WSOP 2008 Event #18, No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball with Re-buys, Final Results and Report
Buy-In: $ 5,000
The $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball championship attracted 85 entrants. Another 272 re-buys and add-ons created a prize pool totaling $1,735,020. The final two tables comprised of the top 14 finishers collected prize money.
Last year’s tournament attracted 78 players. Hence, this year’s tournament enjoyed a 9 percent increase over the previous turnout. This was the largest No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball tournament in WSOP history. The previous record was 81 players in 2006. The total prize pool was also the largest in history.
This game is nearly extinct, except at the very highest levels. It is rarely played in public cardrooms – either in a cash game or tournament format. For many years, only the most affluent and successful poker players would enter this tournament, given the intimidating stakes (with re-buys) and the presence of so many talented participants. However, this year’s field was the most diverse ever, with an equal mix of former poker champions and players with aspirations of winning a first WSOP victory.
Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball means the worst, or lowest ranked, hand wins the pot. The very best possible 2-7 lowball hand is 2-3-4-5-7 of mixed suits. An ace counts as a high card. Flushes and straights count against the player. While a wheel (A-2-3-4-5) is the perfect hand in standard lowball, in Deuce-to-Seven it is usually a losing hand since the straight counts against the player. Deuce-to-Seven Lowball is also called “Kansas City Lowball” since the variant allegedly originated in the Midwest during the Great Depression.
When play was at eight-handed near the end of Day Two, Mike “the Mouth” Matusow delivered what must be considered the best sound bite of the 2008 WSOP. Erick Lindgren had just won a monster-size pot which busted two players and catapulted him into the chip lead for the first time. Furthermore, Lindgren won his first WSOP gold bracelet a few days earlier. Annoyed by Lindgren’s recent good fortune, Matusow quipped to the large crowd, “Barack Obama should pick Erick Lindgren as his running mate. That way, he can’t lose!”
There was considerable interest in this tournament by many other players in the tournament room. Poker star Phil Ivey has reportedly wagered somewhere between $2.5 and $5 million on himself (reports vary) that he will win a WSOP gold bracelet this year. Many top pros bet against Ivey, not necessarily doubting his talent as much as differing with Ivey as to his actual chances of victory (Note: Ivey is said to have settled on a 1:1.8 payout in his favor). Ivey invested $80,000 in this event (buy-in plus multiple re-buys) and had a big stack when play consolidated to three tables. But he busted out without cashing, allowing many poker players to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Ivey is clearly a much bigger dog now than when he started the WSOP, with 18 events finished and with the shorter-fielded events such as Seven-Card Stud and Deuce-to-Seven concluded
The player who invested the most money in this tournament was Todd Brunson ($140,000).
Erik Seidel won this event last year, which earned him his eighth WSOP gold bracelet. He came close to cashing this year, but busted out short of the money. This marks the 18th consecutive tournament that a defending champion has failed to cash in his or her respective event.
This final table lineup was indisputably the toughest and most interesting from a personality perspective of any of the first 18 events at this year’s WSOP. Five former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Jeffrey Lisandro, Mike Matusow, Tom Schneider, Erick Lindgren, and Barry Greenstein joined well-known high-limit cash game pros David Benyamine and Tony Guoga (“Tony G”) to make up the final table comprised of seven players.
The winner was Mike Matusow, from Las Vegas, NV. This was his third career WSOP gold bracelet win.
"My patience was great,” Matusow said afterward. “I don't know a lot about this game, I know a lot more about Hold 'Em. I kept my patience, and I never gave up. I played against 84 of the best players in the world. I played real good, and I never say that about myself. I'm proud of myself."
He also spoke of a new attitude and demeanor: "The old Mike blamed everyone else for his bad luck. The new Mike says there is no such thing as bad luck, you make your own luck. This is a reward for hard work. I'm in another world right now. I'm in Cloud Nine, Ten, Eleven. Mike's back. I'm a happy man."
Matusow collected $537,862 for first place.
The second-place finisher was 2007 WSOP gold bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro, from Salerno, Italy.
Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Barry Greenstein finished third. Greenstein won this event back in 2004.
The final table was essentially divided into three acts. Act I included the first five hours, during which four players were eliminated (Benyamine, Guoga, Schneider, and Lindgren). Act II was more irregular. It took another four hours of three-handed play to knock out just one player – Greenstein. During this period each of the remaining trio held the chip lead at one point. Every time a player would get low on chips, he would manage to win a key hand and jump back into contention. Act III lasted yet another three hours of heads-up play between Matusow and Lisandro. The entire final day lasted nearly 12 hours and ended at 2:45 am.
There was some controversy at the start of this final table as players and fans asked why it was not televised nor selected for broadcast by Bluff Media on ESPN360. The cast of characters in the finale would have made it seem to be potentially great poker theatre. However, after ten hours of drudgery from a spectator’s point of view, it became obvious that Bluff and its staff had made the right decision. As invigorating the high-stakes game might be to play, watching the finale and trying to follow the action was next to impossible. After this experience it must be noted that draw poker of any kind is a difficult sell for both viewers and spectators.
Perhaps the most impressive feat of the tournament belonged to Chad Brown. He cashed for the second consecutive year in this event, finishing 11th. Brown invested only $5,000 in this tournament and did not make any re-buys.
Michael Binger, who cashed a record-tying eight times as the 2007 WSOP cashed in this event, taking 14th place.
Through 18 events, the professionals versus amateurs WSOP gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads: Professionals (13) and Amateurs (4). Note: One event was won by a Semi-Pro (1).
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