No-Limit Hold'em ChampionshipLocation:
Rio, Las VegasBuy-in:
$1,500Number of Entries:
2,013Total Prize Money:
How great a week has this been for Mark Seif? Just six days ago, he won his first gold bracelet ever in the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold'em Shootout. Seif collected $181,330 for his victory. A few days later, Seif entered the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event. If climbing the first mountain was high (with 450 entries) this one was poker's version of Mount Everest. A whopping 2,013 players entered Event #22, making it the third-largest live tournament in history. In the middle of Day Two, Seif had accumulated so many chips that his innumerable stacks swelled across three table positions.
If there was a downside to Seif's first WSOP win earlier this week, it was that it came at 5:00 o'clock in the morning. The victory might have come in prime time for die-hard poker fans following the live Internet coverage over in Kyrgystan, but the remainder of the poker world was snoozing away. Much later in the day, friends of Mark Seif would learn of the former Los Angeles attorney's breakthrough victory in the world's most prestigious poker tournament.
This time, Seif did a victory dance on the most majestic of poker stages - at the World Series of Poker in front of the bright lights of ESPN television cameras. Better still, he defeated an all-star poker lineup. In an event that is sure to top ratings when it is shown on ESPN, Seif arrived as one of four former gold bracelet winners. It was a stellar finale which included 2004 world champion Greg Raymer (one bracelet), charismatic English playboy David "Devilfish" Ulliott (one bracelet), rock-solid tournament pro Minh Nguyen (two bracelets), and Mark Seif himself as the newest member of the WSOP club of elites. The remaining group of players insured an eclectic final table. Players were eliminated in the following order:
9th Place: David "Devilfish" Ulliott, $47,225
This was David "Devilfish" Ulliott's second trip to the final table at this year's WSOP. He finished third in Event #2 - good for $232,205 in prize money. The former London-based jeweler-turned-poker pro played a bit too aggressively early, by trying to bluff Greg Raymer out of a big pot. That cost Devilfish over half of his stack when Raymer called down Ulliott with a small pair. About half an hour later, Devilfish tried to pick up the pot with A-7 and got clobbered by Minh Nguyen, who made a straight.
8th Place: Steve Rassi, $63,895
After Mark Seif seized the chip lead away from Raymer, Steve Rassi, a coin dealer from Illinois, lost his last 240,000 in chips with 8-8. Webber Kang covered the raise with A-K and watched with delight when a king fell on the turn. That eliminated the second player at the table.
7th Place: Steve Carter, $91,670
Steve Carter was desperately low on chips with only 55,000 and tried to take the pot with a marginal hand, which was called down by Bill Gazes. A pair of sixes knocked Carter, a Texas-based owner of a retail store that sells poker supplies, out of the tournament.
6th Place: Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, $119,450
Greg "Fossilman" Raymer has certainly been a wonderful representative for game of poker during his year-long reign as world poker champion. He has traveled around the world and made over a hundred public appearances since his 2004 WSOP victory. This was the Fossilman's first WSOP final-table appearance since last year, and for a time, it looked as though he might win his second gold bracelet. But after an early rush, Raymer lost most of his chips and ended up with a disappointing 6th-place finish.
5th Place: Peter Lee, $147,230
Peter Lee took a tough beat when he moved all-in holding the best hand with A-7 after the flop came 7=6=4. Mark Seif had plenty of chips with which to call the 200,000 bet. His 9-8 with two overcards to Lee's pair gave him an outside straight draw. Seif missed the straight but caught a nine on the river to send Lee packing. This was the first WSOP appearance for Peter Lee, a student from Queens, NY.
4th Place: Webber Kang, $175,010
The previous big pot gave Seif over a million in chips. Next came what was certainly the biggest hand of the tournament, and arguably the most exciting hand of this year's WSOP so far. Webber Kang was dealt 10-10. Minh Nguyen was dealt J-J. Bill Gazes was dealt A-K. Kang raised, Nguyen re-raised and Gazes called Nguyen's all-in. The flop left the audience in shock. J=10=2. The astonishing spectacle of seeing set-over-set, with another player on a straight draw - with so much money at stake, no less - brought everyone in the room to their feet. Two blanks fell on the turn and river and Minh Nguyen, at least for the moment, had leaped two spots up the pay scale and was guaranteed an extra $150,000. Meanwhile, Webber Kang, a Dallas-based public relations and marketing director, staggered away from the final table.
3rd Place: Bill Gazes, $202,790
It's a myth that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. Ask Bill Gazes. The dream-crushing hand also eliminated Gazes as the 3rd place finisher. Gazes has finished high in the money several times at the WSOP and has a number of major tournament wins in recent years.
Runner up: Minh Nguyen, $329,975
After the smoke cleared, Seif enjoyed a slight chip lead with about 1.7 million to Nguyen's 1.3 million. With a WSOP gold bracelet and over a quarter of a million dollars on the line (the difference between first and second was $291,000), Nguyen enjoyed a small rush and drew close to even in chips. But over the next twenty minutes, Seif regained his momentum and was clearly "in the zone" when the final hand was dealt:
SEIF - K-K
NGUYEN - A-10 (diamonds)
The flop came K=7=4 with no diamonds. The turn brought a 9. That left Nguyen all-in and drawing dead.
1st Place: Mark Seif, $611,145
The winner was Mark Seif, a 37-year-old professional poker player from Incline Village, NV (located on Lake Tahoe). Seif has played poker as a pro for about five years.
Back in 2001, Seif quit his regular job as a highly-successful defense attorney. In retrospect, that decision turned out to be a wise one. He won $611,145 for first place. With his previous win amounting to a couple hundred grand, the total of Seif's tournament earnings now total $792,475 - plus two gold and diamond bracelets.
Not bad for a week's work.
View final results.
Tournament reporting by Nolan Dalla / worldseriesofpoker.com