Italian Poker Pro Wins Razz Championship at 2015 WSOP, Good for Third Career Gold Bracelet

Pescatori Becomes First Player from Italy to Win Three WSOP Titles


Name:  Max Pescatori
Birthplace:  Milan, Italy
Age:  44
Current Residence:  Las Vegas, NV (USA)
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Profession:  Poker Pro
Number of WSOP Cashes:  46
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances:  7
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament):  3 (2006, 2008, 2015)
Best Previous WSOP Finish:  1st (2008)
Total WSOP Earnings:  $1,846,021
Personal Facts:  Known by his nickname as “the Italian Pirate,” his last name actually translates into “fisherman”

Imagine a strange poker game where the worst hand wins.

Welcome to Razz.

Other than Texas Hold’em, the game that’s enjoyed the longest-running tradition at the World Series of Poker is Seven-Card Razz -- sometimes simply called “Razz” for short.  It’s a peculiar game.  For instance, you don’t want to be dealt royal flushes in Razz.  You’ll go broke quickly, if you do.  In fact, the object of the game is to make the worst (or lowest) possible ranked hand.  That’s right.  You want bad cards.  Trash.  Garbage.  Bricks.  But the game is hardly for losers.

The list of former Razz champions reads like a royal court of poker.  Former gold bracelet winners include -- Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Eskimo Clark, T.J. Cloutier, Ted Forrest, Berry Johnston, O’Neil Longson, Lakewood Louie, Tom McEvoy, Huck Seed, Barry Greenstein, Jeffrey Lisandro, Frank Kassela, Phil Hellmuth and other multiple gold bracelet winners who have pretty much written the history of poker.

Max Pescatori added his name to the illustrious list of champions in this event, winning the $1,500 buy-in Razz championship, becoming yet another multiple gold bracelet champion with many years of dedication to his craft.  This marks his third career victory at the Rio in Las Vegas.  First place paid $155,947 from the official prize pool, which totaled $623,700.

Pescatori, a popular Italian poker pro originally from Milan and now living in Las Vegas, burst upon the poker scene back in 2006, with his first win in the $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.  Two years later, he picked up gold bracelet number two in the $2,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha/Hold’em event.  During that span, he also won two WSOP Circuit gold rings and also was a significant force on the tournament scene.  However, more recent years haven’t been so kind.  This victory marked Pescatori’s first win here in seven years.  With this finish, the player nicknamed the “Italian Pirate” now has 46 cashes at the WSOP and more than $1.8 million in career earnings.

“It’s been a while,” Pescatori admitted, and seemingly relieved to win after so many attempts and near misses in recent years.  “This is very sweet, that’s for sure.  I’ve done good here, but nothing matches winning.  I knew this game was strong for me, so I felt that this gave me a good chance to get my third in this one.”

Pescatori’s final table competition was just as tough as one might expect in an event which historically draws more experienced players.  Ryan Miller put up a tough fight, but finished as the runner up.  Eli Elezra was also hoping for his third career gold bracelet, but came in fifth instead.  Cyndy Violette also bubbled the finale, coming in ninth. 

Pescatori is now 3-0 heads up in WSOP events, and 5-0 counting his two wins in WSOP Circuits which took place nearly ten years ago.  Moreover he became the first Italian player in poker history to win three gold bracelets.

“Actually, I was the only player with two gold bracelets before this one,” Pescatori joked when a reporter asked him about being Italy’s best-known player.  “Now, with a two-bracelet lead, they all have some catching up to do.”

The field size at 462 players was a significant increase of last year, when 352 signed up for the same event.

Here’s the succession of other finishers who made the final table:

Second Place:  Ryan Miller, from Longhorne, PA finished as the runner up.  He collected $96,349 in prize money.  This marked his fifth time to cash at the series, following a previous win in a WSOP Circuit event (2009 in Atlantic City).

Third Place:  Chris George, from Croton on Hudson, NY took 3rd place.  This marked his 16th career cash and fifth final table appearance at the WSOP since 2013.  His payout amounted to $61,247.

Fourth Place:  Matthew Smith enjoyed his highest cash ever at the WSOP in this event, finishing 4th.  This was his tenth time to place in the money.  The Linthia, FL player earned $44,164.

Fifth Place:  Eli Elezra, the high-stakes cash game pro and two-time gold bracelet winner originally from Israel and now living in Henderson, NV took 5th place.  The $32,245 payout now puts Elezra was over the $1 million mark in career WSOP winnings.

Sixth Place:  Randy Kaas, from Scottsdale, AZ enjoyed his second time to cash at this year’s series, after also making the money in the “Colossus” event just a few days ago.  Kaas’ first final table appearance here paid $24,049.

Seventh Place:  Robin Lee, from Norwich, CT took 7th place.  This was his first in-the-money finish at the WSOP.  Lee collected $18,149.


Cyndy Violette, a longtime poker pro originally from Atlantic City, NJ and now living in Las Vegas, NV finished 9th.  She cashed for the 36th time in her impressive career which now places her three spots behind all-time leader Kathy Liebert among all females, currently with 39.

Yueqi (Rich) Zhu, from Rowland Heights, CA cashed in this event in 17th place, good for his 40th career in-the-money finish at the WSOP.

Gold bracelet winners from past years -- Randy Ohel, Ylon Schwartz, Bryan Campanello, Luis Velador, Thomas Bihl, and Tom Schneider all cashed -- finishing beyond the 20th spot.

For this event’s results, visit:

For Max Pescatori’s official player profile page, visit:

For the Live Reporting Log for this event, please visit:

For official winner photo, please visit:

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