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Christian Pham went from Lowball newbie to bracelet winner in three short days by winning the $1,500 NL 2-7 Lowball Event. Benjamin Zamani survived a stiff challenge from Natasha Barbour to take the $1,500 NL bracelet while Sam Greenwood scored Canada’s first bracelet of the year in the $1,000 NL Hold’em.

Mike Watson leads heading into the final of the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. but all eyes will be on Phil Hellmuth and whether he can comeback from the short stack to compete for his 15th career bracelet. Tyler Cornell is the chip leader heading into the last day of the $5,000 NL Hold’em Eight-Max but faces a solid field including recent bracelet winner Shaun Deeb.

Christian Pham Wins $1,500 NL 2-7 Draw

Christian Pham is probably the most unlikely NL 2-7 Draw champion in history. He accidentally registered for the $1,500 NL Draw event on Monday and discovered his error only after play began. With no other alternative than to learn the game, he spent most of the first day learning how to play and somehow managed to become chip leader. Three days later, he is a WSOP bracelet winner.

Pham came into the final day of play on Thursday as chip leader with three players remaining. He was looking go wire-to-wire and become the most unlikely 2-7 Champion in history.

Here are the chip counts at the start of play on Thursday:

1. Christian Phamm – 695,000
2. Daniel Ospina – 680,000
3. Matthew Smith – 271,000

Pham chipped up early and moved over 1.2 million in chips. Matthew Smith was down to just ten big blinds and soon put those chips at risk against Daniel Ospina. Smith shoved from the button and Ospina made the call. Smith drew one and Ospina stood pat showing a J-7. Smith was drawing to a 10-9 but wound up pairing his ten to end his run at the bracelet.

Heads-up play between Christian Pham and Daniel Ospina started with Pham holding a nearly 2:1 chip lead. Ospina nearly pulled even on multiple occasions but Pham would just pull back out in front. Once blinds his 8k/16k, Pham began to pull away and Ospina was down to just 10 big blinds.

In the final hand, Pham moved all-in pre-draw and Ospina called. Pham drew one holding J-8-3-2 while Ospina took two holding 6-4-2. Pham caught a six to make his jack but the first card Ospina turned over was a king, leaving him drawing dead and giving the title to Pham.

Christian Pham

Christian Pham registered for the wrong tournament on Monday but what could have been viewed as a fatal error resulted in the unlikeliest of results. After a crash course on Monday, he went wire-to-wire to win the $1,500 NL 2-7 Draw bracelet and $81,314. Congratulations.

Benjamin Zamani Defeats Natasha Barbour to Win $1,500 NL Hold’em Title

Event #20 $1,500 NL Hold’em, needed an additional day to finish. Five players returned to battle for the bracelet on Thursday with Benajmin Zamani as chip leader. Natasha Barbour was one of two women that made the final table and was looking to become the first woman to win an open-field bracelet in 2015.

Here is how the final five started in chips:

  • Benjamin Zamani – 4,535,000
  • Natasha Barbour – 3,770,000
  • Paul Ephremsen – 2,695,000
  • Kevin MacPhee – 1,720,000
  • Wenlong Jin – 1,115,000

Zamani and Barbour started at the top of the leaderboard to start the day and they were the pair that faced off for the title. At the start of heads up play, the stacks were relatively even with Zamani holding 7.1 million versus the 6.7 million for Barbour.

Zamani jumped out to the early lead but the stacks were deep enough where this could have been a prolonged battle. However, an ill-timed bluff by Barbour cost her the title. After Barbour limped in from the small blind, Zamani raised to 710,000. Barbour three-bet to 1.6 million and was called.

The flop fell Ad-7c-2c and Zamani bet 950,000. Barbour makes a quick call and the turn fell the As. Zamani checked and Barbour moved all-in. Zamani wasted little time to make the call, turning over Ac-Qd for trip aces. Barbour had been bluffing and turned over 10s-9c for complete air. She was drawing dead and Zamani and his rail began celebrating his victory.

Ben Zamani won earlier this series finished second in the $1,500 NL Hold’em Shootout. This time around, he improved one spot and took down his first career bracelet. In addition to the hardware, he earned $460,640. Congratulations.

Sam Greenwood Wins $1,000 NL Hold’em – First Canadian Winner of Series

The final day of the Event #22, $1,000 NL Hold’em, began with 22 players looking to make the final table and take the bracelet. Jay Dragland started the day with the chip lead with pros Paul Darden, Lisa Hamilton, John Myung, Ryan Tepen, Nacho Barbero and Sam Greenwood looking to make a statement.

We barely missed seeing another woman make the final table during this event. Two women, Angel Farrington and Genae Edington went deep but fell just shy of the final table. Farrington fell in 11th when her pocket queens were outrun by the As-Kd of Robert Hsu.

Edington made the unofficial final of ten players but started tied for the second shortest stack. During one of the first hands of play, she picked up Ad-Kc and moved all-in. Sean Rice called holding pocket nines and those nines held to send Edington home as the final table bubble girl.

Jay Dragland started the day as chip leader and made the final table but was the first knocked out. His final hand saw him shove with pocket nines and Cole Jackson called holding pocket tens. The tens held and Dragland was out in 9th.

Ultimately, it was pro Sam Greenwood battling Cole Jackson for the bracelet. Greenwood started with a slight chip lead of 5.2 million to 4.5 million at the start of heads-up play. Greenwood took the chip lead and looked to have the momentum but that changed in a single hand.

Greenwood was all-in pre-flop with Kc-Qd and looking to double through the pocket sixes of Jackson. The flop fell Kd-2-Jd to give Greenwood the lead. The turn and river both fell fours to give Greenwood a full double to 6.3 million.

After his double, Greenwood was never really in any trouble and built his stack to over 7 million. Jackson made a ill-timed bluff to give the rest of his chips to Greenwood. Jackson opened for 160,000 and Greenwood called to see a flop of 2h-6d-6h. Action was checked to Jackson who bet 150,000. Greenwood then check-raised to 400,000 and received a call.

The turn fell the 5s and Greenwood led out for 575,00. Jackson decided to move all-in and was met with an insta-call. Greenwood showed Jd-6s for trip sixes while Jackson showed Ad-10s and was drawing dead. A meaningless Qh gave Canada their first bracelet winner of 2015.

Sam Greenwood had already been on a bit of a heater in 2015, winning over $600,000 heading in to the 2015 WSOP. Now he has won his first major poker title and first career bracelet. In addition to his first WSOP bracelet, he took home $318,977 in prize money. Congratulations.

Mike Watson Leads in $1,500 H.O.R.S.E – Phil Hellmuth Short Stacked

The $1,500 H.OR.S.E. Event resumed on Thursday with 299 players looking to make it through the money bubble and start the grind towards the final table. After 10 levels, just 31 players remain with Mike Watson holding 634,000 and the chip lead.

Phil Hellmuth is deep in this event and looking for his second bracelet of the 2015 WSOP. However, he will return as the third shortest stack. If Phil can build some chips early, he will have a chance at his second final table of the series.

Other players still in contention heading into the final day are Ted Forrest, Brandon Cantu, David Levi and Steve Sung. This event resumes at 1 p.m. PDT and will play ten levels or until the bracelet has been awarded, whichever comes first.

Tyler Cornell Leads Final 23 in $5,000 NL Hold’em Eight-Max

Just 23 players remain in the $5,000 NL Hold’em Eight-Max. Tyler Cornell will take 1.4 million chips and the lead into the final day of play. Dan O’Brien is right behind and the only other player to crack 1 million on Thursday. He has 1.32 million.

As expected, the final day of this event will be a star-studded affair. Among the notables still in contention are Shaun Deeb, Dominik Nitsche, Joseph Cheong, Jonathan Jaffe, Jonathan Little, Valentin Vornicu and Jesse Sylvia. Deeb is looking for his second bracelet of the series.

Play will resume at 2 p.m. and continue until the final table of eight is reached.

$1,000 PLO Draws Strong Crowd – Kenney Leads $10k Stud Championship

The Noon event on Thursday was the $1,000 PL Omaha Event. This event proved popular in 2014 and this year’s event saw a sizable jump in attendance. A field of 1293 took to the felt in this one, up 12.77% from the 1,128 in 2014.

If you’ve never played PL Omaha, the pace of play is insane and easily outpaces NL Hold’em. As such, this event played down from 1,293 players to just 129. This also meant that the money bubble was burst, as 144 players will receive a payday in this event. Among the players in the money is Allen Kessler. He recorded his 40th career WSOP cash in this event.

Sayed Khan finished Day 1 as the chip leader with 263,100. Other notables that advanced to Day 2 include John Racener, Mike Leah, Andy Bloch, Matt Stout, Sabyl Landrum and Marvin Rettenmaier. Play in this event will resume at 1 p.m. and should make the final table by day’s end.

The evening event was the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship. Early on, it appeared that this event may flirt with the 2005 2-7 Lowball for lowest attendance in history. However, registrations picked up later in the day and 91 players took their seats in this event. That’s a 10.79% drop from last year’s totals.

Due to the nature of the game and the generous structures this year, less than half of the field was eliminated on Day 1. Bryn Kenney finished Day 1 with 155,000 and the chip lead. He will lead the final 51 players into action on Friday. Other notables include Daniel Negreanu, Mike Gorodinsky, David Bach, Abe Mosseri, Bertrand Grospellier and Huck Seed. Mike Leah is going to be pulling double duty today as he also advanced to Day 2 in this event.

Action will resume at 2 p.m. and will continue for 10 levels. Due to the number of players remaining, they will likely only reach the money bubble of 16.

It’s All About the Monster Stack on Friday

The only new event on Friday is the $1,500 NL Monster Stack Event. Participants in this event will receive 10 times their buy-in as a starting stack with 60 minute levels. Last year’s Monster Stack drew a combined field of 7,862 players. There’s some debate whether we will exceed that total this year but we should see over 7,000 in this event.

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There’s still time for you to win your seat into the 2015 WSOP. Satellites are being held daily in Nevada at for most bracelet events, including Event #64, which is the first-ever online bracelet event.

If you’re in New Jersey, you can satellite your way into the 2015 WSOP Main Event. Chris Moneymaker turned an online satellite into a world title, and you can too. Head over to for more details.

James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.