David Warga Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 27

Warga Earns WSOP Gold Bracelet Number Two – Following Previous Win in 2002

Warga, Winner of 2002 Casino Employees Championship, Cashes Big in Stud/8

Arizona Poker Pro Collects $208,682 in Prize Money
 
Through 27 Events -- WSOP Attendance Up 15 Percent Over Last Year
 
For the official tournament portal pages for this event, including official results, click HERE.

OVERVIEW

David Warga was the winner of the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked Warga’s first career WSOP gold bracelet victory in an open event.  He actually owns two gold bracelets now, having won the WSOP Casino Employees Championship in 2002.  This victory paid $208,682, which was his biggest poker payday ever.

Warga is a 41-year-old former real estate investor-turned poker pro.  He lives in Chandler, AZ.  
The runner up was Maxwell Troy, a professional poker player from Los Angeles, CA.  He plays daily at the Commerce Casino, mostly in Stud games.  Second place paid $129,253.
 
The third place finisher was longtime tournament veteran, David Levi -- an Israeli-born poker pro from Las Vegas, NV.  With his third-place cash, Levi neared the half-million dollar mark in career WSOP winnings.

The top 64 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Andre Boyer, Vince Burgio, Brandon Cantu, Scott Clements, Phil Ivey, Chris Reslock, James Richburg, Blair Rodman, and David Warga.

THE CHAMPION – DAVID WARGA

The $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split champion (Event #27) is David Warga, from Chandler, AZ.

Warga is 41-years-old.

Warga was born in Dearborn, MI.  He now lives in Chandler, AZ, which is in the Phoenix area.

Warga is pronounced “WAR-GAH.”

Warga won the Casino Employees Championship at the 2002 WSOP.  The Casino Employees Championship was/is open only to casino workers.  Warga’s win totaled $47,300.  At the time, he was a poker dealer at Casino Arizona.

Warga becomes the only player in WSOP history to ever win the Casino Employees Championship in addition to an open gold bracelet event.  Note:  Open events mean the competition is open to all players.  Casino Employees, Ladies, and Seniors tournaments are classified as closed events – intended only to those specific groups of players.

Following his 2002 win, Warga went on to invest in real estate.  

While dealing poker, Warga began playing poker seriously.  He found himself playing more than he was dealing.  He also found playing on the Internet to be preferable (and more profitable at the time) than playing in live-action games.

Warga now plays poker full-time.  He has concentrated on online tournaments the last few years, after initially playing mostly in cash games.

Warga plays a wide range of tournaments, from $24 buy-in events up to those with $1,000 buy-ins.  He says his comfort level (before winning this event) is the $216 entry fee events online.

Warga admits he had never played Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split in a casino before.

Warga’s favorite poker game is H.O.R.S.E.

This was Warga’s first recorded cash in a live poker tournament since 2006.

Warga collected $208,682 for first place.

According to official records, David Warga now has two wins, two final table appearances, and five in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.   His career WSOP earnings now total $265,402.

WINNER QUOTES

On what winning his first WSOP gold bracelet in an open event means:  “It means so much.  I had very low expectations of actually winning it.  I was very happy just make it into the money.  And then to make it to the final table, I was ecstatic.”

On his win back in 2002:  “I worked at Casino Arizona at the time as a dealer….I’ve always been proud of that first bracelet, but some saw it as a little bit tainted (because it’s not an open event).  So, to win an open event means a lot more to me.  And, that it is the second one.  There are not many players who have won multiple bracelets.”

On why he prefers playing online rather than live poker:  “It’s mostly for the shear convenience of it.”

On his skill in Eight-or-Better:  “This is the first time I have ever played Stud High-Low in a casino in my life.  I have been into H.O.R.S.E. the last few years.  And, Stud High-Low is obviously one of the games.  I learned it there, and this was my first shot.”

On his final table opponents:  “I was up against David Levi, a very aggressive player.  Luckily, he was sitting to my right.  So, that helped a little.  There were no weak spots here.  Karina (Jett) and Maxwell (Troy) also played great.  I had to catch some hands.  Obviously, these players had more experience, especially at this game.”

On what he plans to do with the prize money:  “I do not have any specific plans for it.  I’m not going to go out and buy any expensive toys or anything like that.  It will probably be invested….Well, I might go out and spend a little bit of it.  I might have to celebrate with some of it.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table consisted of no former WSOP gold bracelet winners from open events, which guaranteed a first-time open event champion.  This was the 11th final table this year with no former open event winners, which is an unusually large number of first time finalists.

For only the second time this year, only one nation was represented at the final table -- the United States.

The final table began eight-handed.  Seven-Card Stud finals include only the top eight finishers, as opposed to nine in Hold’em.

Final table participants ranged in age from 23 to 50.

The runner up was Maxwell Troy, from Los Angeles, CA.  He is a cash game grinder who plays daily at the Commerce Casino.  Troy has an impressive resume in Stud-related events.  This was his third time to cash in a Stud event since 2008.  He took 4th in 2008, 14th in 2009, and 2nd this year.  Troy also cashed in the 2008 WSOP Main Event championship.  Second place in this year’s Event 27 paid $129,253.

The third-place finisher was longtime tournament veteran, David Levi -- an Israeli-born poker pro from Las Vegas, NV.  With his third-place cash, Levi neared the half-million dollar mark in career WSOP winnings.  He collected $87,400.

The fourth-place finisher was another well-known poker pro, Karina Jett.  She is one of poker’s most recognizable faces.  Jett has numerous cashes at various tournaments over the past decade.  This was her third time to finish in fourth place in a WSOP event.  She took 4th in the Ladies Championship twice, in 2003 and again in 2004.  This time, Jett rocketed away with $60,588 in prize money.

The fifth-place finisher was Christopher George, from Croton on Hudson, NY.  He cashed for the second time this year, in both Stud High-Low tournaments.  In Event #15, he took 14th place.  This time, he finished a bit higher, which paid $42,913.

The sixth-place finisher was Jonathan Bascom, from Oxford, MD.  This was his second WSOP cash, worth $31,046.

The seventh-place finisher was Chris Tryba, the bombastic poker pro from Las Vegas.  Tryba, has eight WSOP Circuit cashes.  This marked his third time to cash at the WSOP – and was his first time to make it to the final table.  Seventh place paid $22,926

The eighth-place finisher was Allen Bari, from West Orange, NJ.  He is a poker pro who made his ninth WSOP career cash.  His best showing was a big win in a WSOP Circuit event held at Harrah’s Atlantic City three years ago.  This time, Bari had to settle for a much quicker stay at the final table, which paid $17,274.

The final table officially began at 7 pm and ended at 1:10 am.  The final table clocked in at 6 hours and 10 minutes.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 64 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Andre Boyer, “Dutch” Boyd, Vince Burgio, Brandon Cantu, Scott Clements, Phil Ivey, Chris Reslock, James Richburg, Blair Rodman, and David Warga.

“Dutch” Boyd cashed in this event, finishing in 28th place, which came the day after he won his second WSOP gold bracelet.  Boyd won Event #23.

Phil Ivey’s cash was the 39th of his career.  This puts him in a 25th-place tie on the all-time WSOP cashes list (with Steve Zolotow).

The defending champion was David J. Halpern, from New Orleans, LA.  He did not enter this year’s tournament.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 855th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history.  Note:  This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded at WSOP Europe (to date).

Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split is sometimes called Stud Eight-or-Better.  This is because the low hand has a qualifier, which must be an eight-low, or better.

The final table was played on a periphery staging area.  This was because the two primary ESPN stages were being used for the final tables of other events (#24 and #26).  This was the first day at this year’s WSOP which included the conclusion of three final tables.  As one might have expected, this kept the Amazon Room at the Rio buzzing with excitement most of the night.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight).  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, usually around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.

Warga requested that the national anthem of the United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.

EVENT HISTORY

Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split was the first "split" game ever to be played at the WSOP, when it was first introduced 32 years ago.  In 1976, Doc Green became the first Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Champion.  Interestingly, he won $12,750 for first place that year, which is less than half what the middle of the payout scale earned in this year's event.

Since 1976, the list of event winners reads like a "Who's Who" of poker.  Past winners include Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Mickey Appleman, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Max Stern, Men "the Master" Nguyen, Mike Sexton, Artie Cobb, Vince Burgio, Cyndy Violette, Rich Korbin, Eli Elezra, and Jeffrey Lisandro.

In 1986, this game was inexplicably omitted from the WSOP schedule.  After some protest by Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split enthusiasts, it was reinstituted and has been included on the poker menu every year.  Since 1995, every WSOP has included at least two Eight-or-Better events. This year's WSOP schedule includes two Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournaments – the $10,000 buy-in World Championship completed earlier and this $1,500 buy-in event.

No player in WSOP history has ever won more than one gold bracelet in this game.

Last year's event attracted 466 entries.  The number of entries exploded this year to 644 players.  This was the biggest percentage increase of any event thus far on the WSOP schedule.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 14-16, 2010.

The final hand of the tournament came when David Warga had his opponent covered several times over.  Warga had Maxwell Troy in a number of times prior to the final hand.  But Troy managed to stay alive for about 45 minutes of heads-up play.  The last hand was dealt when Warga was dealt (   )         ( ), giving him two pair with no low.  Rival Maxwell Troy was dealt (   )         ( ).  The pair of tens was not enough to take the pot.  Warga won, with Troy taking second place.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year.  Last year, through 27 events, there were 25,764 entries.  Through 27 events this year, total entries stand at 29,785, representing an increase of 15.6 percent.

Tournament prize money figures are up slightly from last year.  Last year, through 27 events, the sum of total prize money won was $50,339,856.  This year’s total prize money figure currently stands at $50,654,630 – which represents an increase of 0.6 percent (note the decimal).

Through the conclusion of Event #27, the nationalities of winners have been:

United States (19)
Great Britain (3)
Canada (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #27, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (14)
Great Britain (3)
Vietnam (2)
Canada (2)
China (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #27, the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (19):  Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon

Semi-Pros (2):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch

Amateurs (6):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben

Through the conclusion of Event #27, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners at the 2010 WSOP:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)