It’s a Golden Night for Jack “Action” Zwerner. Longtime Las Vegas gambling veteran wins his first WSOP title.
Las Vegas, NV – There aren’t many things that Jack “Action” Zwerner hasn’t seen and done in the world of gambling. He’s the founder of the biggest bingo enterprise in America. He’s worked as a high-level casino executive for the (now imploded) Dunes, Caesar’s Palace, the Golden Nugget, and the Las Vegas Hilton. He’s hung out with everyone from Steve Wynn to Larry Flynt to Stu Ungar. And now, he’s won a World Series of Poker gold bracelet.Zwerner topped a powerhouse field of 670 players en route to a $341,426 top prize. The $2,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split world championship lasted three long days, which concluded with the 58-year-old Las Vegan winning his first WSOP title.
It almost didn’t happen. Just days before the WSOP started, Zwerner admitted that he had no intention to play in the world’s largest and most prestigious poker tournament. Zwerner had not played in the World Series in nearly 15 years. But his 21-year-old son started taking an interest in poker and encouraged the elder Zwerner to enter and play this year. That turned out to be good advice. Immediately following his hard-fought, well-deserved win, Zwerner drove home to show his two grown children the gold bracelet. “My son started crying, he was so happy,” Zwerner said. “When I saw him crying, well I started crying, too.” Indeed, victory at the World Series of Poker brings fame, fortune – and tears of joy.
Zwerner’s victory was neither an upset nor a surprise. After all, he arrived at the final table as one of the largest stacks. The always-dangerous Daniel Negreanu was a close second. For only two brief moments at the final table, Zwerner did not have the chip lead.
|Name||Chip Count||Seat #|
|Florante “Rusty” Mandap||$156,000||1|
|Steve “Shooter” Lustig||$31,000||2|
|Bob “The Buzzsaw” Mangino||$165,000||6|
|Russell “The Muscle” Salzer||$142,000||7|
Steve Lustig went out quickly. Short-stacked, Lustig moved all-in with a strong low draw, holding A-2-3-5. The final board showed 9-8-7-7-7, no help to the low draw. Lustig, a casino manager from San Jose, CA (and former Chinese Poker World Champion) earned $24,388 for ninth place.
Russ “The Muscle” Salzer had a fabulous WSOP last year. He cashed several times, was second in the $5,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low event, and finished 29th in the main event. Salzer’s good fortune continued this year, although eighth place must have been less than satisfying. Salzer was eliminated in a three-way pot (hand not shown) and collected $36,582 in prize money.After finishing in seventh place a few days earlier (six-handed no-limit hold’em), Negreanu hoped this tournament might be the opportunity to pick up a fourth gold bracelet. Instead, it ended with yet another disappointment – seventh place. Negreanu got low on chips and was all-in with two pair. He lost to a straight. “The Kid” collected $48,776.
Robert Collins went out next. This was the first final table appearance for the engineer from Morgan Hill, CA. He received $60,970 for sixth place.
Next, Robert “The Buzzsaw” Mangino was chopped away from the final table. The Buzzsaw was short-stacked and lost on his final (mucked) hand. Mangino, the winner of a big tournament in Tunica, MS last year, received $73,164 for fifth place.
Congo Do lasted for four hours, despite coming in with the second-lowest stack. The Vietnamese-born restaurant owner now living in the Atlantic City area, was all-in holding A-Q-10-10 (good for two pair) after the flop showed A-Q-2. But Jack Zwerner had two queens in his hand for trip queens. The three-of-a-kind held up and Do had to go. Fourth place paid $85,358.
When play became three-handed, Rusty Mandap, Jeff Madsen, and Jack Zwerner were very close in chips. Mandap seized the chip lead for a short time with a couple of big pots, before Zwerner fought back and regained control. Three-handed play lasted for two full hours, during which time Jeff Madsen watched helplessly as his dreams of victory slowly evaporated along with his chips.Madsen had been the most aggressive player in the tournament during the later stages of Day Two and he arrived on Day Three as the chip leader. But the last few hours were a complete nightmare for the 21-year-old who celebrated his birthday just three weeks ago (thus becoming of legal age to play in the WSOP). Finally, Madsen had to make a move and was all-in on an unseen hand, which lost. Zwerner and Mandap feasted on Madsen’s last chips like hungry wolves, expelling the college student in third place. Madsen could still be proud of his cash prize which amounted to $97,552.
When play became heads-up, Jack Zwerner shifted into overdrive. Sensing that the finish line was just ahead, the gambling guru raced through the last 35-minutes like a man on a mission. All Rusty Mandap could do was watch as pot after pot, and chip after chip, was pushed in the opposite direction.
On what turned out to be the last hand of the tournament, Mandap had high hopes for his A-A-10-3. Instead, the big pair and low-draw was crushed and counterfeited when the final board showed 6-5-3-7-2. Zwerner showed A-8-7-4 with two hearts to match the three hearts on board. Zwerner’s heart flush and better low trounced Mandap’s hand, thus ending the event.
As the runner up, Rusty Mandap earned $176,813. The Philippine-born casino director from Norwalk, CA was disappointed he did not win, but expressed no regrets about the end result. “I didn’t get any cards in the end,” he said.
The mood in Zwerner’s camp was decidedly more upbeat. Zwerner, who first moved to Las Vegas from Miami, Florida back in 1963, received congratulatory handshakes from many in the crowd who recognized the winner as a longtime local. Indeed, Zwerner has seen and done it all in the gambling mecca, working every side of the business. He is someone most deserving of a rare prize afforded to those who helped to build the Las Vegas Strip into the place that it is.
No one appreciated the honor or the significance of this moment more than Jack Zwerner. “You have to get a little bit lucky to win a tournament,” he said. “I was involved in hands at the right place at the right time. I tell you – there’s nothing more satisfying than winning money gambling.”
Dieser Artikel erschien auf PokerOlymp am 19.04.2007.