Maryland pro shines brightest in field full of stars, dons second bracelet and pockets $224,383

Nick Schulman falls short of third 2-7 championship, finishes runner up for $138,665


Name: Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond
Age: 30
Residence: North Potomac, Md.
Occupation: Professional poker player
Marital status: Married
Number of WSOP Cashes: 15
Number of WSOP final table appearances: 6
Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories: 2
Best previous WSOP finish: 1st ($5,000 pot-limit Omaha with re-buys, 2008)
Total WSOP earnings: $2,156,473

The above stats include Galfond’s Event #29 victory


Las Vegas (June 15, 2015) — Phil Galfond is a two-time gold bracelet winner following a championship performance in Event #29 of the 2015 World Series of Poker Monday night. Galfond, a professional poker player who hails from North Potomac, Md., maneuvered through an uber-talented field in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship and was rewarded handsomely with a $224,383 first prize. Widely recognized as one of the brightest minds in the game, Galfond’s Event #29 win marks his 15th WSOP cash and moves him over the $2,000,000 mark in career earnings. What’s more, this marks his second 2-7 championship final table having finished fourth in last year’s limit event.

“It means a lot — especially in a field this tough and at a table this tough,” Galfond said in the moments following his victory. “I have a ton of respect for all my opponents […] It’s been seven years since I won [a bracelet]. I’m very happy.”

Galfond earned his first gold bracelet in a $5,000 pot-limit Omaha with re-buys event in 2008. Then his crowning tournament achievement, the win came care of a 152-player field and earned Galfond $817,781. Much like his most-recent win, the final table was a virtual who’s who of the professional world as Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda and others graced the table before falling short of gold.

Making his 2-7 championship Monday night even sweeter and more impressive is the fact it came at the hands of fellow pro Nick Schulman. Schulman, who finished second earning $138,665, is a two-time champion of this event and was poised for his third title holding a chip lead of better than 3-to-1 over Galfond during heads-up play. An early double up for Galfond leveled the playing field, and from there, he simply chipped away at Schulman until he held all of the 2,310,000 chips in play.

“When we were shorthanded, everybody’s so good,” Galfond said of the final table. “Normally in tournaments you tend to sort of shy away from spots because there are going to be better situations to get your money in […] When I was heads up with [Schulman], I’m going to take every spot that presents itself. There’s no huge edge later. Just try to play every hand as best you can.”

Galfond is best known for his exploits in high stakes, online cash games where he plays under the moniker OMGClayAiken. One of the early stars of the virtual felt, he’s remained more than relevant with continued success and the expansion of his influence away from the table. Admittedly, he’s in a different place in his life now than he was seven years ago when he won his first gold bracelet, but the six-figure cash-game pots and business ventures haven’t numbed him to the point where he can’t take a prideful look back at a tournament victory.

“Because we had so few players [in the 2-7], the prize pool — I mean, it’s big — but compared to some of the other events it’s one of the smaller prize pools,” Galfond said. “I’ve played for cash game pots the size of first place. This feels a lot bigger and I think it’s because of this stage and the bracelet. It’s more meaningful than cash games.”

The no-limit 2-7 championship drew an intimate field of 77 players but was ripe with talent. The $723,800 prize pool paid the top 14 finishers. Of them, eight were gold bracelet winners, and of those, six were multiple time winners. The award for most decorated player at the final table went to Erik Seidel. Seidel, an eight-time gold bracelet winner, cashed in a $10,000 championship event for the third time this year, but ultimately came short of a ninth victory. Other notable finishers include Bernard Lee (eighth, $19,824) who crossed $1,000,000 in WSOP earnings, Eli Elezra (sixth, $31,463) who made his second final table of the 2015 series and the runner-up Schulman.

“In a field this tough, you can’t have a huge edge, but I felt pretty good going in and throughout the tournament,” Galfond said.

Here’s a look at the tournament’s eight-handed final table results:

1st: Phil Galfond - $224,383
2nd: Nick Schulman - $138,665
3rd: Dan Smith - $87,898
4th: Erik Seidel - $59,532
5th: Jon Turner - $42,298
6th: Eli Elezra - $31,463
7th: Adam Owen - $24,457
8th: Bernard Lee - $19,824


Adam Owen was the only international final table participant. He hails from Folkstone, United Kingdom.

Eight of the 14 in-the-money finishers were gold bracelet winners. Of these, six were multiple-time winners. Seidel topped the latter group claiming eight.

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 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.

“It’s probably the purest form of poker that I’m aware of,” Galfond said. “It’s very much a one-zero game where they either have it or they don’t. There’s a lot of psychology that goes behind that. It’s just a lot of people trying to read each other more or less.”
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, O’Neil Longsen, Barry Greenstein, and others.


Phil Galfond’s official WSOP player profile page is available HERE.
Final results, live reporting log, photos and official winner photo are available HERE.

Live stream archive of the event is available HERE.