The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) crowned another mixed game champion on Monday and Vladimir Peck prevailed in an intense heads-up duel with Venkata “Sandy” Tayi to claim his maiden gold bracelet in Event #18: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball. It was the first tournament of the ongoing festival that required an extra day in order to divide up the lion’s share of the $562,925 prize pool in a field of 253 entries.
Peck and Tayi entered the additional day with fewer than 15 big bets in play and the 44-year-old, who grew up in Chicago, won a key hand in 2-7 Triple Draw to get back in contention and turn things around. Peck spent the last ten years on the East Coast and frequently visited the Borgata and Parx. Poker has always been a recreational activity for Peck, who usually works in software engineering and took some time off from work to compete in the entire WSOP festival.
Tayi dominated large portions of the final table and held a commanding lead several times without being able to close it out on Day 3, getting involved in a lot of pots and getting there often. However, he had to settle for the runner-up spot and a consolation prize of $83,056. The victory for $134,390 also represents the biggest live cash for Peck, toppling the previous best score of $109,040 at the Borgata Summer Poker Open back in 2008.
Event #18: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball Final Table Results
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Vladimir Peck||United States||$134,390|
|2||Venkata Tayi||United States||$83,056|
|4||Aaron Rogers||United States||$40,443|
|5||Brian Yoon||United States||$28,818|
|6||Hal Rotholz||United States||$20,828|
|7||Carlos Rodriguez||United States||$15,272|
It wasn’t smooth sailing for Peck by any means en route to claiming his first gold bracelet as he was on the brink of elimination with fewer than one big bet behind several times. On Day 3 close to the seven-handed final table, Peck was seemingly always near the bottom of the leaderboard.
“I know I made a few folds that I would usually never make but there were these big stacks and suddenly the bets were so big,” he said. “You pick a hand to get involved in and that’s your tournament right there.”
An early turning point on the unscheduled extra day came in A-5 Triple Drawn when Peck opted to break a ten and made a better seven-low.
“It was tough to do because sometimes he got those hands and I hate to break and pair up. It was a spot where I didn’t think he was bluffing, he wasn’t bluffing a lot. I made a lot of mistakes calling some of his bets with bluff catchers and he always had it.”
It wasn’t just about the money and the gold bracelet, however, but also an important lesson in mixed games as well, during which he considered Ace-To-Five as his best poker variant throughout the event.
“Honestly, I learned so much in just those three days because there were a lot of very good players in this tournament. I don’t know if it’s my best game but I think it’s most likely that other people are not as good,” he added.
Peck will be competing in tournaments throughout the entire series with a preference for further mixed game adventures.
“This is fun and reminds me more of playing poker as a kid where it was essentially Dealer’s Choice. All these different random games, we just played a bunch of different games. The no-limit hold’em games are fun and big, and I will play some of those as well. The Dealer’s Choice was a lot of fun and there were many very good players in it.”
The tournament certainly showcased that it is never over until the final bet has vanished. Peck staged a similar comeback story as the defending champion Dan Zack, who achieved the same feat back in 2019 as well and came back from very few chips.
Also featured on the seven-handed final table were two WSOP bracelet winners in Brian Yoon and Joao Vieira. It was Yoon who dominated the early stages on Day 3 with two tables remaining but he eventually came up short of a fourth victory and bowed out in fifth place. Vieira was involved in a tense three-handed battle with Tayi and Peck, during which the topsy-turvy affair sent the Portuguese prodigy to the rail in third place.
Peck joins Vieira in the winner’s circle and will certainly be involved in more tournaments of the 2021 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.