Jeff Lisandro capped a busy week at the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) by taking down his sixth WSOP bracelet. Lisandro, one of the legends of Australian poker, earned his latest triumph by taking down the A$1,650 ($1,440) Pot Limit Omaha tournament at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.
Lisandro had to face off with another of the biggest names in Australian poker in order to claim his latest victory. Jason Gray may not be as much of a household name, but he has come close to securing a WSOP bracelet on several occasions over his distinguished career, and that made it a real treat for Australian poker fans when he faced Lisandro in heads-up play.
“He really wanted to win,” Lisandro said of Gray, who was at his fifth WSOP final table. “Of course, I would have been happy for him if he won his first bracelet, but I made, I think, ten final tables before I won a bracelet!”
Lisandro’s victory puts him in a couple of elite clubs in WSOP history. He is one of only two players, along with Daniel Negreanu, who have managed to win bracelets in Las Vegas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. He also joined Negreanu in a small, elite group of players who have won six WSOP bracelets, a club that also includes Ted Forrest, T.J. Cloutier and Layne Flack.
Lisandro won A$51,660 ($45,000) for finishing atop the field of 123 players. The final table was unique for having three Australian Poker Hall of Famers in the mix, including Lisandro, Gray, and Gary Benson, who was the chip leader after the first day of play. Bennson would ultimately finish in fourth place.
Lisandro was far from the only Australian to find success at the WSOP APAC this week. 32-year-old Sam Higgs took down the A$5,000 ($4,350) Pot Limit Omaha tournament after building up a dominating chip stack heading into the final stages of the event. When the final table began, Higgs had more than half of the chips in play, and found himself with a stack that was four times as large as his nearest competitor.
Higgs still had quite a bit of work to do at the final table, though. He faced two very strong Canadian players in the form of Jonathan Duhamel and Mike Watson, who would stick around and finish in third and second places, respectively.
“It was a tough line-up, but you have to push yourself,” Higgs said. “To beat the best you got to be the best, they say.”
Higgs is an accomplished PLO player, having previously won a $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha tournament this year at the Aussie Millions. But that win couldn’t compare to this one, which earned Higgs his first WSOP bracelet and an A$127,843 ($111,400) prize.
There was yet another Australian winner in the 8-Game Dealer’s Choice event, where Rory Young was able to defeat fellow Aussie Sam Khouiss to earn his first WSOP bracelet. Young’s victory, which netted him A$42,720 ($37,220), was all the more surprising because he had only been playing poker for about a year-and-a-half prior to this tournament.
Luckily for Young, his opponents didn’t seem to take advantage of his lack of experience.
“I’m very surprised because I didn’t know how to play a couple of the games very good coming into the event,” Young said. “Luckily the games I don’t play good just weren’t chosen that often.”