World Series of Poker
$325,500 Prize Pool
1 Chris Ferguson Pacific Palisades, CA $123,680
2 Barry Bindleglass Boca Raton, FL 61,840
3 Gary Lent Riverside, CA 30,600
4 Jim Pechac Phoenix, AZ 19,520
5 Doug Saab Birmingham, AL 13,020
6 Mark Gregorich Las Vegas, NV 11,400
7 Mike Gambony Scottsdale, AZ 9,760
8 Steve Faltermeier Overland Park, KS 8,200
9 Chip Jett Las Vegas, NV 6,500
10 Brian Haveson Newton, PA 5,200
11th and 12th place, $5,200: Jim Lester, John Reiss. 13th-15th, $4,560:
Sal Busacca, Benny Wan, Shae Drobushevich. 16th-18th, $3,900: Paul
Dahl, Young Phan, Perry Friedman
Chris Ferguson Wins his Fourth Bracelet
After Going on a Rush in Omaha Hi-Lo
Like two boys playing catch, the chip lead for much of tonight's Omaha hi-lo final table was tossed back and forth between Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Barry Bindelglass. Suddenly, as if tiring of the game, Ferguson went on an unbelievable, unstoppable rush, winning hand after consecutive hand. As his chips drained away, runner-up Bindelglass could only shake his head in frustration, hanging on as best he could. Finally, his last chips were grabbed on hand number 200 by Ferguson when he flopped a set and made a better low to win the first $2,000 Omaha hi-lo event on any World Series schedule.
This is bracelet number four for the 2000 WSOP champion, two of them
in Omaha/8. Chris, who has not been doing well the past six months, was especially gratified to win a World Series tournament so early because the $123,680 prize means that he now has the wherewithal to play any of the many
remaining events he cares to.
While the starting field might not have seemed particularly tough,
Ferguson commented, the final table certainly was. All 10 players
arrived with prior WSOP cash-outs, 67 in all, though it should be noted
that Ferguson alone accounted for 24 of those money finishes.
In a symbolic gesture, Chris allowed Perry Friedman the honor of
fastening the bracelet to his wrist, just as Chris had strapped on
Perry's bracelet when he won the $1,500 Omaha hi-lo title last year.
"Maybe we could swap titles every year and make this an annual event,"
Friedman said. "Chris won in Omaha in 2001, I did it in 2002, and now
Chris again in 2003."
THE SAAB IS THE LEAD CAR
The final table started with blinds of $1,000-$2,000 and limits of
$2,000-$4,000, with 49:15 remaining. Doug Saab, who has titles in stud
hi-lo from the World Series and the Hall of Fame, arrived as chip leader
with $63,000. The chip counts were:
1 Jim Pechac $35,000
2 Mark Grigorich 41,000
3 Chris Ferguson 30,000
4 Gary Lent 43,000
5 Barry Bindelglass 29,000
6 Steve Faltermeier 38,000
7 Mike Gambony 23,000
8 Chip Jett 20,000
9 Brian Haveson 27,000
10 Doug Saab 63,000
Between high boards, scoops and folds before the showdown, seven
hands went by before a pot was split. Saab came close to getting at
least half on one hand when he had the nut low and two aces on the turn.
But, so typical of Omaha, a 3 on the river counterfeited his low and
gave Barry a wheel and 6-high straight scoop. Chip Jett finally managed
to get a split on hand number eight. Unfortunately for him, it was only
a quarter of the pot because Mark Grigorich had made a nut flush and the
same low, as Jett began running low on fuel.
Brian Haveson, with a best all-around in the 2002 World Poker Open at
Foxwoods, ran completely out of fuel on hand 16 when he found himself in
the big blind, all in with 2-2-5-Q against Doug's A-A-K-9, but he got a
little gas in his tank by scooping with a wheel when the board came
5-4-3-A-8. Two hands later he finished 10th. With four-way action
after Bindelglass raised, he had a chance to get healthy. When the flop
came J-8-5, Saab, with A-2-5-J, bet his two pair and nut low draw.
Brian, with A-2-6-9, had the same low draw and a draw to an inside
straight. He raised all in for $4,000 and Saab hit it again for
another 2k. No low came, Saab's two pair took the pot and Brian cashed
in for $5,200.
WHEN THE NUTS AREN'T THE NUTS
A few hands later, the board showed J-4-3-8-7 with three diamonds.
Saab, with a "nut" flush and a number two low, got into a raising war
with Ferguson. Suddenly Doug realized that the diamonds were 3-4-7 and
he backed off. Sure enough, Chris had a straight flush and Doug settled
for a split. "I'm glad he didn't have A-2 also," he said.
Chip became chipless on hand 21. With the board showing K-6-5-9,
Chris bet and Chip raised all in for 4k with A-K-J-9, which gave him top
two. Chris had A-A-10-4.
A 5 paired the board on the river to wreck Chip's two pair because Chris
now had the winning hand, aces-up. Ninth place paid $6,500.
When the limits were raised to $3,000-$6,000 at the 27th hand, this
was the chip count:
Mark Grigorich: $67,000
Gary Lent 64,000
Doug Saab 62,000
Chris Ferguson: 57,000
Jim Pechac 33,000
Barry Bindelglass 27,000
Steve Faltermeier 20,000
Mike Gambony 19,000
A hand later, Chris won a pot and became the new chip leader. Mike
Gambony, who has numerous tournament victories in Arizona, started hand
29 with great low cards: A-2-3-Q, but made a full house when the board
showed Q-Q-K-A. He bet all in for 7k, beating Gary Lent's straight.
The field narrowed to seven when Steve Faltermeier three-bet the flop
and went all in on a flush draw. He had Q-Q-6-6 with two hearts and the
board showed Jh, 8h, 3d. He missed, and Bindelglass, who had A-3-9-J,
filled with a jack on the turn. Steve collected $8,200.
THE LEAD KEEPS CHANGING
Hand 48 gave Barry the chip lead. Holding A-3-4-9, he scooped a pot
with a nut low and bigger aces-up than Doug, running his count to about
90k. Gary Lent knocked out Gamboni four hands later. He had A-A-10-J
and flopped a set of aces and a straight draw when the flop showed
A-K-10 and two clubs. Holding A-3 of clubs and two 5s, Gary bet and
Mike raised all in. A deuce of clubs on the turn gave Lent, an
engineering vice president, a flush which held up. Seventh place paid
$9,760. A similar hand kept Gary in action eight hands later. Jim
Pechac flopped a set of queens but the same flop gave Gary a nut flush
which won after he had gone all in. By hand 78, Chris had pulled about
even with Barry, with each player holding about 90 to 95k. Three hands
later, Mark Grigorich folded when Ferguson bet into a board of
10-9-4-J-8, and Chris regained the lead with about 110k.
On hand 83 the limits rose to $4,000-$8,000. The count now was:
As play continued, several players went all in but escaped. Pechac
got hurt on hand 90. The flop was 3-4-6. It was four-bet and Saab went
all in. Pechac, with 2-5-6-J, had made a 6-high straight, but Saab,
with A-A-5-7, had made a 7-high straight and a 6-low. Mark Grigorich,
meanwhile, was sinking fast. When Barry opened for 8k, Mark folded in
the big blind with $6,000 left. Then he folded in the small blind,
leaving him with 4k. He finally called all in on the button, looking
none too happy. When the board came 10-8-3-K-9, Jim and Gary, both with
jack-high straights, split the pot. Mark mucked without showing his
cards and collected his $11,400. "I would have won if I had bet on the
end," Pechac said to Lent, thinking about their number two straights.
"On the other hand, if you had check-raised me I would have folded."
…AND CHANGES AGAIN
On hand 101 Barry scooped Doug's pocket aces with a wheel and 7-high
straight and took back the lead with about 130k. A hand later, Doug
went out on another tough river card. Holding A-2-5-6, he had two pair
and bet all in on a board of 9-5-2-10. But an 8 gave Chris, with
A-2-J-Q, a winning straight, and Doug cashed out in fifth place for
$13,020. And now Chris was again back in the lead with 160k. Barry had
about 120k, Gary 40k and Jim 30k. Jim then went all in a couple of
times but survived with scoop hands. By hand 110, Chris and Barry were
co-leaders with about 150k each while Jim and Gary had about 25k apiece.
"The haves and have nots," is how Diego Cordovez, who was doing guest
announcing, described their status.
Hand 118 was the last for Jim. In the big blind, he went all in with
4-5-8-K. Barry held as good as you could in Omaha/8: A-2-3-4 with a
suited ace, and he blew Jim away with a wheel and nut flush. Jim picked
up $19,520 for fourth. Lent lasted another nine hands. After chopping the hand before with a wheel against Barry's full house,
he went all in again with K-Q-6-2 and two hearts, drawing to an open-end
straight and flush on a flop of 10-J-2 and two hearts. Two more jacks
came and Barry, holding two 5s, had a full house. Third place paid
STILL A LONG WAY TO GO
Once again the chip lead changed partners,
with Barry holding $233,000 to Chris' $117,000, almost exactly a 2-1 lead. But there were 73 long hands yet to go. As hand after hand went by, a spectator fell asleep with his head resting on the padded railing. Picking up the microphone, tournament co-director Matt Savage announced, "We have a
very exciting final table today." The match-up might have been long, but
it wasn't dull. Bindelglass is a pro who plays high-limit stud in Atlantic City has four Omaha/8 cash-outs at the WSOP. A self-described "chopper specialist," he hasn't won any major tournaments outright but has negotiated some cash-heavy chops. His finest moment came when he negotiated a six-way deal at an Orleans tournament that drew some 900 entrants.
In any event, he proved a challenge for Chris as the two feinted and boxed and danced around each other. Hand 145, he later felt, was the one that proved the turning point. He held aces and Chris had K-K-A-8 with a suited king. The pot was three-bet before the flop. The board came Ks, 8d, 9c and Barry, on the button, bet. Chris just called with his set of kings. A queen of clubs hit the turn and Chris bet. A 7 of clubs on the river gave Chris a
king-high flush. He bet and Barry, holding an unsuited ace of clubs, tried a
raise, thinking Chris might give him credit for the nut flush. But the ploy
failed, and now Chris had a slight lead once again. With blinds at $3,000
and $5,000 and limits at 5k and 10k, the lead kept seesawing back and forth. It peaked for Barry on hand 150 when he led, 250k-100k. When he made a full
house on hand 175, Chris starting closing the gap, 182k-167k. A hand later,
when Chris raised a board of 10-7-2-2 with three diamonds, Barry gave it
up and Chris took the lead, $185,000-$165,000, for good this time. As his
rush grew more powerful, he took six hands in a row, building his lead to
$310,000- $40,000. Barry went all in several times, escaping with scoops or
But it was like trying to outswim a giant wave. On the final hand,
Chris had the button with 7d, 7s, 6c, 4s. Barry had Ah, Jd, 8d, 9d. The flop was 7h, 4s, 3h. Chris bet $3,000 to put his opponent all in. A deuce and a king came and Chris scooped with his set of 7s and better low. Barry settled for an official $61,840, his biggest cash-out ever, and Chris had the cash to go after his fifth bracelet with some 30 events yet to come.