WSOP 2008 Event #32, $10,000 Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Championship, Final Results and Report
Number of Entries: 261
The $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud World Championship attracted 261 entries and created a record prize pool totaling $1,226,700. The top 24 finishers (final three tables) collected prize money.
This was the first million-dollar prize pool ever for a Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournament. Accordingly, it now stands as the richest Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournament in poker history.
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split was the first “split” game ever to be played at the WSOP, when it was first introduced 32 years ago. In 1976, Doc Green became the first Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Champion. Interestingly, he won $12,750 for first place that year, which is about what the 15th- and 16th-place finishers earned in this year’s event.
Since 1976, the list of event winners reads like a “Who’s Who” of poker. Past winners include – Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Mickey Appleman, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Max Stern, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Mike Sexton, Artie Cobb, Vince Burgio, Cyndy Violette, and Rich Korbin.
In 1986, this game was inexplicably omitted from the WSOP schedule. After some protest by stud high-low enthusiasts, it was reinstituted and has been included on the poker menu every year. Since 1995, every WSOP has included at least two such events. This year’s WSOP schedule includes two Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournaments – the $10,000 buy-in World Championship and a $1,500 buy-in event to be played June 26-28.
No player has ever won more than one gold bracelet in this game.
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split is a game in which the highest and lowest hands split the pot equally. However, the lowest hand must first qualify to be eligible for half the pot. The qualifying low hand must be an “eight-low” or better. For this reason, the game is sometimes called Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better.
Last year’s $3,000 buy-in “world championship” attracted 236 entries. Despite the significant leap this year with a $10,000 buy-in, participation still increased 10.6 percent.
The tournament was played over three consecutive days. The final table was played on the secondary final table, as the ESPN feature table on the main stage was used for the conclusion of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship (Event #32).
Last year’s champion, Eli Elezra played in this event. But he did not cash. This brings the current streak to 33 straight non-cashes for defending champions in their respective events.
Five different nations were represented by players at this final table, including Canada, Germany, Holland, Italy, and the United States.
The 2008 Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Champion is Sebastian Ruthenberg, from Hamburg, Germany. He is a 24-year-old poker pro, who has been playing full-time for about two years. Prior to playing poker, Ruthenberg had just completed his studies and as an IT specialist.
Ruthenberg collected $328,762 for first place. He also earned his first WSOP gold bracelet. This was his second year to play at the WSOP.
Ruthenberg becomes the second German national to win at the WSOP this year. He also becomes only the fifth German ever to win a gold bracelet, following Matthias Rohnacher (1997), Eddy Scharf (2001 and 2003), Katja Thater (2007), and Jen Voertmann (2008).
Ruthernberg’s best previous finish in a major poker tournament had been 3rd place in the European Poker Tour’s Dortmund championship.
Following his upset victory over one of poker’s living legends, Ruthenberg complimented his rival by saying, “(Chris Ferguson) is the better player. He really is a better player than me….I have only been playing this game for six months and he has played so much more than me.”
The second-place finisher was Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, from Pacific Palisades, CA.
The final table lasted slightly more than nine hours. The heads-up match went about four hours.
In an unusual display of crowd support for a final table which includes a former world champion, Ferguson’s cheering section was actually outnumbered by those who were backing Ruthenberg. About two dozen Germans waving the tricolor flag cheered enthusiastically when their fellow countryman won a big pot.
With this finish, Ferguson cashed for the 54th time in his career at the World Series. He now ranks third on the all-time WSOP list, behind only two players – Phil Hellmuth (65) and Men “the Master” Nguyen (57).
With this finish, Ferguson just missed his opportunity to win a sixth gold bracelet. He remains with five, just shy of three players – Jay Heimowitz, Men “the Master” Nguyen, and T.J. Cloutier – who each have six.
Determined to play in as many events as possible, Ferguson registered for the $10,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split World Championship, which started as this final table was being played. During occasional breaks while most players would freshen up, Ferguson instead rushed over to play in the other tournament. When the final table went past midnight, Ferguson sat down just in time to double up his dwindling stack, which gave him an additional number of rounds in the conflicting tournament.
Bob Lauria, from West Haven, CT nearly made the comeback of the year. He arrived at the final table with just enough chips to post an ante. In fact, Laurie expected to make a quick exit from the final table. But Laurie managed to catapult himself right back into contention on his very first hand with a pair of nines against two players, which miraculously scooped the full pot. Then, he survived for nearly six hours before finally busting out in third place. “I was on a total freeroll from the very first hand,” Laurie joked afterward. Winning that first hand managed to earn Laurie an extra $88,936 – the difference between eighth and third place.
Marcel Luske’s bid to become the second Dutch player to win a gold bracelet in just two days came up short. He busted out in fourth place, which marked his second time to make it to a final table (he finished third previously).
Poker pro, activist, and former WSOP gold bracelet winner Annie Duke cashed for the 35th time in her illustrious WSOP career. She took fifth place in this event.
Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Howard Lederer, a.k.a. “the Professor” of poker, cashed out in ninth place. This marked his 37th career WSOP cash. An interesting side note is that Lederer just missed making it to the final table along with his sister Annie Duke. This would have marked the third occasion where that has happened.
Three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Chau Giang finished in 11th place.
Farzad “Freddy” Rouhani, who won his first WSOP victory in the $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low championship (Event #10) earlier, recorded his fourth cash at this year’s WSOP by finishing 12th.
Five-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Allen Cunningham finished 13th.
Three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Barry Greenstein finished 14th. Greenstein won the Razz championship just a few days earlier.
Through the conclusion of Event #33, only one player has cashed six times – Nikolay Evdakov, from Moscow, Russia. He is best positioned to challenge the record set for “Most WSOP Cashes in a Single Year,” shared by four players -- Michael Binger (2007), Chad Brown (2007), Phil Hellmuth, Jr. (2006), and Humberto Brenes (2006), with eight in-the-money strikes.
The current Milwaukee’s Best Light “Player of the Year” standings shows Erick Lindgren on top of the points list, with one gold bracelet win and four cashes. However, Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein are now close behind.
Through Event #33, the player who has entered the most WSOP events is Tom McCormick, a.k.a. “The Shamrock Kid” – with 23 entries.
Through Event #33, fifteen players have made two WSOP final table appearances this year. This list includes – Chris Bjorin, Andy Bloch, David Benyamine, Alex Bolotin, Scott Clements, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Jacobo Fernandez, Fu Wong, Erick Lindgren, Minh Ly, Daniel Negreanu, David Singer, J.C. Tran, and Theo Tran.
Through the conclusion of Event #33 at this year’s World Series of Poker, the gold bracelet count by nations and states reads as follows:
So far, this WSOP has been deemed “The Year of the Pro.” Professional poker players have reasserted their dominance in tournament play by winning a vast majority of gold bracelets (79 percent), especially over the first half of the schedule. However, it is important to note that amateur poker players have dominated WSOP tournaments since 2005. Here is the Pro-Am Scoreboard each year since 2000 (Note: The Casino Employees Event is not counted):
Since 2000, pros currently lead amateurs in the Pro-Am gold bracelet race by a margin of 176 to 148.
It should be noted that the largest influx of new poker players to the WSOP took place during the period when amateurs won a majority of events. There are contrasting interpretations of what this data means. Some suggest the larger number of amateurs playing at the WSOP inflates their winning percentages by sheer volume. Others (most pros) point out that the WSOP has the best tournament structures of any poker event in the world and that professionals have a much greater opportunity to prove their superior skill under this format.
One additional factor which has bolstered the performance of pros this year is the inclusion of two events on most days. The daily 12 noon events tend to attract a greater concentration of amateur players, whereas the higher-buy-in 5:00 pm events attract smaller, but more highly-accomplished fields, with more professionals.
The Event #33 winner Sebastian Ruthenberg is to be classified as a professional, since he has been playing for a living for about two years. Accordingly, through the conclusion of Event #33 at this year’s World Series of Poker, the “Pro-Am” gold bracelet scoreboard reads:
Through Event #33, the End of Day One chip leaders have gone on to cash 77 percent of the time -- 24 of 31 occasions (the chip leader was not applicable on two events). Eight of these same 31 chip leaders (26 percent) made it to the final table. Only one chip leader went on to win the event (3 percent). That lone wire-to-wire winner was Vanessa Selbst in Event #19.
Through Event #33, thirteen of 30 chip leaders at the start of the final table (43 percent) went on to win the event. Nineteen of 30 chip leaders (65 percent) went on to finish in the top three spots. Two events did not have a chip leader (Heads-Up and the Shootout).
While all 55 WSOP tournaments on the 2008 schedule are “gold bracelet” events, this is also known as a “world championship” event. This means the winner of this event is the Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split world champion. Beginning this year, all $10,000+ buy-in tournaments are designated as official world championships. This means a total of ten WSOP tournaments are world championships. This includes eight gold bracelet tournaments with $10,000 buy-ins, the $50,000 buy-in HORSE event, and the Main Event.
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