It was only fitting that James Richburg's HORSE tournament ended during Razz. His first WSOP bracelet was won in last year's $1.5k Razz, and now he has a bracelet for his other wrist after he won the $2.5k HORSE event. Allen Cunningham won his fifth bracelet amid the pageantry and excitement of the ESPN Feature Table set, while Phil Hellmuth was obscured in the shrouded table used for the World Series of Poker webcast set. The HORSE final table was Table 67, a stone's throw from the ESPN set. It is like any of the 200+ tables used during the World Series, but in the wee hours of Tuesday morning it had been christened as a royal court, poised to crown a new two-time champion or a third bracelet for a London-based Swede.
Event #16 was believed to be the largest live HORSE tournament ever with 382 players. It certainly was the longest, with three exhausting days culminating with a thirteen-hour Day 3 to winnow twenty players down to a final winner. The young players should have had an advantage in physical stamina, but it was a battle of veterans by the end.
In HORSE, the final table is a table of eight, and the exit of Darrell "Gigabet" Dicken (10th $12,213) and Alexandra Vuong ( 9th $12,213), the final table was set. The Final Table was set:
Ali Eslami (507k)
James Richburg (487k)
Robert Mizrachi (262k)
Chris Bjorin (227k)
Walter Browne (207k)
Herb Van Dyke (130k)
Harry Kazazian (85k)
Tom Schneider (20k)
The Final Table started with Stud H/L. With antes of 1.5k, a 2k bring-in, and limits of 6k/12k, Schneider was clearly on life support. He used trip kings to take the high hand and inch up to 29k then tripled up in Hold-Em. With blinds at 4k/8k and limits of 8k/16k, he got his chips in with Robert Mizrachi and Harry Kazanian, who was also all-in Schneider's pocket 9's on the rag flop was ahead of the overcards of Mizrachi and Kazanian, and the on the turn gave him a set. With the board pairing sevens on the river, Harry Kazanian was out in 8th ($18,011), and Schneider had a new lease on life.
Chris Bjorin won a 175k pot when he had pocket aces, Herb Van Dyke held pocket kings, and Ali Eslami showed pocket queens. James Richburg finished off the short-stacked Herb Van Dyke (7th $24,601) to get the table down to six players.
As the game switched to Omaha Hi/Lo, Richburg had the chip lead with 565k and Schneider was still on a short stack with 55k. Schneider continued to bounce along the bottom like he was trolling for catfish. He'd bounce up to 100k then drop down to 70k, up to 120k then down again. Ali Eslami and Robert Mizrachi joined him on the short stack yo-yo, with Mizrachi finally giving his last chips to Chris Bjorin during Stud. Known as the younger brother of Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi is showing he's no slouch. His 6th place finish ($31,985) is his third WSOP cash this year, and he's outearned his brother in total 2007 winnings ($478k vs 341k). The Grinder has yet to cash in this year's WSOP, so maybe Robert can give him some pointers.
At the dinner break, the chip counts stood as follows:
Chris Bjorin (527k)
James Richburg (527k)
Walter Browne (401k)
Tom Schneider (304k)
Ali Eslami (153k)
Ali Eslami's chips were drained during Stud Hi/Lo, and James Richburg took him out during Hold-Em. For Ali Eslami (5th $42,612), it was the best cash since his 2004 WSOP Main Event 49th finish for $45,000.
Grey hair and patches of open scalp sat atop the heads of the four remaining players. Bjorin gladly exposed his top, while Richburg, Browne, and Schneider hid their mops under baseball caps.
Tom Schneider scratched and clawed his way to 4th ($54,913). He's probably the hottest player at the WSOP right now along with Humberto Brenes. The Pokerati contributor and radio show host has an impressive WSOP record now: six cashes, four final tables, one WSOP bracelet.
Walter Browne and Chris Bjorin took turns with the short stack, but Browne survived to go heads-up against James Richburg. Chris Bjorin (3rd $83,467) is one of the best players we've never heard of. He earned two bracelets, in the 1997 $1.5k PLO ($169k) and in the 2000 $3k NLH ($334k). This was his first WSOP Final Table since the 2004 $1.5k Razz event. The London-based Swede should be the Godfather of Scandinavian poker if he isn't already.
Richburg had a 2:1 chip lead over Browne to start heads-up play. Browne got as close as 725k to Richburg's 1.18m, but in the end the chip lead combined with Richburg's solid play was too much to overcome. Walter Browne added this runner-up finish ($131,455) to his 7th place finish in the $2k NLH event, so he's a player to watch the rest of the WSOP.
James Richburg now moves into the elite club of players with two WSOP bracelets (1st $238,881). With his win in HORSE, he's proven he is a threat to go deep in literally any event he enters.