 players compared to 152 a year ago. It's clear that the popularity of limit hold 'em has decreased over the years, and accordingly, the WSOP has reduced the number of limit events on the schedule.
Other notable finishers include Terrance Chan (12th) and Mike Schneider (16th).
Below are the complete results of Event 20 at the 2012 World Series of Poker:
Event 20: Limit hold 'em world championship
Prize pool: $780,200
Players in the money: 18
1. Benjamin Scholl ($206,760)
2. Andrew Prock ($127,773)
3. Jeff Shulman ($92,562)
4. Jesse Martin ($68,322)
5. Raymond Dehkharghani ($51,344)
6. Matt Glantz ($39,259)
7. Matthew Woodward ($30,529)
8. Nicholas Derke ($24,139)
9. Ayman Qutami ($19,395)
10. Samuel Golbuff ($15,830)
11. Matt Szymaszek ($15,830)
12. Terrence Chan ($15,830)
13. Chris Overgard ($13,138)
14. Kenneth Shei ($13,138)
15. Douglas Rutherford ($13,138)
16. Mike Schneider ($11,071)
17. Ron Burke ($11,071)
18. Nicholas Muraca ($11,071)