and Shoulders above the Rest:
Todd Dan Druff Witteles wins
Limit Holdem championship and earns
first WSOP gold bracelet
very likely that Todd 'Dan Druff' Witteles
owns a World Series of Poker record which
may never be broken. To date, Witteles
has played in exactly two WSOP
events in his lifetime. He took 3rd place
in his first tournament ever (Event #4).
Then, he won his second tournament - the
$3,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em championship.
No other player in WSOP history has finished
so high (1st and 3rd) in their first two
is not what one would expect from a player
who goes by the nickname 'Dan Druff.'
Playing with a bottle of Head and Shoulders
(hair shampoo) on the poker table which
was used as a card protector, Witteles
lathered up second in chips at the start
and rinsed away his opponents in the final
stages of the tournament. It took Witteles
eight hours to rake in the final pot of
the night and contain a late rally by
the runner up, Daryl Mixan.
a professional poker player from Las Vegas,
plays mostly on the Internet. He is well-known
in online poker circles, but is virtually
anonymous inside cardrooms and at poker
tournaments (at least until now - winning
a gold bracelet tends to change everything).
"I wanted to pick a screen name that was
funny," Witteles explained when asked
about his pesky nickname. "When I play
live - I decided to use this bottle of
shampoo to throw off my opponents. "I
even washed my hair with this bottle twice.
So, it worked!"
interesting is that fact that Witteles
has earned nearly half a million dollars
in Limit Hold'em, rather than the far
more popular No-Limit game. "In limit
poker, the cost of making a mistake is
not nearly as high," Witteles said. "If
I make a mistake in Limit Hold'em it costs
me a few bets. But if I make the same
mistake in No-Limit I can lose my whole
stack. That's why I prefer Limit Hold'em."
hard to argue with success. The $3,000
buy-in Limit Hold'em championship attracted
406 entries. The prize pool was $1,120,560.
After 397 players were eliminated on the
first two days, the nine finalists arrived
at the final table. Two former gold bracelet
winners played in the finale - Eddy Scharf
(with two titles) and Cyndy Violette (with
one title). The chip leader was Kieu Duong
(with 310,000). Todd Witteles was second
in chips (with 211,000).
Players were eliminated in the following
Place - Lufthansa Airlines pilot
and two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner
Eddy Scharf was eliminated when he lost
a big pot with pocket aces to a diamond
flush. That left Scharf flying on fumes.
He crash landed in 10th place when his
Q-J was shot down by Matt Matros' pocket
10s. Scharf earned $13,455.
Place - Poker author and up and
coming tournament player Matt Matros was
written out of the final table script
when his A-Q was burned by J-10, when
a ten flopped. Matros, who now lives in
Brooklyn, NY, 'forgotabout' winning the
tournament. Ninth place paid $22,410.
Place - Mike Nargi, a professional
gambler from Las Vegas was low on chips
and went out next. He picked up $33,615
for 8th place.
Place - This was Cyndy Violette's
third final table appearance at this year's
WSOP (all in hold'em events). She has
also cashed five times. Violette was knocked
out by Rafael Perry's pocket aces. Seventh-place
6th Place -
Craig Crivello was getting low on chips
and went out on the hand after Violette's
elimination. Crivello found pocket sixes
then watched in horror as five overcards
came on board and a raising war broke
out between his two rivals. Crivello might
as well have had front row tickets to
an NHL game. His sixes were worthless.
But the 6th place prize money was not
-- $56,030 for Crivello.
Place - Matt Hawrilenko is a 23-year-old
stock trader from Philadelphia. His investment
background paid off in this tournament
as he came in 5th in a highly-competitive
field. Hawrilenko was blinded down to
the point where he had to play a hand
and was eliminated. His experience in
the poker exchange paid $67,235.
Place - Rafael 'Ralph' Perry went
out next. Perry threw his last chips into
the pot with 2-2. Todd Witteles had Q-J
and caught a jack on the turn. That blew
Perry away. Rafael Perry, born in Russia,
finished third in the WSOP main event
in 2002. He finished fourth this time,
winning $78,440 in prize money.
Place - This was the first final
table so far this year to feature at least
two female players. Cyndy Violette went
out 7th. Kieu Duong, who arrived as the
chip leader, went out in third place.
Interestingly, both women live within
a few miles of Atlantic City, NY. Duong,
who says she is a housewife, showed she
can also play poker with the best in the
world. She lost the chip lead about midway
through the finale, and was low on chips
when she found an ace and made a raise
short-handed. Todd Witteles had a king
and rivered a pair of cowboys, which eliminated
Duong. Third place paid $89,645.
Place - When heads-up play began,
Witteles enjoyed the advantage of a 3
to 1 chip lead. After losing a few key
pots, Daryl Mixan was down to about 60,000
in chips and made his last stand with
K-6 after a king flopped. Witteles had
10-7 and faded the final bet holding a
pair of sevens. A ten fell on the turn,
which gave Witteles a second pair. Mixan
still had outs going into the final card,
but missed when a blank fell on the river.
Mixan has an interesting story. He is
serving in the Coast Guard and is stationed
in Alaska. He spent this year's Independence
Day at the WSOP, winning $179,290. This
was his first-ever WSOP tournament. Quite
Place - Tood Witteles is a 33-year-old
former software engineer. He holds a M.S.
degree in computer science.
time 'Dan Druff' enters a poker tournament,
his expectations will be high. After winning
$115,800 in his first tournament and $347,385
in his second, Witteles can't possibly
improve his final table percentages or
increase his financial return on investment.
again, with the main event of the 2005
World Series of Poker scheduled to begin
in just two days, Witteles will be shooting
for the biggest trifecta in poker history.
If he brings his bottle of Head and Shoulders
to the table, look out.
by Nolan Dalla World Series of
Poker Media Director
Series of Poker Circuit Director of Operations
World Series of Poker Tournament Director
Rio Poker Room Manager Michael
Rio Poker Tournament Director Robert