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James Richburg Wins 2006 WSOP $1.5K Razz Bracelet

Richburg Beats Field of 409, Denies Mortensen 3rd Bracelet


The 41 players remaining in the $1,500 Seven Card Razz tournament (WSOP Event #33) took to their seats at 4 p.m. PDT to renew their quest for the Razz bracelet and the $139,576 that comes with it. After taking almost 15 hours to hack-and-slash through 368 opponents yesterday, today's remaining combatants showed no signs of weariness as they maintained a fast and furious pace throughout most of the day. Whereas yesterday it had taken four hours before the first elimination, there were four bust-outs within the first half-hour of today's action.

Some big-name bust-outs during today's play were Nick Niergarth, Paul "Eskimo" Clark, Eric Froehlich, Jeffrey Lisandro and Perry Friedman.

Eric Froehlich was eliminated from the tournament just before making the final table after going all-in for his last $500 by paying the ante. Froehlich was also dealt the high card and, because he could not pay the high-card bring-in, the floor was called. The decision was made that the player with the next highest card, Jamie Brooks, would pay the bring-in. Brooks contested the decision and more tournament directors came over to reinforce Brooks' forced bring-in bet.

While the decision was being made, Richard Sklar, at the other table, asked a tournament director to stop the clock so that his table didn't have to play more hands than the other players. The tournament director refused. Sklar then returned to his table, but refused to pay his ante, holding his table up.

After all of the final table bubble qualms were put to rest, Steven Diano eliminated Eric Froehlich with an 8-low versus Froehlich's 10-low.

The field was narrowed to the final nine players by 8:30 p.m. PDT. The final table and approximate chip counts were:

1. Juan Carlos "The Matador" Mortensen - $118,000
2. James Richburg - $115,000
3. Ron Ritchie - $80,000
4. "Miami" John Cernuto - $55,000
5. Steven Diano - $50,000
6. Chad Carpenter - $30,000
7. Richard Sklar - $35,000
8. Cliff Josephy - $27,000
9. Jamie Brooks - $22,000

The break-time buzzer went off and it also signified the departure of Chad Carpenter just six minutes after the formation of the final table. It was obvious that the Razz players hadn't planned to slow down just quite yet. Carpenter made $7,258 for his ninth place finish.

The next elimination occured after a series of raises and re-raises put Jamie Brooks all-in against James Richburg. As Richburg was dealt seventh street, his board showed 2-4-4-5-5-8-Q. Brooks' six cards up to that point were A-2-2-4-4-10, and any unpaired card or a King on seventh street would have saved him from elimination. Of course, Brooks' last card was a King to bust him in eighth place, earning him $13,957.

Just ten minutes later, "Miami" John Cernuto raised all-in preflop showing a 3. Steven Diano called showing a 2. Cernuto's complete board came 3-7-8-9-J-Q-Q for a Jack-low, while Diano's came A-2-6-7-8-10-K for an 8-low and the pot. Cernuto was eliminated in seventh ($19,540).

Richard Sklar was crippled when he lost a three-way pot between Juan Carlos Mortensen, Cliff Josephy and himself. Josephy took the pot with a 7-low and Sklar was down to only $1,500. That $1,500 didn't last him very long as he was all-in in the very next hand. Mortensen eliminated him with a Jack-low when Sklar could only manage a Queen-low and Sklar walked away with $25,123 for his sixth place finish.

It was another three hours before Juan Carlos Mortensen dealt his next blow. Ron Ritchie moved all-in on fourth street and was called by Mortensen. Ritchie eventually made two pair to severely hinder his hand, allowing Mortensen to take down the pot with 10-low to eliminate Ritchie. Ritchie's fifth place prize was $30,706.

Shortly thereafter, Cliff Josephy was also all-in on fourth street and also eventually made two pair with 2-2-5-6-9-9-J, giving James Richburg the pot when he made A-3-4-7-8-Q-Q for a better low. Josephy pocketed $39,080 for his fourth place showing in today's tournament.

The momentum continued as the next elimination was just 15 minutes later when James Richburg busted Steven Diano in third ($61,411). Richburg then began a lengthy heads-up match with his sole remaining rival for the coveted bracelet, Juan Carlos "The Matador" Mortensen.

Their match lasted over two hours, with blinds and antes being regularly traded and both winning some large pots. Richburg finally gained some momentum after crippling Mortensen over the span of a few hands and eventually Mortensen pushed his remaining chips into the middle. Richburg called and showed 3-4-6-8-9-3-6 while Mortensen briefly showed and mucked a worse low. Mortensen was eliminated in second place, earning $94,908 and leaving him just out of reach of his third WSOP bracelet.

James Richburg took first place in the 2006 WSOP Seven Card Razz event and was awarded $139,576 and a WSOP bracelet for his efforts.

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