Musician and recording engineer Steve Albini is now a multiple bracelet winner at the World Series of Poker. The 59-year-old owner of Electrical Audio in Chicago is currently a member of the band Shellac, and has worked on thousands of albums, including acts like Nirvana, The Pixies, Joanna Newsom, and Jawbreaker. He has played poker seriously for years, with cashes dating back to 2010 at the WSOP. He earned his second gold bracelet and largest recorded score by defeating a field of 773 entries in the 2022 WSOP $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event. The $196,089 top prize increased his career tournament earnings to just shy of $370,000.
“Everything in my life comes in pieces, in parts. Poker is one part of my life. So when I’m playing poker, I try to commit to it. I try to take it seriously. I try to make sure I devote the attention to it that it deserves as an occupation. But it’s only part of my year. I only play tournaments at the World Series of Poker,” Albini told WSOP reporters after securing the gold. “I play cash games informally in Chicago. It’s a part of my livelihood, but it’s not my profession.”
Albini’s first bracelet was won in 2018. That time, he beat out a 310-player field in the $1,500 seven card stud event, securing the top prize of $105,629.
This latest win was Albini’s first live tournament cash of 2022. He was awarded 912 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion, enough to move him inside the top 250 in this year’s POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
Plenty of big names made deep runs in this event, including bracelet winner bracelet winner Allyn Shulman (69th – $3,189), four-time bracelet winner Tom Schneider (67th – $3,189), two-time bracelet winner Ari Engel (54th – $3,760), two-time bracelet winner Rami Boukai (53rd – $3,760), three-time bracelet winner Georgios Sotiropoulos (49th – $3,760), bracelet winner Jason Gola (29th – $5,544), bracelet winner Fabrice Soulier (27th – $5,544), ten-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey (26th – $5,544).
The third and final day of this event began with 22 players remaining and bracelet winner David Williams in the lead. Williams survived to the unofficial final table of nine, but was ultimately knocked out in ninth place ($15,080).
Japan’s Tamon Nakamura was the next to fall. The 2022 U.S. Poker Open breakout performer’s pair of kings were scooped by the straight and low of Richard Bai in seven card stud eight-or-better to send Nakamura to the rail in eighth place ($19,373).
Bai scored another knockout when his J-7-4-3-2 beat out a queen low for short stack Eddy Vataru (7th – $25,294) in a round of razz. Not long after that, Bai sent yet another player packing while playing razz. Bai made a 6-5-4-3-A against Peter Brownstein, who kept pairing. Brownstein earned $33,552 as the sixth-place finisher.
Bai lost a big pot during three-handed play to a royal flush for Jason Daly in limit hold’em. He bounced back by busting yet another opponent. Kyle Loman got the last of his short stack in playing razz and wound up with a 9-7 low. Bai made a 9-6 to take down the pot and narrow the field to four. Loman was awarded $45,209 for his fifth-place showing.
Bai and Albini fell toward the bottom of the leaderboard as four-handed play continued. After a dinner break, Bai’s run in this event came to an end in hold’em. The last of his stack went in after the turn on a 103210 board. Bai held A7, which was behind the AK of James Morgan. The Q on the end was of no help to Bai and he was eliminated in fourth place ($61,862).
Albini battled his way up the leaderboard during three-handed action, and eventually began to pull away from the other two contenders. Jason Daly committed much of his short stack with a preflop three-bet in limit hold’em. Albini came along and the pair saw a flop of 1073. Daly’s last chips went in with him holding K2, which was trailing the J7 of Albini. The 4 turn and A river locked up the pot for Albini, while Daly was sent home in third place ($85,943).
Albini held more than a 5:1 chip lead over Morgan when heads-up play began. That lead was narrowed a bit in the early stages of the final battle for the bracelet, but he was still well out in front when the final hand of the tournament was dealt while playing stud eight-or-better. Morgan made kings up early in the hand, while Albini had flush and straight draws. He made a jack-high flush to scoop the pot and the title. Morgan earned $121,195 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
Photo credit: WSOP / Rachel Kay Miller.
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