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In what be one of the smallest fields so far this year, 85 players sat down on Monday evening to contest event #18, the $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw, with Rebuys. Not that the size of the field should be taken as any indication of its quality – practically every chair was filled by a well known pro.

2-7 draw, also known as Kansas City Lowball, is one of the stranger games on display at this years WSOP, the aim being to get the lowest 5 card hand after one draw. Straights don’t count and aces are always high, making the nuts: 2-3-4-5-7. In a move sure to induce action, limping is forbidden, the first player who opens the betting must make a raise. The game can be played in a triple draw format, and this variation will be on display in event #40.

The game’s gamble inducing rules, coupled with a room full of pros ready to play, pushed the number of re-buys north of 270 – and the prize pool north of $1 million. In between making $2 million basketball wagers, Phil Ivey contributed $60,000 worth of rebuys by himself, without taking anything from the pot. At the end of Day 1 Tom “durrrr” Dwan had the chip lead, with Mike Matusow close behind.

Day 2 saw numerous name pros eliminated, including Doyle Brunson finishing as bubble boy. Tom Dwan was eliminated in 8th for $45,111, the last player before the final table. When the players returned for the final days play the chips stacks were as follows:

Seat 1: Jeffrey Lisandro (Salerno, Italy) 461,000
Seat 2: Mike Matusow (Las Vegas, Nevada) 520,000
Seat 3: Tom Schneider (Scottsdale, Arizona) 162,000
Seat 4: Erick Lindgren (Las Vegas, Nevada) 1,104,000
Seat 5: Barry Greenstein (Rancho Palos Verdes, California) 541,000
Seat 6: Tony ‘G’ Guoga (Melbourne, Australia) 394,000
Seat 7: David Benyamine (Las Vegas, Nevada) 410,000

Erick Lindgren had a commanding chip lead as play started on Day 3, with many people tipping him to walk away with his second bracelet of the series. It wasn’t to be, however, the eventual winner was the all-new streamlined Mike Matusow; claiming his third career bracelet. The final table was one of the most prestigious of the tournament so far, the final 7 combatants holding 8 bracelets between them.

The first player to leave the table was David Benyamine, coming over the top of Lindgren’s pre-draw raise and standing pat with J-low was not enough to beat Eric’s drawn 8-low. Tony G was the next to depart, another victim of a Lindgren outdraw. 2007 WSOP player of the year Tom Schneider finished in 5th, despite starting as the shortstack on the final table. He bust in a 3-way pot featuring Matusow and Lisandro.

After inflicting a few of his own Lindgren’s exit was thanks to a Mike Matusow outdraw. Both were all-in before the draw, with Matusow drawing 2 cards to a higher hand than Lindgren’s 4 cards he had to rely on Erick pairing his one drawn card. Luckily for Mike, Erick took a 2, and with it the 4th place prize.

The final three played for over 3 hours, with the chip leader switching back and forth. In the end it was Greenstein who finished in 3rd, needing to draw any un-paired card lower than a 10 in order to stay in. He hit a 7 to end his hopes of adding a 3rd WSOP bracelet to his collection.

Matusow and Lisandro had been needling each other all throughout the final table so it seemed provident that they should be the two to contest the heads up battle. Matusow doubled up on the first hand of heads up and from then on there was no looking back. He was winning every hand going and eventually Lisandro was forced to call an all-in, electing to draw one card. Mike went into the tank over whether or not to stand pat with his Q-8 low. Eventually he made up his mind and wrapped the cloth, hoping that his opponent would be unable to outdraw him. And that’s how it finished, although Lisandro came close: picking up a Q to make a Q-9 low.

This victory has made Mike Matusow the first repeat bracelet winner this year, adding to those he won in 1999 and 2002 – playing No Limit Hold ’em and Omaha Hi-Lo split. Mike started the final 3 with only 12% of the chips in play but his expertly orchestrated comeback capped a remarkable turnaround in the life of ‘The Mouth’. Widely known for his volatile emotional state he accepted a bet from Ted Forest to lose 61 pounds, and collect $100,000 for his troubles. Mike claims that the experience has changed his attitude, and that he feels a whole lot better about life in general. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.

Final payouts where:

1. Mike Matusow $537,862
2. Jeffrey Lisandro $347,004
3. Barry Greenstein $225,552
4. Erick Lindgren $156,151
5. Tom Schneider $104,101
6. Tony (Tony G) Guoga $78,075
7. David Benyamine $58,990
8. Tom Dwan $45,111
9. Dario (Ryu) Alioto $34,700
10. David Grey $34,700
11. Chad Brown $34,700
12. Nick Schulman $26,025
13. Nikolay Evdakov $26,025
14. Michael Binger $26,025