Jimmy Barnett, a poker dealer and supervisor in the Caesars Palace poker room, championed the 2021 WSOP Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em Friday night at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The California native overcame a 419-entry field to earn his career-first gold bracelet and the $39,013 first-place prize.
It’s Barnett’s career-best cash. Before this, his best score was a fifth-place finish in a $200 no-limit hold ’em event at the Grand Poker Series in 2018 for $26,515. He came to Vegas in the year 2018 and began working as a dealer at the Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas. After the city began reopening after the 2020 shutdown, Barnett was hired by Caesars and is still working there.
“My boss is really cool,” Barnett said after his grand victory. “He knows I want to play so we’re trying to make it work where I floor a couple of days to help out, deal a couple of days, and then play the rest.”
This was his second attempt playing the special event as he took his first shot at the 2019 WSOP. He didn’t cash in his first try, but did cash out an impressive three events that year. He also scored an ITM finish during the 2020 WSOP Online with a min-cash in a $400 no-limit hold ’em tournament.
The final day of the event began on Friday at noon with 50 players still battling it out for the title. Barnett chipped up throughout the day and held the third largest stack with the final 10 players remaining. He continued his good run and eliminated Justin Steinman in 10th place to take the chip lead going into the final table. Barnett extended that lead when his Kc Qs bested 7s 6s of Ronald Baltazar, sending the latter in 9th place. A little later, it was Rico Cuevas who exited the final table after his 10-10 failed to hold up against Ad Qs of Chris Minton. Cuevas was eliminated in 8th place.
Even after busting Cuevas, Chris Minton was the next to fall. He could not survive the final table and was busted in 7th place after his Ad Qd ran into Leo Abbe’s Qh 10c on the runout of 10h 4c 6d 7h Jd.
Down to the seven-handed play, Barnett had a roller-coaster ride in terms of chip counts. However, he regained his lead after eliminating Schmidt in 6th and Garrett in 5th. Leo Abbe was Barnett’s fourth final table victim. His Qs 2s were bested by the latter’s As Kc on the runout of K-8-3-K-10. Continuing on his elimination spree, he then railed Danny Chang in 3rd place. Barnett (5,700,000 chips) started the heads-up with a slight edge over Jack Behrens (4,700,000 chips). The dual for the title lasted almost 30 minutes, with Barnett eventually coming out on top to ship the coveted title.
On the final hand, both players limped to see the flop Qd 10d 6d. Behrens shoved his remaining 2 Million with his 10h 8d, and Barnett snap-called with his Jd 2d. The turn 2c and the river 6c did not help Behrens and Barnett bagged his career-first gold bracelet and the $39,013 first-place prize.
Final Table Payouts (USD)
- Jimmy Barnett – $39,013
- Jack Behrens – $24,112
- Danny Chang – $16,540
- Leo Abbe – $11,587
- Bryan Garret – $8,294
- Bobby Schmidt – $6,069
- Chris Minton – $4,542
- Rick Cuevas – $3,478
- Ronald Baltazar – $2,727