The World Series of Poker has done a lot of work to ensure that it’s a true proving ground of all-around talent in the last few years, with a few less No Limit Hold’em events on the schedule and a lot more opportunities for the mixed game players. The first ever Dealer’s Choice event took that approach to the extreme, offering players 16 games to pick from when it was their turn to choose.
Robert Mizrachi proved himself to be as well-rounded as they come in the inaugural $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event, coming from well behind to defeat Aaron Schaff heads-up for his second career WSOP bracelet and $147,092.
“There’s definitely a lot of pride in [winning] this one,” said Mizrachi. “It would be nice if we had a bigger buy-in and all of the big names, where we would be deeper, but it was definitely a very skilled game.”
While the $50,000 Poker Players Championship has eight games in the mix, Mizrachi thinks that this format would be ideal for an event of such caliber.
“It’d be nice if the $50K used exactly the same [format] as this,” continued Mizrachi, “Because you can guarantee all of the $50K players are going to want to play all of the games, and there will be more skill because they’ll have to determine what their opponents weakest games are. I think this would also be good as a $10K or $25K buy-in next year.”
While Mizrachi excelled at all of the Omaha variations in the mix to build his stack and his lead over Schaaf, when he needed to seal the victory he picked Ace-to-Five Triple Draw. Schaaf raised on the button, Mizrachi three-bet and Schaaf called. Mizrachi drew two cards, Schaaf took one, Mizrachi checked and Schaaf bet. Mizrachi raised, Schaaf three-bet, Mizrachi four-bet and Schaaf called all in. Mizrachi stayed pat on the second draw, Schaaf took one, and they repeated that action on the third and final draw.
As soon as Schaaf took a card Mizrachi rolled over his hand, 6 5 3 2 A. “Are you drawing dead?” asked Mizrachi as Schaaf showed a draw at a seven-five. Schaaf paired the five anyway, and Mizrachi’s second bracelet victory was official.
There were two tables of five to start the day, but a round of Stud Hi-Lo was the undoing of Jen Harman, who was knocked out in 10th. Melissa Burr was eliminated in the same game, narrowly missing out on her third final table of the summer in ninth. Schaff started to run his stack up in a big way by knocking out Arthur Morris in Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, and they combined to one table of seven with Marco Johnson barely hanging on with 36,000 chips. Johnson doubled through Dan Idema in Badeucey, but his wheel draw in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw bricked against Mizrachi’s nine-eight and his tournament ended with a final table bubble.
- Aaron Schaff – 686,000
- Robert Mizrachi – 351,000
- Bill Chen – 317,500
- Dan Idema – 214,00
- Frank Kassela – 174,500
- Shane Abbott – 141,000
Things started slowly with rounds of Deuce to Seven, Razz and Badeucey, among other games, with Schaff extending his lead with a few big pots. Things really exploded when it became Schaff’s choice and he picked Pot Limit Omaha. In a tournament-defining hand, Schaff, Idema, Mizrachi and Frank Kassela all got involved in a massive pot that was also the source of the first final table elimination.
Schaff started the action with a raise to 14,000, Mizrachi called, Kassela called and Idema raised to 70,000. All three players eventually found a call, putting 280,000 in the pot before a single board card was dealt. With the potential of crowning a new chipleader very much in the mix, the flop came down J 9 6. Kassela eventually bet all in for 240,000, just under a pot sized bet, and Idema shook his head. Frustrated with the flop and action, he flashed A A 4 4 to media row behind him before mucking. Schaff reraised all in and Mizrachi got out of the way, pitting the two biggest stacks in the most substantial pot of the tournament so far.
Kassela had a naked open-ended straight draw and two backdoor flush draws with A Q T 3, but Schaff had him in big trouble with K K Q T. With Idema folding two aces, Kassela’s best hope was a straight to chop the pot or a heart on the turn for a flush draw, and the 5 did indeed give him some more hope at a victory. The river was the 2, though, and Schaff’s pair of kings held for the whole pot to eliminate Kessler in sixth.
“I wish I played bad,” commented Idema, whose pair of aces would have somehow held up against two opponents, had he opted to call all in. Schaff had almost 1.3 million of the 1.8 million in play, with each of his three opponents hovering between 100,000 and 200,000. He did give a little bit back on the net hand as Shane Abbott made a wheel to beat his two-pair, but at this point he still had well over 1 million.
Things cooled off a bit heading into break, but Schaff once again made the most of his Pot Limit Omaha selection in a key pot against Idema and Chen. Schaff raised to 23,000 from under the gun and both Idema and Chen called to see a T 8 3 flop. Idema shoved his last 20,000, Schaff raised the size of the pot and Chen shoved all in over the top. Schaff called, and the hands were turned up.
Schaff: A K T 3
Chen: T 9 8 6
Idema: 9 7 4 2
Chen was ahead with top two-pair and a gutshot straight draw, Schaff had top and bottom pair with two live overs and Idema had an open-ended straight draw. The A on the turn gave Schaff top two-pair with a chance to bust two players, and the 9 failed to improve either of his opponents. With more chips at the start of the hand, Chen took fourth place and Idema finished in fifth.
Schaff reclaimed the lion’s share of the chips, but Mizrachi distanced himself a bit by winning all three hands of an Ace-to-Five triple draw round. Short-stacked and looking to double, Abbott chose to play No Limit Hold’em. After Mizrachi raised to 21,000 on the button, Abbott three-bet all in for 165,000. Mizrachi snap-called and tabled A A to Abbott’s K 5, and it only got worse for Abbott on the A T 4. The A on the turn was overkill, giving Mizrachi quads to seal the deal and send Abbott out in third place.
Mizrachi started down nearly 2-to-1, but a healthy selection of Razz and Omaha Hi-Lo bring it even. Schaff continued to pick Pot Limit Omaha for the majority of his turns, but Mizrachi took more than his fair share in that game too. Schaff fell down 2-to-1 in his own right, only to scoop a Badacey hand to even it out yet again.
A set over set spot in Pot Limit Omaha and two-pair in Omaha Hi-Lo in quick succession put Mizrachi well ahead, but Schaff flopped the nut straight in PLO and made an eight-six low in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw to even it out yet again. Mizrachi grinded Schaff down one more time in Omaha Hi-Lo and Pot Limit Omaha, getting him down to just 180,000 chips.
Schaff had one more run in him, picking No Limit Hold’em and getting an immediate double with A 8 against A 5. After Schaff was once more reduced to 200,000, Mizrachi chose Ace-to-Five Triple Draw, made a monster after one draw, and earned the first ever Dealer’s Choice title at the WSOP.
2014 World Series of Poker – $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Final Table Results
- Robert Mizrachi – $147,092
- Aaron Schaff – $90,854
- Shane Abbott – $58,414
- Bill Chen – $38,735
- Dan Idema – $26,444
- Frank Kassela – $18,575
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