David Chiu wins WSOP gold bracelet Number Four and $347,410 in Omaha High-Low championship
David Chiu regularly plays in the highest-limit cash games in the world. Sitting in 'the big game,' there are players that every poker aficionado would recognize names like Brunson, Greenstein, Chan, Cunningham, Ivey, Seidel, and others. In a game where winning or losing six-figures is not unusual but probable, one might expect any debate about winning poker tournaments to be inconsequential. Then again, the World Series of Poker is no ordinary tournament.
David Chiu watched the first month of this year's World Series and saw all of his friends winning gold bracelets. Allen Cunningham won his fourth (Event #2). Erik Seidel won his seventh (Event #9). Barry Greenstein won his second (Event #19). Johnny Chan won his tenth (Event #25). Phil Ivey won his fifth (Event #27). Doyle Brunson won his tenth (Event #31). Left out of the celebration, Chiu must have felt like the poor kid who wasn't invited to the birthday party.
Even a quiet, low-profile professional poker player like David Chiu has an enormous amount of pride. The last thing he wanted to go through when he returned to the big game was hear all the chatter about gold bracelets. So, Chiu a three-time winner -- had to go out and get yet another gold bracelet on his own.
And that's exactly what he did.
This was the biggest Omaha High-Low tournament in history. For the first time ever, an Omaha High-Low event generated a prize pool in excess of one million dollars. After 215 players were eliminated on the first two days, the nine finalists returned to the final table on Day Three. Daniel Horowitz, from Las Vegas, arrived as the chip leader. Two of the finalists were former gold bracelet winners Allen Cunningham (a 4-time winner) and David Chiu (a 3-time winner, coming in):
The Final Table:
SEAT 1: Russ "The Muscle" Salzer 223,000
SEAT 2: David Chiu 135,000
SEAT 3: Haim Kakoun 135,000
SEAT 4: Hiroshi Shimamura 113,000
SEAT 5: Stephen Ladowsky 109,000
SEAT 6: Danny Shak 95,000
SEAT 7: Bueno Patrick 42,000
SEAT 8: Allen Cunningham 76,000
SEAT 9: Daniel Horowitz 196,000
Players were eliminated in the following order:
9th Daniel Shak is accustomed to gambling. The oil futures trader from Pennsylvania sat down in a less volatile game of speculation (poker playing) and his investment paid off handsomely. Shak's $5,000 buy-in returned $21,055 in just three days. Annualized, that's a return of 29,426 percent. Wall Street and the futures market can't do much better than that.
8th Bueno Patrick. a 39-year-old businessman from Paris, France has previous made final table appearances at major tournaments in Europe. This was his first WSOP final. Unfortunately, the Frenchman was short-stacked and was the second player to exit. Eighth place paid $31,585.
7th Allen Cunningham was making his third final table appearance at this year's WSOP (the most of any player, to date). He hoped to become this year's second two-time winner (Mark Seif is the only duel winner). But Cunningham caught a bad run of cards early and went out in 7th place. Another three days of work -- another $42,110 in prize money for Mr. Cunningham.
6th -- Hiroshi Shimamura is one of only a few tournament players from Japan, which is potentially one of poker's brightest markets. Shimamura, a.k.a. 'BlueJay' flew away in 7th place when his A-2-4-9 was crushed by Haim Kakoun's A-A-8-9. Shimamura said sayonara and collected $52,640.
5th Stephen Ladowsky, a businessman from Toronto was playing in his second poker tournament ever. He had a fabulous run, topping a tough field and finishing 5th. His final hand was A-3-8-10 against Russ Salzer's 2-4-4-7 (suited clubs). The board showed A-6-J-10-2, with three clubs. The flush froze the Canadian in 5th place good for $63,170 for The Big Ladowsky.
4th Danny Horowitz was the early chip leader but went card dead as the limits increased. He was getting low on chips and went out with a hand that was not shown. Haim Kakoun made kings-full, and Horowitz took a walk. The 24-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas who concentrates mostly on high-stakes game (he says he rarely play tournaments) booked a nice win in this event -- $84,225 for 4th place.
3rd Haim Kakoun was born in Casablanca, Morocco. He now lives in France. The import-export business owner, who plays mostly in Europe, went out when his two pair (Ks-Qs) was cut down to size by two higher pair (As-8s) and a made-low. David Chiu and Russ Salzer, who split the pot, feasted on Kakoun's last chips like starving wolves. Kakoun collected $105,280.
2nd Place When heads-up play began, the chips counts were very close. Chiu led about 600,000 to Salzer's 520,000. Limits were set at 15,000-30,000. It took about 40 minutes for Chiu to defeat his last opponent. The tournament could have gone either way, but Chiu caught a nice tailwind that ultimately pushed him across the finish line. On the final hand, Chiu had his opponent dominated with A-3-5-K versus Salzer's A-5-6-Q. With a better high and a better low draw (and two diamonds), Chiu watched as the flop came Q-J-9 (one diamond). Chiu called Salzer's bet and then watched as a second diamond fell on board (4d). Salzer bet again and Chiu called. When the 7d fell on the river, Chiu had the stone cold nuts with the made-diamond flush and Salzer was busted in second place.
The runner up was Russ 'the Muscle' Salzer, from New York City. The Muscleman has made it to many final tables in the past, here at the WSOP and at major tournaments around the country. He received $191,610.
1st Place David Chiu, age 44, was born in China. He first worked as a dealer years ago when small stakes poker games were legalized in Colorado. Chiu gradually played his way up in limits and won as much peer-respect as money along the way. In recent years, Chiu has taken his place amongst the biggest and best players in the world. He won his first WSOP gold bracelet in 1996. He also won the Tournament of Champions in 1999.
Brunson, Chan, and the rest -- are all bona fide poker legends. Maybe it's now time to put David Chiu into the same category.
Official Report by Nolan Dalla World Series of Poker Media Director
World Series of Poker Circuit Director of Operations Ken Lambert
World Series of Poker Tournament Director John Grooms
Rio Poker Room Manager Michael Matts
Rio Poker Tournament Director Robert Daily