Rio, Las VegasBuy-in:
$3,000Number of Entries:
406Total Prize Money:
It is very likely that Todd 'Dan Druff' Witteles owns a World Series of Poker record which may never be broken. To date, Witteles has played in exactly two WSOP events in his lifetime. He took 3rd place in his first tournament ever (Event #4). Then, he won his second tournament - the $3,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em championship. No other player in WSOP history has finished so high (1st and 3rd) in their first two tournaments.
This is not what one would expect from a player who goes by the nickname "Dan Druff." Playing with a bottle of Head and Shoulders hair shampoo (which was used as a card protector) on the poker table, Witteles was second in chips at the start and blew away his opponents in the final stages of the tournament. It took Witteles eight hours to rake in the final pot of the night and contain a late rally by runner up Daryl Mixan.
Witteles, a professional poker player from Las Vegas, plays mostly on the Internet. He is well-known in online poker circles, but is virtually anonymous inside cardrooms and at poker tournaments (at least until now - winning a gold bracelet tends to change everything).
"I wanted to pick a screen name that was funny," Witteles explained when asked about his nickname. "When I play live - I decided to use this bottle of shampoo to throw off my opponents. I even washed my hair with this bottle twice. So, it worked!"
Witteles has earned nearly half a million dollars in Limit Hold'em, rather than the far more popular No-Limit game. "In limit poker, the cost of making a mistake is not nearly as high," Witteles said. "If I make a mistake in Limit Hold'em it costs me a few bets. But if I make the same mistake in No-Limit I can lose my whole stack. That's why I prefer Limit Hold'em."
It's hard to argue with success. The $3,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em championship attracted 406 entries. The prize pool was $1,120,560. After 397 players were eliminated on the first two days, the nine finalists arrived at the final table. Two former gold bracelet winners played in the finale - Eddy Scharf (with two titles) and Cyndy Violette (with one title). The chip leader was Kieu Duong (with 310,000). Todd Witteles was second in chips (with 211,000). Players were eliminated in the following order:
10th Place: Eddy Scharf, $13,455
Lufthansa Airlines pilot and two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Eddy Scharf was eliminated when he lost a big pot with pocket aces to a diamond flush.
9th Place: Matt Matros, $22,410
Poker author and up-and-coming tournament player Matt Matros left the final table after his A-Q was burned by J-10 when a ten flopped.
8th Place: Mike Nargi, $33,615
Mike Nargi, a professional gambler from Las Vegas, was low on chips and went out next.
7th Place: Cyndy Violette, $44,820
This was Cyndy Violette's third final table appearance at this year's WSOP (all in hold'em events). She has also cashed five times. Violette was knocked out by Rafael Perry's pocket aces.
6th Place: Craig Crivello, $56,030
Craig Crivello was getting low on chips and went out on the hand after Violette's elimination. Crivello found pocket sixes and then watched in horror as five overcards came on board and a raising war broke out between his two rivals.
5th Place: Matt Hawrilenko, $67,235
Matt Hawrilenko is a 23-year-old stock trader from Philadelphia. He was blinded down to the point where he had to play a hand and was eliminated.
4th Place: Derek Baxter, $78,440
Rafael "Ralph" Perry went out next. Perry threw his last chips into the pot with 2-2. Todd Witteles had Q-J and caught a jack on the turn. That blew Perry away. Rafael Perry, born in Russia, finished third in the WSOP main event in 2002.
3rd Place: Kieu Duong, $89,645
Kieu Duong, who arrived as the chip leader, went out in third place. Duong lost the chip lead about midway through the finale, and was low on chips when she found an ace and made a raise short-handed. Todd Witteles had a king and rivered a pair of cowboys, which eliminated Duong.
Runner up: Daryl Mixan, $179,2900
When heads-up play began, Witteles enjoyed the advantage of a 3-to-1 chip lead. After losing a few key pots, Daryl Mixan was down to about 60,000 in chips and made his last stand with K-6 after a king flopped. Witteles had 10-7 and faded the final bet holding a pair of sevens. A ten fell on the turn, which gave Witteles a second pair. Mixan still had outs going into the final card, but missed when a blank fell on the river.
Daryl Mixan is serving in the Coast Guard and is stationed in Alaska. He spent this year's Independence Day break at the WSOP. This was his first-ever WSOP tournament.
1st Place: Tood Witteles, $347,385
Tood Witteles is a 33-year-old former software engineer. He holds a M.S. degree in computer science.
The next time "Dan Druff" enters a poker tournament, his expectations will be high. After winning $115,800 in his first tournament and $347,385 in his second, Witteles can't possibly improve his final table percentages or increase his financial return on investment.
Then again, with the main event of the 2005 World Series of Poker scheduled to begin in just two days, Witteles will be shooting for the biggest trifecta in poker history. If he brings his bottle of Head and Shoulders to the table, look out.
View final results.
Tournament reporting by Nolan Dalla / worldseriesofpoker.com