Top 2010 Poker Player Stories – #22 Dean Hamrick
In 2008, the World Series of Poker introduced a concept that was new to the poker community called “The November 9.” The WSOP Main Event was stopped when play reached the final table in July, and would resume play in November, offering the WSOP the chance to market the 9 players who made it through to the final table, provide for better TV ratings, and let the players secure deals and sponsorships for the big event. It was common practice by the time that they did it this year, but in 2008 the process was brand new, and nobody really knew if it was going to be a good idea or a bad idea, and what it would really mean for the players. So when the play wore down to just 10 remaining players at one table at the 2008 Main Event, the goal wasn’t “just make the November 9.” The goal was “put myself in a position to win the event.”
With that in mind, Dean Hamrick opened a pot by moving all in for his last 3.2 million chips, and Craig Marquis moved in over the top of him. When the cards were turned up, it was As-Jc for Hamrick, and Qh-Qc for Marquis. The board would run out Kc-Th-3d-Td-Ks, giving a sweat with the straight draw, but ultimately eliminating Hamrick in 10th place, to become the first official November 9 “bubble boy.” He would take home $591,869 in winnings, in what would end up being a bittersweet score when the gravity of the situation hit him. In June, Hamrick appeared on PokerRoad Radio and was asked about the bust out and saying that “at the time it was really cool, it was the largest cash that I’d ever had at a live tournament. I mean, at the time you’re disappointed that you’re out but at the same time you just won a bunch of money.”
Shortly thereafter, the news clippings became inescapable. The press coverage was everywhere and all the while the November 9 buzz became much bigger than anyone really expected. The news kept talking about the big signings of each of the 9 players with various sponsorship agreements with the big online poker sites and somewhere in there, it Hamrick hard. “As it goes on, you see all the November 9 stuff and you realize what a big deal it was, because they’d never done it before. So you didn’t at the time realize what a big deal it was going to be” says Hamrick. “Then later, I was like, dude, that REALLY sucked. That’s the worst I ever felt to have won a half a million bucks.”
Hamrick would return to the 2009 World Series with his close group of friends and he’d book two cashes, including a final table at a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Event, where he’d finish with a 5th place for $132,380. He would get counsel and support in the house he was staying at in Las Vegas with his fellow Michigan buddies, particularly Justin Scott who had won a bracelet in 2006. The house seemed to be a great place to live for poker players as another housemate, Tony Harb took down event #11 winning a bracelet of his own at the $2,000 buy in No Limit Hold’em Event. Then later, another housemate ran deep in another named Joe Cada, whom you might remember faring pretty well in the 2009 Main Event.
Surrounded by a group of friends who had each won WSOP gold, Hamrick returned to the 2010 World Series with his goal being to join his group in obtaining a bracelet, and he’d slug his way through 41 different events with just 1 cash to show for it (a 100th place finish in event #11 a $1k buy in No Limit Hold’em event). But in event #42, something changed as Hamrick went from being in the money with only just over a small blind in chips. The cards began to fall his way as he patiently and methodically worked his way up the chip count until he finally found himself with a ton of chips, and at his second career WSOP Final Table. This time, he was not going to be denied of the title.
It took only 90 minutes to eliminate the first four players at the final table with Dean Hamrick and Niccolo Caramatti passing the chip lead between the two of them. But when Hamrick rivered a Broadway straight, the Italian Caramatti hit the rail and Hamrick assumed the title of outright chip leader. At around 2:30AM in the Amazon Room, Hamrick eliminated Ian Wiley in 3rd place to put himself heads up with a slight chip lead against Thomas O’Neal for a shot at a bracelet. The two would trade blows for nearly 3 hours until finally O’Neal was eliminated from the tournament and giving Hamrick his first career WSOP bracelet.
The bracelet was more than just a championship for Hamrick, but a real justification of his skill. While he missed out on the opportunity to land the big sponsorship agreement with a site, and a much bigger payday in 2008, Hamrick gave us one of the best stories of 2010, joining his friends and housemates who can now call him “World Series of Poker Bracelet Winner, Dean Hamrick.”