LAS VEGAS (5 June 2017) – Jesse Martin has emerged as the winner in the 2017 World Series of Poker Event #7, $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball. Martin's win was worth $130,948 in addition to his second career gold bracelet.
Martin triumphed over an experienced final table that included runner-up James Obst and third-place finisher Chris Bjorin. The six official finalists included two former bracelet winners in Martin (one) and Bjorin (two). The final six had already combined for a hefty 185 career WSOP cashes, an average of more than 30 cashes per finalist.
Action began in this three-format, triple-draw final with seven players, just outside the official final table of six. The seven-seat format created a mini-break for a different player each hand for the final's first hour of play, as only six players can receive hands in this event's rotating games.
The seven-way table ended when Daniel Hirleman ($12,617) lost most of his chips to early short stack Jared Bleznick in a deuce-to-seven hand where Bleznick's ten-high held up. Hirleman was left with just a handful of chips, and those went to Jesse Martin in a badugi hand where Martin was dealt a made badugi and Hirleman, drawing two to start, couldn't catch up. Hirleman's departure set the official final table of six.
Next out was veteran lowball specialist Terry “Doc” Jennings, a 70-year old dentist from Fort Smith, Ark. Jennings started Day 3 as the chip leader but ran cold in the final, losing the last of his chips to seat neighbor Brant Hale in an ace-to-five-lowball hand.
Fifth place went to Jared Bleznick, who more than doubled his start-of-day stack before running into Australian James Obst's better hand... twice. Bleznick finally exited after losing an ace-to-five pot to Jesse Martin for about 150,000 in chips. The hand pushed Martin's chip count closer to that of Obst, who held the lead for much of the final's middle stretch.
The heads-up duel between Obst and Martin quickly materialized with the rapid-fire eliminations of Hale in fourth and Bjorin in third. Hale's day ended with his last chips going to Martin in a badugi hand. Moments later, perennial Poker Hall of Fame nominee Bjorin's run was stopped by Obst in another badugi showdown.
Bjorin's exit set the stage for heads-up action, with Martin holding a slight edge as the limit duel beginning. Three major pots went Martin's way soon after, giving him a more than 3:1 edge.
The cards continued falling Martin's way over the next several hands. Martin closed out the win in the badugi portion of the rotation, showing 8-7-5-4-3 to an all-in Obst, who mucked. What could have been an extended duel ended quickly, with Martin emerging victorious after less than five hours of Day 3 play.
Said Martin, "I made a lot of hands, which was great. It's nice to be heads-up in these games, because these are [types of] games that I've already been heads-up in a little bit. I might get heads-up in stud or in Omaha-8. There's certain games you don't get to play heads-up a lot, like ring games, but in these games I've thought a lot about what to do in certain situations.
"I felt very comfortable," added Martin, "and I definitely got the better cards."
Martin's final-table rout left Australia's Obst still searching for his own first WSOP title, though the second-place payday moved Obst over $1.3 million in WSOP earnings. Martin himself moved to nearly $1.85 million in career WSOP earnings here, and he'll likely top the $2 million mark soon, as he plans on playing a full summer schedule of events.
For Bjorin, a two-time bracelet winner, the showing here was the 81st cash of his WSOP career (75 WSOP and 6 WSOP Europe). That currently ranks sixth on the all-time list, excluding WSOP Circuit cashes.
The three-day event drew a total of 225 lowball specialists, who competed in a format that rotated between three different triple-draw limit variants – A-5 (ace-to-five) lowball, 2-7 (deuce-to-seven) lowball, and badugi. The event's total prize pool was $506,250. Thirty-four players cashed in the event.
Among those who cashed in this event but were eliminated before reaching the final were: Barry Greenstein, Ian Johns, Ryan Hughes, Konstantin Puchkov, Eric Wasserson, Martin Staszko, Lyle Berman, Roland Israelashvili, Randy Ohel, David "ODB" Baker, and Yeuqi Zhu.
Click here for live updates from Event #7.
1st: Jesse Martin, $130,948 (137.8)
2nd: James Obst, $80,922 (117.3)
3rd: Chris Bjorin, $52,761 (101.7)
4th: Brant Hale, $35,349 (89.0)
5th: Jared Bleznick, $24,356 (78.6)
6th: Terry Jennings, $17,272 (70.1)