LAS VEGAS (13 June 2017) – California's John Monnette finished off a loaded final table to win his third career World Series of Poker gold bracelet in the 2017 WSOP's Event #22, $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship. Monnette's win was worth $256,610. The win pushed Monnette's lifetime WSOP earnings to more than $2.1 million.
Monnette eliminated runner-up Per Hildebrand to seal the win after holding the lead throughout Day 3's final-table action. Hildebrand, from Uppsala, Sweden, earned $158,596 for his second-place performance.
Philadelphia native and online-poker veteran Darren Elias claimed third. Elias's $110,944 payday is his largest career WSOP cash to date.
Monnette's third career bracelet became reality after Hildebrand had won a small series of hands to build his stack. In the final hand, a pre-flop raising war found Hildebrand all in for nearly 1.5 million and Monnette calling for nearly half his stack. Both players stood pat, and Hildebrand, acting frst, showed a jack-low. Monnette turned up , however, to seal the win.
One of the fastest-paced final tables to date of the 2017 WSOP found the field trimmed from eight to three in less than two and a half hours of play. First out on Tuesday, finishing eighth, was two-time bracelet winner Paul Volpe. Volpe called all in against Canada's Mike Leah before the draw and held firm with a made . Leah discarded one, turned up , and caught a to log the early knockout.
However, seventh place in this no-limit lowball event went to Leah himself, despite his gaining Volpe's chips. Leah, with one WSOP bracelet and five Circuit rings already in his possession, dominated most of Day 2 before giving some chips back late in the day. His hopes for a second bracelet dissolved when he moved all in over a Monnette opening, only to have California's Xavier Kyablue move all in as well, for more. Monnette folded but Kyablue stood firm on what turned out to be . Leah drew one to , but found only a king and was eliminated.
Two-time bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky finished in sixth, losing an all-in clash against Monnette. Both players were dealt solid, made nine-lows and held pat there with the chips going in, but Monnette's just edged Gorodinsky's .
Taiwan's James Chen exited next, losing in a battle of short stacks to Sweden's Per Hildebrand. Chen moved all over Hildebrand's opening raise, but when Hildebrand called and stayed pat, Chen pondered for several minutes over what to keep. Chen eventually drew one to a nine-eight, but that left him no chance, as Hildebrand had already made a better nine to claim the last of Chen's chips.
Heading to the rail not long after was California's Xavier Kyablue, whose fourth-place payday here was still the largest of his WSOP career to date. Kyablue's final hand found him re-raising all in over action from Monnette and Elias. Elias called Kyablue's shove, then held fast to his . Kyablue discarded one and kept , but paired his deuce to lose the hand.
That left three players. Monnette continued applying pressure and building his lead, while Hildebrand climbed past Elias into second. Elias finally fell after a short series of all-in pushes, finally being picked off by Monnette in a hand where Monnette held fast to a pat nine-low. Elias was drawing one to a better nine, but paired his own nine instead, ending his run.
Elias's departure set up the duel between Monnette and Hildebrand. Monnette held a sizeable chip lead as heads-up play started and looked to make a quick end to it, at one point paring Hildebrand's stack down to under 500,000. Hildebrand doubled up, though, in a hand where he needed to dodge a king or a pairing card when drawing run. That triggered a brief run for Hildebrand before the final-hand collision.
As Monnette noted about being dealt the pat eight-low that ended up sealing the win, "That's a premium hand at a full game, let alone in heads-up play. And he [Hildebrand] had a good also. He had an eight-draw, but luckily, he wasn't even live."
Added Monnette, "He thought he was going to lose," as the cards were exposed, "because I had such a good hand."
That was perhaps the theme for Monnette this day, and the combination of a great mixed-games player and a solid run of cards is tough to beat. "I had some good hands," said Monnette. "Those were some really tough players -- Paul [Volpe], who won this event last year. And Darren, on my left, who is excellent at this game."
Monnette's previous WSOP bracelet victories came in 2012 in a $5,000 seven-card-stud hi-lo tourney, and in 2011 in a $2,500 eight-game-mix event. The win was also the 54th cash of his WSOP career.
Six players cashed in Event #22 but fell short of the final table. Finishing from 9th through 14th, in order, were Dario Sammartino, Jon Turner, Mike Watson, Konstantin Maslak, Shaun Deeb, and Robert Mizrachi.
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Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: John Monnette, $256,610 (136.8)
2nd: Per Hildebrand, $158,596 (116.5)
3rd: Darren Elias, $110,944 (103.5)