With the return of $10,000 Championship events to the World Series of Poker schedule, the game's brightest and most bankrolled stars turned out to compete in Event #18: The $10,000 Seven-Card Razz Championship, as the variant has always been a favorite of pros who have long since mastered the game of Texas Hold'em.
The event saw 112 elite players take their seats looking to be crowned champion of the biggest buy-in Razz Championship of all-time, but in the end it was German-born George Danzer who prevailed after an intense battle with 2014 bracelet winner Brandon Shack-Harris. Danzer fought back from a deficit and forged ahead to take the title, adding his first WSOP gold bracelet to an already impressive résumé, while denying Shack-Harris a historic second bracelet win in a single summer.
Variant Value: Danzer's win marked his 10th cash at the WSOP since 2006, and with all but one of those coming in non-Hold'em poker variants, the German has made his mark as one of the best all-around players in the game. Just last week Danzer reached the final table in Event #5: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball Championship, where he registered a 5th place finish for $70,308. Last year Danzer cashed three times at the WSOP, with his 5th place finish in The $50,000 Poker Players' Championship netting a whopping $388,523 payday, along with 14th and 6th place finishes in $5,000 Omaha Hi/Lo and $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, respectively. In fact, Danzer's only Hold'em cash at the WSOP came back in 2006, when he went deep in none other than the Main Event.
The Eurozone: On the same day that Davidi Kitai won Event #15: $3,000 Six-Handed NLHE to get the international contingent on the board — becoming the first non-American to win a bracelet during the 2014 WSOP — Danzer added Germany to the list of nations to nab gold this summer. After last year saw an astounding 23 players hailing from outside the United States proudly hear their national anthems play during bracelet ceremonies, Danzer's win could very well signal the start of yet another foreign invasion on the felt.
Brandon the Bambino: Shack-Harris won his first career bracelet in Event #3: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha, taking home $205,634 in prize money for the accomplishment, but during a post-game interview he made it clear that the $10,000 Razz Championship was the prize he truly had his sights set on. Shack-Harris said that while winning the first bracelet was obviously satisfying, he would only begin to celebrate after claiming top honors in the Championship event of his specialty variant. Like the Sultan of Swat before him Shack-Harris had called his shot, before proceeding to swing and slam his way through the tournament en route to what must have been a bitterly disappointing runner-up finish.
Razz the Roof: The last time the WSOP schedule featured a pair of Razz events was way back in 1977 — before either Danzer of Shack-Harris were even born. The decision to add $10,000 Championship events for a number of poker variants meant that this year would see Razz titles taken down, with the $1,500 buy-in version of the event won by Ted Forrest last week. Sporting a buy-in worthy of the Championship tag, this event was the most prominent Razz tournament in WSOP history after the $5,000 buy-in event which Huck Seed won in 2003.
You Can Bet On It: With a publicly issued bracelet bet to any and all takers generating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wagers, Daniel Negreanu (along with pal and fellow pro Phil Ivey) entered the WSOP highly motivated to take down a title. And while Ivey has bricked out thus far through two weeks of action, "Kid Poker" has put his money where his mouth is not once but twice. Earlier in the week Negreanu nearly cashed in a winning ticket when he went heads-up against Paul Volpe to decide things in Event #13: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship, but he fell just short of the finish line with a runner-up result. After ponying up another $10,000 buy-in to try his hand in Razz, Negreanu stormed out of the gates once again before Shack-Harris knocked him out in 10th place.
He'll Be Bach: David Bach also proved his Razz bona fides in this event, as the longtime pro and mixed-game master reached the final table of both Razz events on the summer schedule. Bach finished in fourth place in the $1,500 buy-in Razz tournament just over a week ago, before weaving his way to an eighth-place run in the Championship. In fact, this marked the third consecutive Razz final table at the WSOP for Bach, as he was the runner-up in the $2,500 Razz event last year.