Event 16 of this year’s WSOP has turned into the big story so far. While not much was expected out of the 10k 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship (No Limit) in the way of stories, this tournament changed those expectations incredibly.
Only 126 players were signed up to play this event, creating a $1.2 million prize pool. However, this tournament is not about overcoming a large field to win a bracelet, but who you have to overcome. Frequently, these tournaments are referred to as a pro’s opportunity to buy a bracelet, but after the field that turned out to play this tournament, that may be a hasty argument.
The final table: Phil Hellmuth, Richard Ashby, John Juanda, Steve Sung, Nick Schulman, David ‘Bakes’ Baker, and Hasan Habib (Joe Cassidy and Greg Raymer busted in 8th and 9th respectively). If you were going to try to “buy a bracelet” in this event, you would have to overcome these men to do so. All of the men at the final table each had a WSOP bracelet.
All the stars seemed to be aligning for Phil Hellmuth, who entered the final table as the chip leader. Hellmuth, who was going for his record 12th World Series of Poker bracelet, was trying to earn his first non-Hold’em bracelet. He kept this momentum up, getting heads-up versus John Juanda with a nearly 3-1 chip lead.
Juanda exactly isn’t a slouch, though. Having 4 WSOP bracelets and finishing 4th in this very event in the past two years, Juanda has been called the best 2-7 Lowball player in the world. He lived up to this title against Hellmuth. In a heads-up match that lasted over 4 hours, Juanda slowly picked at Hellmuth’s stack, quietly and methodically, until he sent the 11-time champion to the rail. Hellmuth, while more than disappointed to not have earned the bracelet, still took home $226k. Juanda earned his 5th bracelet and $367,170 for his win, along with the joy of denying the Poker Brat number 12.