For the professional poker player, the 2014 WSOP schedule included some additional motivation. The WSOP decided to bring back the $10,000 world championship events with hopes of returning the game to its roots and allowing the best in the world to compete in smaller fields for WSOP gold. Unlike the no-limit hold 'em events that dominate the talk around the WSOP in the public space, the $10,000 championships come in a variety of disciplines that appeal to a limited portion of the poker population.
The first $10,000 event on the schedule featured a small but star-studded field of 120 looking to win gold in limit 2-7 triple draw lowball. Two-time World Poker Tour champion Tuan Le emerged victorious to win his first WSOP bracelet and $355,324. Le was one of the faces of the game during the early boom years, but he hasn't made his way back into the mainstream spotlight since. This accomplishment will most likely change that.
"I've been playing Deuce-to-Seven for a while, but this was my first time to play it here at the World Series," said Le to the WSOP. "I really have not played that many events here in the past, but this year I decided to just give it a shot and go for it."
Getting through his first career WSOP final table was far from easy. Le's five competitors included established, successful players from all areas of the poker world and the chip leader, Justin Bonomo, had finished second in this event in 2011.
Bonomo entered the final table with the lead. Le had half of Bonomo's stack in third place and was just a few bets ahead of two-time bracelet winner Nick Schulman.
Bonomo eliminated online icon Phil Galfond for sixth and maintained his lead as Eli Elezra, winner of a lower buy-in version of this event last year, knocked out George Danzer for fifth. Le stayed on the short stack for most of four-handed play, but chipped up thanks to a few key hands against the eventual fourth-place finisher Schulman. Both Bonomo and Le got the best of Elezra three-handed, and stacks were nearly even as the two entered heads-up play. From that point on, the draws went Le's way, and on the final hand, Le tabled 9-6-4-3-2, which bested Bonomo's 9-8-7-5-4 to secure the win. Bonomo earned $219,565 and unfortunately felt the bittersweet runner-up finish for the third time on the WSOP felt.
Thanks everyone for the support. So great to have friends to remind you that life is amazing even when you don't get exactly what you want!
- Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) June 1, 2014
Le now sets his sights on bracelet No. 2, and with more $10,000 events ahead, he's one to watch in the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year race.
Below are the complete results of Event 5 at the 2014 World Series of Poker:
Event 5: Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball
Prize pool: $1,128,000
Players in the money: 12
1. Tuan Le ($355,324)
2. Justin Bonomo ($219,565)
3. Eli Elezra ($144,056)
4. Nick Schulman ($99,015)
5. George Danzer ($70,308)
6. Phil Galfond ($51,538)
7. Sergey Rybachenko ($38,961)
8. Alexandre Luneau ($38,961)
9. Jason Mercier ($30,794)
10. Michael Chow ($30,794)
11. Jon Turner ($24,342)
12. David Benyamine ($24,342)