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WSOP 2009

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Event #48, $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Split, Final Results

Official Report
Event #48
Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split
Buy-In: $1,500
Number of Entries: 762
Total Net Prize Pool: $1,040,130
Number of Places Paid: 72
First Place Prize: $228,867
June 25-27, 2009

Event Headlines

1. Brandon Cantu Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet Number Two

2. Brandon Cantu Defeats Lee Watkinson in Exciting Heads-Up Match

3. Phil Hellmuth Cashes Again – 14th-Place Showing Gives Him 73 Career WSOP In-the-Money Finishes

The Champion

The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split champion is Brandon Cantu, from Vancouver, WA.

Cantu is a 28-year-old professional poker player. He was born and raised in Vancouver, WA – which is located just north of Portland, OR. Following his first WSOP win in 2006, Cantu relocated to Las Vegas. But he spends much of his time traveling and playing on the tournament circuit.

Cantu’s poker nickname is “The Bounty Hunter.”

Cantu is one of poker’s most popular young players. His final table appearances always draw big enthusiastic crowds of supporters. This finale was no different as a standing-room only crowd packed the ESPN secondary stage.

Cantu started playing poker seriously in 2003. Chris Moneymaker’s stunning upset victory ignited his history in the game. After seeing Moneymaker win the 2003 WSOP Main Event on television, Cantu became part of the wave of new players which flooded into the game. Cantu started playing online and did well enough to build a bankroll. He started playing in live tournaments starting in 2006. Since then, Cantu has won 4 major poker tournaments and as accumulated more than $3 million in tournament earnings worldwide.

Cantu has cashed in three events this year. He was the runner up in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event, which completed last week (Event #39).

Cantu collected $228,867 for first place. He was also awarded his second WSOP gold bracelet.

Cantu’s first WSOP gold bracelet win took place in what was his first time ever to cash at the WSOP. He won a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event which drew 2,776 players (at the time, this was the largest non-Main Event tournament in WSOP history).

Cantu finished 20th in the 2008 WSOP Main Event. He was one of the chip leaders late in the tournament, but suffered a brutal final few hours and busted out in what for him was disappointing fashion, despite collecting a $257,000 paycheck.

According to official records, Cantu now has 2 wins, 4 final table appearances, and 10 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings now total $1,464,642.

Winner Quotes (Brandon Cantu)

On finally winning his second WSOP gold bracelet, after coming up just short in last week’s tournament: “This is really special, especially because I should have won a week ago. That loss was really hard for me to take. This one really was special.”

On the competition at the final table: “I wasn’t the best player at the table. I wasn’t event close to the best player. I have played very limited amounts of Pot-Limit Omaha Eight-or-Better. It worked out, but I don’t think I was the best player at the table.”

On his aggressive, yet combustible style of play in a Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split format: “I don’t know if this game suits my style. But everything worked. You can’t be quite as aggressive in this game. You have to slow down a little bit. In the end, everything worked.”

On enjoyed a lot of crowd support at the final table: “I could feel the crowd’s energy. It’s so much fun when all of your friends are there. They were sweating me heads-up. It was so much fun. I really did want to be here. I did not want to get it over with.”

On coming into the finale as chip leader, only to lose his advantage and be short-stacked when short-handed: “To be honest, I really thought it was slipping away. I was last in chips when it was four-handed. I just tried to play premium hands and wait it out. I picked my spots carefully.”

On the possibility of finishing second twice within a week at the WSOP: “That’s exactly what went through my mind. But I never gave up. I event said when I was very low on chips, all I need to do is double and double again and I will be right there. I knew I would have a better chance.”

On which is more important at this stage of his poker career, the first place prize money ($228,867) or the gold bracelet: “It’s so the bracelet. I put so much time into playing these tournaments. The money comes and goes, but the bracelet will always be there. It’s nice winning titles. It’s great.”

On his timetable for winning gold bracelet number three: “I don’t know, but I am playing outstanding right now. I would never say this, but I really think at least I will make another final table this year.”

The Final Table

The final table included two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Lee Watkinson (1 win) and Brandon Cantu (1 win). These two players ended up finishing 1 and 2 in the results.

The final table included players from four different nations – including England, France, Holland, and the United States.

The top two finishers were both from Washington State.

The runner up was Lee Watkinson, from Cheney, WA. Watkinson won his gold bracelet in 2006 in the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha championship. Watkinson also made it to the final table of the 2007 WSOP Main Event.

The third-place finisher was Mathieu Jacqmin, from Saint-Maur, France. This was his second time to cash at the WSOP.

The fourth-place finisher was Ted Weinstock, from Henderson, NV. He is a former professional Jai Alai player, who played several years in Florida. Weinstock’s first WSOP cash came back in 1993. He enjoyed his second in-the-money finish this year, with a fourth-place showing in this tournament.

The fifth-place finisher was Tommy Vedes, from Queens, NY. He has now cashed four straight years at the WSOP, this being his best finish.

The sixth-place finisher was Steve Jelinek, from Birmingham, England. He has many final table appearances, achieved mostly in Europe. He has earned nearly $1 million worldwide in major tournaments since 2003.

The seventh-place finisher was Aaron Sias, from Rockford, MI. This marked his first time to cash at the WSOP.

The eighth-place finisher was Ronnie Hofman, from Dordrecht, Holland. This was his seventh time to cash at the WSOP, and was his highest finish ever.

The ninth-place finisher was William McMahan, from Newport, TN. He cashed twice at last year’s WSOP. This was his highest finish, to date.

In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Lee Watkinson, Brandon Cantu, Phil Hellmuth, Jerrod Ankenman, Randy Holland, and Howard “Tahoe” Andrew.

Phil Hellmuth’s 14th-place finish in this event gives him 73 in-the-money finishes for his career. This currently ranks first on the all-time cashes list at the WSOP.

Howard “Tahoe” Andrew cashed for the second time at this year’s WSOP. Andrew, a two-time gold bracelet winner, holds the record at the player who has played the most consecutive years at the WSOP – which now stands at 35 years. Andrew’s first year to play at the WSOP was in 1974. He has played in at least one event in every year since then.

Odds and Ends

Omaha High-Low Split has predominantly been a limit game since it was first introduced into most cardrooms in the early 1980s. However, about five years ago some online poker sites began offering a new game called 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. This year, there are two Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split events, one at the $5,000 level and then this tournament at the $1,500 level.

The ESPN broadcast stage was dark on this day. Three 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 $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split championship attracted 762 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $1,040,130. The top 72 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

Brandon Cantu came to the final table on Day Three with the chip lead. He lost his advantage about midway into play and was the shortest stack when play was four handed. Cantu survived several all-in confrontations en route to victory.

When heads-up play began, Lee Watkinson enjoyed nearly a 3 to 1 chip advantage over Brandon Cantu.

The heads-up match between Cantu and Watkinson was one of the most exciting of this year’s WSOP. Several hundred spectators crammed around the final table and made the atmosphere resemble a heavyweight prizefight. Cantu was all-in at least six times, but managed to either scoop or split the pot, which prolonged his survival. In Watkinson’s defense, he was just one card away from victory a few times, but was unable to close out the victory. Watkinson had his opponent covered and held the best hand two times, but could not knock out the persistent Cantu. Then, after about an hour of heads-up play, the duel came to an abrupt end when Cantu won a series of late, critical hands and busted Watkinson with trip-fours on the final hand.

The final table lasted about eight hours – just slightly below average in duration. Most final tables this year have been running 9-10 hours.

The tournament officially began on Thursday, June 25th, at noon. The tournament officially ended on Saturday, June 27th, at 9:40 pm.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Cantu, Brandon $228,867 Las Vegas NV
2 Watkinson, Lee $141,873 Las Vegas NV
3 Jacqmin, Mathieu $92,946 Saint Maur France
4 Weinstock, Ted $64,727 Henderson NV
5 Vedes, Tommy $47,617 Fort Mojave AZ
6 Jelinek, Steve $36,893 Birmingham United Kingdom
7 Sias, Aaron $30,028 Rockford MI
8 Hofman, Ronnie $25,618 Dordrecht Netherlands
9 McMahan, William $22,862 Newport TN
10 Getzwiller, Sean $15,664 Tucson AZ
11 Tran, Cung $15,664 Punta Gorda FL
12 Xu, Jiaqi $15,664 Clarksburg MD
13 Craig, Barry $11,347 Belfast United Kingdom
14 Hellmuth, Phillip $11,347 Palo Alto CA
15 Loehde, Jason $11,347 San Pedro CA
16 Nelson, Tyler $8,570 Rockford IL
17 Roberts, Kendrick $8,570 Houston TX
18 Le Roux, Frederic $8,570 Paris France
19 Holland, Randall $6,604 Winnetka CA
20 Timberlake, Gene $6,604 Houston TX
21 Goulding, Patrick $6,604 Austin TX
22 Calhoun, Carson $6,604 Falls Church VA
23 Osman, Soner $6,604 London United Kingdom
24 Windham, William $6,604 Victoria TX
25 King, Jeffrey $6,604 Colchester CT
26 Stroj, David $6,604 Chula Vista CA
27 Boeken, Noah $6,604 Amsterdam NL
28 Stocken, Simon $5,398 Doncaster United Kingdom
29 Pharo, Joe $5,398 Mesa AZ
30 Mckinnon, Lauchlin $5,398 Las Vegas NV
31 Bonavida, Raymond $5,398 Redondo Beach CA
32 Oshea, John $5,398 Churchtown Ireland
33 Rodeen Talebi $5,398 Los Angeles CA
34 Harris, Donald $5,398 Cedar Park TX
35 Aljenabi, Ali $5,398 Wes Des Moines IA
36 Degreef, Jeremiah $5,398 Draper UT
37 Friedman, Perry $4,566 Las Vegas NV
38 Svec, David $4,566 Los Angeles CA
39 Lindestad, Einar $4,566   Norway
40 Roberts, Benjamin $4,566 Stamford United Kingdom
41 Koral, Thomas $4,566 Skokie IL
42 Ankenman, Jerrod $4,566 Avon CT
43 Besnier, Thomas $4,566 Reugny France
44 Taylor, Todd $4,566 Las Vegas NV
45 Markholt, Lee $4,566 Eatonville WA
46 Ohren, Norman $3,931 Thousand Oaks CA
47 Kanter, Aaron $3,931 Lodi CA
48 Reader, Trevor $3,931 San Francisco CA
49 Cipolla, Michael $3,931 Fresno CA
50 Scarber, Thomas $3,931 Streator IL
51 Stockinger, Sigi $3,931 Linz Austria
52 Andrew Howard $3,931 Martinez CA
53 Erdman, Travis $3,931 San Francisco CA
54 Horecki, Marcin $3,931 Warsaw Poland
55 Im, Edward $3,432 Honolulu HI
56 Knight, William $3,432 Shakopee MN
57 LoGuidice, Joseph $3,432 Atlantic City NJ
58 Mammon, Joshua $3,432 Richmond BC, Canada
59 Cohen, Jesse $3,432 Ardmore PA
60 Dedeaux, Todd $3,432 Los Angeles CA
61 Gregoire, Matthew $3,432 Orlando FL
62 Ickow, Todd $3,432 Valpariso IN
63 Aden, Robert $3,432 Smyrna Beach FL
64 McClure, Raymond $2,953 Stratforn ON, Canada
65 Rinaldi, Claudio $2,953 Rancate Italy
66 Wood, Matthew $2,953 Whitby ON, Canada
67 Tatalovich, Richard $2,953 Scottsdale AZ
68 Wiesner, Nathan $2,953 Amarillo TX
69 Morris, Al $2,953 Pahrump NV
70 RedThunder, Norma $2,953 Portland OR
71 Loomis, Phillip $2,953 Portland OR
72 Yancik, Stewart $2,953 Blue Springs MO

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