Remember when the World Series of Poker Main Event was such a big deal not just because it was effectively the poker world championship, but also because $10,000 was an unseemly amount of money to drop on a poker tournament? Those were the days. Now there are loads of $10,000 WSOP events, which is perfectly fine, really, as it creates a whole bunch of championship for different game types. The latest $10,000 tourney winner at the 2017 WSOP is Christopher Vitch, who won Event #48: the 10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship on Monday night. Vitch banked $320,193 for his triumph and second career gold bracelet.
Vitch, a mixed games and limit games specialist, earned his first WSOP bracelet last year in the $2,500 Mixed Lowball Triple Draw event. In his interview after his win last night, he reflected on both, saying:
It feels different. (The first one) was in Mixed Triple Draw, which is probably my best game. I also consider Stud-8 to be a really good game of mine, but I’ve never done super well in a $10K before, so I was really proud to win a $10K because the quality of play in the entire field is just so high, and I really feel like it’s a different accomplishment. To get one in a $10K makes me feel like I really can compete against the elite fields, and that makes me feel great.
As it was a $10,000 event, particularly one in such a specialized game, the field was certainly elite. Among those at the final table were Benny Glaser, Abe Mosseri and Jonathan Duhamel. Coming up just shy of the final table in ninth place was Phil Hellmuth, who was gunning for his record-extending 15th WSOP bracelet.
Vitch moved into the chip lead just before the official eight-handed final table was determined and while he didn’t hold the lead the entire time, he was sitting pretty comfortably most of the way.
“Things went really smoothly all day,” he said. “Mostly I had plenty of chips throughout the whole thing. Only in the heads-up it did it get where Benny had the advantage for a while. Overall it was just one of those days where everything went my way.”
As Vitch mentioned, Glaser did take the lead in heads-up, even getting to the point where he had about double Vitch’s chips. The turning point came when Vitch had gotten back to nearly even, with less than one big blind separating the two players. Glaser had the bring-in, Vitch completed, Glaser then raised, and Vitch called. On fourth street, Glaser had a pair of Twos showing, so he bet, prompting a call from Vitch, who had 9-7 face-up. The rest of the hand, Glaser bet and Vitch called, neither player seemingly improving with their visible cards. Glaser, in fact, never had better than that small pair, while Vitch’s hidden pocket Sixes won the hand. Neither had a qualifying low hand. Vitch regained the lead there, 4.325 million to 1.930 million.
He analyzed the hand for the WSOP interviewer afterward:
That was a really interesting hand. There was really no point in the hand I think I could have folded before the river, because I kept catching overcards in case he had some sort of pair, and these pots get so big so quickly. I picked up a straight draw on sixth street, and then I caught a deuce on the end, which is obviously a good card for me because it makes it less likely he has three of a kind. He had been playing pretty cautiously on the end with two pair, so I kind of thought he was either going to show me some kind of a monster, which would be understandable, or maybe just a low. I was hoping to chop, and of course for him to miss everything…I was fortunate to scoop that, but in heads-up play obviously you get stubborn with pairs and hope for the best, and that’s part of why I feel like I ran so well, to have a hand like that hold up is definitely lucky.
2017 World Series of Poker Event #48: 10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Final Table Results
1. Christopher Vitch – $320,103
2. Benny Glaser – $197,838
3. Abe Mosseri – $138,608
4. Jameson Painter – $99,342
5. Jonathan Duhamel – $72,876
6. Andrew Kelsall – $54,748
7. Brock Parker – $42,146
8. Alex Luneau – $33,265