Becker, the 2017 WSOP Poker Players Championship runner-up, breaks through in lowball event.
3 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – Germany's Johannes Becker has claimed the title in Event #8 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball. Becker's victory was worth $180,455.
Becker, 27, from Cologne, Germany, made a late run to the title in this mixed-format event, which featured rotating rounds of three lowball triple-draw variants – ace-to-five, deuce-to-seven, and Badugi. It's Becker's first bracelet win, and it swells his career WSOP earnings, in just five cashes, to more than $1.15 million.
Second place went to Scott Seiver, of Cold Spring Harbor, NY. The 33-year-old Seiver's near miss at a second career bracelet was worth $111,516. Seiver has accumulated nearly $4.3 million in lifetime WSOP cashes.
Third-place winnings of $71,547 went to Seattle, Washington's Jesse Hampton, while fourth place and $47,166 went to two-time bracelet winner Chris Vitch, with one of those wins coming in this event two years ago.
Becker's drive to his first bracelet didn't happen, as he pondered not entering the event at all after busting the $100,000 high-roller event. Yet this online lowball specialist gave it a second think, and finally decided to enter not long before Event #8's late registration closed.
Becker faced some adversity early on in Day 3 action. “I started the day with the second-least amount of chips,” he noted. “I didn't expect to win... but I'm pretty happy anyways.” Becker also had to weather Seiver's own near-rush to the win during three-handed action, when the cards suddenly shifted Becker's way.
It was a reversal from Becker's 2017 WSOP experience, when he finished second in the Poker Players Championship, earning a still-career-WSOP high of $862,649 in the process. “Even though I didn't win the bracelet last year, [the experience] was a lot more meaningful than this bracelet, given that the event was bigger and the field was tougher. But I'm still very happy to have won my first bracelet.”
Becker appears to have emerged as one of the world's leading lowball practitioners, saying he plays his favorites – deuce-to-seven and Badugi – whenever he can find a game. (Becker didn't divulge any of his online identities.)
The 27-year-old German's run began slowly. Monday's Day 3 found 12 players returning to action from the field's 321 total entrants, with the final table of six a few hours off. That final 12 featured five players tightly bunched with 400,000, led by the 493,000 of Vitch, who won this event two years ago. The early knockouts came slow but steady, with Michael Wagner (12th), Frank Kassela (11th), Bryce Yockey (10th), Mike Leah (9th), Damjan Radanov (8th), and lastly, Alex Simma (7th) exiting over Day 3's first four hours.
Seiver led as the official final formed, though an on-a-heater Vitch surged to the lead soon after. Vitch's run came at the expense of several others, including two-time bracelet winner Luis Velador, who was bounced from the final in sixth. Shortly after losing most of his chips to Johannes Becker, Velador, one of Mexico's most famed players, ran into a near-pat hand held by Vitch in deuce-to-seven. Velador was all in on the first draw, with Seiver folding out of the hand at that point. Vitch eventually showed as Velador drew one on his last draw. Velador showed his own before looking, but couldn't pull the four and headed to the rail.
George Trigeorgis's deep run here ended in fifth, during a round of Badugi. Trigeorgi was all in from the big blind for his last chips, with Seiver and Vitch checking it down after the first draw. No one made a Badugi, but Seiver's three-card five ( ) was best, while Trigeorgis could muster only a three-card eight. Trigeorgis, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, collected $31,973.
Fourth place in Event #8 went to Phoenix, Arizona's Vitch, who was trying to win this mixed-format lowball event for the second time in three years. Vitch stormed from near elimination to hold nearly half the chips in play at one moment early in the final, but his cards turned sour from there. Vitch lost most of his remaining chips in a deuce-to-seven hand against Seiver where Vitch's was edged out by Seiver's . Vitch's last few chips went in on the following hand to no avail, and he went to the cashier's window.
A lengthy three-way battle ensured following Vitch's ouster, with Seiver seemingly on the verge of closing out his remaining foes. But then the cards turned in Becker's favor. Hampton, a one-time Magic: The Gathering pro, dodged elimination for over an hour before being bounced by Becker in a hand where Becker made the second-best hand in deuce-to-seven, .
Then it was closeout time, with the cards continuing to run the German pro's way. Seiver's run ended in a Badugi hand where Becker made a jack-high badugi on the second draw, staying pat while Seiver failed to connect on his final draw. That gave Becker the title and a brief celebration with a handful of his fellow German pros.
Event #8's 321 total entries created a total prizepool of $722,250. The top 49 players made the money, with a min-cash worth $3,721.
Among those cashing in Event #8 were Mike Leah (9th, $11,870), Bryce Yockey (10th, $11,870), Frank Kassela (10th, $9,072), Brian Hastings (14th, $7,163), Nam Le (17th, $7,163), Billy Baxter (18th, $7,163), John Monnette (21st, $5,487), Steve Sung (26th, $4,942), John Hennigan (28th, $4,942), Dan Shak (29th, $4,942), Mike Wattel (31st, $4,329), Jon Turner (32nd, $4,329), Shaun Deeb (37th, $3,937), Randy Ohel (38th, $3,937), Chip Jett (39th, $3,937), and Yueqi Zhu (40th, $3,937).
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Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):
1st: Johannes Becker, $180,455 (960.14)
2nd: Scott Seiver, $111,516 (480.07)
3rd: Jesse Hampton, $71,547 (432.06)
4th: Chris Vitch, $47,166 (384.06)
5th: George Trigeorgis, $31,973 (360.05)
6th: Luis Velador, $22,334 (336.06)