Event #30: 7 Card Razz
Location: Rio, Las Vegas
Buy-in: $1,500
Number of Entries: 291
Total Prize Money: $401,580


O'Neil Longson won the most punishing event thus far at this year's World Series. He topped an all-time Razz turnout (291 entries) and collected $125,690 in prize money.

This was gold bracelet Number Three for the retiree and poker pro from Utah. In every way, shape, and form the Razz finale was grueling. On Day Two, play started off at 2 pm. The tournament did not end until 8 am the next morning. The brave spectators remaining at the end, scattered inside a near-empty tournament area, were either dozing or catatonic.

This is not to say that Longson, a widely-respected tournament veteran, did not play masterfully. In fact, play at the final table was extraordinary. There were a number of interesting poker personalities in the finale, which might have provided some riveting drama has the game been No-Limit Hold'em. But instead, the game was Razz - a hybrid of Seven-Card Stud in which the object of the game is to make the worst possible hand. There are no devastating rivers or coin-flip showdowns in Razz, just hours and hours and hours of seeming tedium.

The eight finalists took their seats and play began. There were three former gold bracelet winners - O'Neil Longson (2), Mike Wattel (1), and Hassan Kamoei (1). Players were eliminated in the following order:

8th Place: Hassan Kamoei, $11,245
Hassan Kamoei went out first. He arrived with the lowest stack (11,500). Kamoei went out with an 8-6 low which lost to Larry Cesareo's 8-4.
7th Place: Larry Cesareo, $15,660
Larry Cesareo was the next player to exit. He was low on chips and made his last stand with 10-9, ultimately losing to Archie Karas' 9-6.
6th Place: Mickey Wernick, $19,675
Mickey Wernick is a true poker pioneer. He was one of the first non-American players to visit the WSOP back in the late 1970s, and allegedly brought Texas Hold 'em to the UK. Wernick has a number of in-the-money finishes and final tables in his 25-year WSOP career. He went out when his 9=8=6 was bested by Archie Karas' 9=8=4.
5th Place: Mike Wattel, $24,900
Mike Wattel was the runner-up in the Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split event. Here, he fell low on chips and had a number of decent starting hands, which then turned into dogs.
4th Place: Archie Karas, $30,120
Anargyros Karabourniotis, a.k.a. Archie Karas, has played tournament poker regularly. Although he has played in the highest cash games in the world, he has not yet won a major tournament. Karas came close on this night, but ultimately fell short.
3rd Place: Al Barbieri, $42,165
Al Barbieri, nicknamed "Sugar Bear" had Bruno Fitoussi all-in at one point and it seemed he might get heads-up against Longson. But Barbieri lost that crucial hand and went out.

Runner up: Bruno Fitoussi, $70,275
Heads-up play began with O'Neil Longson holding a 2-to-1 chip lead. The betting levels were so high that only a hand or two could swing the lead in either direction. In the end, Bruno Fitoussi ended up losing the final hand, as his 10-7 was topped by Longson's 9-8.

The runner up was Bruno Fitoussi, a.k.a. "the King." Fitoussi is best known in the poker world as the manager of Aviation Club de France. He won the World Heads-Up Championship in 2001 and also finished 15th in the main event (WSOP) in 2003.

1st Place: O'Neil Longson, $483,195
O'Neil Longson is a 71-year-old professional poker player. This was Longson's second gold bracelet in two years.

Longson walked away from the nearly-empty poker room as he has many times, strolling casually and quietly back to his room at the end of a long day. Those who may have passed him en route would never have known by the stoic look on Longson's face that he had just won six-figures and become a three-time WSOP winner.

View final results.

Tournament reporting by Nolan Dalla / worldseriesofpoker.com