WSOP 2008 Event #40, $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit), Final Results and Report

WSOP 2008 Event #40, $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit), Final Results and Report

Number of Entries: 238
Number of Re-Buys: NA
Total Net Prize Pool: $ 547,400
June 22-24, 2008

Final Results

1 John Phan $151,911 Stockton California
2 Shun Uchida $95,795 Las Vegas Nevada
3 Gioi Luong $61,582 Westminster California
4 Robert Mizrachi $41,055 Las Vegas Nevada
5 Ben Ponzio $28,738 Elmwood Park Illinois
6 David Sklansky $20,527 Las Vegas Nevada
7 William Baxter $15,053 Las Vegas Nevada
8 Suk Sung $15,053 Torrance California
9 Michael Wattel $12,316 Phoenix Arizona
10 Richard Chase $12,316 Malibu California
11 Greg Raymer $9,579 Raleigh North Carolina
12 Dario Alioto $9,579 Palermo Italy
13 James Copeland $6,842 Walters Oklahoma
14 David Baker $6,842 Katy Texas
15 Raymond Davis $6,842 Bell California
16 Jose Velador $6,842 Lake Elsinore California
17 Chau Giang $6,842 Las Vegas Nevada
18 Claude Cohen $6,842 Paris France
19 Christopher Vitch $5,474 La Jolla California
20 Rafael Perry $5,474 Las Vegas Nevada
21 Von Altizer $5,474 American Canyon California
22 Alfons Kela $5,474 Downey California
23 George Lind $5,474 Gilbert Arizona
24 William Chen $5,474 Lafayette Hill Pennsylvania

Tournament Notes

The $2,500 buy-in Limit Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball championship (Event #40) attracted 238 entries, creating a prize pool totaling $547,400. The top 24 finishers collected prize money.

This game is rarely played anywhere except at the very highest levels. It is rarely spread inside public cardrooms – either as cash games or tournaments. In fact, the WSOP is one of the few places where this poker variant is offered.

Deuce-to-Seven Draw Triple 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. Players may draw up to three times to make their hand.

There is some difference of opinion as to where and when this game originated. Since the 1930s, variations of lowball have been spread throughout California and Nevada. According to poker theorist David Sklansky, Limit “Double-Draw” Lowball was first spread at the (now defunct) Vegas World during the early 1980s. Others cited a game called “Ten-Handed Triple-Draw Lowball” as the forbearer of Triple Draw, which was played at “Amarillo Slim’s” Super Bowl of Poker tournaments in Reno and Lake Tahoe during the period 1979 through 1984. Since ten-handed poker could only accommodate perhaps three or four players at most due to the number of cards needed to complete a hand, reducing the number of cards (to five) enabled more players to sit in the game.

The most convincing theory about the origin of Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball comes from “Doc” Jennings, who claims to have spread a five-card variant of the game in and around Fort Smith, AR during the late 1980s. However, Berry Johnston claims to have first played the Triple Draw in Oklahoma during the 1970s. One thing is clear: When Mississippi legalized casino gambling in 1991, Doc Jennings took Triple-Draw Lowball to the Hollywood Casino in Tunica, which eventually became a cash game offered regularly inside the cardroom. This was the first time the game was officially sanctioned inside a licensed casino. Players who gravitated to this game over the years included Keith Lehr, Berry Johnston, Robert Williamson III (all former gold bracelet winners), and others.

Triple Draw was first introduced at the WSOP in 2002. John Juanda won the first Triple Draw tournament. In 2003, Men “the Master” Nguyen won the event. The game took a three-year hiatus from 2004-2006 and returned in 2007, with a $1,000 buy-in event. Hence, this is only the fourth Triple-Draw Lowball event ever played at the WSOP.

Last year’s event attracted 209 entries. Despite a 150 percent increase in the buy-in (to $2,500) entries increased 14 percent to 238 players. This was the largest Limit Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball tournament in poker history.

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 broadcast by Bluff Media on ESPN360, which featured the conclusion of the Mixed-Hold’em championship (Event #41).

With results from this event added, a significant milestone was crossed as more than 12,000 different players have now cashed in the 39-year history of the World Series of Poker. Furthermore, a total of 117 players have won over a million dollars at the WSOP.

Rafit Amit, who won this event in 2007, did not enter this tournament. This brings the current streak to 40 straight non-cashes for defending champions in their respective events.

Eight of the last 12 players in this event were former WSOP gold bracelet winners. Four of the six final table finalists had previously won an event at the WSOP.

The 2008 Limit Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball champion is John Phan, from Stockton, CA. Phan is a professional poker player. This was Phan’s second career WSOP win, and second gold bracelet victory this week. His previous win was in the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em championship (Event #29), which concluded exactly seven days ago.

With this victory, Phan’s two wins at this year’s World Series means that the WSOP has had multiple event winners every single year since 1999. This multi-winner list includes the following names: David Phan (2008); Tom Schneider (2007); Bill Chen (2006); Mark Seif (2005); Ted Forrest (2004); Chris Ferguson and John Juanda (2003); Phil Ivey (2002); Scotty Nguyen (2001), and Chris Ferguson (2000).

Pham won $151,911 for first place. Prior to this year’s two wins, Phan had two runner-up finishes in WSOP events in 2006 and 2007.

Following his victory, Phan revealed that he intends to donate some of his cash prize to charity, and specifically the hometown in Vietnam where he still has relatives.

Phan seemed much more excited about this win than his previous victory last week. When asked to explain why he showed more enthusiasm for the second win, Phan stated that he now on a mission to set new records. He cited a new goal to become the first three-event winner (in a single year) since Phil Ivey’s accomplishment back in 2002. “I’m going to go after all of Stu Ungar’s records,” Phan stated in reference to the three time Main Event icon.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some poker records show John Phan listed as “Bon Phan,” which is his birth name. These should be updated as “John Phan.”

Phan’s poker nickname is “the Razor.” It was given to him because Phan likes to gamble high and is described as always living on the edge.

The second-place finisher was Shun Uchida, from Las Vegas, NV.

Robert Mizrachi took fourth place. He won his first WSOP gold bracelet last year.

Ben Ponzio won a WSOP gold bracelet last year. He ended up in fifth place in this event.

Poker theorist and author (of 12 books) David Sklansky finished in sixth place. Sklansky, who won three WSOP gold bracelets, earned his last victory 25 years ago, back in 1983. Had he won this event he would have broken Chip Reese’s record of 24 years for the longest time gap between gold bracelet wins.

If there is a Babe Ruth of Lowball, it is unquestionably Billy Baxter. In what is indisputably the greatest illustration of dominance in any form of poker in WSOP history, Baxter has won seven WSOP gold bracelets – all in various forms of Lowball. Baxter went deep in this event, finishing in seventh place.

Other former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included Mike Wattel (9th), Greg Raymer (11th), Dario Alioto (12th), Chau Giang (14th), Claude Cohen (18th), Ralph Perry (20th), and Bill Chen (24th).

This was Greg Raymer’s first cash at this year’s WSOP. The 2004 world champion has made it to at least one final table every year since his Main Event victory. But he has yet to crack the barrier this year.

Through Event #40, only two players have made three final table appearances – Jacobo Fernandez and David Benyamine. Seventeen 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, John Phan, 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.

Winner John Phan is officially listed as being from Stockton, CA. Through the conclusion of Event #40 at this year’s World Series of Poker, the gold bracelet count by nations and states reads as follows:
10 – Nevada
7 – California
4 – New York
2 – Canada
2 – Germany
2 – Italy
2 – Missouri
1 – Belgium
1 – Denmark
1 – France
1 – Georgia
1 – Holland
1 – Maryland
1 – Michigan
1 – Pennsylvania
1 – Russia
1 – South Carolina
1 – Wisconsin

Nine different nations have produced a gold bracelet winner at this year’s WSOP. This list now includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia, and the United States.

The Event #40 winner John Phan is to be classified as a professional since he played full-time for many years and has cashed in many major tournaments. Accordingly, the “Pro-Am” gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads:
Professionals – 32 wins
Amateurs -- 6 wins
Semi-Pros -- 2 wins

Shun Uchida was the chip leader at the End of Day One for this event. He made it all the way to second place. Hence, through Event #40, the End of Day One chip leaders have gone on to cash 76 percent of the time -- 29 of 38 occasions (the chip leader was not applicable on two events). Eleven of these same 38 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.

John Phan was the chip leader at the start of this final table. He ended up as the winner. Through Event #40, seventeen of 38 chip leaders at the start of the final table (45 percent) went on to win the event. Twenty-three of 38 chip leaders (61 percent) went on to finish in the top three spots. Two events did not have a chip leader (Heads-Up and Shootout tournaments).

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 current leader, with David Benyamine close behind. Here are the top five ranked players: 1. Jacobo Fernandez – 222 points 2. David Benyamine – 220 points
3. John Phan – 200 points
4.Barry Greenstein – 190 points
5.Erick Lindgren – 185 points
For a complete “Player of the Year” points list, see: http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/players/2008.asp?sort=poypts

David Benyamine is now the leader on the 2008 prize money list, having won the most money at the WSOP, to date. His accrued winnings total $941,651.