WSOP 2008 Event #37, $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better, Final Results

WSOP 2008 Event #37, $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better, Final Results

Number of Entries: 235
Total Net Prize Pool: $ 2,209,000
June 19-21, 2008

Final Results

1 David Benyamine $535,687 Las Vegas Nevada
2 Greg Jamison $331,350 Las Vegas Nevada
3 Jason Gray $209,855 London England
4 Toto Leonidas $171,197 Los Angeles California
5 Mike Matusow $138,062 Henderson Nevada
6 Eugene Katchalov $110,450 New York New York
7 Ram Vaswani $88,360 London England
8 David Chiu $71,792 Rowland Heights California
9 Hieu "Tony" Ma $55,225 S. El Monte California
10 Berry Johnston $38,657 Bethany Oklahoma
11 Shun Uchida $38,657 Las Vegas Nevada
12 Chau Giang $38,657 Las Vegas Nevada
13 Danny Dang $33,135 Whittier California
14 Pat Pezzin $33,135 Toronto Ontario, Canada
15 Stuart Paterson $33,135 Boca Raton Florida
16 Brent Carter $27,612 Oak Park Illinois
17 William McMahan $27,612 Newport Tennessee
18 Ray Dehkharghani $27,612 Huntington Beach California
19 Rao Pasqual $22,090 Huntington Beach California
20 James Groves $22,090 Las Vegas Nevada
21 James Van Alstyne $22,090 Las Vegas Nevada
22 Daniel Smith $22,090 Folsom California
23 Bradley Booth $22,090 Richmond British Columbia, Canada
24 Bruno Fitoussi $22,090 Paris France
25 Dustin Sitar $22,090 Las Vegas Nevada
26 Yueqi Zhu $22,090 Rowland Heights California
27 Alexander Kostritsyn $22,090 Moscow Russia

Tournament Notes

The $10,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split World Championship (Event #37) attracted 235 entries, creating a prize pool totaling $2,209,000. The top 27 finishers collected prize money.

This was the largest Omaha High-Low Split prize pool in poker history. In fact, only one previous event had ever surpassed the million-dollar mark – the $5,000 buy-in championship held at the 2006 WSOP. This Omaha High-Low Split tournament ranks as the only $2 million-plus prize pool on poker history.

In 1990, Omaha High-Low Split was first introduced at the WSOP. Seven years earlier, Omaha-High had made its debut. During the 1980s, the WSOP schedule included both Omaha-High and Pot-Limit Omaha events. Since then, Omaha-High has gradually faded in popularity (the game was removed from the WSOP schedule after 2003), while Omaha High-Low Split continues to generate a steady following.

Only two players in WSOP history have won two gold bracelets in Omaha High-Low Split. They are Scotty Nguyen and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.

Omaha High-Low Split is also sometimes called “Omaha Eight-or-Better,” because the low hand must qualify with a rank of eight or lower.

This is the third of three Omaha High-Low Split events on the 2008 WSOP schedule.

All 55 tournaments on the 2008 WSOP schedule are categorized as “gold bracelet” events. However, this is also known as a “world championship” event. This means the winner of this event is the Omaha High-Low Split world champion. This year, all $10,000+ buy-in tournaments are designated as official world championships. Ten WSOP tournaments qualify under these guidelines -- a list which includes eight gold bracelet tournaments with $10,000 buy-ins, the $50,000 buy-in HORSE event, and the Main Event.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days. The final table was played on the secondary stage, as the ESPN main stage was reserved for the conclusion of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #36).

The curse continues. Last year’s champion for the equivalent world championship event, Frankie O’Dell entered this tournament. But he did not cash. This brings the current streak to 37 straight non-cashes for defending champions in their respective events.

The 2008 Omaha High-Low Split World Champion is David Benyamine. He calls two cities “home” – Paris, France and Las Vegas, NV. Benyamine is a 35-year-old professional poker player.

Benyamine plays regularly in some of the highest-stakes cash poker games in the world. In recent years, he has been on the unofficial short list as one of the greatest players in the game not to have won a WSOP victory, until now.

Benyamine was born in Paris, France. He aspired to be a professional tennis player and had the talent to succeed at one point. However, a painful back injury forced him to take up other competitive pursuits.

After retiring from professional tennis, Benyamine focused largely on shooting pool and eventually became one of the best pocket billiards players in France.

Benyamine says that if it were not for poker, he would have loved to have been an archeologist. He says he enjoys discovering new things. However, Benyamine also stated matter-of-factly, “I also think I would have found poker one way or another. I have too much gamble in me.”

When asked about the importance of winning a WSOP gold bracelet, Benyamine was overjoyed. However, the self-confident Frenchman added, “Winning is always important to me. But I never thought I had anything to prove.”

Benyamine dispelled the notion that he prefers playing Pot-Limit Omaha to other forms of poker. “I like all games,” he said. “I do not have a favorite game.”

Benyamine’s all-around poker talent is perhaps best reflected in his four cashes this year, in four different games.

When asked about his toughest opponent at this final table, Benyamine jokingly answered, “Myself, and the deck.”

Benyamine won $535,678 for first place. This was also his first WSOP gold bracelet victory.

The second-place finisher was Greg Jamison, from Las Vegas, NV. With all due respect to Benyamine, if there was an award given out for “Player of the Year” in Omaha High-Low Split, it might actually go to Jamison. He also made it to the final table earlier at this year’s WSOP – finishing 6th place in the $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split event. Jamison made yet another Omaha High-Low Split final table last year, finishing 5th in last year’s world championship. That amounts to three final tables in the last four WSOP Omaha tournaments. Two years ago, Jamison won the Omaha High-Low Split championship at the Tunica Grand series, part of the WSOP Circuit. Suffice it to say, Greg Jamison knows how to play Omaha High-Low Split.

The final table lasted ten hours. The heads-up match went for about 75 minutes.

Six of the final ten players were former WSOP gold bracelet winners. Oddly enough, the top three spots all went to players who had previously not won at the World Series.

Former WSOP gold bracelet winner Toto Leonidas finished in fourth place.

Three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Mike Matusow made his second final table appearance at this year’s World Series. He won the No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw championship (Event #18) and took fifth place in this tournament.

Former WSOP gold bracelet winner Ram Vaswani finished in seventh place. Vaswani is a member of the popular poker team called “The Hendon Mob,” from London.

Four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner David Chiu finished in eighth place. This marked his 39th career WSOP cash, which now ranks in a tie for 17th place on the all-time in-the-money list.

Former WSOP gold bracelet winner Tony Ma finished ninth in this tournament.

1986 world champion and Poker Hall of Fame member Berry Johnston finished in 10th place. This marked Johnston’s 54th career WSOP cash. He now ranks fifth on the all-time list.

Three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Chau Giang finished in 13th place. This marked his 43rd career WSOP cash, which ranks 11th on the all-time list.

Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Brent Carter finished in 15th place, which marked his 44th career WSOP cash. This places him into a tie for ninth on the all-time cashes list.

Poker legend Doyle Brunson nearly made it into the money. However, he busted out late on Day Two when play was down to four tables.

Through Event #37, only two players have made three final table appearances – Jacobo Fernandez and David Benyamine. Sixteen players have made two WSOP final table appearances. This list includes – Chris Bjorin, Andy Bloch, Alex Bolotin, Scott Clements, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Fu Wong, Greg Jamison, Mike Matusow, Erick Lindgren, Minh Ly, Daniel Negreanu, David Singer, J.C. Tran, Theo Tran, and Tim West.

Nikolay Evdakov, from Moscow, Russia is the only player at this year’s WSOP who has cashed seven times – just one off the all-time record mark. Evdakov is positioned to break the record set for “Most WSOP Cashes in a Single Year,” shared by five players -- Michael Binger (2007), Chad Brown (2007), Phil Hellmuth (2006), Richard Tatalovich (2006), and Humberto Brenes (2006), with eight.

Benyamine is officially listed as being from Paris, France. Through the conclusion of Event #37 at this year’s World Series of Poker, the gold bracelet count by nations and states reads as follows:
10 – Nevada
6 – California
4 – New York
2 – Canada
2 – Germany
2 – Italy
2 – Missouri
1 – Denmark
1 – France
1 – Holland
1 – Maryland
1 – Michigan
1 – Pennsylvania
1 – Russia
1 – South Carolina
1 – Wisconsin

France becomes the eighth nation to produce a gold bracelet winner at this year’s WSOP. This list now includes Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia, and the United States.

The Event #37 winner David Benyamine is to be classified as a professional, since he has been playing for a living for two years and has a number of cashes in major poker tournaments. Accordingly, the “Pro-Am” gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads:
Professionals – 30 wins
Amateurs -- 5 wins
Semi-Pros -- 2 wins

Soheil Shamseddin was the chip leader at the End of Day One for this event. He did not cash. Hence, through Event #37, the End of Day One chip leaders have gone on to cash 74 percent of the time -- 26 of 35 occasions (the chip leader was not applicable on two events). Ten of these same 35 chip leaders (29 percent) made it to the final table. Only one chip leader went on to win the event. That lone wire-to-wire winner was Vanessa Selbst in Event #19.

David Benyamine was the chip leader at the start of this final table. He ended up as the winner. Through Event #37, sixteen of 35 chip leaders at the start of the final table (46 percent) went on to win the event. Twenty-two of 35 chip leaders (63 percent) went on to finish in the top three spots. Two events did not have a chip leader (Heads-Up and Shootout tournaments).

Another bit of trivia is the player with the most cashes, but no wins in WSOP history. Tony Cousineau now has 35 in-the-money finishes in his WSOP career, which began in 1999. However, he has yet to win a gold bracelet. His highest finish was 4th place back in 2001.

It should be noted that the Milwaukee’s Best Light “Player of the Year” rankings will now include points accrued from the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship.

The Milwaukee’s Best Light “Player of the Year” standings currently shows Jacobo Fernandez as the leader. David Benyamine is very close behind. Here are the top five ranked players: 1. Jacobo Fernandez – 222 points 2. David Benyamine – 220 points t-3. Barry Greenstein – 185 points t-3. Erick Lindgren – 185 points 5. Daniel Negreanu – 170 points For a complete “Player of the Year” points list, see: http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/players/2008.asp?sort=poypts