It was the best final table of the 2008 World Series of Poker so far. The line-up was stellar, the game was interesting, and the stakes were high.
From the beginning when 85 of the top players in the game of poker entered Event #18. The $5,000 No-Limit 207 Draw Lowball w/Rebuys tournament brought a certain caliber of player to the table – well-versed in a rarely-played variation of poker and able to rebuy in a $5K event. And the love of rebuys showed in the massive prize pool of $1,735,020 that grew due to the 272 rebuys among the 85 players. In the end, 14 people were paid and $537,857 would go to the winner.
The final table was set to begin at 3pm PST on Wednesday, June 11th, and the players and chip counts were as follows:
Tony “G” Tony G.
Erick Lindgren had all of his opponents covered by at least a 2-1 margin, so it wasn’t surprising that he came on strong in the first hand of the day. He took control and forced Tony G to lay down his hand.
Tony G. was having a rough time from the start as he faced Lindgren, but he took a pot from Mike Matusow in an attempt to find his comfort zone. Fellow high stakes gamer David Benyamine tried to intimidate Tony G. by pushing him in a raise situation, but Tony G. stayed out of it. He did win a sizable pot against Lindgren and Barry Greenstein to stay in the game, though.
Meanwhile, Tom Schneider didn’t have much time to move his short stack, and he chose to do it against Benyamine. When the latter raised, Schneider came over the top and pushed all-in for his last 126K. Benyamine took some time to consider his options but called, then discarded the face up. Schneider stayed and showed 10-7-5-3-2, and Benyamine turned up 9-5-4-3, then looked at his drawn card and mucked it. Schneider doubled up to 288K. The 2007 WSOP Player of the Year then won a three-way pot against Lindgren and Tony G. when both of them folded when Schneider bet after the draw. He then sat with over 300K.
Benyamine wasn’t able to get anything going, and he finally moved in with his last 146K after Lindgren raised and Tony G. called. Tony G. folded to Benyamine’s all-in, but Lindgren called and drew one card while Benyamine stayed pat. Lindgren showed 8-5-4-2-7, and Benyamine had J-8-7-4-2. David Benyamine was sent home in 7th place with $58,990.
Lindgren was solidifying his chip lead slowly but surely, though he did hit a roadblock when he met up with short-stacked Schneider. The latter raised, Lindgren reraised, and Schneider called. Both took one card, Schneider pushed all-in, and Lindgren called. Schneider showed 8-6-5-4-2, Lindgren folded, and Schneider doubled up to 651K and a bit more comfort in his standings.
Speaking of Schneider, he put a dent in Tony G.’s stack when he showed 10-9-8-5-4 and Tony G. simply mucked. Next, Tony G. went up against Lindgren who opened the pot for 40K. Tony G. pushed all-in for his last 141K, and Lindgren called. Each player discarded one, Lindgren then turned up 9-8-6-4, and Tony G. showed 8-5-3-2. Lindgren’s draw card was a 5, Tony G. pulled another 2, and Tony G was sent home in 6th place with $78,075.
Barry Greenstein was second in chips and slowly amassed more chips to solidify his position. He took a pot from Matusow and another from Lisandro.
Lisandro was taking some hits though still in the middle of the pack. But when he raised a hand to 50K from under the gun, Schneider pushed his again-short stack of 139K all-in. Lisandro called, and both players drew one card. Lisandro showed 7-6-4-3-A, but Schneider had 8-6-3-2-4 to take the pot and double up to 330K.
Before long, Schneider took his short stack far but was forced to take another stand. Upon an initial raise by Lisandro and call by Matusow, Schneider moved all-in for 185K. Both opponents called and each took one card, but Schneider stood pat. Lisandro checked, Matusow bet, and Lisandro threw his hand away. Matusow turned up 9-5-4-3-2, and Schneider mucked and had to leave the game in 5th place with $104,101.
Lindgren took a big pot from Lisandro to solidify his chip lead, and his victim was put in the at-risk range. In a subsequent hand, Lisandro went all-in after a Lindgren raise, and Lindgren called. Lisandro stood with 10-8-7-6-3, while Lindgren took one card, then mucked his entire hand. Lisandro was then up to 360K and relaxed for a bit.
In the meantime, Greenstein was plugging away at the chip leader, and after taking down a three-way pot, he came close. And after some more time of simply chipping up, he climbed to the top of the leader board. At that point, all four players were fairly even in chips, with Lisandro about 200K behind the others who were all in the 900K range.
Lindgren was having a tough time after being so successful in the beginning, but his aggression wasn’t working as well as it had been. He finally had to push and wound up doubling through Greenstein, who subsequently dropped to 500K.
The 2008 WSOP bracelet winner made another run at it. After Matusow raised, Lindgren called. Matusow stood pat but Lindgren took one card. Matusow checked, Lindgren bet, and Matusow called. Lindgren was forced to fold.
It was then time for the big move. After Lisandro raised, Matusow called, and Lindgren moved all-in from the big blind. Lisandro folded but Matusow called. Matusow drew two and showed 8-7-4-6-2, and Lindgren drew one and turned over 7-6-3-2-2. Erick Lindgren was clearly disappointed and took 4th with a $156,151 bonus.
With three players left, Greenstein took the reins as the aggressor. He took several pots in a row from Lisandro and seemed to have his number. But Lisandro, never being one to quit, came back and took some pots to rise again. Just before the dinner break, Lisandro got involved in a very sizable pot with Matusow. Lisandro won, showed an Ace, and sent his opponent into a serious fit of tilt.
When players returned from the dinner break, chip counts were as follows:
Matusow did return from the 75-minute break with a new attitude and a calm yet aggressive readiness to be a contender. He did just that, and soon it was Greenstein who needed a chip boost. He doubled through chip leader Lisandro and sat a little more comfortably with 1.5 million. The double-throughs continued as Matusow did it through Lisandro, then Lisandro reciprocated by doubling through Matusow.
Lisandro kept up the pace and doubled through Greenstein. He continued to take smaller pots from Greenstein, putting the long-time pro at risk. Finally, Greenstein pushed his last 330K into the pot, Lisandro called, and both players drew one card. Greenstein showed 9-7-6-2-7, and Lisandro displayed 10-8-5-4-A. Greenstein was eliminated in 3rd place for $225,552.
Heads-up play began with Matusow in need of some help, and he got it through a double-up against Lisandro. He continued putting the pressure on and took the chip lead, issuing a beating to Lisandro and leaving him with only 650K. However, Lisandro wasn’t to be counted out and doubled through Matusow. But Matusow was as determined as he has been in some time. He kept the chip lead and continually added to it consistently.
As the night turned to morning and the blinds increased, it was time. Matusow pushed all-in, and Lisandro called knowing he was covered. Lisandro drew one, but Matusow chose not to. Lisandro showed 9-6-5-3-Q, and Matusow gladly turned over Q-8-7-4-3. Jeffrey Lisandro was forced to settle for 2nd place and a $347,004 prize.
Mike Matusow won the 18th event of the 2008 WSOP, the $5,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball w/Rebuys. He sincerely accepted the World Series of Poker bracelet, the title, and $537,862 to go along with it. Congrats!