Busy Saturday at the Rio. A punk rocker from Chicago found himself heads-up for a bracelet against six-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro. The Australian pro and Stud guru was searching for his seventh bracelet. Lisandro previously won two Seven-Card Stud events at the WSOP and hoped to complete a hat trick. However, Steve Albini threw a monkey wrench into his plans. The musician from the band Shellac is also well-known in music circles as the guy who produced and recorded Nirvana's In Utero. Albini also produced seminal albums from other 90s bands such as the Pixies, Breeders, and P.J. Harvey. Albini is also one heck of a poker player and put his skills on display over the last three days in Event #31 $1,500 Seven-card Stud.
At the final table, Albini might not have had the pedigree and experience that his tablemates Jesus Ferguson and Jeff Lisandro had, but that did not deter the punk rocker. If anything, it got him more fired up. With four to go, Albini sent Jesus Ferguson packing in fourth place. Not too long after, Albini found himself heads-up against Jeff Lisandro… the intimidating figure from down under who amassed $5.5 million in tournaments and almost owned enough bracelets to bling out an octopus (albeit one that's missing two arms, but ya know… semantics). Albini had a slight lead when heads-up began, but Lisandro quickly went to work. Lisandro tried to pull away, but Albini wasn't going anywhere.
Just when it looked like Lisandro had Albini on the ropes, the tides turned against Lisandro. Albini went on a rush that Lisandro was unable to counter. In a drastic reversal of fortune, Lisandro coughed up the lead and he was on the ropes, while Albini searched for the moment to deliver the knockout blow. The Aussie bounced in second place, and Albini went all the way to the Promised Land.
Albini denied Lisandro his seventh bracelet and knocked out both Lisandro and Jesus Ferguson en route to his first-ever WSOP victory. Albini slapped a shiny new bracelet around his wrist and fondled a small mound of cash worth $105,629.
Event #31 $1,500 Seven Card Stud - Final Results
The prize pool in the Studament fell a few bucks shy of $420K. WSOP Event #31 had a $1,500 price tag and attracted 310 Stud players. This star-studded final table included Frankie O'Dell, Jesus Ferguson, Jeff Lisandro, Paul Sexton, Esther Rossi, Katherine Fleck, and musician/producer Steve Albini.
Albini might have been the most “famous” person at the table in the real world. I mean, anytime you work with Kurt Cobain, you're gonna turn some heads. Especially when it was the final album Nirvana ever recorded before Cobain's suicide. Albini was definitely the civilian at the table compared to his tablemates, but that didn't stop him from achieving poker immortality.
A member of the punk/noise band Shellac, Albini is also a renowned record producer and engineer. In 1995, Albini built Electrical Audio, his own recording studio located in Chicago. Albini is probably most known for his work with Nirvana. He recorded and produced their third, In Utero.
Albini previously made waves at the WSOP and he's cashed in at least one event in five out of the last six years. This event marked a sixth-career cash at the WSOP since 2010. He had a noteworthy deep run at the 2013 Seniors Event when he narrowly missed the final table with a 12th place finish. Albini had previously cashed in two other $1,500 Stud events including a 14th place finish in 2010 and 24th place in 2014.
Bertrand Grospellier almost made the Stud final table. Almost. ElkY missed by a few spots when he bid adieu in 11th place. Farhad Mobassery bubbled off the final table in tenth place.
Esther Rossi's sensational run ended when she busted in eighth place. Michael Moore, not the director, went deep in another event. Alas, a bracelet was not in his stars and he was picked off in seventh place. Paul Sexton went out next in sixth place.
Frankie O'Dell made another final table! And there was a traffic jam on I-15 all the way from Los Angeles to Vegas consisting of poker players rushing to the Rio Casino to get in line at the cage to collect unpaid FOD debts. Ah, we're just kidding. Even Frankie would love that joke. O'Dell has had a good summer because this marked his second final table thru three weeks of action. O'Dell could only muster up a fifth-place finish and he only cashed for $21K.
After a bunch of min-cashes and smaller finishes at the 2018 WSOP (including a trio of cashed below $999), Jesus finally final tabled an event. However, the man in black could pull off another miracle. Jesus advanced to the Final Four, but that's when he got crucified. Steve Albini played the role of Pontious Pilor and knocked Jesus out in fourth place. Jesus won $1 shy of $30K.
Another momentous finish for Katherine Fleck, who took third place in Event #31. She final tabled this same event in 2016 when she busted in fourth place. She embarked on a hella-deep run in the $10K HORSE two days earlier with a 16th place finish. Her run good continued in this Stud event when she made another final table. However, the magic came to a halt in third place. Fleck banked over $60K in two tournaments over the last couple days.
With Fleck's elimination, fans at the Rio were treated to Saturday night fireworks with a highly-anticipated heads-up battle between Jeff Lisandro and Steve Albini. The intimidating Aussie pro versus the salty punk rocker. Albini technically held the lead when they began their tete-a-tete.
Albini's opponent across the table had won over $5.5 million in tournaments throughout his storied career. Lisandro is arguably the greatest player to hail from Australia. Joe Hachem might have the most career winnings, but Lisandro has the six-pack of bracelets. Yes, Lisandro flew to Las Vegas this summer with a specific goal: ship bracelet #7.
In 2009, Lisandro won three bracelets in the same year when he shipped a Stud, Stud 8 and Razz event. Lisandro also won bracelets on both the WSOP Europe and WSOP Asia. Both of those wins were in PLO. Lisandro had previous won 2 Seven-Card Stud bracelets and was seeking his third.
Was it time for the Aussie to do more damage and bink #7? Or would the punk rocker shake things up for Lisandro and keep him at six?
Lisandro was clad a silk shirt and his trademarked black fedora, while Albini sported a Cocaine Piss t-shirt over a long-sleeve shirt. Perhaps it was the Cocaine Piss that was the X-factor, because Albini rallied from behind to pull off the upset victory over Lisandro. The Aussie whiffed on #7 and Lisandro settled on a runner-up share worth $65,282.
Albini shipped the bracelet and took down a first-place payout worth $105K. Moments after he won, Albini told WSOP reporters, “This is fucking awesome.”
Albini will funnel a portion of winnings towards keeping his studio afloat in Chicago. In the HBO docu-series Sonic Highways (directed by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl), Albini discussed the difficulties of maintaining a recording studio in the digital age. The cynical and brutally honest Albini was not shy explaining the financial hardships of the current state of the music recording industry. Albini told Grohl that his poker winnings often covered rent and other expenses that estimated to $1,000 per day to run his studio.
Notables who cashed in this Event #31 Stud included... ElkY, Jameson Painter, Shirley Rosario, Julien Martini, Pete Chen, Robert Campbell, Perry Friedman, Ashton Griffin, Mark Radoka, Kevin Iacofano, Dzmitry Urbanovich, David Levi, Paul Sokoloff, Ben Yu, Gabe Ramos, and Adam Friedman.
For all of you Jesus Haters out there, Chris Ferguson has now cashed in 7 events. This Stud run marked his first final table this summer and his deepest cash to date with $29,999. His other six combined cashes totaled less than $11K.
2018 WSOP - Event #31 $1,500 Seven Card Stud
Prize Pool: $418,500
Final Table Results:
1. Steve Albini (USA) $105,629
2. Jeff Lisandro (Australia) $65,282
3. Katherine Fleck (USA) $43,765
4. Jesus Ferguson (USA) $29,999
5. Frankie O'Dell (USA) $21,035
6. Paul Sexton (USA) $15,096
7. Michael Moore (USA) $11,095
8. Esther Rossi (USA) $8,355
9. Stephen Rivers (USA) $6,451