QUITE A REP-UTATION - REP PORTER WINS 2nd WSOP GOLD BRACELET

June 28, 2011 - 01:54:57 AM EST  | 

QUITE A REP-UTATION - REP PORTER WINS 2nd WSOP GOLD BRACELET

TOURNAMENT HEADLINES

Touched by an Angel?

Rep Porter Wins $2,500 Buy-In Razz Championship

Porter Earns Gold Bracelet Number Two – Previous Win Was in 2008

Seattle-Area Poker Pro Rakes-In $210,615 in Pot

Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

44 Gold Bracelets Won – 14 More Still to Go

OVERVIEW

Other than Hold’em, the game with the longest and richest tradition at the World Series of Poker is most certainly Seven-Card Razz -- sometimes called “Razz,” for short.

It’s a peculiar game.  For instance, you don’t want to be dealt any Royal Flushes in Razz.  You’ll go broke quickly, if you do.  In fact, the object of the game is to make the worst (or lowest) possible ranked hand.

That’s right.  You want bad cards.  Trash.  Garbage.  Bricks.  But the game is hardly for losers.

The illustrious list of former Razz champions reads like a “Who’s Who” of poker.  Former gold bracelet winners include -- Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Eskimo Clark, T.J. Cloutier, Ted Forrest, Linda Johnson, Berry Johnston, O’Neil Longson, Lakewood Louie, Tom McEvoy, Huck Seed, Barry Greenstein, Jeffrey Lisandro, Frank Kassela and others ho have pretty much written the history of poker by themselves.

The first-ever Razz champion was legendary Sam Angel, one of the most (how does one phrase this?) colorful personalities ever to burst upon Las Vegas.  He won the inaugural event held at Binion’s Horseshoe, in 1973.  Angel was a complete contradiction of his given name (he was hardly “angelic”), and is often remembered as a surly, abrasive figure.  He often wore loud checkered jackets and slurred ceaseless profanities.  And, that was his good side.  When he was at the poker table, things usually got worse. 

Perhaps in part due to Angel’s two early victories in Razz and his undeniably cantankerous demeanor, the poker variant developed (an undeserved) reputation as the perfect game for sour-faced nits.  It’s certainly changed since the early days of Angel's antics.  Yet the game remains as a bone fide WSOP tradition, with as interesting a history of any tournament held annually, other than the WSOP Main Event.

The Razz championship was televised by ESPN once, back in 2004.  That was one of the most interesting tournament final tables ever shown.  There were several interesting personalities among the eight finalists and lots of table chatter.   However, the game was never broadcast again, presumably because it was difficult for viewers to follow and confusing (to novices) since the object of the game was the make the worst/lowest hand.  Which is a real shame, as the following years would prove to be just as unusual.

This event has also been particularly kind to the ladies.  Two women have won this event in the past – former Card Player magazine owner and editor, Linda Johnson (1997) and German poker pro Katja Thater (2007). 

The 2005 Razz championship was one of the longest final tables in WSOP history.  That finale clocked in at a mind-numbing 16 hours – which set a WSOP record at the time.  The Razz mark stood for three years until the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event final table, which lasted 19 hours. 

Perhaps 2007 included the oddest episode of any Razz tournament in history.  Late in the tournament when players finally reached the money, ex-champ “Eskimo” Clark sat alone as the chip leader.  Then suddenly, he suffered a heart attack in the middle of the tournament, hitting the floor at the Rio while paramedics rushed to the rescue.  Incredibly, Clark not only brushed off medical assistance, he demanded being allowed to continue to play.  Half a pack of smokes and a dozen hot wings later, Clark did indeed continue and ended up finishing in fourth place, while an emergency stretcher was conspicuously parked near tableside.

After an Angel, a marathon, and even a heart attack – it’s hard to imagine what might come up next in the wild wacky game of Razz.

The answer appears to be – Rep Porter.

Rep Porter (a.k.a. Ralph Porter) won the most recent tournament held at the 2011 World Series of Poker.  The event was a $2,500 buy-in Razz championship, which attracted 363 entries.  Porter won $210,615 in prize money for finishing first.  He was also presented with his second WSOP gold bracelet, symbolizing the ultimate achievement in the game.  Porter's previous win took place in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em, in 2008.

Porter's path to victory was not easy.  It took four days and every bit if skill and energy in his reservoir to achieve a most satisfying win.  Among those who tested Porter were runner up Stephen Su, and two former gold bracelet winners who made it to the final table – Robert Williamson III (who finished 4th) and Chris Bjorin (who finished 6th).

Among the other former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament were:  John Monnette (13th), David Sklansky (21st), Chau Giang (25th), Dan Idema (28th), David Warga (31st), Perry Friedman (34th) and Chris Viox (37th).

Alas, Rep Porter may not have very much in common with the late Sam Angel.  Porter seems like a nice enough guy.  But Porter does share at least two similarities with the legend from WSOP past.  Both players have double gold bracelets.  And both players have proven themselves to be outstanding Razz champions.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #44, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE

EVENT #44 CHAMPION – REP PORTER

The 2011 World Series of Poker $2,500 buy-in Seven-Card Razz champion is Rep Porter, from Woodinville, WA.

Porter is a 40-year-old professional poker player and financier.

Porter was born in Edmonds, WA.

Porter’s real first name is Ralph.  However, his initials are R.E.P.  So, he goes by “Rep Porter.”

Porter is married to wife Lisa.  They have two children.

Porter graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in information systems.

Porter worked in Wall Street for six years before settling down in the Seattle area.

Porter began playing poker in 1977 when he was in grade school.

Porter’s first WSOP cash was in 2005.  His breakthrough victory in poker took place in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.  Porter finished in 39th place, out of 6,358 entries.  Porter collected nearly a quarter million in prize money.

Porter attended the WSOP the following year, where he won his first gold bracelet.  Porter won the $1,500 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em title, which paid $372,843.

For this victory, Porter collected $210,615 for first place. 

According to official records, Porter now has two wins, 5 final table appearances and 16 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

Porter currently has $961,600 in career WSOP winnings.

With this event, Porter entered 15 events at the 2011 WSOP.  This was his second time to cash this year.

Porter is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been a full-time player the last four years.  However, he has also invested in various businesses.

WINNER INTERVIEW

On what’s happened to him since his first WSOP victory in 2008:

“After I won, I started a business.  So, I did not play much poker in 2009 or 2010.  I still came to the WSOP both years.  I played like 22 or 23 events each year.  I made two final tables in 2009, both in Limit Hold’em.  Last year was a very rough WSOP for me.  I had just one cash for the entire series.  Outside of the WSOP, I did okay….but this year I came back focused.  I went deep in one event.  I was chip leader when we reached the money.  But you know how tournaments are.  You lose one or two pots, and that was that.”

On how the game is changing and evolving in recent years:

“I don’t necessarily think the online players coming out of the dark have made things tough.  Many of the better online players came to the WSOP anyway.  I do think that in the last five years, the quality of play in all the games has gone up drastically.  I do not think it’s necessarily because of Black Friday or any of the stuff that’s going on.  I just think there is an enormous amount of educational material out there and people are serious about poker have the ability to read and learn things that were not available when I first started playing.”

On which victory of the two is more meaningful:

“The gold bracelet I won a few years ago means more.  I had just gotten back into poker from working on Wall Street.  I played a lot of poker tournaments in 04, 05, 06 and 07.  I had two seconds and two fourths, plus a lot of top-20 finishes.  But I had never won anything.  I wanted to win the gold bracelet so bad, and I fulfilled that.  I have now had some wins since then, so the first one is always the most special.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The official final table was comprised of the top eight finishers. 

The final table contained three former gold bracelet winners – Chris Bjorin, Robert Williamson III and Rep Porter.

Three different nations were represented at the final table – including Great Britain (1 player), South Africa (1 player) and the United States (6 players). 

When play began, Tommy Chen was the chip leader.  He was ahead by more than 2 to 1 in chips over everyone, except Robert Williamson III (who began play in second place).

The runner up was Stephen Su, from Houston, TX.  He is a 31-year-old accountant.  This was his second final table appearance and seventh time to cash at the WSOP.  Second place paid $130,075.

Former gold bracelet winner Robert Williamson III hoped to win his first WSOP title in nine years, but ended up in fourth place.  Williamson made a monster move on the last day, going from 15,500 in chips to more than 600,000 within a one hour span.

Chris Bjorin finished in sixth place.  He cashed in this event last year as well, finishing in 10th place.  The Swedish-born two-time gold bracelet winner (now living in London) now has 60 career cashes, which places him alone in eighth place on the all-time cashes list at the WSOP.

Final table play began Monday evening at 9:15 pm.  Played concluded about 7 hours and 45 minutes later (playing time wise) at 5 pm the following day.  The finale was interrupted during heads-up play because the hard-stop deadline was reached.  The maximum number of levels played each day is ten (about 12 hours of play from start to finish). 

The final table was played on ESPN’s secondary stage.  The main stage was used for the conclusion of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em finale (Event #43) which took place at the same time.  The new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and appearance.  No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.  Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in July.

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 40 finishers collected prize money.

The defending champion of this event was Frank Kassela.  Last year, he won his second gold bracelet of 2010 playing Razz, which led to his “WSOP Player of the Year” victory.  Kassela did not cash in this event this year.

Among the former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament (aside from the three players at the final table) were the following:  John Monnette (13th), David Sklansky (21st), Chau Giang (25th), Dan Idema (28th), David Warga (31st), Perry Friedman (34th) and Chris Viox (37th).

With his 25th-place finish, Chau Giang now has 59 career cashes, placing in ninth place on the all-time list.

Roland “Speedy” Israelashvili finished in 20th place.  This marked his sixth cash at this year’s WSOP.  The all-time record for most cashes in a single year is ten.

David Sklansky -- a three-time gold bracelet winner and one of poker’s foremost theorists -- finished in 21st place.

Frank Mariani, part-owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, finished in 27th place.

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

“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.

ODDS AND ENDS

This tournament attracted 363 entries.  This was down by a tiny fraction from last year, which attracted 365 entries.

Razz is a variant of lowball.   It is dealt out in a Seven-Card Stud format.  The objective is to make the lowest five-card poker hand.  Ace-to-five is the best possible hand in Razz.

The average age of entrants was 39 years, which is considerably older than the average age of most tournaments.

There were 13 females who played in this tournament, representing 3.3 percent of the field.

This is the 936th 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).  Moreover for the first time ever, one gold bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National Championship.

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 p.m.  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.

Porter’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Wednesday, June 29th.  The national anthem of the USA will be played in honor of his victory. 

EVENT HISTORY

Razz was first introduced onto the WSOP schedule in 1973.  It has been included on the tournament schedule every year since then, except in 1976.

The illustrious list of former winners in this event reads like a “Who’s Who” of poker.  Former Razz champions include -- Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Eskimo Clark, T.J. Cloutier, Ted Forrest, Linda Johnson, Berry Johnston, O’Neil Longson, Lakewood Louie, Tom McEvoy, Huck Seed, Barry Greenstein, Jeffrey Lisandro and Frank Kassela.

Four players have won this event two times in WSOP history.  This exclusive club of repeat Razz winners includes -- Sam Angel, Gary “Bones” Berland, Mike Hart and Huck Seed.

The first-ever Razz champion was by legendary Sam Angel, one of the most colorful personalities ever to be part of the Las Vegas gambling culture.  He won the inaugural event held at Binion’s Horseshoe in 1973.  Angel was a complete contradiction of his given name (hardly “angelic”), and is often remembered as a surly, abrasive figure.  He often wore loud checkered jackets and slurred ceaseless profanities.  Perhaps in part due to Angel’s two early victories in Razz and his cantankerous demeanor, the poker variant developed (an undeserved) reputation as a game for nits and tightwads.  It’s certainly changed since the days of Sam Angel, and remains as an event with arguably as interesting a history of any tournament held each year at the WSOP, other than the Main Event.

Two ladies have won this event in the past – Linda Johnson (1997) and Katja Thater (2007).

The Razz championship was televised by ESPN once, back in 2004.  It was one of the most interesting tournament final tables ever shown.  There were several interesting personalities among the eight finalists and lots of table chatter.  However, the game was never broadcast again, presumably because it was difficult for viewers to follow and confusing (to novices) since the object of the game was the make the worst/lowest hand.

The 2005 Razz championship was one of the longest final tables in WSOP history.  That finale clocked in at a mind-numbing 16 hours – which set a WSOP record at the time.  The Razz mark stood for three years until the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event final table, which lasted 19 hours. 

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days/nights – which extended into a fourth day.

Day One began with 363 players.

Day Two resumed with 166 players.

Day Three resumed with 24 players and played down to heads-up.

The unscheduled fourth day played from two players down to the winner.

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 25th at 5 pm.  The tournament officially ended early Tuesday afternoon, June 28th at 5 pm.

2011 WSOP STATISTICS

Through the conclusion of Event #44 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 50,128 combined total entries.  $91,144,185 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (27)

Canada (5)

Great Britain (3)

France (3)

Ukraine (3)

Russia (2)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (25)

Canada (5)

Great Britain (3)

France (3)

Russia (2)

Ukraine (1)

Israel (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been:

California (5)

Nevada (4)

New York (3)

Texas (2)

Illinois (2)

Florida (2)

Connecticut (2)

New Jersey (1)

Tennessee (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (1)

Virginia (1)

Michigan (1)

North Dakota (1)

Washington (1)

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

Professional Players (34):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, Mark Radoja, Chris

Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin Pechie, Ben Lamb and Rep Porter

Semi-Pros (5):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis

Amateurs (4):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell

Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 39 out of 43 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 43 winners (18 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.  (Note, at the time of this report, Event #43 had yet to conclude).

Every WSOP held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year).  The last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999.  The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles.  So far this year, no player has yet won two gold bracelets.

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 203 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Poker Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.  The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.

The highest finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players.  Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).  Kim Nguyen also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).

The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.

Reigning world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their victory.  Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001.  Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of the fields.  But there’s also great pressure on the champions to do well.  What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold bracelet after winning the championship during the previous year:

Johnny Moss (1975)

Doyle Brunson (1977)

Bobby Baldwin (1979)

Johnny Chan (1988)

Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

By contrast, players who make it to the final table of the Main Event Championship (November Nine) one year tend to do quite well in subsequent WSOP years.  Consider that last year, three former Main Event finalists won gold bracelets – Eric Buchman, Tex Barch, and Scott Montgomery.  This year, Matt Jarvis won his first gold bracelet one year after making it to the November Nine in 2010.

New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)

 Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history (2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19, 2011

Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39

Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history.  He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (82) and final table appearances (42).


 
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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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