Malm wins mixed-game bracelet

The $2,500 eight-game Event 8 was one of the most anticipated tournaments found early on the 2013 World Series of Poker schedule. Moved up on the schedule to the first week, the event managed a field of 388, down from 477 a year ago. Given the conflicting high roller event in Macau and the lack of some of the biggest mixed-game players in the world, the turnout was smaller than anticipated, but for Michael Malm, the field and outcome was exactly what he desired. Malm, a 29-year-old marketing specialist from Coquitlam, British Columbia, captured his first title and $225,104 with the victory and became the third Canadian to win at the 2013 WSOP and fourth Canadian bracelet winner of the year.

The eight-game tournament featured a rotation of 2-7 triple draw, limit hold 'em, Omaha high-low, razz, seven-card stud, seven-card stud high-low, no-limit hold 'em and pot-limit Omaha. In order to succeed in this event, players must be capable of strong play in every variation and the final table represented a collection of players who have prided themselves on just that. The field in this event was littered with those who looked forward to this specific event, but Malm wasn't one of them. Timing is everything in life and things worked out pretty well for the three-year WSOP veteran.

"Before this one, I played four events," said Malm to the WSOP. "I almost cashed in all of them. I basically bubbled all four. Then, I played a Deep Stack tournament the other day because I busted out of the "Millionaire Maker" twice. So, I entered the $235 Deep Stack and got second place. After that was over, I slept five hours. The next day, I wanted to get into the $185 Deep Stack, but they had closed it already. I was just a few minutes late. I found out the only thing left was the $2,500 buy-in mixed game. I said, 'Why not give it a shot? Let's give a try and have some fun.' It just worked out.

Sure did. Unlike some other bracelet winners so far this year, Malm didn't offer a wire-to-wire victory at the final table. He entered the final table second in chips, but fell down the standings after the eliminations of Travis Pearson in ninth and Marco Johnson in eighth. Greg Mueller, making his second consecutive final table in this event, knocked out 1999 bracelet winner Mike Wattel in seventh and Eric Crain, who held the chip lead for most of the first two days, was back in the lead after he finished off 2007 bracelet winner Dario Alioto in sixth.

Steven Wolansky knocked out Michael Hurey in fifth and moved into the lead after taking off a big pot against Crain in stud. Malm was nearly felted during the 2-7 rotation, but caught a big triple up in no-limit hold 'em against Wolansky and Crain to at least give him some breathing room. Crain, a two time WSOP Circuit winner and 2012 WCOOP winner, fizzled out in limit hold 'em to earn $64,975.

The swings continued three-handed, but Mueller never seemed to be the beneficiary. He was eliminated during limit hold 'em, getting unlucky against Wolansky who paired on the turn to beat Mueller's flopped top pair (A-9>10-8). The double-bracelet winner in 2009 has made three final tables over the past two years with a seventh, second and now third place finish. He has $1.9 million career WSOP earnings.

Heads-up began with Wolansky owning a 3:2 chip lead. Over the next few rotations, that lead went from 2:1 to down 2:1 to back up to nearly 9:1. Malm began his recovery in pot-limit Omaha, then regained the lead during limit hold 'em. During the final level before play would be suspended for the night, Malm made a great read that would ultimately be the difference maker. He called a huge bet on the river with third pair during a no-limit hold 'em hand to swing the momentum and build his lead. Malm used this edge to pressure his opponent and finally in pot-limit Omaha, emerged victorious as his Ad-10d-10c-9h rivered a flush against Wolansky's Ks-Qc-10s-9d on a Qs-6d-4d-Kh-2d board.

Malm, far from a mixed-game expert, felt his ability to adjust and learn quickly was what led to his win.

"I knew how to play these games, I mean the basics, but I did not know the strategy of the proper way to do things," he said. "I picked it up as I went through the tournament and got better at the games. I don't know, I guess I was a quick learner about that."

This was Wolansky's first WSOP cash and largest career live tournament score. The Florida native has been finding lots of success lately with 10 cashes (six final tables, one victory) in 2013.

Other notable finishers include Chris Tryba (10th), Randy Ohel (11th), Chris Reslock (12th), Robert Mizrachi (14th) and Josh Arieh (15th).

Below are the complete results of Event 8 at the 2013 World Series of Poker:

Event 8: Eight-game mix
Buy-in: $2,500
Entries: 388
Prize pool: $882,700
Players in the money: 40

1. Michael Malm ($225,104)
2. Steven Wolansky ($139,034)
3. Greg Mueller ($89,673)
4. Eric Crain ($64,975)
5. Michael Hurey ($47,771)
6. Dario Alioto ($35,634)
7. Mike Wattel ($26,966)
8. Marco Johnson ($20,699)
9. Travis Pearson ($16,118)
10. Chris Tryba ($16,118)
11. Randy Ohel ($12,728)
12. Chris Reslock ($12,728)
13. Benjamin Pollak ($10,186)
14. Robert Mizrachi ($10,186)
15. Josh Arieh ($8,262)
16. Darryl Herrick ($8,262)
17. Septimiu Popescu ($6,796)
18. Christopher Wolfe ($6,796)
19. Young Kim ($6,796)
20. Christopher Vitch ($6,796)
21. James Vanalstyne ($6,796)
22. Rostislav Tsodikov ($6,796)
23. Andrey Zaichenko ($6,796)
24. Joe Cassidy ($6,796)
25. Grzegorz Derkowski ($5,702)
26. Glenn Cozen ($5,702)
27. Blair Rodman ($5,702)
28. Mathew Cherackal ($5,702)
29. Steve Hohn ($5,702)
30. Tobias Hausen ($5,702)
31. Robert Campbell ($5,702)
32. Alexey Makarov ($5,702)
33. Don Nguyen ($4,784)
34. Andy Bloch ($4,784)
35. John Cernuto ($4,784)
36. Colin Wickersheim ($4,784)
37. Jason Gola ($4,784)
38. Mohsin Charania ($4,784)
39. Kyle Bowker ($4,784)
40. Neal Friets ($4,784)