Maryland’s Chris ‘Genius28’ Lee became the second Duke University graduate to lift a World Series of Poker (WSOP) title in just a few days in Las Vegas last night by seeing off 430 other competitors to take the $2,500 six-handed 10-game mix event.
Lee’s success came after fellow former Duke student Andy Frankenberger picked up his first bracelet from the $1,500 no-limit hold’em event on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old – who attended the private research university in Durham, North Carolina – emerged victorious from a final table that last two days because of the WSOP’s hard stop rule.
We were given almost four hours of action with seven players on Saturday before Ohio’s Kevin Chance exited to settle on an official final table of six.
However, Lee, who eventually defeated Pennsylvania’s Brian Haveson in heads-up play to collect his first gold bracelet and $254,955, did confess afterwards that he “was really starting to doubt” himself after struggling to make the transition from online poker player to “a live tournament player”.
Clarksville’s Lee stated that this victory “means a lot” to him, especially as he had been “playing live tournaments on and off for the last three years” without gathering “a ton of success” – unlike his “decent amount of success on the Internet”.
The event is made up of no-limit hold’em, seven-card razz, limit hold’em, Badugi (limit), seven-card stud, 2-7 draw lowball (no-limit), Omaha hi-low split-8 or better, pot-limit Omaha, 2-7 triple draw lowball (limit), and seven-card stud hi-low split-8 or better.
But, incredibly, following his success, Lee admitted that he is “not actually a mixed game player” as he normally only plays pot-limit Omaha no-limit hold’em.
While adding that “a lot of these games are new” to him, Lee also confessed that he didn’t “go in with high expectations” of WSOP glory, but believes he played well during all four days of the tournament.
Back to the final table, then, and it didn’t take too long for the short stack to exit. John D’Agostino placed the remainder of his chip stack on to the felt against Lee during pot-limit Omaha.
New Jersey’s D’Agostino showed As-Qs-10d-7h to find himself trailing to the Kc-Kh-10s-5h of Lee. An Ad-Qd-7c flop gave D’Agostino top two pair, while the 10h on the turn changed nothing. However, a Jc on the river handed Lee a Broadway to sent D’Agostino out in sixth for $32,200.
Americans Shaun Deeb ($67,146) and Kendall Fukumoto ($45,839) exited in fourth and fifth respectively to leave us with Travis Pearson, Lee and Haveson.
But Las Vegas-based Pearson was gone after only two hands of no-limit hold’em. Pearson raised to 80,000, then Lee re-raised to 195,000, before Pearson moved all-in for 850,000.
Lee called to show Ad-Qh against Pearson’s pocket 10s. The flop showed the As while the turn and river missed to give Pearson $101,258 for his third place.
Lee began heads-up play against Haveson with about 70% of the chips. They played almost 60 minutes with Haveson doubling up twice to close the gap – before Lee won the contest during triple draw 2-7.
Lee held onto his 10-9-8-4-2 while Haveson was drawing to 8-7-5-2. Needing any 10, nine, six, four or three to again double-up, Haveson instead received a king on his last draw to be eliminated as runner-up for $157,491.
Top 10 placings and payouts from the WSOP 2011 $2,500 Six-Handed 10-Game Mix event:
1. Chris Lee (USA) – $254,955
2. Brian Haveson (USA) – $157,491
3. Travis Pearson (USA) – $101,258
4. Shaun Deeb (USA) – $67,146
5. Kendall Fukumoto (USA) – $45,839
6. John D’Agostino(USA) – $32,200
7. Kevin Chance (USA) – $23,248
8. Don Mcnamara (USA) – $23,248
9. David Whitis (USA) – $17,237
10. Joshua Weiland (USA) – $17,237