WSOP Rewind: Why A Chip Disadvantage Or A Couple Of Decades May Not Matter

June 13, 2019
WSOP Rewind: Why A Chip Disadvantage Or A Couple Of Decades May Not Matter

The 2019 WSOP is in full swing at this point. In this week’s WSOP Rewind, we see that the theme of this year’s Series may be comebacks, be they from chip deficits or poker history.

Notably, a big name from the past resurfaced for a World Series of Poker bracelet. The 1993 World Champion Jim Bechtel won his second bracelet after 26 years.

Michael Mizrachi also looked to catapult over his brother Robert in total bracelets. “The Grinder” led the final table of the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo going into the final day of action on Thursday.

Two New Jersey residents were also among the chip leaders after three days of play in the $2,620 Marathon. Plenty of events and high-stakes action remain in poker’s biggest spectacle. 

Here’s your Rewind:

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Gorsuch reigns supreme in WSOP Millionaire Maker

Those watching the $1,500 Millionaire Maker live stream on Wednesday probably thought a win by Tokyo’s Kazuki Ikeuchi seemed inevitable. He had a mountain of chips – a 10-to-1 chip advantage over the other three remaining players at one point.

It wasn’t to be. Decked out in Dallas Cowboys gear, John Gorsuch channeled his inner Jason Witten for a massive comeback.

At one point in the tournament, Gorsuch was down to two big blinds after losing a huge pot. Rather than wait for the big blind and ante close to the bubble, he moved all-in blind from under the gun.

The ploy worked and he won the hand. Next, on the big blind, he was dealt pocket nines and hit a set in a three-way pot. He continued hanging tough, and eventually found his way to the final table.

After getting heads-up with Ikeuchi, Gorsuch doubled up a few times and ate away at his massive disadvantage. The rest was history, and the win earned him more than $1.3 million to go with his first bracelet.

The event was the largest Millionaire Maker in the tournament’s history, with 8,809 entries. 

Bechtel earns second WSOP bracelet

Jim Bechtel may not be a household name in today’s poker world. But, after his return to the winner’s circle, he might have a second act.

The 67-year-old from Gilbert, Ariz., had only one previous WSOP win before taking down this year’s $10,000 2-7 Lowball Draw championship. However, that first one was a big one – the 1993 Main Event. His victory this past week has earned him the distinction of having the longest span between bracelet victories – 26 years.

Those watching the final table probably didn’t think much of Bechtel. They wanted to see if Darren Elias might win his first bracelet, or perhaps if Jean-Robert Bellande could grab his second.

Instead, Bechtel came out on top. Fittingly, he says 2-7 Lowball Draw is his favorite game.

O’Dell dominates again in Omaha Hi/Lo

When it comes to the hi/lo variant of Omaha, poker player Frankie O’Dell is one of the best. So, it was no surprise when the 47-year-old from Denver won the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship for his third bracelet and $443,641.

All three of his bracelets have come in Omaha Hi/Lo events – more than any other player. He also has two WSOP Circuit rings in Omaha Hi/Lo and the third ring in HORSE.

“I play as many Omaha tournaments as I can because in poker, to be a world champion, it’s going to be in tournament play,” he said. “So I travel to California a lot to play. It has the most mixed game tournaments, so I get in as much play as I can to get ready for the WSOP – putting in work, dedication, and love for the game.”

O’Dell also scored a runner-up finish at the WSOP last summer in the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed event. There’s little doubt about which game he kept choosing.

On the button

  • $1,500 Eight-Game Mix – Rami Boukai took home his second bracelet and $177,294 in this event. A professional player born in Saudi Arabia and now living in San Diego, Calif., Boukai’s first bracelet came in 2009. That was also in a mixed game format – $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha for $244,862.
  • Pennsylvania’s Chris Klodnicki finished third for $72,933 in the Eight-Game Mix event. The cash was his second top-five finish this summer. 
  • $600 Online PLO Six-Handed – After a deep run by Phil Hellmuth in the first online event of the summer, another Phil ran deep in this one. Phil “HeyGuys” Galfond finished fifth. However, in the end, Josh “loofa” Pollock took the bracelet and $139,740 in first-place cash. Sunday’s event produced a prize pool of $657,000 and first-place money of $139,740.
  • $2,620 Marathon – The fourth day of action gets underway on Thursday with 52 players remaining. The winner takes home $477,401 and sitting fourth in chips is Vladimir Alexandrov from Edison, N.J. Another New Jersey resident, Joseph Liberta, sits sixth in chips. Liberta has two WSOPC rings, but he is looking for his first bracelet.
  • $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo – The Grinder is at it again as Michael Mizrachi leads the final six players. Mizrachi is looking for his fifth bracelet and $142,801 in prize money. The final table will be streamed on CBS All Access beginning at 4 p.m. (EST).
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