TAKING THE FIFTH: JEFFREY LISANDRO WINS WSOP GOLD BRACELET NUMBER FIVE

September 18, 2010 - 10:29:39 PM EST  | 

TAKING THE FIFTH:   JEFFREY LISANDRO WINS WSOP GOLD BRACELET NUMBER FIVE

2010 World Series of Poker Europe
Casino at the Empire
London, UK

Official Report
Event #2
Pot-Limit Omaha
Buy-In:  ₤5,000 (+250)
Number of Entries:  120
Total Net Prize Pool:  ₤600,000
Number of Places Paid:  18
First Place Prize:  ₤159,000
September 16-18, 2010

Tournament Headlines

Taking the Fifth:  Jeffrey Lisandro Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet Number Five

Victory Places Lisandro alongside Ungar, Ferguson, Johnston, Cunningham, S. Nguyen, Forrest and Berland in Career WSOP Wins, with Five

Prickly Poker Pro and former WSOP Player of the Year Stages Dramatic Comeback Victory

Second Gold Bracelet Event at 2010 WSOP Europe Draws World-Class Field

“November Niner” John Racener Finishes in Fifth Place

Final Table Includes Four Former WSOP Champions – Lisandro, Bjorin, Madsen, and Tann

Sounds Like a Broken Record:  Chris Bjorin Makes Three Consecutive WSOP Europe Final Tables


OVERVIEW

The winner of the ₤5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha championship is Jeffrey Lisandro from Salerno, Italy by way of Perth, Australia.  He earned ₤159,000, equal to about $248,450.  He was also presented with his fifth WSOP gold bracelet.
 
The victory gives Lisandro exalted status within the poker world, as he continues to acquire victories and achieve quasi-immortal status.  Gold bracelet number five won in London places him in a tie for 12th place on the all-time WSOP wins list -- along with such luminaries as Stu Ungar, Berry Johnston, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Allen Cunningham, Scotty Nguyen, Ted Forrest and Gary "Bones" Berland.  Not a bad group to be included in, when it comes to poker.

Joseph Serock, a 22-year-old poker pro from Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA) took second place, worth £98,262 (approximately $165,000 USD) and some valuable final table and short-handed experience against several of the best poker players in the game today.  This is Serock's second runner-up finish at the WSOP.  In 2009, he won $341,783 in a Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event at the 40th Annual WSOP.  In just two short years of play, Serock has amassed more than $650,000 in WSOP winnings and now has ten in-the-money finishes.  Not many players can claim such impressive results.

The three-day tournament concluded early Sunday morning at Casino at the Empire in London.  This was the second of five events scheduled this year at World Series of Poker Europe. 

The Pot-Limit Omaha championship has been part of the WSOP Europe schedule each and every year since inception.  Previous PLO champions include Dario Alioto (Italy) in 2007, Theo Jorgensen (Denmark) in 2008 and Jani Vilmunen (Finland) in 2009. 
 
This was one of the most star-studded Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments in recent memory.  Of the 120 entrants, more than two dozen players were former WSOP gold bracelet winners.  Many more were among the top PLO specialists in Europe.
 
Lisandro overcame a valiant effort from the 22-year-old Serock, who despite a lack of live tournament experience proved his mettle throughout.  But ultimately Lisandro was too much for the young lion, en route to a thrilling gold bracelet victory -- his fourth WSOP gold bracelet within the last 15 months.  No other player has won so many titles within that period.
 
The final table included four former WSOP gold bracelet winners – including Chris Bjorin (London, UK), Willie Tann (London, UK) and Jeff Madsen (Los Angeles, CA USA).  Two of the finalists were former WSOP “Player of the Year” winners – including Madsen (2006) and Lisandro (2009). Furthermore, Bjorin and Tann each made their second consecutive final table at this year’s London series.

In addition, this table included John Racener, a member of the 2010 WSOP Main Event Final Table.  Racener, a “November Niner,” could certainly be proud of a fine effort and a confidence-builder in preparation for the biggest game of his life which will take place during November's restart in Las Vegas.  He finished fifth place in this event, worth another £39,486 to his burgeoning bankroll.
 
The total prize pool amounted to ₤600,000.  The top 18 finishers collected prize money.  Day Two ran nearly 14 hours due to an unusually long hand-for-hand sequence, when play remained locked at 19-handed.  With players one spot away from the money, hands were dealt out one at a time per table in order to reach the 18th payout position.  Normally, hand-for-hand takes no more than 30 minutes to an hour to complete.  However, hand-for-hand took more than three hours in this tournament, leaving just about everyone exhausted at the end of a very long night.

Also of note -- with yet another impressive in-the-money showing, two-time gold bracelet winner Chris Bjorin now has six WSOP Europe cashes and four final table appearances -- the most by any player.  Since this was only the 13th gold bracelet presented in Europe, this means Bjorin has cashed in almost half of all events and final-tabled nearly one-third of all tournaments played in London, so far.
 
To see official results and additional information about WSOP Europe, please click HERE

THE WINNER

The winner of the ₤5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, WSOP Europe Event #2, is Jeffrey Lisandro from Salerno, Italy.

Lisandro was born in Perth, Australia.  However, he has lived in three different countries – Australia, Italy, and the United States.  Lisandro owns a home in Santa Barbara, CA (USA) – but still calls Salerno, Italy his home. 

Prior to playing poker full-time, Lisandro was a real estate investor.  He continues to invest money in properties around the world.

Lisandro’s fashion trademark is a black fedora, which he commonly wears at the poker table.  He is also known to wear stylish Versace shirts.  During this tournament however, Lisandro did not wear his trademark hat.

Lisandro’s poker nickname is “The Iceman,” given to him for his seemingly cold and calculating disposition while playing.

Lisadro is a top high-stakes cash game player.  He also plays in most of the world’s most prestigious poker tournaments.

Prior to winning his first gold bracelet in 2007, Lisandro was near the top of everyone’s list of “best players never to have won a gold bracelet.”  He now owns five titles.

Lisandro was the official 2009 WSOP “Player of the Year.”  Last year, he received his prize at WSOP Europe.
Lisandro’s five wins since 2007 are the most by any player within that time-frame.

Lisandro is one of the world’s top Seven-Card Stud players.  He won his first gold bracelet three years ago playing Seven-Card Stud.  Then, he finished ninth in the 2009 ($10,000 buy-in) Seven-Card Stud World Championship.  Next, he won the Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split championship last year.  Finally, he won the Seven-Card Razz championship also in 2009.

According to official records, Lisandro now has 5 wins, 15 final table appearances, and 34 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP, with his first cash coming back in 1997.  He also holds a WSOP Circuit championship (gold ring) won at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe in 2005.

Lisandro now ranks in a tie for 12th place on the all-time WSOP wins list.  He is ranked alongside poker greats Stu Ungar, Berry Johnston, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Allen Cunningham, Scotty Nguyen, Ted Forrest and Gary "Bones" Berland. 

Two of Lisandro’s four victories were televised by ESPN.  His win at Lake Tahoe in 2005 and his first WSOP gold bracelet win in Las Vegas in 2007 were both shown on television.

Lisandro collected $248,450 for first place.  He was also awarded his fifth WSOP gold bracelet.

Lisandro’s WSOP earnings now total $2,666,119.

Last year when he won three gold bracelets, Lisandro stated that he was very much aware of the historical implications of this third victory in 2009.  He said he intended to play as many events as possible in order to set a new record for most wins in a single year and managed to tie the mark.

In 2009, Lisandro became only the fifth player in WSOP history to win three gold bracelets within a single year.  The other four players to accomplish the feat were:

Puggy Pearson (1973)
Ted Forrest (1993)
Phil Hellmuth (1993)
Phil Ivey (2002)

Lisandro’s accomplishment versus other great players will be debated by both poker fans and historians.  In 2009, there were clearly more events for Lisandro to enter (61 total), more than any other year.  Contrast the number of tournaments with significantly less events played in 1973, 1993, and 2002 (the years other players set their records).  In Lisandro’s defense, he had to overcome much larger field sizes in his three wins.  Based purely on the number of events in a year, Puggy Pearson’s three wins in 1973 stands as a record that will probably never be equaled.  He won half of the events played that year (3 out of 6).

Based on field sizes, Lisandro’s three wins is clearly the most impressive of the five players who now share the record.  He defeated a total of 835 players (combined) in his three gold bracelet wins.  Contrast this with Phil Ivey in 2002, who defeated 529 players during his gold bracelet trifecta.

A few notes about WSOP records over multiple year periods: The most gold bracelet wins within a three-year span is 5, held by two players – Gary “Bones” Berland (1977-79) and Doyle Brunson (1976-78).  The most gold bracelet wins within a four-year span is 6, held by Doyle Brunson (1976-79).  Lisandro has now matched the three-year record, since he now holds five gold bracelets within just three years.  He can break the record with another win during the next three events at WSOP Europe.

For historical purposes, Lisandro is to be credited as an Italian winner.

WINNER QUOTES

NOTE:  Jeffrey Lisandro respectfully declined to be interviewed following his victory. 

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table contained four former WSOP gold bracelet winners – including Jeffrey Lisandro (4 wins), Chris Bjorin (2 wins), Jeff Madsen (2 wins), and Willie Tann (1 win).

The final table contained two former WSOP “Player of the Year” winners – including Jeff Madsen (2006) and Jeffrey Lisandro (2009).

Four different nations were represented at the final table – including Brazil, England, Italy, and the United States.

The final table included four players from London – including Chris Bjorin, Willie Tann, Karl Mahrenholz, and Jeff Kimber.  This is the most London players ever to make it to a WSOP final table.

The runner up was 22-year-old Joseph Serock, from Albuquerque, NM (USA).  This was the second time he has finished as the runner up in a WSOP event.  Serock now has ten cashes and two final table appearances in just two years at the WSOP.  He collected ₤98,262 in prize money.

The third-place finisher was Willie Tann, from London, UK.  This was his highest WSOP finish since his gold bracelet victory in 2005.  Tann took sixth-place in the previous WSOP Europe event, which now makes two consecutive final table appearances for the poker player fondly known as “The Diceman.”

The fourth-place finisher was Jeff Madsen, from Los Angeles, CA USA.  He won two gold bracelets at the 2006 WSOP.  This marked his eighth time to cash at the WSOP.

The fifth-place finisher was John Racener, from Port Richey, FL.  The 25-year-old poker pro is living a fairy-tale year as one of the famed “November Nine.”  Racener played for the first time at WSOP Europe this year.  He will return to Las Vegas in November to compete in the 2010 WSOP Main Event championship.

The sixth-place finisher was Karl Mahrenholz, from London, UK.  He is a 28-year-old poker from London, UK.  Prior to playing poker, he worked as an investment banker.  Mahrenholz is a member of a poker group called “The Hit Squad,” which includes James Akenhead and others. 

The seventh-place finisher was Felipe Ramos, from Sao Paulo, Brasil.  He is a 27-year-old poker player and writer.  This was his first time to play at WSOP Europe.  He has numerous cashes in South America, at European Poker Tour events, and at the WSOP.  This marked his best WSOP finish, to date.  Had Ramos won, he would have been only the second Brazilian player in history to win a WSOP title.

The eighth-place finisher was Chris Bjorin, from London, UK.  This was Bjorin’s second-consecutive final table this year at Casino at the Empire.  In fact, he has now achieved three straight final tables dating back to last year’s WSOP Europe Main Event.  He currently holds the record for most cashes (6) and most final table appearances (4) at WSOP Europe.  With this in-the-money finish, he also moved into a seventh-place tie with Humberto Brenes for most cashes in WSOP history, with 58.

The ninth-place finisher was Jeff Kimber, from Newcastle, UK.  He is a 35-year-old poker pro.  Kimber has now made three Pot-Limit Omaha final table appearances at the WSOP over the past two years.  Kimber took eighth-place in this same event held last year.  He also was the runner up in the $2,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event held in Las Vegas in 2009.  Kimber is part of a close-knit circle of top English players which includes former WSOP champions J.P. Kelly, Praz Bansi, Richard Ashby and others.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

Other than the four players who made it to the final table, no other former WSOP gold bracelet winners cashed in this event.

The defending champion from 2009 was Jani Vilmunem, from Helsinki, Finland.  He entered this tournament but did not survive past the first day.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the second of five events on the 2010 WSOP Europe schedule.  It is the 59th gold bracelet event played in 2010, when combined with the 57 events which took place in Las Vegas a few months ago.

The Pot-Limit Omaha championship has been part of WSOP Europe since inception, making this the fourth straight year of the competition.  Previous champions include Dario Alioto (Italy) in 2007, Theo Jorgensen (Denmark) in 2008, and Jani Vilmunen (Finland) in 2009.

This is the 887th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 13 gold bracelets awarded at WSOP Europe, to date.

In the 41-year history of the WSOP, the total combined amount of prize money that has been awarded amounts to $1,229,576,694.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.  Day One began at 5 pm lasted about 10 hours.  Day Two took another 14 hours.  Day Three (the final table) lasted about 12 hours.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony will take place at Casino at the Empire on Tuesday, September 21st at 5 pm.  It will occur just prior to the start of the Heads-Up championship.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

THE TOURNAMENT

The ₤5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament attracted 120 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to ₤600,000.  The top 18 finishers collected prize money.

The event played similar to a re-buy tournament.  However, it should be noted that re-buy tournaments were discounted after the 2008 WSOP, since the old system meant that some players enjoyed a competitive advantage by being able to purchase more chips.  Accordingly, in an effort to maintain the concept of having re-buys, a new procedure was adopted.  Instead of re-buys, players were/are given lammers which are exchanged for tournament chips during the tournament.  All players start with the same number of chips and lammers.  Moreover, players may use lammers at any point during the first four levels of play (four hours).  In this WSOP Europe event, lammers were allotted in increments of 3,000 chips each.  Players sat down with a stack of 3,000, plus four lammers which could exchanged for more chips.  The total number of chips available was 15,000 per player.  Some players elected to take all the chips up front.  Other players used the initial stack of 3,000, and used the “re-buy” lammers when they busted.  So, a player could theoretically survive up to four busts within the first four hours and still be alive.  The timing on the use of lammers is an important component of tournament strategy.  Note:  The system used at the WSOP in Las Vegas was referred to as a “Triple-Chance” event. 

Players reached the money on Day Two at past 2 am.  The bubble position was 19th place.  Hand-for-hand play lasted an unusually long duration – clocking in at nearly four hours.  The longest hand-for-hand duration in poker tournament history is believed to be the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball championship at the 2005 WSOP.  That mind-numbing marathon lasted seven hours of hand-for-hand play.

The chip leader at the end of Day One was Samuel Stein, from Henderson, NV (USA).  He ended up finishing in 12th place. 

The chip leader coming into the final table was John Racener, from Port Richey, FL (USA).  He ended up finishing in 5th place.

Jeffrey Lisandro was ranked fourth in chips at the start of play at the final table.

The tournament officially began on Thursday, September 16th at 5 pm.  The tournament officially ended on Sunday, September 19th at 3:10 am (London time).

MORE ABOUT WSOP EUROPE

This is the fourth year of WSOP Europe.  All events have been played at Casino at the Empire, located in Leicester Square in Central London.  There have now been 13 gold bracelet events held in the U.K.  Three more events are scheduled to be played this year.

Casino at the Empire has a poker room which regularly hosts cash games and tournaments.  Due to the size of the WSOP, the tournament area was expanded to include about half of the available casino floor space.  This year, there are 34 active poker tables available for use at WSOP Europe – the largest ever.


WSOP REDUX:  JEFFREY LISANDRO’S FIRST AMERICAN TOURNAMENT VICTORY (2005)

Making History: International Jet-Setter and High-Limit Poker Player Jeff Lisandro Seizes First Major U.S. Tournament Victory at Lake Tahoe

Great final tables make you go through an entire gambit of emotions. At various points, you empathize with different competitors. You might start cheering for one player, and then root for a rival when the situation changes. Great final tables have both gratifying highs and gut-wrenching lows.

There are chip lead changes, miracle draw-outs, great poker decisions, terrible strategic blunders, and ultimately -- mental and physical fatigue for both players and audience. Finally, there is the post-tournament realization that what one witnessed was truly historic. The final table of Lake Tahoe's World Series of Poker Circuit championship had all of these things, and a lot more.

Lake Tahoe's main event attracted 173 entries. It took three days of play to eliminate 164 players. At the conclusion of Day Three, Alan Goehring was the last player to be eliminated, leaving only nine players to play in the Day Four finale. The final table included three former WSOP gold bracelet winners - Phil Ivey (with 4), David Pham (with 1), and Joe Awada (with 1).
 
The six remaining players were each seeking their first WSOP win. The finalists took their seats under the bright lights and ESPN cameras, rolling inside the third floor grand ballroom at Harveys Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada. Players and chip counts began as follows:

SEAT 1: Jeffrey Lisandro Chip Count - 402,800
SEAT 2: David Pham Chip Count - 195,800
SEAT 3: Phil Ivey Chip Count - 296,600
SEAT 4: Tommy Reed Chip Count - 63,700
SEAT 5: Joe Awada Chip Count - 73,300
SEAT 6: Jonathan Shecter Chip Count - 347,200
SEAT 7: Salim Batshon Chip Count - 148,600
SEAT 8: James Van Alstyne Chip Count - 113,400
SEAT 9: George Saca Chip Count - 89,000

Players were eliminated as follows:

9th Place - Things did not start well for the chip leader, Jeff Lisandro. He took three early blows, which cost him about two-thirds of his initial 400,000 stack. The worst beat occurred when Tommy Reed had K-K versus Lisandro's A-A. A king on the turn staggered Lisandro and allowed Reed to double up early. Lisandro took another punch when he was dealt 10-10 and called Joe Awada's 'all in' raise with J-J. This time, the top pair held up, and Lisandro was suddenly on the ropes.
Phil Ivey took the chip lead about 45 minutes into the action when he moved in and won a huge uncalled pot without showing his hand. Finally, after nearly three hours of play, the first player was eliminated. Joe Awada, the reigning seven-card stud world champion (he won the $5,000 buy-in stud event at last year's WSOP) was getting low on chips and moved 'all in' with A-Q, which was called quickly by Tommy Reed, holding J-J. Awada failed to hit a pair, and the former juggler and circus acrobat flipped off the final table as the 9th-place finisher. Awada collected $32,870.
 

8th Place - With eight players remaining, murmurs began to circulate that this would be either a long night or an early morning. Approaching the fourth hour of play, Phil Ivey was still the chip leader. George Saca was lowest in chips and made his final stand with 8-8. Ivey had plenty of chips and quickly called Saca's modest 'all in' raise. The flop came 10-4-3 rocketing Ivey into a big advantage and leaving Saca only two outs. Two blanks fell on he turn and river, which put Saca out in 8th place. The 48-year-old Bethlehem (Israel) born retail general manager enjoyed a very nice payday -- $49,305.
7th Place - David 'the Dragon' Pham wasn't able to seize the momentum that might have meant yet another major tournament victory. Pham, who has won 14 majors in the last three years - quite possibly the most of any tournament player - suffered the disadvantage of sitting in the worst seat at the final table, with Ivey on his immediate left. Pham was low on chips and moved 'all in' on a semi-bluff when his K-Q connected with a flop that came J-10-4. Ivey covered the raise holding K-J (good for top pair). Desperately needing a 9 or an ace for the straight, Pham missed everything. David 'the Dragon' Pham was extinguished in 7th place, which paid $65,740. That pot gave Ivey over 900,000 which was over half of the chips in play.

6th Place - Then, the hours passed. Slowly. Entering the eighth hour of play, Ivey's dominance continued. Salim Batshon (a.k.a. 'Sam B'), a Palestinian immigrant who arrived in the U.S. 30-years ago and built a successful business before becoming a poker pro who concentrates mostly on high-limit side action games, looked like he might make a run when he was dealt 7-7 and was 'all in' against Ivey's A-K. On the turn, Batshon was in great position to double up. But an ace on the river crushed Batshon's dream of winning his first major tournament. He had to settle for 6th place, worth $82,175 in prize money. Batshon, who brought the largest and most vocal cheering section to the finale, could be proud of his fine performance in the tournament. Meanwhile, Ivey became the first player at the final table to crack the 1,000,000 mark.


5th Place - Tommy Reed made the biggest leap up the prize money ladder. He started the day dead last in the chip count, but moved four spots up in the money. Reed's final chips were committed after a flop of 6-6-4. James Van Alstyne checked after the flop, and Reed moved in hoping to steal the pot with two overcards -- A-K. But Van Alstyne was hiding in the proverbial bushes waiting with a sledgehammer. Van Alstyne had 6-7 and hit a set of 6s. That pretty much ended the night for Reed, a 35-year-old businessman from Chapel Hill, NC. Reed - who has only played in four tournaments in his life, and incredibly won two of them - added $98,610 to his poker bankroll for 5th place.

4th Place - Just as the clock struck midnight, Jonathan Shecter turned into a pumpkin. The Cinderella story ended when Shecter was short on chips and moved 'all in' with his last 90K on a club flush draw. Shecter had 5-6 of clubs and watched as the flop came A-K-10, with two clubs, triggering his final bet of the night. Unfortunately, the glass slipper did not fit, as Shecter missed his flush draw. Shecter, a 1990 graduate of Harvard University with one lone final table appearance on his poker tournament resume, survived ten long hours and ended up as the 4th-place finisher, worth $131,480. He was labeled the 'wild card' in this finale, and the remaining players were visibly pleased to see his departure.

3rd Place - That put the chip count at approximately 1,000,000 for Ivey, and about 300,000 each for both Van Alstyne and Lisandro. Then, Van Alstyne took one of the most expensive beats of his life. Van Alstyne started out with 10-8 and flopped two pair. Ivey had A-5 and flopped top pair with an ace. The turn showed A-10-8-2 and for an instant it looked like Van Alstyne might double up near Ivey in the chip count. Then, disaster struck. Van Alstyne's two pair was hammered by a higher two pair when a second deuce rained down on the river, blasting Van Alsyne off the final table. With a break or two, James Van Alstyne might have made things very interesting. Instead, he had to settle for third place, and $164,350 in prize money.

The heads-up duel between Phil Ivey and Jeff Lisandro began with Ivey holding a 1,296,000 to 435,000 chip advantage - about 3 to 1. With all due respect to the other seven competitors, many in the audience foresaw that in the final hour it would all come down the two highest-limit cash players. Both men routinely play in the biggest games in the world, experiencing six-figure wins and losses in a single session. Accordingly, it wasn't the prize money that was the prime motive for victory for either of the finalists. Both players had a single-minded mission on this night. Each in his way hoped to fill a deeper emotional void, and satisfy an old score.
At the age of five, Jeff Lisandro was taught the game of poker by his mother. Prior to the start of the final table, Lisandro said he hoped to win this one “just for her.” Lisandro has been financially successful beyond his wildest imagination. He owns homes in Salerno, Italy and Santa Barbara, California. What he hoped to win on this night was something that money cannot buy. 'All that matters is winning the top prize,' Lisandro said in a pre-final table interview with ESPN. 'I'd love to win a WSOP event so I can show my mother back home that I won something.'

Phil Ivey's reasons for wanting victory were even more emotionally stirring. One month ago, when Phil Ivey was playing in the WSOPC at the Rio in Las Vegas, his father sat proudly in the front row. Little did anyone know that it would be the last time Ivey would ever see his son playing poker. Two weeks later, Ivey Sr. suffered a massive heart attack and died. Burdened with pain and loss, Ivey somehow blocked everything out and for four days played the best poker of his life. Winning a major poker tournament provided a chance to pay a tribute, or perhaps it was merely an escape - whatever it was, Ivey was in top form.

Linked by bonds to family and joined by the insatiable desire to win this tournament, what all of this meant is that one of the aspiring poker champions would ultimately leave the final table extremely disappointed. This all added to the intensity of the duel and made for a fabulous final three hours that might very have been one of the most captivating heads-up matches on record. An intense psychological battle began between two great poker players. Every motion, reaction, and bet was scrutinized.

After being down 6 to 1 in chips at his low point, Lisandro staged a strong comeback. On hands when just about any other player (even very good players) might have decided to gamble hoping to get chips, Lisandro made all the right moves at the right times. Although he was one mistake away from elimination for two hours and forty-five minutes, Lisandro might have been one of Phil Ivey's toughest adversaries.
Just as Lisandro was close to drawing even in chips, on one big hand Ivey came over the top with an 'all in' move, forcing Lisandro to surrender his hand. The result of that loss was a 4 to 1 chip disparity. Then after another half hour, one of the most dramatic hands of the tournament took place when Lisandro was dealt Q-Q and moved 'all in' after the flop came K-10-4. Ivey, holding Q-J had an open-ended straight draw and called after a period of deliberation. Two blanks on the turn and river gave Lisandro the 850,000 pot. That put Lisandro into the chip lead for the first time in heads-up play, and the first time since the very first hour of the tournament.

Then, it all ended. The final hand came literally out of nowhere. In fact, no in the audience quite knew what had happened when the winning hand was announced. Lulled into a daze, the weary-eyed audience sat silently as it was announced that Lisandro was the winner.
 
As observers rushed towards the table and everyone stood up trying to see the final hand, it all became clear. Lisandro was dealt J-10 against Ivey's 9-2. The flop came 5-3-2. Ivey had bottom pair. Both players checked. A ten fell on the turn. Now, Lisandro had top pair. He bet 70,000 and Ivey called. A queen fell on the river. Lisandro bet 150,000 and Ivey moved 'all in' with his remaining 500,000 hoping to pull off a bluff. Lisandro read the situation perfectly. He called in what can only be described as seconds, leaving Ivey in stunned silence. Lisandro's pair of 10s scooped the final pot of the night and the longest final table in WSOPC history had ended just shy of 3 am.

The runner up was Phil Ivey. Within seconds, one of poker's quietest and most reserved stars left the room and was not seen again. One can only speculate the thoughts stirring in Ivey's mind on this night. Surely, the $299,360 in prize money was little comfort.


The final table clocked in at 12 hours and 20 minutes, a virtual marathon by poker standards. It was ten minutes longer than the WSOPC previous record set at Harrah's Rincon (San Diego) in the championship event won by Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson in February. Still, the packed gallery assembled inside the third floor grand ballroom had little energy left when the final hand was dealt. By the looks of the two players afterward, they had little left in the tank either.


The World Series of Poker at Lake Tahoe was a historic moment in poker for several reasons. It marked the return of the world's most prestigious poker tournament to the region where it all started some 36 years ago (Note: The idea for the WSOP actually started in Reno in 1969). The first event of the two-week tournament attracted the largest number of players for any tournament ever held in Northern Nevada (542). This was also Lake Tahoe's first time to host a major poker tournament in 15 years. Finally, Harveys Lake Tahoe accepted bets on the World Series of Poker inside the race and sportsbook. This was the first time since the early 1980s that a host casino has posted odds on the WSOP.


For Jeff Lisandro, this tournament was also 'historic' for far more personal reasons. He won $542,360. But oddly enough, the piles of hundred dollar bills and gold ring didn't seem nearly as fulfilling as the satisfaction of having crossed the finish line with a greater sense of purpose. For Lisandro, this victory was about something else -- something far more meaningful.


Report by Nolan Dalla - World Series of Poker Media Director

Note:  All results are now official and may be reprinted by media.  We would appreciate if you are posting these on a website, you provide a link back to www.wsop.com Thank you.




 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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