Event 8 Omaha Hi/Lo
Event 8 brought the first tourney that didn’t end in holdem. Limit Omaha Hi/Lo brings new complexity to the 2006 World Series of Poker. Omaha is similar to holdem in that a five card board is dealt (three flop cards, a turn, and a river). The difference is that each player receives four hole cards, rather than two, and the best hand requires two cards from each player to combine with three cards on the board. This means no four-card flushes and no one card full houses, etc. The pot is split between the best and worst poker hands (the high and the low), and the ideal is to scoop the pot. A wheel ‘A-2-3-4-5’ qualifies as a five high straight and the best possible low. The best starting hands are ‘wraps’ – a hand that allows a wrap around for the best low and possibly a flush or a pair of Aces in the hand. An example would be As-Ah-2h-3s. Unfortunately, if a player held the example hand and the board came ‘A-2-3-4-5’ and another player held K-9-6-4 and another player held A-Q-6-4, the beautiful starting hand would get a quarter of the pot (holding a wheel), as would the second player that held K-9-6-4, (holding a six high straight), and the A-Q-6-4 would win half the pot with a six high straight and a wheel. Any two cards, in the player’s hand, can be used for high – and any two for low. Omaha is popular throughout Europe, as well as in hot spots like Tunica.
A field of 670 participants paid $2k, again continuing the record run of 2006 contenders. Some of the early exits included Jennifer Harman, Mel Judah, Max Pescatori, Greg Raymer, Men “The Master” Nguyen, and Barry Greenstein. Shahram "Sean" Sheikhan grabbed the mid-day chip lead. Crowd favorite Marcel Luske joined his table, and other players turned up their iPod’s as the chatter between the two went non-stop. Luske exited short of the money, as 63 players cashed. Daniel Negreanu made a torrid run early and cashed in his second WSOP tourney this year. Day 1 ended in the money, with 61 players left.
Independence Day was the backdrop as the Day 2 participants worked their way down to a final table. The room got quieter immediately as Minneapolis Jim Meehan left in 58th ($2,439). Sheikhan and Negreanu started together at the same table, and Negreanu took an early pot with a full house. Sheikhan would bluff Negreanu out of a pot several hands later as he continued the verbal jawing with Kid Poker. Negreanu had the last word, as Sheikhan went through $50k in thirty minutes and left in 31st ($4,268). John Juanda (28th) took home the same paycheck, leaving the three remaining tables with one of the best walking out the door.
Joe Tehan has been on a torrid pace this year, including his WPT win at Mandalay Bay last month. In a three-way pot, Cuong Do crippled him while knocking out Andy Bloch. Bloch held , Tehan , and Do . The three were all-in with Tehan and Bloch creating a side pot. The board came . No low qualified, and Do took the main pot as his A-K out kicked Tehan’s A-Q. Tehan knocked out Bloch’s block, out in 23rd ($6,097). Tehan was out soon after (19th, $6,097). Do continued his strong play as he scooped a pot and knocked out two players. Huck Seed built a sizable stack with creative play. He came back from the dinner break with $78k in chips, but a tough hour sent the talented player out in 11th ($13,413). After Alan Mittelman left in 10th ($13,413), the night’s play was concluded before 10:00PM.
Daniel Negreanu will be the favorite heading into the final table with an average chip stack and able to craft whatever strategy he favors. The final table of Event #8 Omaha Hi/Lo:
Seat 1- Florante "Rusty" Mandap - $156,100
Seat 2- Steve Lustig - $31,000
Seat 3- Cong Do- $99,000
Seat 4- Jeff Madsen - $225,000
Seat 5- Robert Collins - $156,000
Seat 6- Robert Mangino- $165,000
Seat 7- Russ Salzer - $142,000
Seat 8- Daniel Negreanu - $166,000
Seat 9- Jack Zwerner - $189,000