Commentary

Cancer survivor Diaz earns first bracelet

Updated: June 10, 2011, 1:37 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

During the World Series of Poker, poker is everything and consumes all focus. Playing for bracelets and obscene amounts of prize money is commonplace. When a player emerges from the masses to hold up their bracelet high, it often is the biggest moment of his or her life. The same statement might not apply for David Diaz, who defeated a field of 1,340 players in the $1,500 Triple Chance Event 12 at the 2011 WSOP. His victory over this massive field was netted him $352,808, but this was not the biggest victory of his life.

David Diaz
Courtesy of WSOPWith the victory in Event 12 came David Diaz's first career six-figure score.

"I had cancer when I was four-years old," he said after his win. "I had family that lived in New Jersey -- my Aunt Rosa and Ramon. They brought me down to Memphis because that was the only hospital [St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis] for children that had been treated with that type of thing. They pretty much saved my life. … [It was a] great hospital. They saved my life, and saved a lot of kids lives."

Diaz, 26, was born in Honduras, but moved to the U.S. for treatment. He recovered fully and as he grew up, decided to play poker. Now a professional poker player for the last five years, Diaz has reached the pinnacle with his first bracelet win.

"It feels great," he said. "I can't even take it all in yet."

This was the Memphis resident's second career WSOP final table (he previously finished sixth in $1,500 six-handed event in 2010), and he wouldn't let this second chance pass him by. Diaz eliminated Anders Meli and locked up the bracelet to the exhilaration of his friends watching tableside. This was the biggest cash of his career.

Through 12 events, Diaz is the 12th first-time WSOP bracelet winner. Fourth-place finisher Bill Chen was the only player at the final table who had previously won a bracelet. Chen was a two-time bracelet winner in 2006.

This event likely saw one of the biggest increases in terms of year-over-year participation, as there were 965 players a year ago compared to the 1,340 in this event. The key difference in 2011 was the price point, $1,500 in 2011 versus $3,000 in 2010. The "Triple Chance" format enables players to add on to their stack twice any point in the tournament during the first four levels.

Other notable finishers included Sam Trickett (16th), J.C. Tran (28th), Andy Black (30th), Cliff Josephy (37th) and Carlos Mortensen (40th).

Below are the complete results of Event 12 at the 2011 World Series of Poker:

Event 12: Triple Chance no-limit hold 'em
Buy-in: $1,500
Entries: 1,340
Prize pool: $1,809,000
Players in the money: 144

1. David Diaz ($352,808)
2. Anders Meli ($218,183)
3. Andrea Dato ($138,044)
4. Bill Chen ($100,200)
5. Corey Hastings ($73,915)
6. Richard Trigg ($55,355)
7. Justin Sternberg ($42,059)
8. Nicholas Rampone ($32,381)
9. Matthew Henson ($25,253)
10. Steve Watts ($19,953)
11. Daniel Smith ($19,953)
12. Denis Gnidash ($19,953)
13. Daniel Quesada ($15,973)
14. Anthony Fung ($15,973)
15. Amritaksha Basu ($15,973)
16. Sam Trickett ($12,952)
17. Bradley McFarland ($12,952)
18. Mats Gavatin ($12,952)
19. Jesse Cohen ($10,636)
20. Brandon Poe ($10,636)
21. Jesse Cohen ($10,636)
22. Bryan Pimlott ($10,636)
23. Martins Adeniya ($10,636)
24. Reed Hensel ($10,636)
25. Jordan Siegel ($10,636)
26. Getty Mattingsley ($10,636)
27. Cyriel Dohmen ($10,636)
28. J.C. Tran ($8,846)
29. Mikhail Lakhitov ($8,846)
30. Andy Black ($8,846)
31. Brian Benhamou ($8,846)
32. Salman Behbehani ($8,846)
33. Arthur Lim ($8,846)
34. Peter Hernandez ($8,846)
35. Marios Savvides ($8,846)
36. Ross Marrinson ($8,846)
37. Cliff Josephy ($7,453)
38. Dan Martin ($7,453)
39. Eric Ford ($7,453)
40. Carlos Mortensen ($7,453)
41. Ben Tollerene ($7,453)
42. Luke Schwartz ($7,453)
43. Eric Guth ($7,453)
44. Raphael Doromal ($7,453)
45. Gavin Polone ($7,453)
46. Tyler Kenney ($6,331)
47. Fabrice Halleux ($6,331)
48. Justin Chan ($6,331)
49. Vincent Vanderfluit ($6,331)
50. Robert Koss ($6,331)
51. Jason Helder ($6,331)
52. Ganesh Letchumanan ($6,331)
53. Joshua Bergman ($6,331)
54. John Myung ($6,331)
55. Kenneth Martin ($5,445)
56. Michail De Gilio ($5,445)
57. Donald Boivin ($5,445)
58. Matt Glantz ($5,445)
59. Antoine Amourette ($5,445)
60. William Givens ($5,445)
61. David Cairns ($5,445)
62. Jeremy Cate ($5,445)
63. Richard Anthony ($5,445)
64. Nick Davies ($4,739)
65. Ty Reiman ($4,739)
66. Matt Sterling ($4,739)
67. Shane Sigsbee ($4,739)
68. Jesse Yaginuma ($4,739)
69. Christopher Johnson ($4,739)
70. Brett Shaffer ($4,739)
71. Alan Brodsky ($4,739)
72. Scott Fawcett ($4,739)
73. Mikhail Yakovlev ($4,178)
74. Paul Dewald ($4,178)
75. Blake Cahail ($4,178)
76. Mark Buford ($4,178)
77. Torrey Reily ($4,178)
78. Anh Van Nguyen ($4,178)
79. Toni Ojala ($4,178)
80. Ted Forrest ($4,178)
81. Jonathan Karamalikis ($4,178)
82. Joel Bullock ($3,726)
83. Tad Jurgens ($3,726)
84. James Mackey ($3,726)
85. Jeff Blenkarn ($3,726)
86. Ryan Olson ($3,726)
87. Craig Gray ($3,726)
88. Regis Merault ($3,726)
89. Phillippe Plouffe ($3,726)
90. Ray Henson ($3,726)
91. Dolph Arnold ($3,382)
92. Chad Winters ($3,382)
93. Jose Severino ($3,382)
94. Matthias De Meulder ($3,382)
95. Kiril Rabstov ($3,382)
96. Gaetano Buda ($3,382)
97. Randall Cohen ($3,382)
98. Stephen Williams ($3,382)
99. David Gutfreund ($3,382)
100. Andy Philachack ($3,075)
101. Eric Ladny ($3,075)
102. Mihai Manole ($3,075)
103. Sam Abueid ($3,075)
104. Justin Pechie ($3,075)
105. Warren Watson ($3,075)
106. Jeffrey Ust ($3,075)
107. Michael Carlson ($3,075)
108. Nicholas Goedert ($3,075)
109. Isaac Haxton ($3,075)
110. Shawn Busse ($3,075)
111. Henrik Tollefsen ($3,075)
112. Cody Scherer ($3,075)
113. Benjamin Eilers ($3,075)
114. Nichoel Peppe ($3,075)
115. Matt Widdoes ($3,075)
116. Paul Deng ($3,075)
117. Anthony Moses ($3,075)
118. Kenn Pluard ($2,822)
119. Gabriel Alarie ($2,822)
120. Daniel Ivers ($2,822)
121. Simon Charette ($2,822)
122. Danny Wong ($2,822)
123. Brett Schwertley ($2,822)
124. Darryll Fish ($2,822)
125. Jesse Vilchez ($2,822)
126. Craig Vergotz ($2,822)
127. Silveira Recife ($2,822)
128. Kenneth Mattox ($2,822)
129. Stephen Reynolds ($2,822)
130. Dean Hamrick ($2,822)
131. Gal Yifrach ($2,822)
132. David Zeitlin ($2,822)
133. Binh Nguyen ($2,822)
134. Michael Mitchell ($2,822)
135. Douglas Foster ($2,822)
136. Erik Torgersen ($2,822)
137. Eugene Castro ($2,822)
138. Kristopher Bradshaw ($2,822)
139. Flamino Malaguti ($2,822)
140. Pascal LeFrancois ($2,822)
141. Ronnie Satterfield ($2,822)
142. David Sklansky ($2,822)
143. Nicholas Cherry ($2,822)
144. Paul Fehlig ($2,822)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

ALSO SEE