There's a reason why John Monnette earns a roster spot every year in ESPN's fantasy poker draft, and this year, his owner Eric Baldwin is reaping the benefits. After capturing his first bracelet at the 2011 WSOP, Monnette returned to the felt in 2012 looking for more jewelry for his wrists. He ran deep in Event 4, finishing 12th, and followed up that effort with a victory in Event 10, $5,000 seven card stud for his second career WSOP bracelet.
"It feels great," Monnette said after his win to WSOP.com. "I mean, it's the $5,000 championship event. So yeah, any bracelet feels good. This is awesome. It feels great."
Monnette's name doesn't often appear in the poker headlines during non-WSOP season as he rarely plays the no-limit hold 'em events that steal the poker spotlight. While he puts his efforts toward mixed and limit games, Monnette admits that stud isn't even his strongest game, although he's had a substantial amount of success in that format at the WSOP.
"I really enjoy all the draw games," he said. "A lot of them we don't even get to play at the World Series and I still enjoy Omaha high-low a lot. The stud games are my weaker games for sure."
He may be "weaker" at stud, but that doesn't mean the 30-year-old isn't one of the best in the world at the game. Facing him at the final table was the one people refer to as the best stud player in the world, five-time bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro.
Monnette held the chip lead to begin the final table, but fell on the wrong end of a few confrontations with Huu Vinh to lose the top spot early on. Lisandro struggled to make his hands throughout the final day and was eliminated by WSOP bracelet-owner Perry Friedman in fifth. This was Lisandro's 40th career WSOP cash, tying him with Scotty Nguyen, Blair Rodman and Huck Seed for 29th all-time.
Friedman fell next to Monnette, failing to hit his flush draw against Monnette's pair. Friedman earned $53,470 for his first cash of the 2012 WSOP and the 22nd of his career.
The stacks were extremely close at the start of three-handed play between Vinh, Monnette and Timothy Finne, but once the players returned from the dinner break, it was all Monnette. "Angry John" separated himself and padded his stack, allowing him to pressure both of his opponents equally. With more than 75 percent of the chips in play and only a few big bets in front of both of Vinh and Finne, Monnette seized the opportunity. Vinh dealt the knockout blow to Finne, but even with those additional chips, he couldn't get enough momentum to get back in the game.
Less than 30 minutes after heads-up play began, Monnette was holding the bracelet. He described the experience of playing in the event as "fun and exciting."
"It's just like if you were a golf fan and you get to go golf with Tiger Woods or something," he said. "It's something that you enjoy doing. Competing against the players that are the best at the game. Mostly I know these players from cash games. The World Series is the only time a lot of these guys get together and play tournaments. It's really fun. It's definitely a good time."
Other notable finishers include Bryn Kenney (eighth), Eugene Katchalov (ninth), Cyndy Violette (11th), Mike Sexton (15th) and Nick Schulman (16th).
Below are the complete results of Event 10 at the 2012 World Series of Poker:
Event 10: Seven card stud
Prize pool: $681,500
Players in the money: 16
1. John Monnette ($190,826)
2. Huu Vinh ($117,913)
3. Timothy Finne ($73,847)
4. Perry Friedman ($53,470)
5. Jeff Lisandro ($41,789)
6. Mark Dickstein ($33,325)
7. Bryn Kenney ($27,062)
8. Raymond Dehkharghani ($22,332)
9. Eugene Katchalov ($18,693)
10. Lee Goldman ($18,693)
11. Cyndy Violette ($15,906)
12. Max Pescatori ($15,906)
13. David Rosenau ($13,834)
14. Yuval Bronshtein ($13,834)
15. Mike Sexton ($12,035)
16. Nick Schulman ($12,035)