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Most card players in the world aren’t too keen on the game of 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball.  That’s probably a good reason why only 238 players paid the $2,500 buy-in.

But there were still some big name players fighting for the $547,400 prize pool.  John Juanda, Mike Caro, Greg Raymer, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Carlos Mortensen, and lowball master Billy Baxter were just a few of the stars taking part in this tourney.

Many people’s pick to win might’ve been Baxter since he holds 7 WSOP bracelets with 100% of them coming from some type of lowball game.  But the tournament would have to unfold to find out how he faired.

People who would bow out of the tourney early would be Daniel Negreanu, Chris Ferguson, Phil Hellmuth, Tom Schneider, and Freddy Deeb.

Others flourished in this strange game and were among the surviving 30 players who would return for day 2.  Here’s 10 of them:

Rank/Player/Chips
1. Shun Uchida 79,200
2. Gioi Luong 72,300
3. Raymond Davis 67,700
4. Greg Raymer 64,600
5. James Copeland 62,700
6. Richard Chase 59,200
7. Mike Wattel 57,200
8. Chris Vitch 54,500
9. Robert Mizrachi 54,200
10. Luis Velador 49,400

One player who wasn’t really mentioned a whole lot on day 1 was John “The Razor” Phan who just barely snuck into the second 2.  Already a winner of his first bracelet in Event #29, Phan began positioning himself for another win in this event by moving up the chip ladder.

And while Phan was doing that, other players were fighting for their tournament lives.  Greg Raymer would get his first WSOP cash after going 23 events without one but he wouldn’t be making the final table.  Notable pro Ralph Perry went out long before Raymer and just barely cashed.

Lowball legend Billy Baxter made it all the way to 7th place but, unfortunately for him, this was right at the cut off for the final table.  Those that did make the last table are as follows:

Rank/Player/Chips
1. John Phan 294,000
2. Gioi Luong 291,000
3. Robert Mizrachi 215,000
4. Shun Uchida 200,000
5. Ben Ponzio 113,000
6. David Sklansky 78,000

Things were pretty tight at the top for the finals and the competition would boil over at one point during play.  But certainly not in the early going.

Well known poker author David Sklansky would go quietly after his drawing hand fell short against Robert “The Grinder” Mizrachi.  Ben Ponzio looked like he was going to chip away at John Phan’s stack with a 7-5-4-2 draw against 8-7-4-3 but Phan escaped after getting a 2 coupled with Ponzio’s 10.

4th place would go to Robert Mizrachi as Phan chipped away at his stack the whole time until Gioi Luong knocked him out.  With Mizrachi gone, Phan started losing his chip stack and his temper along with it.

But he wasn’t the only one as it takes two when Luong and him got into it big-time.  The two had been calling to the floor on each other earlier over things like posting big blinds on accident and supposed angle shooting.

Then Luong accidentally discarded a card he didn’t want to and tried to pull it back before Phan started yelling to the floor about it.  That’s when Luong got in his face and the floor had to separate the two.  The call went Phan’s way and then Phan took a big pot from Luong to add salt to the wound.

Eventually Phan would eliminate Luong and that would make a heads-up card between him and Shun Uchida.  With a number of big bets and raises, Phan was able to knock Shun’s stack down quite a bit until the final hand when got a near nut hand in 7-6-4-3-2 to win the bracelet.

This was his second of the WSOP after he had never won one in his previous tries. 

Here’s how the money settled out for the players:

Rank/Player/Money
1. John “Razor” Phan $151,911 
2. Shunjiro Uchida $95,795 
3. Gioi Luong $61,582 
4. Robert Mizrachi $41,055 
5. Ben Ponzio $28,738 
6. David Sklansky $20,527 
7. Billy Baxter $15,053 
8. Suk Min Sung $15,053 
9. Mike Wattel $12,316 
10. Richard (Rick) Chase $12,316 
11. Greg (Fossil-Man) Raymer $9,579 
12. Dario (Ryu) Alioto $9,579 
13. James Copeland $6,842 
14. David Baker $6,842 
15. Raymond Davis $6,842 
16. Jose-Luis Velador $6,842 
17. Chau Giang $6,842 
18. Claude Cohen $6,842 
19. Christopher Vitch $5,474 
20. Ralph Perry $5,474 
21. Von Altizer $5,474 
22. Alfons Kela $5,474 
23. George Lind $5,474 
24. William Chen $5,474