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The summer is halfway over, and as often happens this time of the year, live tournaments are in a bit of a lull. The 2008 World Series of Poker is all over, except for the final table of the Main Event, which won’t be going down until November. The next seasons of the APPT and EPT aren’t for some time, and LAPT events are few and far between. Until September, the majority of noteworthy events will be WPT events, with the WPT in its seventh season since its inception in 2002.

However, the 2008 WSOP cultivated quite a few notable stories. First and foremost were the exploits of Aaron Gordon, aka “toadstool”, and Richard Lyndaker, aka “nutsinho”. Aaron made an unbelievable run in this year’s Main Event, finishing in 24th place, all the way down from the original 6,844, leaving with a respectable $257k for his work. Richard has been a mainstay in the Poker Stars cash game scene this year, and inflated his bankroll by a good deal with his WSOP performance. He only played three events, but in one of those events – a $1.5k NLH event – he took 29th for $11,950. However, his biggest score by far, came in the $5k 6-max NLH event, when he fell just short, finishing 2nd for $570,551. Congratulations to both Aaron and Richard for their performances.

Speaking of great performances, one would have to give the nod to John Phan. Phan had perhaps the best performance of the summer, winning not one, but two bracelets. One of those bracelets came in No Limit Hold ‘Em, with the other coming in Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Low Ball. On top of that, John came in 5th place in the recent WPT Bellagio Cup IV event, for $193,915! John Phan has definitely had an incredible summer. Between those three cashes alone, John pocketed over $780k!

Mike Matusow has had an up and down career, often displaying high levels of skill, but burning through money live and online due to emotional and tilt issues. However, Mike came into this year’s World Series several pounds lighter (which in turn won him a $100k prop bet), and played great poker for the majority of the series. He first took down the No Limit 2-7 Single Draw Lowball event for $537,862, beating out a stacked final table that included Jeff Lisandro, Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, Tom “Durr” Dwan, and David Benyamine. He also final tabled the $10k Omaha Hi/Lo World Championship, busting 5th for $138k. He couldn’t outlast David Benyamine, who took it down for $535,687. David Benyamine has had an amazing summer in his own right, taking down the aforementioned event, finishing 7th in the event Mike won, and taking 3rd in a $5k Pot Limit Omaha rebuy. And on top of all of that, he took 2nd in the Bellagio Cup IV event for $840k! Back to Mike however, he made a legendary run in the Main Event, getting 3 outered and busting in 30th for $193k.

Barry Greenstein made three final tables this series as well, taking 3rd in the event Matusow won, winning a Razz event for $157,643, and taking 6th in the $50k H.O.R.S.E. event for $355,200. Given the sizes of the fields these days, it’s mind boggling to believe that Phan, Matusow, Benyamine, and Greenstein were able to plow through these fields en route to multiple final tables, and numerous bracelets combined. There were numerous first time bracelet winners this year that are highly regarded amongst their peers. David Singer, Erick Lindgren, and Kenny Tran all collected their first bracelets in the 2008 WSOP.

Looking to the very near future, we have the 2008 Legends of Poker series coming up in California at the Bicycle Casino. This will be a rather long series, with tons of events under $1k. It begins on July 30th, will span 23 events leading up to August 23rd, when the $10k WPT Championship event begins. Last year, Dan Harrington beat David Pham heads up, taking down the hefty $1.6 million first place prize.

Keep posted to FTR Blogs in the near future as we continue to cover tournaments, whether they’re live or online.