A record 279 players saddled up to run in the second Seven-Card Stud High-Low (Eight-or-Better) championship at this year’s World Series of Poker. For this event, the entry fee was $2,000. The total prize pool amounted to $513,360.
The final table included one former gold bracelet winner — Jennifer Harman, a two-time champion. Furthermore, Lance Edelman was making his second consecutive final table appearance in this event. But it was former Hollywood actor (and widely respected tournament semi-pro) Chad Brown who enjoyed the chip lead and seemed poised to win his first WSOP title.
On day two, after the 26 finalists played down to the remaining eight, players and starting chips counts were as follows:
Seat 1: Jennifer Harman , 48,000
Seat 2: T. Fu, 10,000
Seat 3: Chad Brown, 140,000
Seat 4: Tom McCormick, 21,000
Seat 5: Bonnie Rossi, 60,000
Seat 6: Lance Edelman, 39,000
Seat 7: Phillip Penn, Sr., 62,000
Seat 8: Denis Ethier, 73,000
This was the first final table this year to feature two female players (Bonnie Rossi and Jennifer Harman). Rossi was the first filly to exit when her 6-high straight (normally a powerhouse hand in High-Low) lost to a higher hand and a better low. The final hand was brutal to Rossi, who is a real estate agent in Southern California. Her commission amounted to $25,155.
Lance Edelman is a former East Coast card shark specializing in the ancient game of seven-card stud. He moved to Las Vegas a few years ago and now plays poker mostly online and bets on sports. Edelman had an uphill climb all night since he was low on chips and his short stack finally caught up with him in the end. Edelman made two pair on his final hand, which was crushed by a flush. For Lance Edelman, this was his second consecutive year to saddle up to the final table in this event. He earned $31,828.
The final trio was an interesting mix of talent — with Jennifer Harman, Chad Brown and Denis Ethier playing for the gold bracelet. Many were anticipating Harman’s sterling poker talent and depth of experience to come out in short-handed play. But she remained shortest on chips throughout, and ended up going out as the show horse. On her final hand, Harman missed a low draw and lost the high to a miserable pair of fours. This was Harman’s sixth final table and 12th time to cash at the WSOP. Her ”˜show’ ticket paid $53,903.
In the end, it was hardly a photo finish. Denis Ethier led by several lengths as play crossed the 12-hour mark. Chad Brown was down by a 3-1 margin in chips most of the way, although he did rally a few times before Ethier finally pulled away.
On the final hand of the tournament, Brown — down by about a 4-1 margin — was dealt (A-2) 4-4-8-8 (J). That was good for two-pair for high, and no low. Ethier was dealt (A-2) 2-5-5-5 (10) ”¦ which made a full house.
Brown was gracious following the defeat. He was visibly disappointed but congratulated Ethier on a great victory. Brown is certainly one of the greatest sportsmen in the game of poker and will be most deserving when he inevitably wins a gold bracelet. He will live to race another day. Second place paid $89,838.
The winner, Denis Ethier, is a 50-year-old professional poker player. He was born in Charlemagne, Quebec. He bought and raised racehorses for many years, mostly trotters who ran at the major harness tracks scattered along the East Coast. Many of his horses ran at The Meadows in Pennsylvania. He has since moved and settled down in Durham, North Carolina.
As he snapped on the gold and diamond bracelet presented to all WSOP winners, Ethier was visibly thrilled with his victory. When asked why he left horseracing in favor of poker, Ethier joked, "I got tired of losing."
When asked what he plans to do with his coveted gold bracelet, Ethier stated that he plans to give it to his son. "He’s my best buddy," Ethier said.
That doesn’t sound like a loser. His win ticket paid $160,682.