Of the numerous $1,500 NLHE events at the 2008 WSOP, the ones that are set to begin on Saturdays are the most popular by far. Event #39 was no different, as 2,720 players registered to create a very substantial $3,712,800 prize pool.
The majority of the crowd wouldn’t last long, though. As is typical in events with such large fields and small buy-ins, much of the field was eliminated in the first day of play. Before the end of the ninth level on Day 1, the money bubble burst so that the remaining 270 could be paid, and only 218 survived the day.
Day 2 played all the way down to the final nine players, and it took until nearly 5am to do that. The grueling day of play finally ended with the following players willing to return at 2pm on Day 3 to play for the coveted WSOP bracelet:
Thanh Dat Tran
Right off the bat, one of the short stacks took to the felt. In the fifth hand of the final table, it began with David Woo limping in, Glasser doing the same, and Jim Paras raising it up. Woo called but Glasser folded. The flop was , and after Woo checked, Paras moved all-in. Woo called and showed for trips, and Paras behind with . The turn and river were and in that order, and Paras was gone in 9th place with $58,290.
Mike Glasser came to the final table as the short stack but still waited for some opportunities to move. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it in one particular hand against Eric Beren, where Glasser’s A-Q lost to his opponent’s A-K. Glasser was down to only 70K but took that into the next hand when he found pocket Jacks. When they held up against the hands of Beren and Curtis Early, he tripled up to 285K.
Glasser was still the shortest stack by far, and he took that stack into play against Matt Wood who called from the big blind. Glasser showed , and Wood turned over . The board came , and the river sent Glasser out in 8th place with $85,394.
Woo was near the top of the leader board at the beginning of the day but was active and fluctuated a bit. But as play neared the 30th hand, Woo made the right move, as he got involved with chip-leader Thom Werthmann, and took a very sizable pot from him. Woo was then catapulted to a massive lead with over 3 million in chips. Though Habib Khanis doubled through Woo soon after, it hardly put a dent in his chip lead.
About a dozen hands later, Thanh Dat Tran made a move. After a limp from Woo, Tran raised from the big blind. Woo pushed all-in, having Tran well-covered, and Tran finally called after several minutes with . But Woo showed as the dominant hand. The board came , and the nut flush won it for Woo. Tran was gone in 7th place with $113,240.
Curtis Early had not been able to work up much momentum, especially after being beat down to 640K by an earlier double-up of Matt Wood. After a struggle, he and another player would be in jeopardy.
On hand #73, Woo started the action with a limp, Early called from the button, Wood called from the small blind, and Thom Werthmann checked in the big blind. The cards of the flop were . Wood checked, Werthmann bet, and Woo called. But Early pushed all-in for 1.3 million. Wood got out of the way, but Werthmann then moved all-in. Woo had them both covered and called with . Early had , and Werthmann showed . The turn and river came and respectively, and Woo won with the nut straight that he hit on the flop. Early went out in 6th place for $150,368, and Werthmann took 5th for $191,209.
The very next hand kept the action going. Habib Khanis pushed all of his chips in pre-flop with , and Beren called with . The board came , and Khanis was out of the tournament in 4th place, receiving $233,906 for his efforts.
Beren could not stop losing ground during three-handed play. Woo was the dominant chip leader, with Wood seemingly in a solid second. Beren finally benefited from a double-up opportunity against Woo, but less than ten hands later, he would move again. This time, it was an all-in move with against the of Wood. The board was no help to Beren with , and he was out in 3rd with a $278,460 consolation prize.
Going into heads-up action, the following chip counts were recorded:
And the two played forward, Woo consistently chipped up while Wood took the short end of that straw. But several dozen hands in, Wood became a little more aggressive and took some pots. More than the chips he was slowly accumulating, it was an image that he projected of not wanting to be pushed around and taken out of the tournament so quickly. He eventually crept up to 3.3 million to Woo’s 4.8 million.
Eventually, it was time for a showdown. Wood made an initial raise to 360K, and Woo called. The flop came , which prompted Woo to lead out with a 175K bet. Wood raised to 675K, Woo reraised 1 million more, and Wood had to think before moving all-in for 2.4 million. Woo also took some time to think but finally called with . Wood showed . The turn and river came and to give Woo the higher two pair. Matt Wood was suddenly out in 2nd place with $389,844 to show for it.
David Woo won $631,656 for Event #39 and the WSOP gold bracelet. Congratulations!