"I'm so excited and very happy," he said. "I got lucky, but I also played some hands well." This is the first World Series of Poker title for Orenstein, who finished eighth in the $10,000 buy-in no-limit Hold em championship competition last year and placed 12th in that same event in 1993. A poker player for 10 years - "I absolutely love the game," he said - Orenstein also is the author of I Shall Live, an account of how he survived the Nazi concentration camps.
Placing second in the $5,000 buy-in limit Seven Card Stud event and winning $74,750 was Humberto Brenes, a 45-year-old dedicated tournament player from Miami Lakes, Florida. The owner of a television station in his native Costa Rica, Brenes holds three World Series of Poker titles and has now racked up 21 in-the-money finishes at the Horseshoe s annual tournament. With total earnings of $813,509, he ranks 21st on the roster of all-time World Series money winners. Brenes has played poker since childhood.
Cyndy Violette, a 36-year-old professional poker player from Atlantic City, New Jersey, won third place and $39,000. This is the third time she has finished in the money at the World Series, and with total earnings of $45,040, she ranks 11th on the women s list of all-time money winners. Violette began playing poker 14 years ago.
The 1996 World Series of Poker continues at the Horseshoe through May 16. The $2,500 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold em event begins today at noon, followed by the $5,000 buy-in limit Texas Hold em competition on May 11.
More than 4,000 entrants -- representing at least 20 countries -- are expected to participate in this year s World Series, and the total money distributed is anticipated to be in excess of $11 million.