In the longest 7-Card Stud High-Low tournament in the history of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), 56-year old former stockbroker turned High-Low poker specialist Steve Hohn came back from a 9-to-1 chip deficit to win the 2005 WSOP $1000 buy-in 7-Card Stud High-Low Eight-or-Better tournament at the Rio Pavilion Convention Center.
Besides winning the coveted gold bracelet, Hohn won the announced 1st prize of $156,985.
Hohn, who previously had 2nd and 3rd place finishes in 7-Card Stud High-Low at the WSOP, outlasted poker professional Mike Wattel in a 4-hour heads-up battle that lasted 193 hands.
Hohn, who started the heads-up match on Hand 151 with a 2-to-1 chip deficit, had fallen behind by a 9-to-1 margin by Hand 217. Keeping his composure throughout the match, Hohn proceed to win the next 8 hands in a row to rebuild his chip stack.
"I always felt that I had a chance to come back," said Hohn to WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla. "I felt that the cards were breaking for me."
Hohn took the chip lead from from Wattel for the first time of the evening on Hand 320. With limits at 15000-30000, the ante at 4000, and the low card bring-in at 6000, Hohn brought in on 3rd Street with the 9h, Wattel completed with the Qc, and Hohn called. Wattel bet on 4th Street with the Qd and Hohn called with the 9c. Wattel bet on 5th Street with the 9s and Hohn called again with the 6c. On 6th Street, Wattel checked the Th, Hohn bet with the Kc, and Wattel called. Wattel checked and called a bet from Hohn on 7th Street, and Hohn turned over 9d 8d 5s to reveal trip Nines before Wattel mucked his hand.
Hohn extended his chip lead to 2-to-1 on Hand 327. Hohn brought in on 3rd Street with the 9s, Wattel completed with the Td, and Hohn called. Hohn bet with the Ad on 4th Street and Wattel called with the 5c. On 5th Street, Hohn bet with the Kh, Wattel raised with the Qc, and Hohn called. Hohn checked on 6th Street with the 4d, Wattel bet with the 4c, and Hohn called. Both players checked 7th Street, with Hohn showing As 3s Jc for one pair of Aces and Wattel mucking his hand.
Wattel, who folded on 5th Street on Hands 330 and 341 to fall behind by a 7-to-1 deficit, was eliminated in Hand 343 to end the tournament. Wattel brought in on 3rd Street with the 9d, Hohn completed with the Js, and Wattel called. On 4th Street, Hohn bet with the 5h and Wattel called with the Ts. Hohn bet on 5th Street with the 8c and Wattel called his remaining 14000 chips with the 7h. Hohn turned over Jh 6s for one pair of Jacks while Wattel turned over 7s 6d for one pair of Sevens. Wattel could not improve his hand with the Ah on 6th Street and the 4s on 7th Street.
Wattel, who fell short in his attempt to win his second WSOP bracelet event of his career (he won an Omaha High-Low event at the 1999 WSOP), won the announced 2nd prize of $88,800.
Al Ruck of was crippled after losing over 80% of his chip stack in two hands against Wattel shortly after dinner break. With the limits at 8000-16000, Ruck lost Hand 143 to Wattel when Wattel made Aces Full of Fours, and Ruck lost Hand 146 to Wattel when Wattel's two-pair of Eights over Fours beat Ruck's two-pair of Sevens over Deuces.
Ruck was eliminated in 3rd place by Hohn on Hand 150. Hohn brought in on 3rd Street with the 7d and Ruck completed with the 8c. Hohn bet on the 4th Street with the 7c and Ruck called with the 6h. Hohn bet against on 5th Street with the Ts and Ruck called his remaining 9000 chips with Qd. Ruck turned over 2h 2s for one pair of deuces while Hohn turned over 4d 8d for one pair of sevens. Ruck could not improve his hand with the Jh on 6th Street and the 5h on 7th Street and he left the tournament with a prize of $51,440.
21-year-old Jonathan Paul, the youngest player at the final table, was eliminated by Ruck on Hand 109. With the limits at 6000-12000, the ante at 2000, and the low card bring-in at 2000, Ruck brought in on 3rd Street with the 4h, Wattel completed with the Kh, Paul raised with the Qs, Ruck called, and Wattel folded after joking "I was only kidding". Paul bet on 4th Street with 5c, Ruck raised with the Ts, and Paul called with his remaining 5000. Ruck turned over 4s 4c to show that he started with "rolled-up" 4's while Paul turned over Ad Kd to reveal that he needed to draw running cards to survive. Paul was only able to make one pair of Aces with no low by drawing 7s Ah 3d, and he collected $39,525 for his first career prize at a WSOP bracelet event.
Despite catching a miracle 5c on 7th Street to make a "wheel" straight on Hand 80 to scoop a pot from Paul in order to stay alive, Peter Phillips was eliminated 10 hands later by Paul on Hand 90. Phillips brought in on 3rd Street with the 4c, Paul completed with the Ah, and Phillips called. Paul bet on 4th Street with the 5d and Paul called with the 7s. Paul bet on 5th Street with the 2s and Phillips called his remaining 4000 chips with 6d. Paul turned over 3h 5h for a pair of 5's with a low draw while Phillips turned over 4d 9c for a pair of 4's. Paul made a 6-5-3-2-A low with the 7c on 7th Street while Phillips could not improve his hand with 3s on 6th Street and Jh on 7th Street. Phillips took home $32,485.
Sheila Marie St. Michael was eliminated by Ruck in 6th place on Hand 47. With the limits at 5000-10000, the ante at 1500, and the low card bring-in at 2000, Ruck completed to open on 3rd Street with 5c and Marie St. Michael went all-in for a total of 7000 with 7d. Marie St. Michael showed As 7s while Ruck showed Ah 3h. Ruck made a pair of Sevens and a 7-5-3-2-A low with 7c 7d 2h Kd while Marie St. Michael missed completely with Kh 4s Qs Tc. Marie St. Michael departed with a prize of $25,450.
6-time WSOP bracelet winner Men "The Master" Nguyen was eliminated in 7th place by Hohn on Hand 25. Wattel brought in on 3rd Street with the 6d, Nguyen completed with the 7d, Hohn raised with Qs, Wattel folded, Nguyen went all-in for an addition 500, and Hohn called. Nguyen turned over Ad 6s while Hohn turned over Qd 7s. Hohn's two-pair of Queens over Nines with Jc 9c 7s 9s beat Nguyen's two-pair of Sixes over Fours with Tc 4c 4d 6c. Nguyen had to settle for a prize of $20,035.
76-year old Giacomo D'Agostino, who started the final table as the short stack, was eliminated in 8th place by Paul on Hand 14. With the limits at 4000-8000, ante at 1000, and the low card bring-in at 1500, Wattel brought in on 3rd Street with the 2s, Paul called with the 5c, D'Agostino completed with the Ks, Nguyen called with the 4h, Wattel folded, and Paul called. D'Agostino was all-in for 2000 on 4th Street with 7s and was called by Nguyen with the Jc and Paul with the 8d. Paul bet out on 5th Street with the 5s and Nguyen folded with the 2c. Paul turned over 5h 7s for three of a kind while D'Agostino, who caught the Kh on 5th Street, turned over Jh Jd for two-pair and exclaimed "I have dead Jacks." D'Agostino failed to improve with 6s on 6th Street and Qc on 7th Street to exit with a prize of $14,080.
The tournament started with a field of 595 players, which was almost 3 times the size of the field of 213 for a similar event at the 2004 WSOP when the buy-in was $1500. Due to the size of the field, the final table had to be postponed to a 3rd day of play.
1 Steve Hohn $156,985
2 Mike Wattel 88,800
3 Al Ruck Esch 51,440
4 Jonathan Paul 39,525
5 Peter Phillips 32,485
6 Sheila Marie St. Michael 25,450
7 Men "The Master" Nguyen 20,035
8 Giacomo D'Agostino 14,080
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