Johannes Becker busted the $100,000 High Roller at the 2018 World Series of Poker and found himself a little down in the dumps. As a mixed-game cash player whose favorite games are 2-7 triple draw and badugi — two of the games in Event #8: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball — it seemed only natural he would hop in, but playing poker in a negative mindset is rarely a good idea.
"I was kind of wondering whether I should play or not," he said. "But given that I've been looking forward to this specific tournament and it's kind of my mix, I decided to give it a shot anyway."
So, the German registered late and gave it a go. Two days later, he emerged atop a 321-player field for his first WSOP bracelet and $180,455 in prize money.
Official Final Table Results
|2||Scott Seiver||United States||$111,516|
|3||Jesse Hampton||United States||$71,547|
|4||Chris Vitch||United States||$47,166|
|5||George Trigeorgis||United States||$31,873|
Becker came into the final day with the second-shortest stack out of 12 remaining players. He figured any headway he made was gravy given his chip position.
"I didn't expect to win," he said. "I started catching cards and that worked out great."
Becker's initial good run allowed him to maneuver past bracelet-winning competition like Mike Leah, Bryce Yockey and Frank Kassela en route to the final table. Limit crusher Chris Vitch and Scott Seiver, who had built up a monster stack of twice the next player, still stood in his way, though.
Vitch surged into the lead early, and as a former winner of this event, he seemed the favorite. However, Becker had shown off his mixed-game chops as well here at the WSOP, taking second in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship last year.
While he was unknown to most at that point due to a light history of live cashes, he had been a big player in mixed online cash. PPC champ Elior Sion hinted as much when he told PokerNews that he and Becker had history battling online. Becker confirmed he has long been a regular at stakes as high as $200/$400.
"Whenever I'm home I sit down at the tables online and wait for anyone to join," he said. "Quite often, there're slow days and nobody is playing me at all."
Given that fierce reputation, it's little surprise that Becker got past even the tough grinders he had to face at the final table. Luis Velador fell early on, and while short stack George Trigeorgis hung on for awhile, he eventually found an all-in pot he couldn't win.
Seiver eventually reversed Vitch's takeover, topping him in a number of pots. Vitch slid into fourth place, where he went bust to fall just short of a third bracelet.
Becker at one point had the shortest stack three-handed, and Seiver controlled nearly three-quarters of the chips. However, Becker took over from that point and just couldn't be stopped. He bested Seiver in a number of pots and crushed first Jesse Hampton and then Seiver.
Becker said he was happy to win his first bracelet, but it still doesn't compare to his run in the PPC, since that field was so elite and the event so prestigious. He'll be back in there this year along with a number of other "fun events" like the Heads-Up Championship and the two 2-7 triple draw events.
A couple of other pressing matters may pull Becker away from other events. For one thing, he's got to leap over the last hurdle on the way to his economics degree by finishing up his thesis. For another, he's going to be looking to fire in plenty of big cash games.
This particular event could have easily been one he skipped, but luckily for him, he didn't let the $100K bustout blues keep him down.
"It was a good decision," he said.