Wednesday, June 8, 2016 10:35 AM Local Time
Lawrence Berg is the newest member of poker’s gold bracelet club at the World Series of Poker.
The former casino
dealer-turned-poker pro who bounces back and forth between homes in
Irvine, CA and Las Vegas, NV won the $1,500 buy-in Dealers Choice
Six-Handed tournament, which was played at the Rio in Las Vegas over
three consecutive days and nights June 7-9. Berg collected $125,466 in
prize money, making this the biggest win of his career.
Prior to playing poker full-time, concentrating mostly on cash games, Berg worked as a poker dealer at the Bellagio.
Berg won his victory by topping an ultra-demanding tourney competition
that included a mix of up to 19 possible poker games being dealt out
over the duration. Berg stated that he encountered every game at least
once during the tournament. That wide variety of options required him
to master several of the lesser-played poker games, which seemed right
up his alley given that he’s accustomed to playing mixed cash game
sessions regularly in Las Vegas’ biggest poker rooms.
“I called Baducy and
Badugi quite a lot (when it was my turn), and also Big O,” Berg said
afterward. “I didn’t really like Limit Hold’em or No-Limit Hold’em.”
Berg shared some secrets
which he thought were the keys to victory. He noted that a major
component of his strategy wasn’t to necessarily play his own “best”
games, but to pick out games (when he was designated as the dealer)
which he considered weaknesses within his opponent’s repertoire.
“It’s really important to
identify weaknesses in your opponents and see what games they are
playing badly and then try and concentrate on those games when you can,”
Berg said. “But then, there are some players who don’t play any of the
games bad. Andrew (Brown – the third-place finisher) didn’t play
anything bad, so it didn’t matter as much with him.”
Berg also noted that stack sizes play a big role in which game to choose.
“Your stacks are very
important as to which games you should choose,” Berg said. “If you’re
very short, you don’t want to get anted away in Stud. So, it’s better
to take a big-bet game where you can move all in which makes it hard for
your opponents to call. That way, you can steal antes and build a
stack, sometimes without ever seeing a showdown.”
Berg topped a field of
389 players and a final table which included two previous gold bracelet
winners – Andrew Brown and Paul Volpe, who finished 3rd and 4th
respectively. Yueqi Zhu, from Benxi, China finished as the runner up.
He was no slouch either, having cashed 47 times now at the WSOP. Zhu’s
consolation prize of $77,526 in this tourney moved him close to the
million-dollar mark in career WSOP earnings.
This tourney created a prize pool totaling $525,150. The top 59 finishers collected prize money.
“I got lucky at the right time,” Berg admitted. “Everybody played good.”
As for the gold bracelet
and what the victory means, Berg became less stoic about his reaction to
receiving poker’s most coveted prize after several days of maintaining a
poker face. “I’m really happy to win a gold bracelet. I’m very happy
This was the fifth event
on this year’s schedule. This leaves 64 tournaments still to go in what
promises to be the biggest and most exciting WSOP ever.
Here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:
Yueqi Zhu, from Benxi, China locked up his highest WSOP finished by
coming in as the runner up. The player who learned how to play via the
Internet collected $77,466 for second place. Zhu now has 47 cashes on
his WSOP resume. He was chip leader at one point when play was
three-handed, but wasn’t able to maintain that advantage.
Andrew Brown, from Valatie, NY ended up at the third place finisher.
His payout came to $50,250. Brown was one of two finalists who was a
gold bracelet winner. He won a WSOP victory in 2008 in an Omaha
High-Low Split event.
Paul Volpe, from Philadelphia, PA arrived at the final table ranked
second in chips. He ended up finishing fourth. The winner of a gold
bracelet in 2014, Volpe now has four top-4 finishes in WSOP events in
the last three years. Volpe went card dead late in the tournament and
had to settle for a payout worth $33,393.
Joey Couden, a poker pro from Reynoldsburg, OH picked up his 18th cash
in a WSOP event by making his fourth career final table. Couden earned
$22,765 for finishing fifth and has now exceeded the quarter million
mark in WSOP-related earnings.
Sixth Place: John
Templeton, from Sarasota, FL cashed for the second time at this series,
after making a nice run in the Colossus event. He pocketed $15,932 for
Seventh Place: Daniel
Habl, from Berlin, Germany posted his second career cash in this
tournament, earning $11,454 As the seventh-place finisher, he rounded
out the official final table in a six-max event.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 10:56 PM Local Time
Bracelet winner Larry Berg
Yueqi Zhu moves all in from the button and Lawrence Berg calls without hesitation.
The two players watch on in anticipation as the dealer puts out a board of .
"Scoop," says Berg tentatively. "That's a scoop."
Berg indeed scoops the pot with the nut straight to the eight and a low. Zhu is eliminated as the runner-up and collects $77,526. Berg wins the final pot of the tournament and becomes the latest World Series of Poker bracelet winner. Berg collects $125,466 for his victory.
Yueqi Zhu is eliminated in 2nd place for $77, 526
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 10:47 PM Local Time
Lawrence Berg has the button. He raises the action and Yueqi Zhu calls from the big blind. The flop falls and Zhu checks. Berg continues out and Zhu calls.
The pairs the board on fourth street and Zhu checks for a second time. Berg checks it back and the finishes off the board. Zhu checks and Berg bets. Zhu goes into the tank for well over two minutes before verbalizing a call.
"Nuts," says Berg without hesitation, rolling over , playing king-jack for a full house.
Zhu mucks and is left with less than half of one big bet.
Lawrence Berg - 2,860,000
Yueqi Zhu - 40,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 10:42 PM Local Time
Lawrence Berg raises from the button and Yueqi Zhu calls from the big blind. The dealer fans a flop of and both players check. The falls on the turn and Zhu bets. Berg calls and the finishes off the board. Zhu slows with a check, Berg bets, and Zhu folds.
Lawrence Berg - 2,600,000
Yueqi Zhu - 300,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 10:37 PM Local Time
Lawrence Berg raises from the small blind and Andrew Brown calls from the big blind, leaving himself with 41,000 behind, which is less than a bet.
Berg draws one and Brown takes three. Berg bets 50,000 and Brown calls all-in for less. Berg stands up from his seat and ponders his decision.
"Are you standing pat?" asks Brown.
"I have a tough hand," said Berg. "I have a decision to make. Okay, I'll gamble."
Berg draws one and Brown takes two. On the last draw, Berg takes one and Brown takes two before the cards are tabled. Berg shows , giving him a draw to a seven and a three card badugi. Brown shows four cards to a queen low.
"I need to get really lucky to get the five card half," said Brown. "Let me know if I'm drawing dead."
Berg sweats his river first.
"I got there," said Berg as he tables the .
Berg makes a seven badugi and a seven-low to eliminate Brown in third. Brown is drawing dead, but shows his river card, which he bricked anyway. Brown takes home $50,250 and Berg goes heads-up with Yueqi Zhu for the bracelet.
Lawrence Berg - 2,000,000
Andrew Brown - Eliminated
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 10:26 PM Local Time
Lawrence Berg raises from the button and Andrew Brown three-bets from the small blind. It folds back to Berg and he calls. Both players take two cards on the first draw and Brown continues out. Berg raises and Brown calls.
Both Brown and Berg take just one card for the second draw. Brown check-calls another bet from Berg and draws one once again. Berg stands pat. Brown checks and Berg bets one final time.
Brown goes into the tank for well over a minute before folding his hand and leaving himself with just over one big bet.
Lawrence Berg - 1,850,000
Andrew Brown - 135,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 10:19 PM Local Time
Zhu: [boc /
Andrew Brown completes and Yueqi Zhu calls on third street. Brown bets again on fourth after both players catch an eight. Brown catches a four on fifth and Zhu gets a 10. Brown bets and Zhu calls. Brown catches a 10 of his own on sixth, while Zhu catches a six.
Brown checks and Zhu bets. Brown calls and the river is dealt face-down. Brown checks and Zhu bets. Brown gets up from his seat and gets a closer look at the two boards. He sighs and then tosses in a call. Zhu shows in the hole and Brown mucks his hand.
Yueqi Zhu - 865,000
Andrew Brown - 600,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 9:53 PM Local Time
||Antes in NLH,
NL 2-7 & Stud
|Bring-in or Small Blind
or Big Blind
|NL / PL
||6,000(NLH / 2-7)
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 9:52 PM Local Time
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:53 PM Local Time
The final three players are taking a 60-minute dinner break.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:52 PM Local Time
The next hand after Andrew Brown left Paul Volpe on the short stack, Yueqi Zhu picks Razz again and gives Volpe a chance to get the chips back that he lost in the same game.
Paul Volpe gets all in on third street for 44,000 and gets action from Lawrence Berg and Zhu. Any further action would be in a side pot between Zhu and Berg, but action is checked to sixth street before any further action takes place.
Berg bets sixth and Zhu calls. Berg bets the river and Zhu hesitates for a few moments before folding. Berg shows in the hole, giving him a seven-low and Volpe mucks his hand.
Volpe is eliminated and takes home $33,393 for his fourth-place finish, leaving Andrew Brown as the lone bracelet winner left at the table. Berg drags the pot and chips up just before the dinner break.
Lawrence Berg - 820,000
Paul Volpe - Eliminated in fourth place for ($33,393)
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:45 PM Local Time
Paul Volpe completes on third street with a three and Andrew Brown makes it three bets with a six showing. Volpe calls and catches a seven, while Brown catches a three. Brown bets and Volpe calls.
Volpe open pairs sevens on fifth and Brown hits a seven of his own. Brown bets and Volpe calls. Volpe catches a 10 on sixth and Brown hits a queen. Brown keeps the lead and bets. Volpe calls, and Brown bets the river dark. Volpe checks his river card and calls.
Brown shows in the hole, giving him a seven-low and Volpe mucks. Brown drags the pot and leaves Volpe with less than a big bet.
Andrew Brown - 930,000
Paul Volpe - 44,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:33 PM Local Time
Andrew Brown raises the button and finds calls from Yueqi Zhu (pictured) in the small blind and Paul Volpe in the big blind. The flop falls and Zhu leads out with a bet. Volpe raises and Brown makes it three bets. Zhu cuts out a four-bet and Volpe calls. Brown calls as well.
The falls on the turn and Zhu slows with a check. Volpe bets, Brown calls, and Zhu does the same. The board pairs with the on the river. Zhu bets, Volpe folds, and Brown calls.
Zhu shows for quad jacks. Brown shakes his head and flashes for a full house of deuces full of jacks before mucking his hand.
Yueqi Zhu - 1,180,000
Andrew Brown - 910,000
Paul Volpe - 365,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:28 PM Local Time
Andrew Brown raises under-the-gun and Lawrence Berg defends his big blind. The flop is and both players check. The falls on the turn. Berg checks and Brown bets. Berg calls and the river is the .
Berg checks, Brown bets, and Berg calls.
"Aces-up and a live three," said Brown.
Brown shows and Berg disgustedly flashes as he mucks his hand. Brown takes the pot and is back on top of the chip counts after being all-in and at risk of elimination just a few minutes earlier.
Andrew Brown - 1,250,000
Lawrence Berg - 430,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:25 PM Local Time
On a flop of , Yueqi Zhu checks from the small blind and Andrew Brown bets on the button. Zhu calls and the turn is the . Zhu checks again and Brown bets again.
Zhu calls and the river is the . Zhu checks and Brown bets. Zhu calls and Brown tables , giving him the wheel. Zhu mucks his hand and Brown takes the whole pot.
"This is so swingy," Brown says after the hand.
"Whoever wins three hands in a row gets to win the tournament," adds Lawrence Berg.
"More than three," says Brown. "But not much more."
Andrew Brown - 930,000
Yueqi Zhu - 510,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:17 PM Local Time
Andrew Brown survives
Andrew Brown raises from the button and Yueki Zhu calls from the small blind. At the first draw, Zhu takes two cards and Brown takes one. Both players check the next betting round.
At the second draw, Zhu stands pat and Brown takes one. Zhu bets, Brown raises, and Zhu thinks for over a minute before calling. Zhu breaks and draws one on the final draw while Brown stands pat. Zhu checks, Brown moves all in for his last 38,000 and Zhu calls.
Brown fans , prompting Zhu to muck.
Andrew Brown - 575,000
Yueqi Zhu - 610,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:15 PM Local Time
Action folds to Lawrence Berg in the small blind and he raises. Andrew Brown calls in the big blind. Berg stands pat at the draw and Brown takes one. Berg bets, Brown calls, then the two perform the same actions on the second draw. Berg bets once more, and Brown thinks for a moment before calling.
Both players stand pat at the draw and Berg bets one last time. Brown shifts in his seat and looks down at his hand repeatedly. In the end, he folds and Berg takes the pot.
Lawrence Berg - 1,090,000
Andrew Brown - 250,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:11 PM Local Time
Paul Volpe raises from the cutoff and Lawrence Berg calls on the button. Andrew Brown makes it three bets from the small blind and both Volpe and Berg call.
Brown draws one, Volpe takes one, and Berg takes two cards. After the first draw, Brown checks and Volpe bets. Both Berg and Brown call. Brown takes one card, Volpe stands pat, and Berg takes one as well. Brown checks, Volpe bets, Berg calls, and Brown calls.
Brown takes one card, Volpe stands pat, and Berg takes one. Brown checks, Volpe bets, Berg calls, and Brown folds. Berg shows and chops it up with Volpe's .
Paul Volpe - 800,000
Lawrence Berg - 830,000
Andrew Brown - 400,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:07 PM Local Time
Lawrence Berg raises from the small blind and Andrew Brown three-bets out of the big blind. They each draw two cards and Berg checks after the first draw. Brown bets and Berg calls.
Berg draws one card and Brown draws two. Berg bets and Brown raises, leaving himself with less than one bet behind. Berg calls and draws one. Brown stands pat and Berg checks. Brown puts his last 58,000 into the middle and Berg sits up in his chair and takes 30 seconds before folding.
"I had you scooped," assured Brown as he collects the chips.
Brown nearly doubles up without a showdown and is right back into contention.
Andrew Brown - 650,000
Lawrence Berg - 660,000
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 7:50 PM Local Time
||Antes in NLH,
NL 2-7 & Stud
|Bring-in or Small Blind
or Big Blind
|NL / PL
||5,000(NLH / 2-7)