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WSOP 2009

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Event #27, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Split

Official Report
Event #27
Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split
Buy-In: $5,000
Number of Entries: 198
Total Net Prize Pool: $930,600
Number of Places Paid: 14
First Place Prize: $246,616
June 12-14, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Roland de Wolfe Wins His First WSOP Gold Bracelet
  2. De Wolfe Becomes the Second British WSOP Winner This Year, Following John-Paul Kelly’s Victory Last Week
  3. De Wolfe Wins Toughest Leg of Poker’s Triple Crown – After Previous EPT and WPT Victories
  4. Omaha High-Low Split Master Scott Clements Makes another Final Table, Finishes Third

The Winner

The 2009 World Series of Poker $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split champion is Roland de Wolfe, from London, England.

De Wolfe is a 29-year-old professional poker player. Prior to turning pro, De Wolfe was a writer and journalist for “Inside Poker,” a magazine published in England (Note: The magazine started out as “Inside Edge”).

With this victory, De Wolfe won what some refer to as the “Triple Crown of Poker.” He holds titles from each of three largest poker tournament series – including the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour (WPT), and European Poker Tour (EPT). De Wolfe won a WPT championship held in Paris, in 2005. He won an EPT championship held in Dublin, in 2006. Now, De Wolfe has won the most coveted prize in poker, a WSOP gold bracelet, in 2009. Note: The only other player who has accomplished the so-called “Triple Crown of Poker” is Gavin Griffin.

Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split tournaments are relatively new. De Wolfe stated that this was only the third such tournament he had played in his life.

At the final table, De Wolfe wore a colorful union jack flag across his shirt, proudly representing the United Kingdom.

De Wolfe collected $246,616 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

De Wolfe’s best previous finish at the WSOP was a third-place showing in the 2006 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout event.

According to the official records, De Wolfe now has 1 win, 4 final table appearances, and 14 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

De Wolfe currently has $651,611 in WSOP winnings.

De Wolfe has won over $4 million in major poker tournaments worldwide – with the majority of earnings in Europe.

Winner Quotes (Roland de Wolfe)

On making the transition to Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split: “I played quite a lot of (Limit) Omaha High-Low. And, I played a lot of Pot-Limit Omaha. And, I just tried to mix the two strategies.”

On his final table opponents: “There were some great players at the final table. Scott Clements and Brett Ritchie – they play that game all the time. So, I was looking at what they did during the tournament and tried to learn. I watched what they did and then put a bit of my own insight into the game.”

On strategy: “I know that when we were three-handed, I had less experience. Normally when I play No-Limit Hold’em or Pot-Limit Omaha I am trying to look for situations where I can gamble because I will be the better player at the table. But in this situation, I knew I was not the best player. I was obviously the least experienced player of the final three. I knew I had to use my spots to gamble and had to go with hands….I couldn’t just sit there and chip away.”

On becoming only the second player ever to win titles at the WSOP, WPT, and EPT: “Damn Gavin Griffin!” Note: Griffin was the first to achieve this feat.

On winning the gold bracelet: “Ever since I won the event in Dublin at the EPT, I have been wanting the bracelet, which is the missing link. Three years I have been here at the finals, and today I finally got a few breaks. I am vey much aware of the history behind this, and the best thing of all is to win all three (major poker titles).”

On the pressure of being a well-known and successful player as opposed to a player new to tournaments: “As long as you can adjust to the way people view you, and the fact that you have a big target on your back, it gets easier. Experience is massive. Here, I did not have experience in the game. But I had experience in closing it out (making final tables and playing short-handed). Experience is massive.”

On what he learned from previous tournaments and some disappointing finishes: “I remember when I finished fourth in the event Erick Lindgren won last year. You could see the pressure was all on him, even though he was a brilliant player. The pressure to get that first one (a gold bracelet) gets you nervous. When we got here, heads-up I had a 4 to 1 chip lead. I felt very nervous and I am not someone who gets nervous. I won the WPT and EPT without being nervous. But here, I didn’t have the experience in this game. Thankfully, it went my way.”

On what helped him to overcome his lack of experience in this form of Omaha: “I got lots of advice form some English players, who helped me. But when it comes to experience in this game, I was clearly in the bottom half of the field. But, I’m a card player. I have good card sense. I can play any game.”

On the implications of his victory on the British poker scene: “Poker is alive and well in Britain….I hope my win and (John-Paul Kelly’s win) will push the game over the line and continue to help the game grow in Britain.”

On plans to play in more WSOP events this year: “I’ll be back tomorrow. I’m only six (wins) behind Phil Ivey now.”

The Final Table

The final table contained only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Scott Clements (2 wins) and Alex Kravchenko (1 win).

Five different nations were represented at the final table including – England, France, Ireland, Russia, and the United States.

The runner up was Brett Richey, from New York, NY. He is a 27-year-old poker pro. This was his seventh time to cash at the WSOP. Richey cashed in the WSOP Main Event twice, in 2006 and 2008.

The third-place finisher was Scott Clements, from Mt. Vernon, WA. He is unquestionably one of the world’s top Omaha High-Low Split tournament players (many would say Clements is the best, were it not for Thang Luu’s stellar run in Omaha tournaments the last three years at the WSOP). Clements has already won two gold bracelets in Omaha High-Low. He was the runner up in the $10,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low World Championship, which concluded last week. Now, his third-place finish in this tournament seals his reputation as the one the top players in this form of poker.

The fourth-place finisher was Robert Campbell, from Miami, FL. Campbell has enjoyed success at various WSOP Circuit events, particularly at Harrah’s New Orleans last month where he finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in three events.

The fifth-place finisher was Alex Kravchenko, from Tver, Russia. He won his gold bracelet in Omaha High-Low Split in 2007. Kravchenko also made the Main Event final table that same year, finishing fourth.

The sixth-place finisher was Andrew (Andy) Black, from Dublin, Ireland. He is perhaps best known for his fifth-place finish in the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Despite 14 cashes, Black’s best finish in a WSOP event remains fifth place.

The seventh-place finisher was John Racener, from Tampa, FL. He already has $1.2 million in tournament earnings at the age of 23. Racener won last year’s WSOP Circuit championship event at Harrah’s Atlantic City.

The eighth-place finisher was Armando “Tiny” Ruiz, from Tamarac, FL.

The ninth-place finisher was Anthony Lellouche, from Paris, France.

In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Scott Clements (3rd), Alexander Kravchenko (5th), and Jeffrey Lisandro (17th).

The defending champion from 2008 was Martin Klaser, from Rheinbach, Germany. He entered this year’s event but did not cash.

Odds and Ends

Omaha High-Low Split has predominantly been a limit game since it was first introduced into cardrooms in the early 1980s. However, about five years ago some online poker sites began offering Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split, which fueled greater interest in the game. Pot-Limit Omaha High-Slow Split made its debut at the WSOP in 2007.

During the first two years, the Pot-Limit Omaha High-Slow Split tournament had a buy-in of $1,500. The buy-in was raised to $5,000 for this year’s tournament.

The ESPN broadcast stage was dark on this day. Fifteen more events are scheduled, which are split between ESPN 360 and Bluff Media. For a complete broadcast schedule of all events, go to:

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

The Event

The $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split event attracted 198 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $930,600. The top 14 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

The chip leader after Day One was J.D. Newitt, from Las Vegas, NV. He did not cash.

The chip leader at the start of the final table was Scott Clements, from Mt. Vernon, WA. He ended up finishing in third place.

When the final table began, Roland de Wolfe was ranked third out of nine players.

The final table lasted about six hours.

The biggest hand of the night took place when De Wolfe knocked out Scott Clements, by making the nut low and nut high on the river with a club flush.

When heads-up play began, De Wolfe started with about a 4 to 1 chip advantage over Richey.

The final hand of the tournament came when De Wolfe was dealt A-Q-8-4. Richey was dealt Q-J-10-9. The flop came 10-8-4, giving Richey the better hand, while re-drawing to a wrap-around straight. A blank deuce fell on the turn which helped neither player. But an ace on the river gave De Wolfe two pair (aces and eights) which scooped the last pot of the tournament.

The tournament officially began on Friday, June 12th, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 14th, at 8:10 pm.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 DeWolfe, Roland $246,616 London United Kingdom
2 Richey, Brett $152,618 New York NY
3 Clements Scott $101,063 Mt. Vernon WA
4 Campbell Robert $72,121 North Miami FL
5 Kravchenko, Alexander $53,881 Moscow Russia
6 Black, Andrew $42,993 Dublin Ireland
7 Racener, John $36,200 Port Richey FL
8 Ruiz, Armando $32,105 Tamarack FL
9 Lellouche, Anthony $29,965 Paris France
10 Yancik, Stewart $21,962 Blue Springs MO
11 Bartlog, Mark $21,962 Hamburg Germany
12 Ramirez, Senovio $21,962 Mission TX
13 Bloch, Andrew $17,495 Las Vegas NV
14 Bartsov, Kirill $17,495 Moscow Russia
15 Lefkowitz, Matthew $17,495 Carmel Valley CA
16 Tam, Kenny $14,889 Houston TX
17 Lisandro, Jeffrey $14,889 Perth Australia
18 Bell, Christopher $14,889 Raleigh NC

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