Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009 WSOP Day 28: Lisandro's Hat Trick

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I've covered enough tournaments to know that even with two tables to go, no one is a lock for a victory. But I've also covered enough tournaments to know that when you're running good.... you can run through brick walls with ease and not pick up a single scratch.

Say what you want about Jeff Lisandro, but the Godfather is en fuego. Or perhaps he made a couple of dealers an offer they couldn't refuse?

The Aussie via Salerno, Sicily became the first player to win three bracelets in a single WSOP since Phil Ivey did it in 2002. Jeff Lisandro also became only the fifth player in WSOP history to win three bracelets. And how about this stat... Lisandro is a heavy favorite to win the WSOP Player of the Year.

Only four other men besides Lisandro won three bracelets in a single year...
Puggy Pearson (1973): $4,000 Limit 7 Card Stud, $1,000 No Limit Hold'em, $10,000 Main Event
Phil Helmuth (1993): $5,000 Limit Hold'em, $2,500 No Limit Hold'em, $5,000 Limit Hold'em
Ted Forrest (1993): $5,000 Seven-Card Stud, $1,500 Omaha 8, $1,500 Seven-Card Razz
Phil Ivey (2002): $2,000 S.H.O.E., $2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, $1,500 7 Card Stud
Puggy's stats are skewed due to the small number of entrants during the infancy of the WSOP. He had to fade 12 other players to win the Main Event, while the 1K NL event was winner-take-all, and they only paid out two spots in the Stud event. Essentially Puggy won a couple of SNGs.

Hellmuth's trifecta in 1993 all featured wins in hold'em events. The same year was a highwater mark for Ted Forrest, although his three bracelets were spread out in different events.

Ivey's hat trick in 2002 stands out because his victories were on the cusp of the poker boom. Moneymaker was still a year away from his epic victory, but 2002 was the year when Ivey established himself as one of the best twenty-somethings on the circuit, especially in non-hold'em games.

I never would have picked Jeff Lisandro to win two bracelets this year, let alone have a shot at three bracelets. Sometimes, when you run hot... you run hot.

Lisandro moments after winning his second bracelet of the 2009 WSOP (third overall hence the three sign)
Photo by Flipchip

Before the 2007 began, Jeff Lisandro was on a short list of best international pros who never won a bracelet. 2007 was an interesting year for Lisandro because he finally won his first bracelet and had a shot at a second one but fell short of the mark with a runner-up performance to Allen Cunningham in the $5K PLH event.

At the 2008 WSOP, Lisandro posted another runner-up finish when he lost heads up to Mike Matusow in the $5,000 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball event. A few months later, Lisandro final tabled the £2,500 HORSE event at the WSOP-Europe. However, it was Lisandro's invovlement in the Tiffany Michelle/Tony G saga at last year's Main Event that garnered the most attention. Lisandro was one of the original backers and collected one-third of Tiffany's $330K payday. But unlike the other parties involved, Lisandro decided to keep mum on the topic.

Lisandro put forth an individual performance that has not been seen since the poker boom. Winning multiple bracelets in a single summer is a remarkable feat, however winning three? Near impossible. Well not that impossible, after all, Lisandro did it with a handful of events to go including the WSOP-Europe. Can he continue his hot streak and become the first player to win four bracelets in a single year?

Moments after Lisandro's victory, I recorded an episode of Tao of Pokerati with special guest BJ Nemeth. Of course, Michalski was nowhere to be found at the time, so I grabbed the most competent member of the poker media to discuss the significance of Lisandro's third bracelet at the 2009 WSOP. Listen in here...
Tao of Pokerati with Pauly & BJ Nemeth - Episode 11.19: Lisandropalooza (3:49)
BJ and both agreed that Lisandro's three bracelets in variants of Stud games (Stud, Stud 8, and Razz) makes him the clear cut favorite to lay claim to "the best Stud player in the world."

I feel a tad bad about Michael Craig. His runner-up performance will be overlooked and overshadowed by Lisandro's third bracelet this summer. The author of "The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King" had a banner year in 2007 when he made two final tables. Although he cashed in his first event in the 2008 WSOP, he had played twenty-five consecutive WSOP events without cashing. He finally cracked that streak.

Late on Day 2, Craig's stack took a hit with three tables to go. He found himself one of the hunted as a short stack. Somehow, he managed to avoid elimination and advance to Day 3 as one of the final 13 players.

Craig made it to the final table and with six to go, it appeared that an eventual showdown between Craig and Lisandro was inevitable. That match up eventually transpired, but when Craig found himself heads up, he was at a substantial chip disadvantage (almost 10-1) against a world class pro. According to Michael Craig's latest blog entry...
"Hats of to Jeff Lisandro. The guy had a giant stack, started the final table with more than double the next biggest stack, and just BULLDOZED. Yes, he ran great, but he took control of the action and, for the most part, put on a fantastic clinic on how to dominate with a big stack."
Craig collected $116,405 for second place which is three times as much the average salary of a poker scribe. Congrats to Michael Craig for making a run at the gold, and kudos to Jeff Lisandro for a brilliant performance.

And in the immortal words of Don Corleone... "I refused to be a fool dancing on the strings held by all of those big shots."

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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