New York's Seiver takes down lowball championship for $301,420


29 June 2019 (Las Vegas) – New York's Scott Seiver has triumphed in Event #62 of the 2019 World Series of Poker, $10,000 Razz Championship, topping a 116-entrant field to collect $301,420.

Seiver's third career bracelet victory came over a loaded final table including six other previous bracelet winners, and it swelled his lifetime WSOP winnings to $4,927,272. Seiver, has earned that amount in 47 career WSOP cashes.

Seiver, 34, a native of Columbus, Ohio currently residing in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, denied Andrey Zhigalov his own second bracelet triumph after play rolled over into a fourth day of action. Zhigalov, 30, from Omsk, Russian Federation, earned $186,293 as the Event #62 runner-up.

Pacific Palisades, California's Chris Ferguson finished in third to earn $131,194. Ferguson, the 2000 WSOP Main Event winner, was denied here in his attempt to claim his seventh career bracelet.

Fourth place in this event went to New Jersey's Daniel Zack, the winner of Event #6. Zack earned $94,305 while making his fourth final table of the 2019 WSOP and expanding his lead in the Series' Player of the Year race. Well-known pro and six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu finished fifth to earn $69,233.

Seiver is widely recognized as one of the world's overall best players, including such stud variants as razz. As to his success no matter which game or games are being spread, he said, “Honestly, I think they're really fun, really interesting games. A lot of it for me is effort. I feel like they're some of the games I love the most, so I'm giving my most focus and I'm trying.

“People like to pretend otherwise, but [focus] really does matter in poker. If you're trying to bring your A-game no matter what, it really does help a lot. I love these events, I love these tournaments. These limit events at the World Series are really the only time all year you get to play these tournaments for a real buy-in against good players. It's like really fun to get to do.”

For all his skill, though, Seiver rarely plays the type of wall-to-wall tourney schedule at the WSOP that might make him a top contender for annual POY honors. “Honestly, there's so many cash games also that I feel the need to balance between the two. The times I've done all cash games I burn out too fast. The times I do all tournaments I burn out too fast. For whatever reason, in my brain, it feels like two separate entities, and when I feel myself getting tired of one, I switch to the other. I've always been kind of a half-and-half person.”

The competition can be fierce wherever one finds it, too. Elite fixed-limit events can be formidable, with the fields smaller but tightly populated with the world's best in these formats. The final nine players in Event #22, for example, had previously accounted for 22 bracelet wins, with Seiver's latest making it 23. That said, differences in style and relative seat position between poker's elite players can create opportunities.

Seiver was all about that subtle difference being one of his hidden edges in this final. “Honestly, when we got down to nine players, I was pretty happy with the table draw. There were some unbelievably difficult players at that table” – presumably including runner-up Zhigalov – “and I was separated far enough away from some of the best that I was hopeful that I could find the spots and do what you can.

“In any form of poker, no matter how great or terrible you are, luck has a major role. It's just about putting yourself in position to capitalize on luck when it comes to you.

With three bracelets and over $4.9 million in WSOP earnings, Seiver is already well-entrenched among the game's elite. As for goals, he's still perhaps too busy having fun. “Sure, I'd like to win two or three [bracelets] a year for the next 15 years,” putting words to a lot of pros' wildest dreams while enjoying the moment. “That'd be good. You know, getting to 33 or something in a decade. That'd be a nice goal!”

Event #62 began Day 3 with 12 players still in the running, and it took a little over two hours to reach an official final table of eight with Marco Johnson's ninth-place bustout.

The final table soon became a war of attrition marked by the slow and steady pace of bustouts. Fort Lauderdale, Florida's George Alexander, the only player to make the final who wasn't already a previous bracelet winner, busted in eighth for $31,185. Alexander busted in a three-way hand also involving Negreanu and triple-bracelet owner David Bach, where Alexander was all in after multiple fifth-street bets. After the last two streets were dealt, the three players showed these hands:

Alexander –    /      /  
Bach –    /      /  
Negreanu –    /      /  

While Alexander made an 8-6 by catching an ace on seventh, it was still no good as Negreanu pulled a three for a wheel and the knockout.

Bach's exit came next in a hand largely against Brazil's Andre Akkari. Bach was left short after the three-way hand where Alexander busted, and he was all in on third street against Akkari and Seiver. Akkari raised Seiver out of the pot on fourth, and the rest of the cards were dealt:

Bach –    /      /  
Akkari –    /      /  

Akkari's rivered trey meant a seventh-place $39,788 payout for Bach to collect.

However, an hour or so later, it was Akkari's turn to visit the cashier, this for a $51,911 sixth-place payday. Akkari and Seiver traded the on-board lead, as well as the leading bets, all the way to seventh street when Akkari called off his final few chips. Akkari had      showing, but never connected on a fifth low card to make a solid hand. Seiver, meanwhile, ended up with    /      /   for a six-five that was already locked in by sixth street.

Seiver continued to climb as Daniel Negreanu slipped lower, and eventually Negreanu bowed out in fifth. In his last hand, Negreanu was all in by fourth street with Seiver and Ferguson both playing along and trading single-bet action down the board. At showdown, these were their hands:

Negreanu –    /      /  
Seiver –    /      /  
Ferguson –    /      /  

Once Ferguson hit his deuce to make an eight-seven, Negreanu needed a three four, or five to win, but his rivered king marked his exit to a $69,223 fifth-place payday.

Dan Zack's fourth final table of the summer ended a short while later with a $94,305 fourth-place cash. Zack led much of the day's early stages but faltered as the table shortened, but busted to Zhigalov after an almost-perfect start –    /   – turned into a worthless full house by seventh. With Zack playing a paired hand, any five different ranks Zhigalov held assured the win, and his    /      /   easily accomplished.

That left three players to battle over the next three 90-minute levels, with Zhigalov and Seiver usually trading the lead while Ferguson battled with the shortest stack. Late in Day 3's final level, Ferguson's run ended in a hand against Seiver where Seiver led the betting action through sixth, when Ferguson was all in. As of sixth, Seiver had    /     , while Ferguson had    /     . Seiver caught an ace to make a ten-five, which made Ferguson's rivered   just a formality, and he was off to collect $131,194 for third.

Seiver and Zhigalov played just a few more hands before the level ended, and they then agreed to return for a Day 4 with nearly equal stacks. Seiver stormed out to a big lead in Day 4's early hands and nearly closed out the win within 30 minutes before Zhigalov doubled up twice to pull back from the brink.

In the end, though, it didn't matter. Seiver continued to run a little bit better, and 90 minutes into Day 3, Zhigalov's chips ran out. The final hand found the two trading raises until Zhigalov was all in; he had    , while Seiver had    . Seiver caught     to make a ten-eight, then paired his deuce on seventh, while Zhigalov pulled     and needed an eight, four, trey or deuce to stay alive, but caught a   instead for a ten-nine, and a cap on a $86,293 runner-up payday.

Event #62, $10,000 Razz Championship, attracted 116 entries and built a $1,509,400 prize pool. 18 players cashed. Those cashing but not making the final table were Marco Johnson (9th, $25,008), Calvin Anderson (10th, $25,008), Mike Gorodinsky, (11th, $20,528), Cary Katz (12th, $20,528), Mark Gregorich (13th, $17,260), Michael McKenna (14th, $17,260), James Chen (15th, $14,872), Mikhail Semin (16th, $14,872), Max Pescatori (17th, $14,872), and James Obst (18th, $14,872).

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Final-Table Payouts:

1st: Scott Seiver, $301,421
2nd: Andrey Zhigalov, $186,293
3rd: Chris Ferguson, $131,194
4th: Daniel Zack, $94,305
5th: Daniel Negreanu, $69,223
6th: Andre Akkari, $51,911
7th: David Bach, $39,788
8th: George Alexander, $31,185