After three days of lowball poker, standing pat and smooth eights we finally have a Champion in Event #14: $1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball!
250 players began this event with reigning Champion Phil Ivey and five-time lowball bracelet holder Billy Baxter the hot picks to make a deep run. Unfortunately for them, along with some great lowball tournament players, they would fall to the rail along with 183 others to leave 67 still in contention for day two.
Nick Binger was the overnight chip leader and stayed on top throughout the day as play was fast and furious with players falling left, right and center until Ted Forrest and Shunjiro Uchida became our joint bubble boys.
Sigi Stockinger (25th), Jose-Luis Velador (24th), Tommy Hang (21st), Chris Viox (18th), JC Tran (15th), Erik Seidel (14th), Chris Bjorin (13th), Scott Seiver (12th), Bryan Micon (11th) and David 'Chino' Rheem (9th) were some of the incredibly talented players that had a crack at making the final table, but inevitably fell just shy as a final seven would be formed following the elimination of Daniel Nicewander.
Binger took the chip lead into the final table as play began with three players not in their seats. Unfortunately for Alexander Kravchenko he arrived a little too early as he bit the dust drawing to a nine-eight perfect. James Bord fell next when he broke a six-high straight only to pair up as Todd Bui hit the rail in fifth place when he was unable to improve his ten-six low.
With Mike Wattel and Yan Chen well distanced on the leaderboard, play four-handed would see-saw back and forth between all the remaining players until Derric Haynie's pat nine-eight was unable to best Wattel's pat eight-six as he exited in third place. Sadly for Binger he was unable to improve on his previous WSOP final table by falling in third place drawing to a seven-wheel as two of the most experienced players on the table reached heads-up play.
Chen took a slight lead into his expected intense battle with Wattel, and after an hour of play neither could be separated as we broke for dinner. Returning with some new found energy both players exchanged three-bet after three-bet until Chen slowly started to increase his lead against Wattel who was looking to add bracelet number two to his twenty-three cashes.
Inevitably Chen would prove the victor when his pat ten-eight was too strong for Wattel's pat queen-jack as the Las Vegas native captured his first coveted gold WSOP bracelet, $92,817 in prize money and title of Event #14 Champion!
Congratulations to Yan Chen who displayed a great deal of composure and patience mixed with timely aggression and a friendly attitude to his opponents throughout Event #14 to deservingly be crowned Champion!