Not Ludovic Lacay, not a chip deficit, not even food poisoning could stop Noah Schwartz in Event 6. The Florida native, fighting illness, captured his first bracelet in the pot-limit Omaha mixed-max event at the 2013 World Series of Poker Europe. The event was the first of its kind and featured a small but elite field of 127 that ultimately succumbed to Schwartz, denying Lacay a bracelet and France from claiming its third of the series. The American pro earned 104,580 euros (US$141,356).
While it's unlikely that he wins the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year title, Schwartz's run during WSOP events in 2013 is still remarkable. After a runner-up finish in WSOP Event 22, Schwartz made a Day 6 run in the main event before ultimately falling short of a November Nine bid in 52nd place. His positive trend continued in Europe with a fourth-place finish in the no-limit mixed-max Event 3 and in one of the final opportunities he'd had in his seventh year of WSOP participation, he captured gold and fulfilled a dream.
"[The bracelet] is something that's eluded me for a very long time, so to be able to actually hold the bracelet in my hands and know that it is mine is mind-boggling," Schwartz explained to the WSOP. "I remember growing up and seeing all these guys on TV winning bracelets and it has always been a dream of mine. To hold it and know it is mine is one of the best feelings ever."
Schwartz's track record in mixed-max events is simply unrivaled in the few years the format has been around. In addition to his two finishes this year, he also finished fourth in the no-limit version of the event in 2011. The format of this event offers an all-around challenge to players as competition changes each day. The event starts with nine-handed play on Day 1, six-handed play on Day 2, then heads-up matches until a winner is crowned.
"It enables you to showcase different talents," Schwartz said of the format. "You have to make the adjustments and I think the people that are able to make the adjustments will be successful."
Over the past year, Schwartz has notched two legs of the poker triple crown. His World Poker Tour victory last November began a year-long journey filled with five six-figure scores and international exposure. He also finished sixth in the European Poker Tour Grand Final this past May. His success is also shared with others as Schwartz is heavily involved with charity. He recently launched "The Schwartz Foundation" which aims to create "better situations for less fortunate kids."
Lacay broke the $1 million WSOP earnings barrier with his runner-up finish. In addition to his highly publicized 16th-place finish in the 2009 WSOP main event, his most notable accomplishments include winning EPT San Remo in 2012 and a runner-up finish at WPT Barcelona in 2007.
Other notable finishers include 2013 WSOP Player of the Year leader Matthew Ashton (ninth), Dan Shak (14th) and Konstantin Puchkov (16th) .
Below are the complete results of WSOPE Event 4:
Event 6: Pot-limit Omaha Mixed-Max
Buy-in: 3,250 euros
Prize pool: 373,380 euros
Players in the money: 16
1. Noah Schwartz (104,580 euros)
2. Ludovic Lacay (64,800)
3. Vitaly Lunkin (34,500)
4. Jyri Merivirta (34,500)
5. Jeremy Joseph (21,000)
6. Aku Joentausta (21,000)
7. Phil Laak (16,000)
8. Stephen Chidwick (16,000)
9. Matthew Ashton (10,500)
10. Maunuel Bevand (10,500)
11. Padraig Parkinson (6,700)
12. Mihails Morozovs (6,700)
13. Jenvik Meinsohn (6,700)
14. Dan Shak (6,700)
15. Viatcheslav Orttynskiy (6,700)
16. Konstantin Puchkov (6,700)