UK'S MATT PERRINS CELEBRATES INCONCEIVABLE VICTORY

June 06, 2011 - 06:09:49 PM EST  | 

UK

Matt Perrins Wins His First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Young Englishman Wins Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship

Perrins Masters the Game First Time He Plays – Hundreds of Experienced Lowball “Specialists” Left Stunned

“Beginner” Delivers Knockout Punch at Star-Studded Final Table

Two-Time Gold Bracelet Winner Chris Bjorin Finishes as Runner-Up

WSOP Strong Numbers Continue – Tournament Attendance Up 4 Percent over Last Year 

Eight Gold Bracelets Won – 50 More Still Up For Grabs 


OVERVIEW

What are the odds that two poker players from a tiny town located in the north of England would fly halfway around the globe to the 2011 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and each win gold bracelets within just a week’s time?

If you’re keeping track at the moment, the odds are 100 percent.

Matt Perrins, from the small suburban town called Rochdale, situated within a short distance of the bigger and meaner industrial city of Manchester, matched the feat of his close neighbor by winning a WSOP title in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship.  The three-day competition concluded today at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Perrins’ victory took place only days after Jake Cody, also from Rochdale, won the $25,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

Perrins’ victory was impressive for at least one additional reason.  Incredibly, he had never played this game until this tournament began.

Perrins later explained he was tired of playing Hold’em and decided to try something “different.”  For most people, that means sitting down in a small-stakes cash game or perhaps entering one of the many daily tournaments spread throughout Las Vegas, during WSOP-time.  For Perrins, that meant ponying up a $1,500 entry fee and entering a tournament filled with many hardcore Lowball enthusiasts.  Indeed, many of the players in this tournament had been playing Lowball for decades.

Before taking his tournament seat, Perrins had to familiarize himself with some rules and basic strategy of the game.  Since there aren’t too many tutorials out there on mastering No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball, he turned to a place where virtually no one else goes to learn new poker:

YouTube.

That’s right, YouTube – the site famous for music videos, pranks, and pet tricks.

Apparently, Perrins found a YouTube link that must have included some pretty good material.  He watched what he estimated to be a total of 30 minutes of video about Lowball Single-Draw basics.  A short time later, he owned a WSOP gold bracelet. 

Sick.  Amazing.  Absurd.  Ridiculous....take your pick of adjectives.  But the reality is – the best single-word description would be IMPRESSIVE.
 
Indeed, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

This was the first of four Lowball events to be held at this year’s World Series of Poker.  The winner, Perrins, is a professional poker player.  This was the first year he has attended the WSOP.  Perrins earned $102,105 in prize money.  He was also presented with the supreme symbol of achievement in the game of poker – the WSOP gold bracelet.  This marked his first-ever WSOP victory.

The runner-up was Chris Bjorin, one of the game’s finest gentlemen.  If any player, particularly from abroad, deserves serious consideration as the first international Poker Hall of Fame inductee, it is most certainly the amiable gambler from London.  Bjorin owns two WSOP gold bracelets and ranks sixth on the all-time list of WSOP career cashes.  Unfortunately, he just missed what would have been his first WSOP victory in 11 years.   
  
This was the ninth official tournament event on this year’s WSOP SCHEDULE.  The tournament attracted 275 entries.  Attendance increased 10 percent from last year’s turnout when there were 250 players.  The overall trend at this year’s WSOP thus far has been a slight increase in attendance in tournament participation and a large increase in action both in cash games and satellites.

Perrins’ account of his inexperience playing the game was reminiscent of at least two legendary poker accomplishments.  Jennifer Harman famously declared that she had never played the game, after winning the $5,000 buy-in version of this game in 2000.  She took a five-minute course from another player moments before the action began and ended up winning her first of two gold bracelets.  A similar story occurred in 1980 when Stu Ungar won the WSOP Main Event Championship.  That was only the second time Ungar had played in a No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  The runner-up that year (Doyle Brunson) quipped afterward that he was astonished by Ungar’s ability to learn so much so quickly and pick up things about the game as he went along.  Undoubtedly, Perrins’ victory in this tournament (with a much larger field size) will entice some comparison.

For the tournament portal page for this tournament, including all REPORTS and RESULTS, click here.


EVENT #9 CHAMPION – MATTHEW “MATT” PERRINS

The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball champion is Matt Perrins.

Perrins is from Rochdale, UK, which is adjacent to the much larger English city of Manchester.

Perrins considers himself to be a No-Limit Hold’em specialist.  He does not normally play other forms of poker.

Perrins collected a $102,105 for first place.  He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Perrins had never played the game he won, in any capacity, prior to his victory.  Incredibly, he learned the basics from watching a few free poker videos that were posted online.  He admits to being unfamiliar with the game when he began Day One.  By Day Three (final table), Perrins had come to several realizations about strategy that allowed him to succeed.

During the tournament, Perrins was late to arrive on Day Two.  The second day began at 2:30 p.m.; however, Perrins arrived one hour late because he could not get a ride to the Rio on time.

According to official records, Perrins now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance and 1 in-the-money finish at the WSOP.  

This is the first year Perrins has attended the WSOP.

Perrins currently has $102,105 in career WSOP winnings.  He has an estimated $650,000 win live tournament career winnings, according to several major popular websites.

Perrins’ biggest tournament victory up to this point was a first-place finish in the Italian Poker Tour’s championship held in Venice, in 2009.

Perrins is a close friend of the winner of Event #2, Jake Cody.  Both Perrins and Cody reside in the same town of Rochdale, UK.  In fact, the two new poker champions have known each other since they were children.

Perrins is to be regarded as a professional poker player, since he works and plays poker successfully full-time.


WINNER QUOTES (Note: The winner was interviewed at tableside moments after the victory)

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:  “This is great.  To have all my mates here and to come for the first time and win it.  It’s really amazing.  I can’t describe it right now.”

On what motivated him to play a new game for the first time at the WSOP:  “My friends talked me into it.  They said it was fun.  So, I decided to give it a try.  I guess that kind of went well.”

On how he was able to grasp the complexities of the game so quickly:  “During Day One and the first three or four hours, I was not sure what was going on.  I was getting into a few hands, and I was not sure what I should do here.  So, I ended up speaking to some of my mates.  I started to pick it up.  As the tournament got deeper, it was kind of similar to Hold’em as in where being aggressive and three-betting will get you a lot of chips.  That’s where I started moving toward the final table.”

On playing against a very tough lineup at the final table: “I knew that everyone had a lot more experience than me, but since I was able to play it a bit like Hold’em, they would fold.  When I three-bet and was aggressive, it worked.”

On his future goal in poker:  “To win another bracelet.”


THE FINAL TABLE 

The final table was comprised seven players.

The final table contained two former gold bracelet winners – Chris Bjorin and Jason Mercier.  

Two nations were represented at the final table – including Great Britain (2 players) and the United States (5 players).

It was an all-British finale when play became heads-up.  The top two finishers were from the UK.

The runner-up was Chris Bjorin, from London, UK.  He is originally from Sweden.  Bjorin holds two WSOP gold bracelets, winning in 1997 ($1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha) and 2000 ($3,000 No-Limit Hold’em).

With this cash, Chris Bjorin currently ranks in a sixth-place tie with Humberto Brenes for most career cashes – at 59.

With this final table appearance, Chris Bjorin currently ranks in 10th place with Doyle Brunson for most career final tables – at 25.

The third-place finisher was Robin Rightmire, from Glenwood Springs, CO.

The fourth-place finisher was Bernard Lee, from Wayland, MA.  He is a well-known poker personality and player.  Lee is a columnist for The Boston Herald (newspaper) as well as ESPN.  He also hosts a radio talk show, called “Inside Deal.”  Lee now has more than $800,000 in WSOP earnings.  

The fifth-place finisher was Thomas Fuller, from Boulder, CO.  He now has more than $250,000 in career WSOP winnings.

The sixth-place finisher was Josh Brikis, from Pittsburgh, PA.  He is a 31-year-old poker pro.  Brikis has more than $1.5 million in worldwide tournament winnings.  His best showings at the WSOP were a second-place finish in 2009 and finishing 55th in last year’s Main Event Championship.

The seventh-place finisher was former gold bracelet winner Jason Mercier, from Davie, FL.  He is one of the most respected all-around poker players in the world.  Mercier won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha title in 2009.  He now has more than $900,000 in career tournament winnings at the WSOP.  

The final table began at 3:10 pm.  Final table play ended at 8:20 pm.  Hence, the final table lasted about five hours, 10 minutes.

The final table had an unusual atmosphere for a Lowball Draw game.  On most occasions, loud cheering sections can be found only at No-Limit Hold’em finales.  Rarely does a Lowball match generate much crowd interest, and certainly raucous celebrations are almost unheard of.  Nevertheless, an all-British finale guaranteed some fireworks in the stands.  The gallery was packed with English players, most of whom rooted for Matt Perrins.  The crowd was respectful toward Bjorin and the other players.  But Perrins was the overwhelming crowd favorite.  When cards were revealed during all-in situations and players were drawing, the atmosphere was as exciting as any No-Limit Hold’em finale.

The final table was played in ESPN’s new main stage, which is getting raves in terms of design and appearance.  No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.  Early reports from the television crew are that this year’s preliminary footage looks “spectacular.”  Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins.

Action was streamed live over WSOP.com.  Viewers can tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables.  Although hole cards are not shown, viewers can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table.  The floor announcer provides an official account of the action.  


OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS 

The top 28 finishers collected prize money, which meant the last four tables of players were paid.

The defending champion was Yan Chen, from Los Angeles, CA.  He did not cash this year.

Former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included Chris Bjorin, Jason Mercier, Dan Kelly (11th), Rami Boukai (13th), Greg Mueller (18th), Dario Alioto (20th), Eli Elezra (25th), and “Captain” Tom Franklin (28th).

The 10th-place finisher was Avery Cardoza, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is the founder and owner of Cardoza Publishing (and the Gamblers Bookstore in Las Vegas), which has printed and distributed many best-selling poker books.  Among Cardoza’s catalogue is Doyle Brunson’s autobiography, which was released last year.  

The 14th-place finisher was Don McNamara, from Menlo Park, CA.  He finished third in the Limit counterpart to this tournament, at last year’s WSOP.

The 15th-place finisher was Don Zewin, from Las Vegas, NV.  He has been playing at the WSOP for more than 20 years.  Zewin finished third in the 1989 Main Event Championship, topped in the final only by Johnny Chan (second) and Phil Hellmuth (winner).

The 16th-place finisher was Sean Snyder, from San Diego, CA.  When asked details about his background by the media, Snyder called himself a “professional losing player.”  He also insisted his favorite poker player is “Bill Frist,” which is an inside joke to all of those who have been involved in the online poker scene since 2006.

The 17th-place finisher was Don Walsh, from Park Ridge, IL.  He insists he has played more No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Single-Draw poker than anyone in the world.  Most of Walsh’s hours were accumulated playing the game online.

Tournament results are to be included in the WSOP official records.  Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.


ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 900th gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history.  This figure includes every official WSOP event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010).  For the first time ever, one gold bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National Championship.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late).  The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first 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 the public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.

Perrins’ gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Tuesday, June 7th.  The National Anthem of Great Britain will be played in honor of his victory.


WSOP LOWBALL RECORDS

Poker Hall of Fame inductee Billy Baxter holds every conceivable meaningful record in the Lowball game category.  He has dominated this form of poker in a manner that is unprecedented for any player in any game in history.  Perhaps only late poker legend Bill Boyd, who enjoyed similar domination in the game of Five-Card Draw poker (which is no longer spread at the WSOP) can arguably rival Baxter’s mastery of a single poker game.

All of Baxter’s seven WSOP gold bracelets were won playing various forms of Lowball. 

Baxter holds 16 WSOP cashes in Lowball events, the most of any player in this form of poker.  To give some perspective of Baxter’s excellence, the current second-place leaders in Lowball career cashes are Bobby Baldwin and “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale, with nine apiece.
 

EVENT HISTORY 

Deuce-to-Seven Lowball made its tournament debut at the 1973 WSOP.  The game is rarely played anywhere except at the very highest levels.  It’s rarely spread inside public card rooms -- either as cash games or tournaments.  In fact, the WSOP is one of the few places where this poker variant is offered.  The game was initially tacked onto the WSOP schedule because it was the preferred game of many high-stakes cash game players and has since become a tradition.

The very first Deuce-to-Seven Lowball champion was Aubrey Day.  Since then, the Deuce-to-Seven gold bracelet has been won by a royal court of poker champions, including Jack Straus, Sailor Roberts, Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Bobby Baldwin, Sarge Ferris, Stu Ungar, Dewey Tomko, Seymour Lebowitz, Bob Stupak, John Bonetti, Freddy Deeb, Johnny Chan, Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, O’Neil Longsen, Barry Greenstein and others. 

Deuce-to-Seven 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 a losing hand since the straight counts against the player.  

In the “Triple-Draw” variant of this game, players may draw up to three times to make their hand.  This tournament employed a “Single-Draw” format.

This same game was played at last year’s WSOP at the $1,500 level.  The buy-in for the “cheapest” Lowball event declined from $2,500 to $1,500 in an effort to encourage more players to enter and perhaps learn more about the game.  The lower buy-in boosted attendance from 147 (in 2009) up to 250 (in 2010).  This year, there were 275 entries, which seems to confirm the reality that if tournaments are more affordable, more players will take a chance and play (what is for many) a new game.

There is some difference of opinion as to where and when this game originated. Since the 1930s, variations of standard 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 “10-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 10-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. 


TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 4th at 5 pm.  The tournament officially ended on Monday, June 6th, at 8:20 pm.


2011 WSOP STATISTICS

Through the conclusion of Event #9 (sans Event #8 which is still being played at press time), the 2011 WSOP has attracted 4,424 entries.  $13,831,800 in prize money has been awarded to winners thus far.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:
United States (6)
Great Britain (2)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (4)
Great Britain (2)
Ukraine (1)
Israel (1)

Through the conclusion of this event, the home-states of winners have been:
California (1)
Illinois (1)
New York (1)
New Jersey (1)
Florida (1)
Nevada (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (6):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins

Semi-Pros (2):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot

Amateurs (0):  None

All of the first eight tournaments completed so far have been won by first-time champions (non-winners from previous years). 

Four of the first eight winners this year also enjoyed their first-ever WSOP cash with the victory.

Every WSOP over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (wins within the same year).  1999 was the last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners.  The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners in a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles.

The streak of male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 170 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.

The highest finish by a female player (open events) at this year’s WSOP was Maria Ho, who finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).

Note:  Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold bracelet event as they are completed.

Note:  All results are now official and may be reprinted by media.  If you are posting these results on a website, we would appreciate providing a link back to:  WSOP.com

__________________________________

For official news and the latest updates from the 2011 World Series of Poker, visit:  WSOP.com


 
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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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