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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | WSOP 2008 Tournaments

WSOP Day 14 – Hold’em, HORSE, and a Little Omaha

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If hold’em is your game, today would have been a hoot for you. And if you were well-versed in multiple variations of the game, you might have been in poker heaven.

The 14th day of the 2008 World Series of Poker was another fun-filled one. It all began with a $2,000 buy-in NLHE event and continued with Day 2 of the $5K NLHE event, Day 2 of the $3K H.O.R.S.E., a late-starting PLHE/Omaha mixture, and final tables of Omaha and LHE events. Whew!

It has not been the case most days, but today was one that filled the Amazon Room to the edges. At 4pm, there weren’t more than a handful of empty tables, and those were in the roped-off section for Day 2 restarts. Even the stands of the ESPN stage were packed for the final table of Event #20, starring Daniel Negreanu. When the 5pm tournament began, a brand new ballroom had to be opened down the hall to accommodate the players due to the sheer volume of players here today.

Enough about the players… Just kidding. That’s what we’re all here for!

12noon – Event #23 - $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em (Day 1)


The ever-popular no-limit hold’em always seems to draw amazing crowds. There were some expectations that this year’s field would surpass last year’s of 1,619 players, but it did not. Still and all, there were 1,344 registrations for the 2008 event and a room full of excited players.

Notables in the field included Barry Greenstein, Alan Smurfit, Freddy Deeb, Men Nguyen, T.J. Cloutier, J.C. Tran, Chau Giang, Theo Tran, Phil Hellmuth, and Scotty Nguyen. Even making an appearance was Anthrax lead guitarist Scott Ian. Some pros took early exits from the tournament, like Joe Awada, Mark Seif, Rob Hollink, Bertrand Grospellier, Minh Ly, and John Juanda.

By the time play completed and official chip counts were tallied, Dustin Dirksen was at the top of the list and Barry Greenstein was the only notable player in the top ten. (Barry had been seen falling asleep at the tables as midnight neared but still managed to pull out a solid end-of-day finish.) But everyone knows that Day 1 chip counts are typically not indicative of how the event will play out. Day 2 will tell us everything we need to know.

2pm – Event #21 - $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (Day 2)

Out of the original 731 players, a total of 121 were allowed to return for the second day of the tournament. When the cards got in the air, Alex Melnikow was clearly at the top of the chip count list with nearly 250K, Sam El Sayed was just behind with about 215K, and only a few others, notably Hasan Habib, Michael Mizrachi, and Scott Freeman, were in the 100K range. All others had some work to do on the chip leaders.

Only a few hours after play began, it was announced that the field had diminished to 73 players and hand-for-hand took place, as only 72 players were to be paid. Unfortunately, Humberto Kim was the bubble boy, and then the bust-outs came fast, as they always do. Among them were David Singer, Steve Brecher, Alex Jacob, Anna Wroblewski, and Hasan Habib.

The 11th place finish of Michael Mizrachi signaled the creation of a final table in which most of the players were relative unknowns. With the exception of Jacobo Fernandez, who recently finished second to David Singer at a PLHE final table, and an internet player or two, the players were newcomers to the live tournament scene. The rundown of players who will compete for a bracelet is as follows:

Scott Seiver 2,512,000
Rajesh Vohra 1,040,000
Jacobo Fernandez 848,000
Dave Seidman 653,000
Adam Geyer 645,000
Ben Sprengers 441,000
Chuck Sklar 439,000
Scott Freeman 423,000
Anders Henriksson 311,000

3pm – Event #22 - $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. (Day 2)

The H.O.R.S.E. event is a different breed. It involves players who have a diverse and high level of poker skill, and they must be able to change gears and games without losing a beat. These men and women are not usually found in your neighborhood home game or in low limit casino games but have taken many years to hone their games at the higher levels on at least a semi-pro level. This was bound to be a good one.

Out of the 414 starting players, only 131 survived to show up at the Rio for Day 2. Omaha 8 was the first game of the day; Alexander Jung and Chris Gentile were at the top of the pack. Mark Vos was one of the early casualties, followed soon by Annie Duke, Kenna James, Chris Reslock, Greg Raymer, and Vanessa Rousso.

As it tends to be in a game like H.O.R.S.E., play slowed at the end of the day. Only 40 players were to be paid, and even after the money bubble burst, the thought of making a final table in such a respected game kept play at a snail’s pace for most of the evening. Finally, just before 4am, it was decided that play would end with 16 players, all of whom would return for Day 3 to play to a winner. Those final competitors were:

Marcel Luske 350,000
Jared Davis 322,500
Jennifer Harman 249,500
Doug Ganger 245,500
Hoyt Corkins 220,000
Jens Voertmann 184,500
Blair Rodman 161,500
Steve Zolotow 144,500
Todd Brunson 124,000
Eric Froehlich 118,000
Rostislav Tsodikov 99,000
Paul Zimbler 79,000
Mickey Appleman 57,500
Mallory Smith 49,500
JJ Hazen 43,500
David Levi 36,000

5pm – Event #24 - $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha (Day 1)


This mixed game event drew quite a few pros with the exception of Daniel Negreanu who was winning a bracelet in Event #20 and all of the recognizable faces still in the H.O.R.S.E. event in the Amazon Room. The game drew 457 players for a prize pool of $1,051,100 where the top 45 would be paid in the end.

The field was bigger than expected but the Harrah’s staff was prepared as they opened a brand new ballroom to host the players. With the Amazon Room full of those still in the $2K NLHE event that began at noon, along with several other tournaments in their Day 2 stages, it made sense to put the PLHE/Omaha players in a separate space, and it worked out well for everyone.

Almost everyone… Those who finished the day among the 85 players remaining to head to Day 2 were the ones it really worked out well for. Young player Stephen McKinney was at the top of the leader board by almost 25K, and the only other familiar names in the top ten were Shawn Buchanan and Max Pescatori. The second day of play would determine which players would rise to the top when it mattered.

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