- Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com
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It has been quite the World Series of Poker so far for David "Bakes" Baker, and it became even better early Saturday morning as he earned his first WSOP bracelet in the $10,000 deuce-to-seven lowball championship. Baker began his 2010 WSOP with a sixth-place finish in Event 2, the $50,000 Players' Championship. Playing against one of the toughest fields ever to be compiled at the WSOP felt, the 23-year-old held his own, but didn't bring home the bracelet. Against an equally difficult field in Event 19, Baker didn't let this opportunity get away.
Baker, from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., earned $294,321 for the win, slightly more than the $272,275 he won in Event 2. The money is very significant, but something else provided Baker with validation about his current career choice.
"Now, when I say I'm a professional poker player, it has real meaning," Baker said. "The WSOP gold bracelet gives real meaning to claiming you are a poker pro."
Baker went to Michigan State University for two years, transferred to a school in Florida for a year and finally decided to focus on poker full-time. He learned the game through extensive online play and through discussions with fellow bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst. He has 21 WSOP cashes and five final tables, but the fact that he won this event is pretty surprising considering he started playing lowball only four months ago.
"This is the ultimate poker achievement," said Baker. "It's a great feeling. There is not really anything better than this, except multiple gold bracelets. No one can now say, 'Well, what have you won' anymore."
The final table included well-known professionals Andy Bloch, John Juanda and Erik Seidel, but the seats were filled with Baker supporters including Selbst and girlfriend/poker professional Maria Mayrinck.
"We all met online," said Baker of his supporters. "We all play online poker together. When it came time to go to the WSOP, we met up and then put faces to our screen names. It's awesome. I love the World Series. You get to come and chill with 300 of your best friends."
This final table marked the third for Juanda who is still searching for his fifth bracelet. He now holds the current Player of the Year lead (after 19 events) by five points over Russian phenom Vladimir Shchemelev.
"Very disappointed [because] I could've played better," said Juanda on Twitter. "[I] should've taken more time to think things [through before] every major decision."
Juanda earned $78,088 from this finish and has a total of $612,942 during the 2010 WSOP. Seidel, searching for his ninth WSOP title, finished sixth and received $41,270 for his efforts. This was his second cash of the 2010 WSOP.
All360Poker.com provided this video of the final table and an interview with the champion, David Baker:
Other notable finishers from Event 19 include Andy Bloch (eighth), Daniel Negreanu (ninth) and John Monette (10th).
Below are the complete results of Event 18 at the 2010 World Series of Poker:
Event 19: 2-7 draw lowball world championship
Prize pool: $949,400
Players in the money: 14
1. David Baker ($294,314)
2. Eric Cloutier ($181,886)
3. George Danzer ($115,295)
4. John Juanda ($78,088)
5. Doug Booth ($55,483)
6. Erik Seidel ($41,270)
7. Eric Kesselman ($32,080)
8. Daniel Negreanu ($26,004)
9. Andy Bloch ($22,387)
10. John Monnette ($22,387)
11. Vincent Musso ($22,387)
12. Yan Chen ($19,273)
13. Chad Brown ($19,273)
14. Peter Gould ($19,273)
4hEric D. Williams
6hNBA Free Agency Experts
9hChris Broussard and Marc Stein