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WSOP 2009

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Event #53, $1,500 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better, Final Results

Official Report
Event #53
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split
Buy-In: $1,500
Number of Entries: 466
Total Net Prize Pool: $636,090
Number of Places Paid: 48
First Place Prize: $159,048
June 28-30, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. David J. Halpern Wins His First WSOP Gold Bracelet
  2. The Verdict is In: New Orleans Attorney David J. Halpern Receives Gold Bracelet and Judgment Worth $159,048

The Champion

The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split champion is David J. Halpern, from New Orleans, LA.

Halpern is a 54-year-old attorney. He specializes in commercial law and business litigation.

Halpern was born and raised in New Orleans. He is part owner of several restaurants, including Bayona and GW Fins, both in the French Quarter. He also has investment in a number of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses.

Halpern is the father of four children – ages 15, 9, 7, and 4.

Halpern says he plays poker mostly as a hobby.

Halpern is a regular player inside the Harrah’s New Orleans poker room.

Incredibly, Halpern entered this tournament by accident. Two days earlier, he came to the Rio to play in cash games. However, the game he wanted to play (Pot-Limit Omaha) had a waiting list. Halpern reluctantly decided at the last minute to enter the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournament, just as registration was about to close. He survived the first day and went on to win the tournament and his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Halpern collected $159,048 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Halpern now has 1 win, 2 final table appearances, and 5 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings now total $185,747.

Halpern’s first WSOP cash took place in 1994. This was his first final table in ten years. He finished eighth in this same event in 1998.

Winner Quotes (David J. Halpern)

On his feelings immediately after winning his first WSOP gold bracelet: “Oh, it feels great. It’s exciting. We had fun the whole time. There were a lot of nice people. It was a great experience.”

On whether Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split is better suited to older and more experienced players: “I looked around and it’s mostly old timers. All the younger guys are playing No-Limit Hold’em. So, maybe some of the older folks are playing this. Since I have grey hair and I’m over 50, maybe this is my game.”

On entering the tournament at the last minute: “I had planned to play in a side game. But the game was full. So, I said, ‘what am I going to do?’ I entered this tournament and that was two days ago.”

On his experience playing Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split: “This is a game that a lot of people played in college and when I was a bit younger, growing up. Not too many play it that much anymore. It’s low impact and it’s not too stressful.”

On his strategy and thoughts as he went deeper into the tournament: “I take it one level at a time. If I can increase my chips each time, I ask myself if I have enough chips to play well as the limits keep going up. I try and see the tables shrink. That’s what you hope to see. It goes 40 or 50 tables down to one, and then down to none.”

On being proud to be from New Orleans: “New Orleans is a colorful town. We have plenty of rascals. But there are some really fine people, too.”

On working as a highly-successful attorney: “It’s really not a job if you enjoy going to work every day -- and I do. I get up in the morning and I figure out each puzzle for my clients and do the best I can. I really enjoy what I do. But I sure love playing poker, too.”

On what the victory and the money means to him: “The money is great. But being able to get through the field and win it is special. It was so exciting to play for the championship.”

On his plans right after the WSOP: “Now that this is almost over, I am going to be able to have a good vacation with my kids.”

The Final Table

The final table included only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Dr. Max Stern (3 wins).

The final table was played eight-handed.

The runner up was William Kohler, from Cincinnati, OH. He is self-employed and is 47-years-old. This marked his best WSOP finish ever.

The third-place finisher was Dr, Max Stern, a semi-retired medical doctor from San Jose, Costa Rica. Stern is a three-time gold bracelet winner, with titles in two events played in 1997 (No-Limit Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split) and one event played in 1995 (Omaha High-Low Split).

The fourth-place finisher was Chad Brown, from Las Vegas, NV. Brown, a former actor who now plays poker professionally, has 26 career WSOP cashes. He remains at the top of an unofficial very short list as one of the best players yet to have won a WSOP gold bracelet. This was Brown’s second WSOP final table appearance this year.

The fifth-place finisher was Matt Savage, from San Jose, CA. Savage is perhaps best known as a respected tournament director and cofounder of the Tournament Director’s Association. He served as the WSOP tournament director from 2002 through 2004. Savage now runs tournaments at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.

The sixth-place finisher was Zak Gilbert, from Reno, NV.

The seventh-place finisher was Brian Swinford, from Armstrong, IL. He is a 38-year-old professional poker player. This was his third time to cash at the WSOP.

The eighth-place finisher was Allie Prescott, from Memphis, TN. He is a real estate investor and regular on the tournament rail.

In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Dr. Max Stern, Vince Burgio, Derek Raymond, Ryan Hughes, Barry Greenstein, and Daniel Negreanu.

ESPN poker commentator Normal Chad cashed for the first time ever in a WSOP event. Chad, who provides color on all WSOP broadcasts, finished in 32nd place.

Barry Greenstein’s 45th-place showing in this event gives him 45 in-the-money finishes for his career. This currently ranks him in a tie for 15th-place on the all-time WSOP cashes list.

Daniel Negreanu’s 47th-place showing in this event gives him 41 in-the-money finishes for his career. This currently ranks 18th on the all-time WSOP cashes list.

The defending champion from 2008 was Ryan Hughes, from Phoenix, AZ. He entered this year’s tournament and cashed in 29th place.

Odds and Ends

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 bottom of the payout scale 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, Rich Korbin, and Eli Elezra.

In 1986, this game was inexplicably omitted from the WSOP schedule. After some protest by Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split 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 – this $10,000 buy-in World Championship and a $1,500 buy-in event to be played June 28-30.

No player has ever won more than one gold bracelet in this game. Dr. Max Stern, who won this event in 1997, came close on this day, but ended up going out in third place.

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.

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 Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split championship attracted 466 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $636,090. The top 48 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

The chip leader at the start of the final table was David J. Halpern. He lost his lead late in the tournament to (eventual runner up) William Kohler. At one point, after holding the advantage most of the day, Halpern was down by more than 2 to 1 in chips to Kohler. But Halpern clawed and scratched his way back into the lead and eventually defeated his final adversary.

The final table lasted about seven hours – slightly below average in duration.

The tournament officially began on Sunday, June 28th, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Tuesday, June 30th, at 11:45 pm.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Halpern, David $159,048 New Orleans LA
2 Kohler, William $98,339 Cincinnati OH
3 Stern, Max $64,346 Las Vegas NV
4 Brown, Chad $44,494 Las Vegas NV
5 Savage, Matt $32,396 San Jose CA
6 Gilbert, Zak $24,775 Reno NV
7 Swinford, Brian $19,858 Armstrong IL
8 Prescott, Allie $16,646 Memphis TN
9 Sklar, Richie $12,123 Las Vegas NV
10 Burgio, Vince $12,123 West Hills CA
11 Rosenfeldt Jack $9,146 Hobro Denmark
12 Paz, Jose $9,146 Santa Cruz Bolivia
13 Toboc, Christian $7,245 Leomberg Germany
14 Krescanto, Mike $7,245 Scottsdale AZ
15 Davis, Jared $5,852 New Hope PA
16 Raymond Derek $5,852 Portland ME
17 Ohde, Martin $4,478 Vienna Austria
18 Vance, Tim Lee $4,478 Millstadt IL
19 Jelinek, Steve $4,478 Birmingham United Kingdom
20 Dovzhenko, Alexander $4,478 St. Petersburg Russia
21 Barbieri, Albert $4,478 Philadelphia PA
22 Emerson, Alan $4,478 Pheonix AZ
23 Bloch, Andrew $4,478 Las Vegas NV
24 Rosenthal, Yotam $4,478 Tel Aviv Israel
25 Leeds, Brandon $3,288 Phoenix AZ
26 Smith Matthew $3,288 Lithia FL
27 Rygol, Bernd $3,288 Munich Germany
28 Ickow, Todd $3,288 Valparaiso IN
29 Hughes, Ryan $3,288 Pheonix AZ
30 Heim, Ruy $3,288 Newhall CA
31 Miller, Ronald $3,288 Albany NY
32 Chad, Norman $3,288 Los Angeles CA
33 Yoo, James $2,976 El Cerrito CA
34 Marsters, Timothy $2,976 Brisbane CA
35 Kearney, Simon $2,976 Fort Lauderdale FL
36 Verrastro, Candace $2,976 Point Pleasant Beach NJ
37 Danheiser, David $2,976 Las Vegas NV
38 Purzycki, Robert $2,976 Cypress CA
39 Beltran, Thuy $2,976 Saint Petersburg FL
40 Markakis, George $2,976 Philadelphia PA
41 Kimmel, Shawn $2,690 Dearborn Heights MI
42 Reiss, John $2,690 Omaha NE
43 Wenzel, John $2,690 Lantana FL
44 Erdman, Travis $2,690 Burlingame CA
45 Greenstein, Barry $2,690 Ranchos Palos Verdes CA
46 Wortham, David $2,690 Hemet CA
47 Negreanu, Daniel $2,690 Las Vegas NV
48 Bonomo, Justin $2,690 Sherman Oaks CA

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