Cliff Goldkind, Event 19 Champion

It took three full days of play for Cliff Goldkind to champion the 2,302-player event 19 of the 2012 WSOP. At $1500 a pop, the tourney created a total prize pool of $3,107,700 and at the end of it all, the 24-year-old college student from Potomac, Maryland was the man with all the chips, the gold bracelet and an impressive $559,514 in prize money.

Goldkind was born in Tampa, Florida, but lived in Israel for a number of years serving in the Israeli Army up until his honorable discharge in February.

"I went to college at Washington University in St Louis," says Goldkind, "and then I graduated from there, and kind of decided, as I was graduating, that I was going to serve in the army I guess I felt like I had a commitment because I'm Jewish and any Jew can automatically gain citizenship in Israel. Kind of as a safety net for Jews around the world like what happened in WWII happens again. It's a mandatory draft over there. Every 18-year-old man and 19-year-old girl go and serve, and so I had a responsibility to do that also."

Goldkind bested a tough final table that included two-time gold bracelet winner and 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event champion Barry Shulman.

"I felt like I played well,' says Goldkind "There was a couple of times on day one where I was down under ten big blinds where I got it in a span of 20 minutes in a three to one favorite twice and lost both of them to beat both times down to around 10 big blinds and was able to chip up and win a couple important all-ins. It was a roller coaster all day too. So you have to win some important spots to get through a huge field."

The final table lasted a mere 3 hours, the quickest final table of the year so far.


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