Matusow eyes WSOP Lowball repeat

Mike Matusow

As defending 2-7 World Champion, Mike Matusow has to be considered the favorite to add another Lowball bracelet to his collection in 2009.

"If I play well I give myself a chance," Matusow said.

This year the World Series of Poker added a new $2,500 Lowball event, while elevating the buy-in for the World Championship event from $5,000 to $10,000 and removing the rebuys.

A move Matusow disagrees with.

"They should have kept the $5,000 and they should have kept it with rebuys," Matusow said. "They should let everybody rebuy as many times as they want because [without rebuys] it ruins the event.

"If it's not going to be a rebuy event it needs to be at least a $20,000 buy-in with one optional rebuy. They don't need three or four events in deuce to seven. They just don't have the market for it."

A Lowball Triple-Draw event will also take place at the 2009 WSOP, giving players three Lowball bracelet events to choose from.

The $2,500 event began today drawing 122 entrants and a field top-heavy with pros.

Matusow, Huck Seed, Jennifer Harman, Greg Raymer and Gavin Smith were just a few of the big names on hand for the beginning of the event.

Lowball isn't a common game online or in casinos and previous events at the WSOP have drawn only top-notch fields filled with true professionals for what most agree is a strategy-intensive game.

Matusow won his bracelet last year fending off a stellar final table lineup including pros Jeff Lisandro, Barry Greenstein and Erick Lindgren.

"It's just a great game to read," Matusow said. "It's more of a game where you play position. The guy is drawing one card, and you really have to read his reaction to one card."

Matusow agreed Lowball games are hard to find, with only one known major live high-stakes game on the West Coast played in Los Angeles.

"The cash game is a lot different than a tournament," Matusow said. "In a tournament it's really a one-hand game, so you can't make a mistake on that one hand."

Despite the obscurity of the game, last year's star-studded final table drew big crowds, including several pros.

Matusow knows a repeat won't be easy in what is expected to be another difficult field.

"You have to be real lucky," he said.

Vanessa Rousso is playing in the Lowball event after opening the WSOP with a successful 27th place showing in the $40k anniversary event.

Unlike Matusow, she likes the idea of the added $2,500 event, but doesn't expect the tournament to draw major interest.

"I say the more the merrier," Rousso said. "Most players probably know the right way to play.

"The problem is it can get pretty boring just waiting for the right hand. Maybe they lose patience and push in with some rougher hands."

The first Lowball event of the WSOP will play to a final table Wednesday before crowning a champion Thursday.

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