Las Vegas, NV (June 6, 2011) -- What are the odds that two poker players from a tiny town located in the north of England would come halfway around the globe to the 2011 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and each win gold bracelets within just a week’s time?
If you’re keeping track at the moment, the odds are 100 percent.
Matt Perrins, from the small suburban town called Rochdale, situated within a short distance of industrial Manchester, matched the feat of his close neighbor by winning a WSOP title in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship, which concluded today at the Rio in Las Vegas. Perrins victory took place only a few days after Jake Cody, also from Rochdale, won the $25,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship.
Perrins' victory was impressive for at least one additional reason. Incredibly, he had never played this game until this tournament began.
Perrins later explained he was tired of playing Hold’em and decided to try something “different.” For most people, that means sitting down in a small-stakes cash game. Or perhaps, entering one of the many daily tournaments spread around Las Vegas, during WSOP-time. For Perrins, that meant ponying up a $1,500 entry fee and entering a tournament filled with many hard-core Lowball enthusiasts. Indeed, many of the players in this tournament had been playing Lowball for decades.
Before taking his tournament seat, Perrins had to familiarize himself with some rules and basic strategy of the game. Since there aren’t too many tutorials out there on mastering No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball, he turned to the place where virtually no one else goes to learn a new poker game.
That’s right, You Tube – the site famous for music video, pranks, and pet tricks.
Apparently Perrins found a You Tube link that must had some pretty good stuff. He watched what he estimated to be a total of 30 minutes of video about Lowball Single-Draw basics. A short time later, he owned a WSOP gold bracelet.
Sick. Amazing. Absurd. Ridiculous....take your pick of adjectives.
Indeed, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
This was the first of four Lowball events held at the 2011 World Series of Poker. The winner, Perrins, is a professional poker player. This was the first year he attended the WSOP. Perrins earned $102,105 in prize money. He was also presented with the supreme symbol of achievement in the game of poker – the WSOP gold bracelet. This marked his first-ever WSOP victory.
The runner up was Chris Bjorin, one of the game’s finest gentlemen. If any player from abroad deserves serious consideration as the first international Poker Hall of Fame inductee, it is most certainly the amiable gambler from London. Bjorin has two WSOP gold bracelets. He ranked sixth on the all-time list of WSOP career cashes. Unfortunately, he just missed what would have been his first WSOP victory in 11 years.
This was the ninth official tournament event on this year’s WSOP SCHEDULE. The tournament attracted 275 entries. Attendance increased ten percent from last year’s turnout when there were 250 players. The overall trend at this year’s WSOP thus far has been a slight increase in attendance in tournament participation and a large increase in action both in cash games and satellites.
Poker Hall of Fame inductee Billy Baxter holds every conceivable meaningful record in the Lowball game category. He has dominated this form of poker in a manner that is unprecedented for any player in any game in history. Perhaps only late poker legend Bill Boyd, who enjoyed similar domination in the game of Five-Card Draw poker (which is no longer spread at the WSOP) can arguably rival Baxter’s mastery of a single poker game.
All of Billy Baxter’s seven WSOP gold bracelets were won playing various forms of Lowball.
Billy Baxter holds 16 WSOP cashes in Lowball events, the most of any player in this form of poker. To give some perspective of Baxter’s excellence, the current second-place leaders in Lowball career cashes are Bobby Baldwin and “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale, with nine each.
Deuce-to-Seven Lowball made its tournament debut at the 1973 WSOP. The game is rarely played anywhere except at the very highest levels. It’s rarely spread inside public cardrooms -- either as cash games or tournaments. In fact, the WSOP is one of the few places where this poker variant is offered. The game was initially tacked onto the WSOP schedule because it was the preferred game of many high-stakes cash game players and has since become a tradition.
The very first Deuce-to-Seven Lowball champion was Aubrey Day. Since then, the Deuce-to-Seven gold bracelet has been won by a royal court of poker champions, including Jack Straus, Sailor Roberts, Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Bobby Baldwin, Sarge Ferris, Stu Ungar, Dewey Tomko, Seymour Lebowitz, Bob Stupak, John Bonetti, Freddy Deeb, Johnny Chan, Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, O’Neil Longsen, Barry Greenstein and others.
Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball means the worst, or lowest ranked hand wins the pot. The very best possible 2-7 lowball hand is 2-3-4-5-7 of mixed suits. An ace counts as a high card. Flushes and straights count against the player. While a wheel (A-2-3-4-5) is the perfect hand in standard lowball, in Deuce-to-Seven it is usually a losing hand both because the ace is a high card and because the straight counts against the player.
In the “Triple-Draw” variant of this game, players may draw up to three times to make their hand. This tournament employed a “Single-Draw” format.
This same game was played at last year’s WSOP at the $1,500 level. The buy-in for the “cheapest” Lowball event declined from $2,500 to $1,500 in an effort to encourage more players to enter and perhaps learn more about the game. The lower buy-in boosted attendance from 147 (in 2009) up to 250 (in 2010). This year, there were 275 entries which seems to confirm the reality that if tournaments are more affordable, more players will take a chance and play (what is for many) a new game.
There is some difference of opinion as to where and when this game originated. Since the 1930s, variations of standard Lowball have been spread throughout California and Nevada. According to poker theorist David Sklansky, Limit 'Double-Draw' Lowball was first spread at the (now defunct) Vegas World during the early 1980s. Others cited a game called “Ten-Handed Triple-Draw Lowball” as the forbearer of Triple Draw, which was played at Amarillo Slim's' Super Bowl of Poker tournaments in Reno and Lake Tahoe during the period 1979 through 1984. Since ten-handed poker could only accommodate perhaps three or four players at most due to the number of cards needed to complete a hand, reducing the number of cards (to five) enabled more players to sit in the game.
The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 4th at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Monday, June 6th, at 8:20 pm.
Through the conclusion of Event #9 (sans Event #8 which is still being played at press time), the 2011 WSOP has attracted 4,424 entries. $13,831,800 in prize money has been awarded to winners, so far.
For the tournament portal page for this tournament, including all RESULTS, click here.