The King of
Hellmuth in Epic Heads-Up Finale
Wins No-Limit Draw Deuce-to-Seven Lowball World Championship
Poker Pro Collects Fifth WSOP Gold Bracelet And Moves into Tie for 12th
$367,170 Top Prize
A Full House
at 2011 WSOP
Just Misses Gold Bracelet Number 12, Finishes as Runner Up – No Temper Tantrum
Attendance Remains Ahead of Last Year
16 Gold Bracelets
Won – 42 More Still Up For Grabs
Of all the
poker tournaments he’s won, of all the prize money he’s collected, and of all
the (now five) gold bracelets he’s earned in what has become an illustrious
playing career, the most recent victory by international poker superstar and
tournament veteran John Juanda most certainly ranks right up there
among the most memorable.
the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven
Draw Lowball World Championship,
which concluded late on a Saturday night in front of a packed gallery of
spectators. Alas, when the final heads-up battle commenced, half the
stargazers at the Rio Las Vegas appeared to be cheering for Juanda. The
other half were cheering for poker icon Phil Hellmuth. More than a few in the standing-room-only
crowd were also rooting against Hellmuth. Most certainly, Hellmuth
is well-accustomed to his detractors and even relishes the role of villain.
All great athletes and legendary sports teams divide the public's rage and
But there was
one thing everyone in the crowd could agree upon – that the Rio was the
place to be at this very special moment in the poker universe. Each
spectator was one of a few hundred lucky souls potentially witnessing poker
history being made by two of the most skilled craftsmen at the very top of
The path down
to the final two players wasn’t easy. The field of 126 might have seemed
relatively small in number when juxtaposed against the multi-thousand player
fields in monster-sized Hold'em events. But measured in terms of skill
and experience, this was as tough a tournament as had ever been played.
Consider for a moment that of the final eight players who made it to the final
table, seven were former gold bracelet winners. Two finalists had won
this same event previously, including the defending champion David Baker.
In all, the top seven players held a total of 19 gold bracelet wins. Even
the final table bubble player was no slouch. His name was Greg
“Fossilman” Raymer. Johnny Chan finished 12th. It was a tooooooough
marked Juanda’s fifth WSOP gold bracelet career victory, which now places him
amongst even more elite poker royalty. He joins seven other players who
have achieved five gold bracelet victories – including Stu Ungar, Berry
Johnston, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Jeffrey Lisandro, Allen
Cunningham, “Bones” Berland, and Scotty Nguyen. That’s pretty select
company and ties him for 12th place all-time.
But it wasn’t
just the win, it was how he managed to triumph and make his own night of
history. With the victory, he prevented Hellmuth from taking a
comfortable – and some might say insurmountable – two-bracelet lead over his
two closest rivals – poker legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, who have 10
career wins each.
for Hellmuth, that's an entirely different chapter. Not too many players
would turn down a second-place finish and a six-figure score at the World
Series of Poker. But Hellmuth wasn’t buying any of it. Following
defeat, he was gracious towards Juanda, who certainly has earned the respect of
everyone within the poker world, including Hellmuth. But what may
continue to plague Hellmuth is that he’s yet to win a WSOP title in any game
other than Hold’em. Indeed, all of Hellmuth’s 11 previous gold bracelet wins
had taken place in one form of Hold’em or another – Limit, Pot-Limit, and
No-Limit. Nevertheless, he’s become an international dynasty that
transcends the green felt and remains arguably the most famous poker player in
there’s one player who wasn’t intimidated by any of the Hellmuthisms, the
bright lights, or the cheers of adoring worshipers on this night, it was Juanda. Juanda was cast in the perfect – one could
even say, “secondary” – role. It takes quite a player to potentially
upstage someone with Juanda's talent, and Hellmuth ultimately proved he was not
quite Juanda’s match on the biggest stage in poker when it counted most.
two poker giants – polar opposites in terms of disposition and imagery – traded
the chip lead back and forth like two prizefighters deadlocked in the middle of
the 12th round. Hellmuth had his chances to win a few times. He had
Juanda down by nearly a 2-1 margin, but was never able to close out the
victory. Meanwhile, Juanda played what seemed to be a near-perfect
game. Never emotional, always in control, consistently pushing even the
smallest edges and putting Hellmuth to the test on virtually every decision.
With everything on the line and
the entire poker world watching and waiting, out of nowhere – it happened.
It all came so quickly. Suddenly, Hellmuth was all-in. Juanda
called. The crowd rose to its feet. There were screams and
shouts. Then, there was one final draw and Juanda ultimately triumphed,
which was a final fisted glove to the hopeful chin of a noble fellow champion.
It was a great match. It
was a memorable night. It was one of John Juanda’s finest hours in a
stellar career filled with victories and memorable moments.
One can only
hope that someday there will be a re-match.
For a complete recap of Event #16,
please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.
EVENT #16 CHAMPION
– JOHN JUANDA
World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball champion
is John Juanda from Las Vegas, NV.
Juanda is a 40-year-old
professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV. He now owns five WSOP gold bracelets. His last WSOP victory took place at 2008 WSOP
Europe Main Event Championship, held in London.
Before that, his previous win was back in 2003.
Juanda was born
in Indonesia. He arrived in the United
States as a teenager. Juanda earned his
undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University. He received his MBA from the University of
first WSOP cash occurred in 1999.
won many other major poker tournaments, most notably the 2005 Aussie Millions
$100,000 buy-in poker challenge, and the 2001 World Poker Open Main Event (and
numerous others events). He has now
accrued over $10 million in career lifetime winnings worldwide.
previous victory at WSOP Europe included one of the most memorable matches in
poker history. Clocking in at a
mind-numbing 19 hours and 10 minutes, it was the longest final table in the 42-year
history of the World Series of Poker.
The final table lasted 484 hands.
victory in this tournament, Juanda collected $367,170 for first place. He was also awarded his fifth WSOP gold
bracelet. Juanda is currently tied with
seven other players who have each achieved five gold bracelet victories –
including Stu Ungar, Berry Johnston, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Ted Forrest,
Jeffrey Lisandro, Allen Cunningham, “Bones” Berland, and Scotty Nguyen.
official records, Juanda now has 5 wins, 27 final table appearances, and 56
in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
number of final table appearances currently ranks seventh in WSOP history.
number of cashes currently ranks in a tie for ninth place in WSOP history.
has $4,668,340 career WSOP winnings.
Juanda is to
be regarded as a professional poker player, since he has been playing full-time
for several years.
(Note: The winner was interviewed at
tableside moments after the victory)
On the tough
level of competition he faced: “Tonight there were a lot of great
players. It’s tough to post a $10,000
buy-in tournament, especially in a game like No-Limit 2-7. So, I didn’t expect it to be easy. I actually started today as the shortest
stack and obviously had to catch some cards.
You know, I just took it one hand at a time.”
heads-up against Phil Hellmuth: “Hellmuth actually played pretty good. I was impressed with the way that he
played. He made one really great play
against Joe (Cassidy), who had the winning hand and he became the chip leader
after that. So, overall I was very
impressed with the way he played. You
know, a lot of people said he couldn’t play anything besides Hold’em, but
tonight he played really well. If the
cards would have fallen his way he could be standing here doing the interview
instead of me.”
On what makes
Deuce-to-Seven a great game: “You know, I was just thinking about it the
other day. This is a game that provides
a lot of action and a lot of bluffing.
You can’t really bluff in other games because the board is showing. But, in this game you could be bluffing with
four of a kind and people have no clue what you have.”
On playing an
emotional game of cat and mouse versus Hellmuth: “He showed
me a bluff early. But there wasn’t
really a reason I (showed my bluffs).
Phil is a very emotional player, you know. You show him a couple bluffs here and there
and he can get thrown off his game. I
don’t know if that really happened tonight, but I just decided to do it and see
what would happen.”
On which of
his five WSOP victories means the most: “I mean, this is the most fond one, because
I just won it. But, I think the most
memorable one that I won would be the WSOP Europe Main Event and there was a
lot of money and also a top field. We
played for 20 hours at the final table, so I still remember it like
yesterday. It felt like the dog chasing
the cat. I finally won and I was like,
“We have to quit now?”
final table was comprised eight players.
table contained seven former gold bracelet winners – Phil Hellmuth, John
Juanda, Richard Ashby, Nick Schulman, David Bakes Baker, Hasan Habib and Steve
Sung. This was one of the most
accomplished final tables in WSOP history.
No final table has ever sat seven (of eight) former title winners. The combined gold bracelet count of all
players was 20.
nations were represented at the final table.
Players represented the following countries: Great Britain (1 player) and the United States
began, the final table chip leader was Phil Hellmuth, Jr. However, the chip stacks were very balanced
from the start, which meant any player among the final eight was a legitimate
threat to win.
runner up was Phil Hellmuth, Jr., from Palo Alto, CA. Hellmuth collected $226,907 as a consolation
this cash, Hellmuth now has 80 in-the-money finishes. This ranks as the most cashes by any player
in WSOP history.
this final table appearance, Hellmuth now has 41 such finishes. This ranks as the most final table appearances
by any player in WSOP history.
his defeat, Hellmuth took the loss in stride.
He shook Juanda’s hand a few times and waved to the crowd. There were no Hellmuthisms, for which he has
become famous. Many of Hellmuth’s most
memorable moments have occurred in previous years when he has busted out of
WSOP events. Such moments have generated
a near-cult following.
third-place finisher was Richard Ashby, from Watford, UK. He won a gold bracelet in the $1,500 buy-in
Seven-Card Stud event last year.
fourth-place finisher was Steve Sung, from Torrance, CA. He won a gold bracelet in a $1,000 buy-in
No-Limit Hold’em event, held in 2009.
That was in the largest non-Main Event tournament in WSOP history, with
fifth-place finisher was Nick Schulman, from New York, NY. He won a gold bracelet in this same event
held back in 2008.
sixth-place finisher was David “Bakes” Baker, from Irmo, SC. He was the defending champion from last
year’s same event.
seventh-place finisher was Hasan Habib.
He won the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split event in 2004.
eighth-place finisher was Joe Cassidy, from Las Vegas, NV. He was the only non-previous winner among the
final eight. However, he now has 13 WSOP
cashes and four final table appearances.
Final table play
began at 4:30 pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Play ended at 12:35 am on Sunday morning. The finale went about 8 hours and 5 minutes.
table was played on ESPN’s Main Stage, which was packed with spectators. The new final table set is getting raves in
terms of design and appearance. No stage
in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.
streamed live over WSOP.com. Viewers can
tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables. Although hole cards are not shown, viewers
can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table. The floor announcer provides an official
account of the action.
indisputably the largest crowd ever to watch a Draw Lowball game in
history. Normally, packed galleries and
cheering crowds are reserved for televised Hold’em events. But the makeup of unique high-profile personalities
at the final table made this a riveting theatrical event. Drama was particularly tense once the
heads-up match commenced between Hellmuth and Juanda.
The top 14 finishers
collected prize money.
former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event were – (the
aforementioned players at the final table) plus Greg Raymer, Johnny Chan and
This was perhaps
one of the most accomplished payout lists of players in-the-money in the modern
era of poker. Many years ago, big names
routinely packed the top of the tournament standings, since fewer players were
paid due to field sizes being smaller.
Now, it’s increasingly difficult for even the best players to make it to
the top 10 percent and receive a payout.
The law of large numbers and averages means many of the names in the
money are not recognizable. This
tournament was a monumental exception.
Ten of the 14 players who finished in the money were former gold
bracelet winners, with a combined 30 wins.
the official final table by one spot was Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, who made his
second cash in 2011. This was Raymer’s
highest finish since 2009 (when he came in third in one event). He has now cashed 16 times during his career.
champion Johnny Chan does not quite have the number of cashes and final table
appearances of some of his peers. This
is due largely to Chan not playing in as many events as other players. Nevertheless, the poker icon with 10 gold
bracelet victories now has 44 cashes (which ranks in a tie for 19th
results are to be included in the WSOP official records. Results are also to be included in the 2011
WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.
ODDS AND ENDS
This is the
909th gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history. This figure includes every official WSOP
event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were
no actual gold bracelets awarded. It
also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010). Moreover for the first time ever, one gold
bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National
WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s
victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late). 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. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20
pm. The national anthem of the winner’s
nation is played. The entire
presentation is open to the public and media.
Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the
bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Monday, June 13th. The national anthem of his native country of
Indonesia will be played in honor of his victory.
holds every conceivable record in the Lowball category. He has dominated this form of poker in a
manner that is unprecedented for any player in any game in history. Perhaps only the late poker legend Bill Boyd,
who enjoyed similar domination in Five-Card Draw poker (which is no longer
spread at the WSOP), can rival Baxter’s mastery of a single game. All of Baxter’s seven WSOP gold bracelets
were won playing various forms of Lowball.
He 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.
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 card rooms – 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 tacked onto the WSOP schedule because it was the preferred game of
many high-stakes cash game players.
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.
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 since the ace counts as a high card against the
player. So, K-2-3-4-5 is better than
“Triple-Draw” variant of this game, players may draw up to three times to make
their hand. This tournament employed a
difference of opinion as to where and when this game originated. Since the 1930s, variations of 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
10-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.
Deuce-to-Seven is sometimes called “Kansas City Lowball.”
was played over three consecutive days.
officially began on Thursday, June 9th at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Sunday,
June 12th, at 12:35 am.
conclusion of Event #16, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 14,732 entries. $28,970,960 in prize money has been awarded
to winners, to date.
conclusion of this tournament, the nationality of gold bracelet winners has
conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has
conclusion of this event, the home-states of (American) winners have been:
New York (1)
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to
semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:
(13): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene
Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller,
Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast,
(2): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot
(1): Geffrey Klein
Up until this
tournament, the first 15 tournaments completed had been won by first-time
champions (non-winners from previous years).
Juanda’s victory finally broke the streak.
This year, five
of the first 16 winners also enjoyed their first-ever WSOP cash with their
over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet
champion (wins within the same year).
1999 was the last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of
single-event winners. The record for
most multiple gold bracelet winners in a single year was in 2009, when five
players managed to win two or more titles.
So far, no player has yet won two gold bracelets (this year).
The streak of
male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 177 consecutive events. Aside from the annual Ladies Championship,
the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa
Selbst, in 2008. The longest “cold”
streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221
consecutive open events passed without a female champion.
finish by a female player (open events) at this year’s WSOP was Maria Ho, who
finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).