The first Omaha tournament of the 2008 World Series of Poker drew quite the crowd. A total of 833 players came to participate in the $1,500 Omaha hi-lo split 8-or-better event, and playing down to the final nine on Day 2 was quite the feat. The game isn’t a fast one by nature, and it took from 3pm until after 6am to determine the ones who would return on Day 3 to play for the WSOP title.
Those top nine came to the final table with the following chip stacks:
Play began at the 21st level with 6,000/12,000 blinds. Action started a bit slow, but Scott Clements got aggressive before too long. He took the high half of a sizable pot that went to showdown, but then things took a turn. He lost a showdown against three other players and fell to 205,000. Another hit to his stack came shortly thereafter, and a hand against Wilds left him absolutely crippled with only 30K in chips.
Clements waited for a hand, and when he found one, he pushed his 12,000 into the pot. The blinds called and checked it down as the cards came ----. Pritchard showed --- for a full house, which prompted Luu to fold, and Clements to show Aces before folding and shaking hands. Scott Clements, two-time WSOP champion, was eliminated in 9th place for $22,172.
Mark Wilds was the next player in trouble when a hand with Luu went horribly wrong, Wilds was rivered for the low and lost the high, putting Luu up to 800,000 and lowering Wilds to 100,000. A short while later, Wilds found himself with only 10,000 after distributing chips slowly but surely. He was all-in from the small blind for that 10K, Luu called, and Guzman checked his big blind option. Both players checked the -- flop, and the turn of a prompted a bet from Guzman and fold from Luu. Wilds then showed ---, and Guzman produced ---. An on the river gave Guzman a full house, and Mark Wilds went home in 8th place with $30,700.
Craig Sabel hadn’t had much of a chance to get anything going chip-wise, and when he did become involved in a strong pot with Lawrence, he lost the pot and scarcely had enough left to take care of the blinds. He did scoop a hand after that to survive with 130K in chips, but it wouldn’t be long before he had to make a move.
And it happened. Sabel was all-in in the big blind with two callers. Lawrence and Guzman checked the -- flop, but Lawrence bet on the turn and Guzman folded. The cards were turned up: Lawrence with --- and Sabel with ---. The river was a , and Craig Sabel was gone in 7th place with $39,228.
The eliminations began to happen more quickly. Next would be Greg Jamison all-in in the big blind. Three callers came before the board showed ----, and everyone checked it down. Guzman showed ---, Lawrence showed ---, and Jamison had --- only to be shown the door and a check for $50,598.
Chris Falconer took the next step and raised for his low stack of 80K. Luu and Guzman called and checked down when the board came ----. Luu revealed the winning hand with ---, Guzman lost the hand, and Falconer’s --- lost to send him home in 5th place with $64,243.
James Pritchard tried to take a stand against Lawrence, and all of his chips were in the pot pre-flop. Pritchard showed ---, and Lawrence turned over ---. The board came ----, and Pritchard doubled to 400K. And he was soon all-in again as the blinds rose quickly. Pritchard came in from the small blind with ---, and Luu called from the big blind with ---. The board came ----, and Pritchard was gone in 4th place with $78,456.
George Guzman was next to go all-in, and he did so pre-flop against Lawrence. He showed ---, and Lawrence had ---. The dealer gave them ----, and Guzman would not survive this hand. He left in 3rd place with $93,806.
Heads-up play got underway between the two remaining players:
Luu kept his aggressive stance and pumped it up a notch. His determination was clear, and a short while in, he was up by more than a 2-1 chip lead. Lawrence came back to even it up in just one hand, even surpassing him a bit in subsequent hands, but Luu wasn’t giving up.
A key hand of heads-up action was on a board of ----, and the pot had grown on each street. Numerous raises took place after the river, and when Luu showed ---, it was the winning hand and he sent Lawrence into the lowlands with less than 600K.
Then came the hand! Luu raised pre-flop, and Lawrence called. After the flop of --, Luu bet, Lawrence check-raised, and Luu reraised. Eventually, as raises continued, Lawrence ended up all-in. Cards were shown as Lawrence with --- and Luu with ---. The turn and river were and , and Luu won with a full house.
Spencer Lawrence was eliminated in 2nd place for a prize of $156,343.
Thang Luu won the $1,500 Omaha hi-lo split 8-or-better tournament, $243,356, and a World Series of Poker bracelet. Congrats!