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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's Editor in Chief and has worked as a writer and editor more than 25 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee.

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Lisandro making a run at WSOP history by winning his third bracelet this year

25 Jun 2009

By Gary Trask
Jeffrey "The Iceman" Lisandro continued his dream run at the 2009 World Series of Poker Wednesday night by capturing his third bracelet of the Series. And this time he was so dominant there wasn't even a speck of suspense.

The former real estate broker who wears a signature black fedora at the poker table ran roughshod through the 315-person field of the $2,500 Seven-Card Razz tournament (Event #44) to take home the $188,390 prize and his fourth-career gold bracelet.

While the soft-spoken Lisandro departed the tournament area quickly after his win, explaining he was both tired and hungry, his performance spoke volumes. With the victory, Lisandro became only the fifth player to win three gold bracelets within a single Series, joining an elite list of players that includes Puggy Pearson (1973), Ted Forrest (1993), Phil Hellmuth (1993) and Phil Ivey (2002).

The 43-year-old Lisandro, who has three other cashes this year, said he intends on playing in as many events as possible – including Thursday's Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low tournament – in order to make a run at what would be a historic fourth bracelet in one year.

The most impressive characteristic of Lisandro's latest bracelet win was just how quickly he took out the competition, particularly at the final table. No player ever threatened his 2-to-1 chip advantage. He knocked out six of the eight players in the finale and this was the quickest final table this year, taking just 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Lisandro was born in Australia, but has lived Italy as well as the U.S. He owns a home in Santa Barbara, Calif., but asked that Australia be credited with this victory in international standings. With the $807,521 he has earned this year, Lisandro has now earned $2,578,137 in his WSOP career , ranking him 35th on the all-time list, one spot ahead of former Main Event champ Chris Moneymaker.

This tournament also generated the biggest cash prize for a Razz event. One of the changes to the WSOP format this year was to increase the buy-in from $1,500 to $2,500 in order to draw a more attractive field, a feat that was accomplished. Razz – a lowball version of Seven Card Stud – was first introduced onto the WSOP schedule in 1973. It has been included on the tournament schedule every year since, except 1976.

The runner up in this event was Michael Craig, author of The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time. Craig has five WSOP cashes and three final table appearances to his name. Canadian Ryan Fisler took third place and Australian Warwick Mirzikinian was third. Other notable players to cash in the event Rami Boukai, David Sklansky, Bob Slezak, Ville Wahlbeck, Layne Flack, Thank Luu, Jens Voertmann, Blair Rodman and David Chiu.

With the win, Lisandro jumped into first-place in the 2009 WSOP Player of the Year standings with 355 points through 44 events. Ville Wahlbeck (one bracelet, five cashes, $862,521 earned) is in second place with 275 points and is closely followed by Phil Ivey, whose two bracelets and five cashes have earned him $356,994 and 242 points this year.

'Miami John' recovering from major scare
The WSOP proceedings received a jolt on Day 2 of the Razz tournament when three-time gold WSOP bracelet winner "Miami John" Cernuto collapsed at the table around 6 p.m.. Paramedics were called in to treat Cernuto, who was wheeled out of the room on a stretcher. Cernuto was conscious as he was taken out and he gave the crowd a slight wave. During the scare, play was stopped and everyone was cleared out.

As has been the case for most of the WSOP this year, players immediately began updating the situation via their Twitter accounts. But contrary to what was being reported on Twitter, Cernuto did not suffer a heart attack. Instead it has been reported that it was internal bleeding that caused him to collapse.

Cernuto, who has 47-career WSOP cashes and more than $4.6 million in tournament earnings, called the WSOP Media Relations staff about three hours after the incident to update his status. He said that he would remain in the hospital for a few days for tests and then immediately asked the result of the hand he was in before he collapsed.

'Comeback Kid' captures $10k Omaha event
Twenty-five-year old Matt Graham came back from a 9-to-1 chip disadvantage in heads-up play against Vitaly Lunkin to win the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (Event #40).

Graham, a former pre-med student who dropped out of college to play professional poker, was on the ropes several times in the match, but managed to overcome the Lunkin's huge lead and staged a dramatic comeback. In the final 45 minutes of play, Graham won every hand to first double up three times to take a slight chip lead and then finish Lunkin off.

"I was thinking I was just going to continue playing my best," said Graham, who became the 128th player in WSOP history to earn more than $1 million in winnings after taking home the first-place check worth $679,402. "No matter how well you play -- it was a long shot in that situation. So, you just have to do all that you can to come back and hope the cards cooperate."

This was the second-straight year that Graham had come back from what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit to win a bracelet. Last year, he stormed back from an 8-to-1 disadvantage in the $1,500 Hold'em Shootout to stun Jean-Robert Bellande for his first-career bracelet.

Not only did Graham overcome to huge chip deficit during heads up, but he also outlasted a star-studded final table that took nearly 10 hours to complete. It took nearly three hours for the first player to bust out. And during the first five hours of play, players were separated by small margins. Other than Graham, there were four other former bracelet winners seated at the final table –- Josh Arieh, Lunkin, Richard Austin and Barry Greenstein.

Lunkin, who won the big $40,000 No Limit Hold'em event at the start of the WSOP, is seventh in the 2009 WSOP Player of the Year standings with the one bracelet and three cashes, but he leads all players in money earned with $2,327,493.

Young Guns crash final table at Shootout
This week's $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout (Event #41) drew the youngest final table in WSOP history and in the end 22-year-old Peter Traply became the first Hungarian player to win a WSOP gold bracelet.

Traply, who collected $348,755 for first place, outlasted a final table that featured player aged 21, 21, 22, 23 and 24. Traply was cheered to victory by about a dozen Hungarian supporters, chanting songs and slogans in their native language. Some of the Hungarians were poker players and others were visiting Las Vegas and heard about a Hungarian at the final table and decided to come and watch the finale. When Traply won, he was draped by the red, green and white Hungarian flag.

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