UK pro Schwartz tops elite 100-entrant field in Event #49 triumph

23 June 2019 (Las Vegas) – United Kingdom poker pro Luke Schwartz has claimed the first World Series of Poker gold bracelet of his career by winning Event #49 of the 2019 WSOP, $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw.

Schwartz's $273,336 winner's payday in this event boosts his lifetime WSOP earnings to $739,362, achieved in just five WSOP cashes. Schwartz's largest WSOP cash remains the $406,756 he earned for a fourth-place in the 2012 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship

Schwartz, 35, led for much of the final table but had to endure a lengthy three-way battle for the win against Portland, Oregon's George Wolff and German pro Johannes Becker.

Wolff earned $168,936 as the runner-up, with this being the largest cash of his WSOP career. Koln, Germany's Becker, a prior bracelet winner, collected $116,236 for third.

Veteran pro Mark Gregorich finished in fourth for $81,635, China's Yueqi “Rich” Zhu took fifth for $58,457, and Las Vegas pro Calvin Anderson finished in sixth for $42,898 to complete the final table's finishers.

Schwartz cruised through the early portions of Day 3 before running into a lengthy battle against Wolff and Becker. All three are known more for being among the world's best triple-draw cash-game players, though this day they ended up battling for tournament glory.

Schwartz has played numerous times against Becker, especially online, and Schwartz had plenty of respect for his vanquished foe. “Everyone thinks he's the best deuce-to-seven player in the world. I play him heads-up a decent amount.”

The three-handed marathon also left Schwartz worn out when all was done. “Three-handed, I don't think you could pick another three players who would be able to last that long. That was just the most intense three-handed battle ever.

“Everyone played great. Johannes – he was frustrating me so much, because I would stand pat with decent hands and he kept drawing and making it on the river. That happened so many times. Maybe the old me would have just got frustrated and tilted, but I took deep breaths and managed to see it through.”

Schwartz's win marked the third bracelet won on the day by a prominent pro who had nonetheless never previous captured WSOP gold. Schwartz's first career bracelet joined those won by noted pros Stephen Chidwick and Ari Engel, with all three being on many observers' short lists of talented players yet to win a bracelet... until Saturday's action.

In Schwartz's case, however, a good share of the bracelet absence is because he just hasn't played that much at the WSOP. He's only made to trips to the Rio in the past six years, and as the saying goes, it's tough to win if you don't play. He will stay around for some more WSOP action this year, however, and will be a likely participant in the upcoming $50,000 Poker Players Championship. That's the same event in which he logged a fourth-place finish seven years ago.

Nine players returned for Day 3 action in this lowball event, with the field reaching an unofficial final table of seven less than an hour into the day. San Diego's Mike Gorodinsky then busted in seventh ($32,127) to set the official six-player final.

Oklahoma native and Vegas pro Calvin Anderson busted the official soon after Gorodinsky's exit. Anderson got the last of his chips in before the second draw after reraising Schwartz on both early betting rounds. Anderson drew two to start, then stayed pat from there, while Schwartz drew two, one, and one. Anderson showed his      , but Schwartz caught a five on his last draw to make      .

China native and California resident Zhu exited in fifth for $58,547, in a showdown against Mark Gregorich. The hand began with Gregorich opening and Zhu calling; Gregorich then took two cards to Zhu's one and he checked, then called a Zhu bet. Gregorich took two again while Zhu stayed pat, and Gregorich check-called again for Zhu's last 30,000 in chips.

Then Gregorich stayed pat himself, forcing Zhu to reconsider and then break what he said later was a ten-nine. Gregorich indeed had that beat when he opened his      , while Zhu drew two to    , the right read but wrong result, as he caught    before heading to the rail.

Gregorich's own run toward a long-sought first bracelet ended next, with Gregorich busting in fourth for $81,635. Gregorich was down to under two big blinds of chips when he made his stand in a hand also including Schwartz and Wolff, though Wolff folded after the first draw. Schwartz drew one, one, and then none on his three rounds, staying pat on      , while Gregorich pulled three, two, and then two more to    . He peeled a trey to stay live, though that blocked the five and only left the remaining deuces to win the pot, and his last card was a nine instead.

Three-way play became a marathon as Schwartz led virtually throughout but struggled to put Becker and Wolff away. Nearly five and a half hours of play elapsed before Becker finally succumbed in third, worth $116,236. Becker busted against Schwartz in a hand that began with Becker raising from the small blind and Schwartz calling from the big. Becker took two and Schwartz took three; Becker bet again and Schwartz called.

Becker stayed pat on the second draw, then bet his last chips after Schwartz drew two. Schwartz drew just one on the final round, and Becker opened his    [5x . Schwartz showed his own  [   , and after a few moments of playfulness between the friends, Schwartz turned up his new card, an   for a better eight.

Wolff's bustout came only a short while later. The last hand began with Schwarz raising from the button, Wolff reraising and Schwartz calling. Wolff took one card while Schwartz took two, and Wolff then bet with Schwartz calling. Wolff stayed pat, Schwarz again took two, Wolff bet and Schwartz raised to force Wolff to call off his last chips. Both players stayed pat on third, and Schwartz said he had an eight.

Wolff responded, “I have the worst eight,” which meant      .

Schwartz then spread out his own hand,      , saw it was indeed good, and shouted a triumphant “Yes!” to his friends on the rail, his first bracelet win becoming official.

Event #49, $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw, drew exactly 100 entrants and offered a $940,000 prize pool. The final 15 players cashed, with a min-cash worth $15,464.

Others who cashed in Event #49 were Gorodinsky (7th, $32,127), Brian Hastings (8th, $32,127), Daniel Ospina (9th, $24,604), Benny Glaser (10th, $24,604), Tim Marsters (11th, $19,279), Tommy Hang (12th, $19,279), Dimitri Holdeew (13th, $15,464), David "ODB" Baker (14th, $15,464), and Jason Gray (15th, $15,464).

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Final-Table Payouts:

1st: Luke Schwartz, $273,336
2nd: George Wolff, $168,936
3rd: Johannes Becker, $116,236
4th: Mark Gregorich, $81,635
5th: Yueqi Zhu, $58,547
6th: Calvin Anderson, $42,898