Stud-8 Specialist Rodawig Hauls WSOP Bracelet

Eric Rodawig
Eric Rodawig

Eric Rodawig went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in poker and not only survived but walked away with a WSOP bracelet last night.

The 26-year-old banker from Arlington, VA, beat a final table that included John Racener, Ted Forrest, David Benyamine and then thrashed a surging Phil Hellmuth heads-up.

In total Rodawig outlasted a field of 168 players to take the $10k Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship and $442,183 in cash.

“I’m so excited to win,” said Rodawig. “It’s so gratifying to be the champion of Stud-8, it’s the game I’ve focused on and coached for the last 3 or 4 years.”

Originally from South Dakota, Rodawig is an instructor at online poker training school Cardrunners, where he specializes in Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo.

Rodawig suggested his students were part of the reason he was able to beat such a tough final table.

“I get a lot of people who are coming from No-Limit Hold’em and PLO backgrounds,” he said. “There were a lot of people in this tournament from similar backgrounds and I knew how to exploit their mistakes.”

Hellmuth, the all-time WSOP leader in cashes, could have secured his record-setting 12th WSOP bracelet but simply didn’t have an answer for Rodawig.

“As the chip leader I was very active and Phil was adjusting to that better than I thought he would,” said Rodawig. “He obviously has a reputation for playing No-Limit very tight.”

It’s the same old story for Hellmuth, who finished second in the $10k 2-7 Championship less than two weeks ago.

Surprisingly Rodawig felt comfortable playing against some of the biggest names in the poker world, partially because he had so much experience playing Stud-8.

“I’ve played a lot of short-handed Stud-8 online,” he said. “I’m very familiar with final table situations in Stud-8. I knew if I could get to the final table I’d be able to outmaneuver people there.”

This year the $10k Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship actually got a small boost in attendance with 11 more players than the 2010 edition. Rodawig mentioned he could see more players getting into the lesser-known game in the near future.

“I don’t want to say No-Limit Hold’em gets old but a lot of people are looking for a change,” he said. “Stud-8 is just really fun and there are some big pots.”

Despite the huge victory, it’s business as usual for Rodawig and he will soon be heading back to Virginia to go back to his job as a corporate investor. He does have one final goal before he leaves, however.

“I still reserve the right to ship the Razz event on Saturday,” joked Rodawig.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates brought to you by PartyPoker.

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