2006 World Series of Poker
Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas
Official Results and Report
Number of Entries: 409
Total Prize Money: $558,285
James Richburg Wins Razz World Championship
Fifteen years after making his first WSOP final table appearance, Californian defeats Carlos Mortensen in heads-up play
Las Vegas, NV –Seven-Card Razz has developed a bad reputation. It’s the proverbial step-child of poker games. While the rest of the poker world is playing Texas Hold’em, Razz is the quirky card game that pops up every now and then at a few major poker tournaments. The game attracts an admittedly older and more traditional crowd.
Razz gets a bad rap, which is unfair. After all, the game is full of subtle nuances and razor-thin margins. Perhaps one reason Razz will never rival Hold’em in terms of popularity is because it lacks excitement and drama. No-limit Hold’em is a test of courage. Razz is a test of patience. No-Limit Hold’em rewards the brave. Razz punishes the daring.
Few spectators were left in the audience to witness James Richburg’s resounding first WSOP victory. He won his first gold bracelet precisely at 4:45 am early on a Monday morning in front of hundreds of empty seats and poker tables which had been filled to capacity only hours earlier. Richburg won the tournament in typical Razz fashion – by simply outlasting everyone else, waiting for the right moments, and pushing small advantages which produced large gains.
The Razz championship at the 2006 World Series of Poker, presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, attracted 409 entries. The final table consisted of three former WSOP gold bracelet winners – “Miami John” Cernuto (with 3 wins), Carlos Mortensen (with 2 wins), and Cliff Josephy (with one win)
This was the “oldest” final table so far at this year’s WSOP, other than the seniors championship. The youngest player was age 38. In fact, the finalists ranged from 38 up to 62 years – in dramatic contrast to most hold’em final tables which have been dominated by twenty-somethings.
SEAT 1-- Carlos "The Matador" Mortensen 118,000
SEAT 2 -- James Richburg 115,000
SEAT 3 -- Ron Ritchie 80,000
SEAT 4 -- "Miami" John Cernuto 55,000
SEAT 5 -- Steven Diano 50,000
SEAT 6 -- Chad Carpenter 30,000
SEAT 7 -- Richard Sklar 35,000
SEAT 8 -- Cliff Josephy 27,000
SEAT 9 -- Jamie Brooks 22,000
After Chad Carpenter busted out ninth, the eight finalists took seats at the final table upon the Rio poker stage. Soon thereafter, the low-stacked Jamie Brooks went out in eighth place. The table games manager from Phoenix received $13,957.
“Miami John” Cernuto was making his second final-table appearance this year, but once again fell short of winning gold bracelet Number Four. Instead, Cernuto earned $19,540 for seventh place.
Richie Sklar, who hangs out on golf courses and at race tracks as much as poker rooms, failed to either make par or win, place, or show in this event. Sklar, a longtime gambler and golfer went out of bounds when his queen-low was bested by a jack-low. Sklar went to the clubhouse with $25,123 for a sixth-place finish.
Ron Ritchie went out next. The owner of a construction company in Atlanta, Ritchie busted out with several bricks on his final hand, and had to settle for fifth place. Ritchie collected $30,706.
Cliff Josephy, a.k.a. “Johnny Bax” took a hit and was eliminated in fourth place. The pro poker player, who won a gold bracelet in last year’s $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud event, admitted later that he had never played a hand of Razz prior to this tournament. His intuitive poker knowledge allowed him to outlast all but the final three players en route to a $39,080 payday.
Steve Diano, a professional sports bettor from Las Vegas, wasn’t able to cash a winning ticket. But he did come out well financially with a third-place finish. Diano was out stacked by his two opponents when play became three-handed. He finally went out when the limits were raised. Diano received $61,411.
It took a few hours before James Richburg finally defeated his last rival. Carlos Mortensen put up a fight. But he was never able to seriously threaten Richburg for most of his chips. The 2001 world poker champion finally went out, losing to a 9-8 low shown by Richburg. Mortensen’s cards were not seen. Mortensen earned $94,908 as the runner up.
The Razz champion, James Richburg has a long history of play at the World Series of Poker. He finished second in the 1991 Stud Eight-or-Better championship. Little did he know it back then, but that would be his last WSOP final table in 15 years. The past would be forgotten at this early morning hour. After all, it was the beginning of a new day. Richburg collected $139,576 in prize money and his first WSOP gold bracelet as the sun peaked over the horizon.
It’s important to note that this year’s Razz world championship attracted an all-time record of 409 entries. That’s the most players ever in history for a Razz-only poker tournament. Contrast that number with 291 entrants in 2005 and 195 entrants in this same event back in 2004. Considering a 37 percent growth rate for Razz over last year, versus hold’em which is only up 24 percent, could that possibly mean that Razz is emerging as the fastest-growing poker game?
James Richburg certainly hopes so.
by Nolan Dalla
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