Lisandro wins third series gold bracelet this year

Poker pro Jeffrey Lisandro has pushed himself to the brink of World Series of Poker history.

Lisandro became the fifth player to win three series gold bracelets in a single year by winning the $2,500 buy-in seven-card razz event.

He also won the $10,000 buy-in seven-car stud high-low 8 world championship June 20, and the $1,500 buy-in seven card stud event June 9th.

No one has ever won four series events in one year.

Lisandro's victory, which paid $188,390, was the fourth in his career. He won his first bracelet in 2007.

The victory put him in first place on the Player of the Year standings with six cashes for $807,521.

In his career, he has 12 final table appearances and 31 in-the-money finishes in the series dating to 1997.

Las Vegas residents were represented well at the final table with Kenna James finishing sixth, Steve Diano finishing seventh and Don Zewin placing ninth.

Official event report from the World Series of Poker
Total Net Prize Pool: $724,500
Number of Entries: 315
Number of Places Paid: 32
June 22-24, 2009

Tournament Highlights:

The Champion --

Lisandro was born in Perth, Australia. However, he has lived in three different countries – Australia, Italy, and the United States. Lisandro owns a home in Santa Barbara, CA – but still calls Salerno, Italy his home.

At Lisandro’s request, Australia will be credited with this victory in international standings.

Prior to playing poker full-time, Lisandro was a real estate investor.

Lisandro’s poker nickname is “The Iceman,” given to him for his seemingly cold and calculating disposition while playing.

Lisadro is a top high-stakes cash game player. He also plays in most of the world most prestigious poker tournaments.

Prior to winning his first gold bracelet in 2007, Lisandro was near the top of everyone’s list of “best players never to have won a gold bracelet.” He now owns four titles.

Lisandro further sealed his reputation as one of the world’s top Seven-Card Stud players. He won his first gold bracelet two years ago playing Seven-Card Stud. Then, he finished ninth in this year’s ($10,000 buy-in) Seven-Card Stud World Championship, which concluded two weeks ago. Next, he won the Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split championship four days ago. Finally, he has now won the Seven-Card Razz championship.

Lisandro is already the official 2009 “Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split World Champion.” He is now the “Seven-Card Razz World Champion,” as well.

Lisandro has now cashed six times at this year’s WSOP.

Two of Lisandro’s four victories have been televised by ESPN. His win at Lake Tahoe in 2005 and his first WSOP gold bracelet win in Las Vegas in 2007 were both shown on television.

Lisandro won the biggest cash prize for any Razz event in poker history.

Following his win, Lisandro departed the tournament are quickly. He explained that he was both tired and hungry, which is understandable. Lisandro is believed to have played more hours than any player at this year’s WSOP. He has put in many 14-hour days. Lisandro stated he has yet to have more than six hours of sleep on any night thus far, now four weeks into the WSOP.

Lisandro stated that he plans to play in tomorrow’s event, which is Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low.

After collecting his prize money, Lisandro dined out with a few close friends at Rao’s, an upscale Italian restaurant at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

Lisandro stated that he is very much aware of the historical implications of this third victory in 2009. He said he intends to play as many events as possible in order to set a new record for most wins in a single year. Furthermore, Lisandro is actually thinking about five wins, in order to set a mark that is unlikely ever to be surpassed.

Lisandro is a man of few words. He simply stated, “It feels good,” when asked to comment on the record-tying feat.

More on Jeffrey Lisandro’s Win (Historical Implications) --

Lisandro became only the fifth player in WSOP history to win three gold bracelets within a single year. The other four players to accomplish this feat were:

Puggy Pearson (1973)
Ted Forrest (1993)
Phil Hellmuth (1993)
Phil Ivey (2002)

Lisandro has a reasonable chance to become the first-ever four-time gold bracelet winner (single year) in WSOP history. The closest any player has ever come to accomplishing this feat was Phil Hellmuth in 1993 when he finished 1st, 1st, 1st, and 2nd in four events. Lisandro still has 14 more events to set a new record -- with 10 gold bracelets remaining on this year’s schedule in Las Vegas, plus four more events in WSOP-Europe to be played in September.

Lisandro’s accomplishment versus other great players will be debated by both poker fans and historians. There were clearly more events for Lisandro to enter this year (61 total), more than any other year, to date. Contrast the number of tournaments in 2009 with significantly less events played in 1973, 1993, and 2002 (the years other players set their records). In Lisandro’s defense, he had to overcome much larger field sizes in his three wins.

Based purely on the number of events in a year, Puggy Pearson’s three wins in 1973 stands as a record that will probably never be equaled. He won half of the events played that year (3 out of 6).

Based on field sizes, Lisandro’s three wins is clearly the most impressive of the five players who now share the record. He defeated a total of 835 players (combined) in his three gold bracelet wins. Contrast this with Phil Ivey in 2002, who defeated 529 players during his gold bracelet trifecta.

Lisandro’s victory places him with the Stud all-time great Artie Cobb, who holds the record for the most Seven-Card wins and cashes. Cobb holds four Stud-related gold bracelets and 18 cashes, the most of any player in WSOP history.

Lisandro obliterated the competition, particularly at the final table. No player ever came within 2 to 1 of his chip advantage. He also knocked out 6 of the 8 players in the finale.

Lisandro’s decimation of the field took place in relatively quick time. This was the shortest final table of any of the 44 events completed so far at this year’s WSOP. The final table clocked in a 2 hours and 40 minutes – a rocket-fast pace given he was playing a limit game known for conservative play.

A few notes about WSOP records over multiple year periods: The most gold bracelet wins within a three-year span is 5, held by two players – Gary “Bones” Berland (1977-79) and Doyle Brunson (1976-78). The most gold bracelet wins within a four-year span is 6, held by Doyle Brunson (1976-79). Lisandro is now in contention to challenge both of these records, since he hold four gold bracelets within just two years.

The Final Table --

The final table included only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Jeffrey Lisandro.

The final table also included several veterans with many years of experience playing at the WSOP. Don Zewin dates back to the 1980s. Jeffrey Lisandro, Steve Diano, and Kenna James got their start well over ten years ago. Michael Craig has also attended the WSOP for many years.

There were players from four different nations represented at the final table – including Australia, Canada, Italy, and the United States.

The runner up was Michael Craig, from Scottsdale, AZ. He has become an accomplished poker player in recent years, with five WSOP cashes and three final table appearances. But Craig is perhaps best known for his talent as a writer. He penned the fabulous “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King,” which is a true story about the highest-stakes cash game in poker history. Craig contributes his poker knowledge and opinions regularly on various gaming websites. As the runner up, Craig collected $116,405.

The third-place finisher was Ryan Fisler, from Kincardine, ON (Canada). This was his second cash at the WSOP. He also previously final tabled the North American Poker Championship.

The fourth-place finisher was Warwick Mirzikinian, from Sydney, Australia. The Armenian-born investor enjoyed his best WSOP finish ever in this event.

The fifth-place finisher was Eric Rodawig, from Arlington, VA. He is a commercial banker who plays a lot of Razz online. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP.

The sixth-place finisher was Kenna “Cowboy” James, from Las Vegas, NV. He is a poker pro who is one of the game’s more well-known personalities. James has more than $3 million in tournaments winnings, including three high cashes in the WSOP Main Event (1996, 2003, and 2005). Interestingly, James was one of the organizers of the first major poker tournament ever held in Russia, along with Jeffrey Lisandro, the champion of this event.

The seventh-place finisher was Steve Diano, from Las Vegas, NV. He is originally from Philadelphia and plays in many WSOP events. Diano has final tabled three times. In fact, Diano finished third in this same Razz event in 2006.

The eighth-place finisher was Allen Bari, from West Orange, NJ. This was his third in-the-money finish at this year’s WSOP. Bari’s first major cash was a gold ring victory at the WSOP Circuit event held at Caesars Atlantic City last year.

The ninth-place finisher was Don Zewin, from Las Vegas, NV. Zewin has been playing at the WSOP more than 20 years. The Niagara Falls, NY native now has 13 WSOP cashes and six final table appearances.

In-the-Money Finishers --

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Jeffrey Lisandro, Rami Boukai, David Sklansky, Bob Slezak, Ville Wahlbeck, Layne Flack, Thank Luu, Jens Voertmann, Blair Rodman, and David Chiu.

And interesting side note about poker author/theorist and player David Sklansky is – he holds three WSOP gold bracelets in games which are no longer played.

Nikolay Evdakov, from Moscow, Russia cashed for the fifth time at this year’s WSOP. He now has 15 cashes since the start of the 2008 WSOP – the most of any player. Evdakov holds the record for most cashes within a single year at the WSOP, with 10 (set in 2008).

The defending champion from 2008 was Barry Greenstein, from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. He entered this year’s event, but did not cash.

Odds and Ends --

Razz is a variant of lowball. It is dealt out in a Seven-Card Stud format. The objective is to make the lowest five-card poker hand. Ace-to-five is the best possible hand in Razz.

Razz was first introduced onto the WSOP schedule in 1973. It has been included on the tournament schedule every year since, except 1976.

The illustrious list of former winners in this event reads like a “Who’s Who” of poker. Former Razz champions include -- Billy Baxter, Doyle Brunson, Eskimo Clark, T.J. Cloutier, Ted Forrest, Linda Johnson, Berry Johnston, O’Neil Longson, Lakewood Louie, Tom McEvoy, Huck Seed, and Barry Greenstein.

Four players in WSOP history have won this event two times. This exclusive club of repeat winners includes -- Sam Angel, Bones Berland, Mike Hart, and Huck Seed.

On Day Three, the final table was played out on the secondary stage.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

Lisandro was represented by the Australian national anthem during his first win. He chose the Italian national anthem following win number two. Lisandro will repeat the Australian national anthem during his ceremony the day following his victory.

The Event --

The $2,500 buy-in Seven-Card Razz championship attracted 315 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $724,500. The top 32 finishers collected prize money.

The buy-in for this event increased by 66 percent over last year -- from $1,500 to $2,500 this year. This increase likely contributed to a slight reduction in attendance. However, the total prize pool increased and was the richest Razz event payout in poker history.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

Lisandro came to the final table on Day Three ranked first in chips. He was never seriously threatened by anyone at the final table.

The tournament officially began on Sunday, June 22nd, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Wednesday, June 24th, at 7:45 pm.

WSOP Statistics –

Through the conclusion of Event #44, the 2009 WSOP has attracted 43,629 entries. $86,052,382 in total prize money has been awarded to winners.

Through Event #44 – the nationalities of WSOP gold bracelet winners reads as follows:

United States – 31
United Kingdom – 2
Canada – 2
Australia – 2
Russian Federation – 1
Finland – 1
Sweden – 1
Mexico – 1
Italy – 1
Holland – 1
Hungary – 1