Frankie O'Dell (left, photo courtesy of ImageMasters) grabbed a WSOP bracelet to match his 2003 $1.5k Omaha Hi/Lo, beating out John Juanda and Marcel Luske to take down the $2k Omaha Hi/Lo title.
534 players gave Harrah's $2k, and in return they received a prize pool of $971,880. Blair Rodman (68k) and Marcel Luske (65k) sat atop the Day 1 leaderboard of eighty-one players.
Only fifty-four cashed, and those making the money included Doug Carli (39th $4,957), Kathy Liebert (37th $4,957) and Blair Rodman (24th $6,803).
It was a painful exit for Rodman as he was fifth in chips with thirty-one players remaining. He went on a brutal run, finished off by Frankie O'Dell.
At the dinner break, the chip counts of the remaining sixteen players were:
Dinner Break Chip Counts
Marcel Luske (334k)
Thang Luu (293k)
Jess Robinson (219k)
John Juanda (186k)
Martin Corpuz, Jr. (175k)
Marvin Ryan (165k)
Frankie O'Dell (155k)
Stuart Paterson (148k)
Mitch Maples (120k)
Ming Lee (96k)
Mark Tenner (85k)
Tony Cousineau (53k)
Matt Lefkowitz (45k)
Dan Mowczan (16k)
Gene Fisher (13k)
Richard Naiman (8k)
Many of the pros have maligned the limit structures this year, and it is easy to see why. With blinds at 5k/10k, not playing Omaha was a better strategy than playing. One of those who realized that was John Juanda. He lost a few pots as two players were knocked out, then suddenly he was all-in with his last 60k with Thang Luu on a board of . Juanda had the nut low with A-2-2-5 but couldn't catch his wheel as Luu showed A-K-K-9 for the full house treys over kings.
He'd gone from fourth in chips to rising from the felt in a blink of an eye. He doubled up once, lost a pot, then survived three all-in's by twice catching the wheel for the low. Luu finally sent him out in 10th ($9,719). Juanda is an oddity, as 18 of his first 23 WSOP cashes were final tables, and the other five were finishes in the top twenty-five.
Final Table chip counts
1s Martin Corpuz (292k)
2s Ming Lee (373k)
3s Mitch Maples (70k)
4s Thang Luu (238k)
5s Jess Robinson (255k)
6s Frankie O'Dell (318k)
7s Marcel Luske (427k)
8s Marvin Ryan (104k)
9s Stuart Paterson (58k)
The Dapper Dutchman Luske has had several near misses at the World Series. He finished behind Mike Matusow and Daniel Negreanu in the 2002 $5k Omaha Hi/Lo, went out in 14th of the 2003 Main Event, was runner-up to Joe Awada in the 2004 $5k Seven Card Stud, and finished 4th in last year's $5k NLH event. All eyes were on Luske with the chip lead.
With blinds at 8k/15k and a 15k/30k limit, Mitch Maples quickly busted out in 9th ($14,578). Luske then knocked out FullTilt red pro Stuart Paterson in brutal fashion. Paterson was all-in on the flop of with . Luske had raised pre-flop and called with the intimidating for the no pair/runner-runner straight draw or runner-runner two pair draw. gave Luske the ace-high straight, and Paterson was out in 8th ($20,409).
Blinds had jumped up to 10k/20k with 20k/40k bets, and hands that were chased and missed would be devastating. In a four-way pot and a board of , Ming Lee had gotten all-in by the turn. Corpuz took the low with , and Ryan took the high with for the straight. Luske mucked, and Ming Lee left in 7th ($27,699).
Thang Luu (505k)
Marvin Ryan (440k)
Martin Corpuz (420k)
Frankie O'Dell (330k)
Marcel Luske (290k)
Jess Robinson (115k)
Jess Robinson got the last of his chips in with , hoping at least to take the low vs. Corpuz . left him with no low and a two pair to the trip fives of Corpuz, and Jess Robinson was gone in 6th ($36,391). Corpuz kept up the pressure, using A-K to beat out Luske's K-9 straight on a Q-J-10 board. Corpuz and O'Dell tag-teamed Marvin Ryan (5th $47,136), both making kings and sevens with an ace kicker on a board of .
Luske's chips looked bipolar as he went to the felt only to scoop big pots as blinds were 15k/30k with 30k/60k limits. He doubled through O'Dell with on a board, all-in on the turn vs O'Dell's .
Even losing that big pot, O'Dell still held the chip lead (730k), Luu was close behind (680k), Luske was up to 520k, and Corpuz was down to a few chips with 95k. He chipped up a bit then doubled through O'Dell to move even with Luske at the bottom of the quartet.
Blinds moved up to 20k/40k with 40k/80k bets. Luske lost a key pot then was all-in against Luu. On a flop of , Luske turned over to Luu's . Luske was in very bad shape, and sent him home in 4th ($64,630). O'Dell then scooped big pots from Corpuz and Luu to leave them with 80k and 120k respectively to his 1.75m.
It was a race to second, and Corpuz lost. He was all-in with , in good shape against O'Dell's . gave O'Dell the turned straight, and Martin Corpuz, Jr. was out in 3rd ($97,188).
It was random hand up against random hand when Luu was all-in with to O'Dell's . The dealer put on the felt, and O'Dell took it down with queens and nines to scoop the pot and the title. Thang Luu finished 2nd and took home $147,726.
In his Fedora and shades, he looks more like 80's rapper Heavy D than a top poker player. Not many people have two bracelets, and his $240,057 cash puts him in the upper echelon of Omaha players.