SCOOP: Benny Binion makes poker history, wins Event #6-Low (PL 5-Card Draw)

SCOOP logo.gifThe "low" version of Event No. 6, Pot-Limit Five-Card Draw, was itself a pretty nice draw for players looking to try their hand at a version of the oldest, most venerable poker variant. The tourney attracted a sizable field of 4,245 players, making for a $42,450 prize pool (well above the $25K guarantee). The top 720 finishers would get paid, with first place looking to earn $6,476.61.

It took about five hours for the cash bubble to burst, at which time Enners, Kinshu, robotscott, AAmA10, and gillers were at the top of the leaderboard. After eight hours of play, just 100 players remained, with Henk88, Ryan_soldier, and Valorj90 in front. About an hour after that, they were down to 50 players. robotscott had moved ahead with 1,108,806, followed by Ryan_soldier (1,049,808), Benny Binion (870,664), alvarotd (853,934), and VAM000000000 (829,276).

Anders Hoyer "Donald" Berg

Only a handful of members of Team PokerStars were among the field for this one, including George Danzer (fresh off his win in Event No. 4-M, Badugi), George "Jorj95" Lind III, Alex Kravchenko, and Julian Thew. None of those made the cash, but as the field shrunk down under 50, one Team PokerStars player was still there drawing and betting, the Norwegian Anders Hoyer "Donald" Berg.


Anders Hoyer "Donald" Berg

Named to Team PokerStars Online during this past winter, Berg has played under the name "Donald" since way back in 2001, having beaten thousands upon thousands of people actually named Donald to that username. Berg has a Ph.D. in mathematics and is an expert chess player. He's also an track-and-field athlete, competing in 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and the long jump. Berg had outrun opponents well enough to be sitting in the middle of the pack with 50 players remaining.

"Donald" would still be there when they were down to 20, at which point he would win a half-million chip pot in a hand versus dbossie to move into fourth place with nearly 1.5 million. Berg then trailed kaosxlit (2.28 mil), AndyM._89 (1.98 mil) and makaay18 (1.58 mil). He'd soon lose a huge hand, however, versus Anikke in which Anikke made aces up to beat Donald's kings up to take him back down near a half million.

A couple more losing hands followed, then came a hand in which Anikke raised to 85,000, "Donald" reraised all in for 207,412, and Anikke called. Berg took three cards, and Anikke just one. Berg showed Q♦J♦8♠9♦Q♣ for a pair of queens, but Anikke had 6♠T♦4♣T♠6♥ for tens and sixes, sending the last member of Team PokerStars in the tourney home in 17th place.

Final Table Bubble

With ten players left, kaosxlit and VAM000000000 were out in front with about 4 million each. After Shooz was knocked out in 10th, Benny Binion was the beneficiary of a huge blind-vs.-blind hand versus robotscott that would help push Benny Binion out in front of everyone.

With the blinds 25,000/50,000 (12,500 ante), robotscott opened for 212,500 from the small blind, BennyBinion raised to 500,000 from the BB, robotscott pushed all in for 942,355 total, and Benny Binion called. robotscott took three cards and Benny Binion took two. Both made nice hands, but Benny Binion's A♦T♣T♦T♥A♠ was better than robotscott's K♣Q♣Q♦4♣K♠, knocking the latter out in ninth.

AndyM._89 next eliminated Anikke in eighth when both held aces, but AndyM._89 had a second pair of deuces to go along with his. Then came a very curious hand at the three-handed table involving Benny Binion and Almagancho.

After AndyM._89 folded on the button, Almagancho raised 3x to 180,000 from the SB, Benny Binion reraised to 420,000, Almagancho made it 840,000, Benny Binion made it 2.565 million, and Almagancho called. That left both players with less than 1 million, and had created a pot of 5.175 million. Looked pretty certain the rest of the chips would be heading into the middle after the draw.

But after Benny Binion took just one card, Almagancho somewhat surprisingly drew three. Benny Binion then pushed his remaining 847,546 in the middle. Almagancho paused for 15 seconds, then folded. On the very next hand, AndyM._89 would eliminate Almagancho in seventh with aces up against the latter's pair of sevens. As another hand was ongoing on the four-handed table, there was a short delay before the final table was assembled, giving Benny Binion time to ask a question before Almagancho's avatar had disappeared.

Benny Binion: I had nothing
Benny Binion: what did you fold man?
Almagancho: nothing
Almagancho: I meant to bluff
Almagancho: had the wrong thing clicked
Almagancho: sort of hate my life

Finally, after 11-and-a-half hours of play, we had our six-handed final table:


Seat 1: AndyM._89 -- 4,321,867
Seat 2: robinse -- 2,481,148
Seat 3: VAM000000000 -- 4,093,252
Seat 4: kaosxlit -- 3,186,518
Seat 5: Benny Binion -- 5,977,546
Seat 6: fly44 -- 1,164,669

From Six to Two

The real Benny Binion (1904-1989) was known more for getting others together to play poker -- say that famous Nick "the Greek" Dandalos and Johnny Moss match back at the mid-20th century, or starting the World Series of Poker in 1970 -- than for being much of a player himself. But his historical significance to the game cannot be overstated, and thus, for his many contributions to poker, Binion was elected to the WSOP Hall of Fame in 1990.

Our Benny Binion here enjoyed the chip lead as the final table began. Would he, too, find a place along with other winners in the SCOOP Hall of Fame?

It took a little over a half-hour for the first final table elimination. With the blinds up to 50,000/100,000 (25,000 ante), VAM000000000 opened with a raise to 200,000 from the button, and koasxlit reraised pot to 850,000 from the small blind. Benny Binion then repopped it to 1.5 million from the big blind, forcing VAM000000000 out. kaosxlit called with the 485,618 he had left, then drew three cards while Benny Binion just took one. kaosxlit showed K♥K♣3♥A♠5♥ for a pair of kings, but Benny Binion had 7♥7♠Q♥Q♣A♥ for two pair, KO-ing kaosxlit in sixth.

Soon after Benny Binion was at it again, raising the pot to 275,000 from the button. fly44 reraised to 840,000 from the small blind, AndyM._89 pushed all in over the top for 2,072,719, Benny Binion folded, and fly44 called. fly44 took two cards and AndyM._89 one, and fly44 showed 8♦4♠4♥4♦A♣ for trip fours, besting AndyM._89's J♣Q♣2♦J♠2♣ to eliminate him in fifth.

Down to the final four, Benny Binion was still the leader with 6.61 million. VAM000000000 was next with 5.65 million, followed by fly44 with 5.03 million and robinse with 3.90 million. VAM000000000 asked the others if anyone was interested in making a deal, but fly44 said no thanks and play continued.

A little while later -- about 12-and-a-half hours now into the proceedings -- robinse was down to a little over 2 million when he opened for 320,000 from under the gun. It folded to fly44 who reraised to 1.17 million from the big blind, robinse pushed all in, and fly44 called. fly44 took just one card, while robinse took three. fly44 showed 2♣7♥J♥2♥J♣ for two pair, better than robinse's 8♥K♥9♠K♦4♥. robinse was out in fourth.

Just a few hands later, VAM000000000 raised from the button to 320,000, Benny Binion reraised to 1.12 million, fly44 folded, VAM000000000 pushed all in for 3,015,758 total and Benny Binion called. Benny Binion discarded one, while VAM000000000 took three. Benny Binion had picked up a nice fifth card, showing 3♣4♣3♠3♥4♦ for treys full of fours, crushing VAM000000000's K♦K♥Q♥7♠4♥ for a pair of kings. VAM000000000 was out in third.

Heads-Up: Making SCOOP History

When heads-up play began, fly44 had the edge with 14,470,154 chips to Benny Binion's 6,754,846. fly44 chipped further at Benny Binion's stack, and by the 13-hour break had built to an approximately 4-to-1 chip advantage. Binion was all in once, winning with a pair of kings over fly44's tens. A little later Benny Binion was all in again, though this time had a full house (eights full of queens) to beat fly44's lesser full house (deuces full of fives). That sizable pot helped Benny Binion close to nearly even with fly44.

He'd continue his surge, eventually taking a 17.9 million-to-3.2 million lead over fly44. Then came a hand in which Benny Binion should have won the event, but for an apparent slip of the mouse.

The hand began with Benny Binion raising from the small blind/button, fly44 reraising pot, Benny Binion reraising enough to put fly44 all in, and fly44 calling. fly44 discarded three, then Benny Binion also discarded three, though his chat suggested that hadn't necessarily been the plan:

Benny Binion: fewuhfiouaeBenny Binion: rgopwerpiwefjiopwef"
Benny Binion: efgpiejfiopefj

fly44 showed 9♠T♠7♦5♠T♦ for a pair of tens, and Benny Binion K♠2♦A♦3♣2♣ for deuces. "I had KK," then typed Benny Binion. He'd accidentally clicked one of his kings to discard, and now he saw he would have eliminated fly44 otherwise. Here's a look at that hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

"Really this match should be over," Benny Binion would add a little later in the chat box. "Major mistake by me... biggest mistake ever in history of scoop." Hard to say if that is true or not, but it certainly was a gaffe both players will be remembering. Its historical significance was perhaps mitigated somewhat, though, as Benny Binion was able to recover and regroup, eventually building back to 18.8 million to fly44's 2.32 million.

Then came the end. Benny Binion raised to 1.2 million, fly44 reraised all in, and Benny Binion called. Both players drew three, and the result was a pair of tens for fly 44 -- T♥T♣J♥3♣8♦ -- and a pair of queens for Benny Binion -- K♦Q♣A♠3♠Q♥.

RSS readers click through to see replay

After exchanging messages of "gg" with each other, Benny Binion couldn't resist adding, "i took you twice."

SCOOP Event #6-Low Pot-Limit 5-Card Draw results
1st place: Benny Binion ($6,476.61)
2nd place: fly44 ($4,563.37)
3rd place: VAM000000000 ($3,289.87)
4th place: robinse ($2,016.37)
5th place: AndyM._89 ($1,203.45)
6th place: kaosxlit ($636.75)

Congratulations to Benny Binion, champion of Event No. 6-Low! Be sure to check in on the SCOOP site for all of the results, including the addition of Benny Binion's name to the SCOOP Hall of Fame!

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP