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

2008 WSOP Event #51 Recap

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The $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship, Event #51 was held on June 29 – July 1st attracting 803 entries.  In what is believed to be the largest major live H.O.R.S.E. tournament in history, the prize pool was $1,096,095, with the top 80 finishers collecting prize money. This was the last of three H.O.R.S.E. tournaments that were on the 2008 WSOP schedule H.O.R.S.E. is an acronym for the five most popular poker games played inside most poker rooms.  H.O.R.S.E. tournaments include a rotation of; Texas Hold’em, Omaha High-Low Split, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (also called Eight-or-Better).

Many poker purists consider H.O.R.S.E. to be the ultimate test of poker skill, since it requires that players play all games well in order to win. The rotation of games in this tournament goes for eight hands at a time, with the format favoring stud specialists, since 3/5ths of the games are stud based; Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split, and Razz.

Event #51 was played over three consecutive days with the final table being played on the secondary ESPN stage.  The main stage was being used by ESPN for its broadcast of the Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship (Event #50) which took place at the same time.
Last year’s champion was Jens Voertmann who entered this event but did not cash.  So far, 50 of 51 defending champions at this year’s WSOP have failed to cash in their respective events, with Blair Rodman being the only exception.

James Schaaf, a 36-year-old software engineer from Torrance, CA, is the 2008 $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion.  This was Schaaf’s first cash ever at the WSOP and netted him $256,412 for first place.

Schaaf accomplished one of poker’s most amazing all-time tournament comebacks in this event when on Day One, after starting out with 3,000 in his stack, he found himself down to just 200 in chips.  After going all-in a few times and surviving, he had less than 500 chips when he went all-in with Jack-Ten-Eight in the Razz round. He amazingly won the hand and then went on a rush, making it to Day Two then on to the final table and victory. Prior to this event, Schaaf played in very few tournaments and said he felt a great amount of personal satisfaction after knocking out his first top pro.  “When I knocked Todd Brunson out on the first day, that was a big deal for me,” he said.  “I had never knocked out a pro before.”  Since Schaaf has a full-time job, he is classifies himself as a recreational player and likes to play at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, CA.

Day Two lasted 14 hours with 21 players returning for Day Three.  After another 12 hours of play, the battle was over with Tommy Hang, from Seattle, WA, being the second-place finisher and winning $158,933.

The third-place finisher was 1989 world champion Phil Hellmuth, who was aiming for his record 12th WSOP gold bracelet.  Given the magnitude of the day, the final table area was flooded with spectators, cameras, and media interest when Hellmuth arrived at the final table second in chips. Excitement rolled through the crowd when at one point Hellmuth gained the chip lead.  The excitement waned however when his fortunes were reversed and he played his final two hours as the shortest stack.  Hellmuth finally busted third and took the defeat with uncharacteristic acceptance.  “I know I played well,” Hellmuth said afterward.  “All you can do is try to get it in with the best of it, and that’s what I did most of the time.”  Throughout the event, Hellmuth wore one of his 11 WSOP gold bracelets on his left wrist; it was from his first WSOP victory. Reportedly this is the only bracelet he has kept; having given most of his other gold bracelets away to family members. The bracelet he was wearing is from his first WSOP cash in Event #6 at the 1988 WSOP.
Exactly twenty years later, Hellmuth faced Esther Rossi at the final table. Rossi’s first-ever WSOP cash came just one day after Hellmuth’s, in Event #7 at the 1988 WSOP. Adding her tenth career WSOP cash to her resume, Esther Rossi took fourth place which marked her first cash since 2005, when she cashed in the Main Event that year.

Victor Ramdin from the Bronx in New York finished in seventh place.  Had he won this event, Ramdin had pledged 50 percent of his winnings to charity, specifically for medical services in his native country of Guyana.

Other former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament included:

•    Joe Hachem - 24th
•    Allen Cunningham - 31st
•    John Juanda - 35th
•    Mike Matusow - 57th
•    Hasan Kamoei  - 58th
•    Tommy Hufnagle - 61st
•    Mickey Appleman - 77th

A few before this event, the Russian poker Nikolay Evdakov, tied and then later broke the record for “Most WSOP Cashes in a Single Year.”  The previous record was eight cashes, which Evdakov shattered with his 28th-place finish in this tournament, marking his tenth cash.  Incredibly, he still has five more events remaining on the schedule to add to his tally, including the four events which will be played at WSOP-Europe.

Through the conclusion of Event #51, the gold bracelet count by nations and states read:

12 – Nevada
9 – California
4 – New York
3 – Germany
2 – Italy
2 – Missouri
1 – Arizona
1 – Belgium
1 – Brazil
1 – Denmark
1 – Florida
1 – France
1 – Georgia
1 – Holland
1 – Maryland
1 – Michigan
1 – Ohio
1 – Pennsylvania
1 – Russia
1 – South Carolina
1 – Wisconsin

Eleven different nations have produced a gold bracelet winner at this year’s WSOP, including; Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and the United States.

The “Pro-Am” gold bracelet scoreboard read: 

Professionals – 37 wins
Amateurs -- 12 wins
Semi-Pros --    2 wins

The “Player of the Year” race, through the end of Event #50 stands at:

1.    Barry Greenstein,
2.    Jacobo Fernandez,
3.    David Benyamine,
4.    John Phan

Scotty Nguyen is the leader on the 2008 prize money list, having won the most money at the WSOP, to date with accrued winnings total $2,039,628.

Through the conclusion of Event #51, the total amount of prize money awarded at this year’s WSOP totals $111,115,333.  
Also on this day, Harrahs Entertainment/WSOP and BetFair jointly announced the upcoming schedule for WSOP Europe.  WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack presided over a short press conference at the Rio which provided details about the event and the four gold bracelet tournaments which will take place in London, England, on September 19th through October 2nd, 2008.  

Final Results:
1    James Schaaf    $256,412    Torrance    California
2    Tommy Hang    $158,933    Seattle    Washington
3    Phil Hellmuth    $93,168    Palo Alto    California
4    Esther Rossi    $68,505    Las Vegas    Nevada
5    Jason Dollinger    $54,804    Coral Springs    Florida
6    Sam Silverman    $42,966    Las Vegas    Nevada
7    Victor Ramdin    $32,992    Bronx    New York
8    Matt Grapenthien    $27,511    Chicago    Illinois
9    Edward Brogdon    $22,031    Thorndale    Texas
10    Lonnie Heimowitz    $22,031    Monticello    New York
11    Steve Diano    $16,551    Las Vegas    Nevada
12    Phillip Penn Sr.    $16,551    Omaha    Nebraska
13    Randy Holland    $11,070    Los Angeles    California
14    Arash Ghaneian    $11,070    Maumee    Ohio
15    Keith Sexton    $8,878    Henderson    Nevada
16    Arthur Young    $8,878    Biloxi    Mississippi
17    Stephen Wolff    $6,686    Irvine    California
18    Hoyt Verner Jr.    $6,686    Melbourne Beach    Florida
19    Jens Voertmann    $6,686    Dortmund    Germany
20    Edmond Tonnellier    $6,686    London    Ontario, Canada
21    Roland Isra    $6,686    Forest Hill    New York
22    Huai Zhang    $6,686    Mountainview    California
23    Joe Hachem    $6,686    Las Vegas    Nevada
24    Chad Brown     $6,686    Margate    Florida
25    Michael Scipione    $5,042    Philadelphia    Pennsylvania
26    Daniel Sindelar    $5,042    Las Vegas    Nevada
27    Allan Enciso    $5,042    Los Angeles    California
28    Brian Wehner    $5,042    Henderson    Nevada
29    Giovanni Rizzo    $5,042         
30    Allen Cunningham    $5,042    Las Vegas    Nevada
31    Alex Jacob    $5,042    Tulsa    Oklahoma
32    Joseph Bolnick    $5,042    Los Angeles    California
33    Casey Kastle    $3,945    Chicago    Illinois
34    Vaughan Machado    $3,945    Nantucket    Massachusetts
35    John Juanda    $3,945    Las Vegas    Nevada
36    Jan Suchanek    $3,945        New Zealand
37    Mark Gregorich    $3,945    Las Vegas    Nevada
38    Michelle Ankenman    $3,945    Acon    Connecticut
39    Blakely Purvis    $3,945    Montgomery    Alabama
40    Michael Baxley    $3,945    Brevard    North Carolina
41    Christopher Back    $3,617    Kamloops    British Columbia, Canada
42    David Gee    $3,617    Gilbert    Arizona
43    George Bourdos    $3,617    Scottsdale    Arizona
44    Thomas Koral    $3,617    Skokie    Illinois
45    Michael Binger    $3,617    Las Vegas    Nevada
46    Gary Hutzler    $3,617    Bridgewater    New Jersey
47    Gregory Jamison    $3,617    Las Vegas    Nevada
48    Andreas Foulias    $3,617    Gilbert    Arizona
49    Scott Epstein    $3,288    Las Vegas    Nevada
50    William Williams    $3,288    Riverside    California
51    Kristan Lord    $3,288    Palm Harbor    Florida
52    Allen Bari    $3,288    West Orange    New Jersey
53    Paul Sherr    $3,288    Phoenix    Arizona
54    John Cutter    $3,288    Florence    South Carolina
55    Raymond McClure    $3,288    Stratford     Ontario, Canada
56    Clifford Pappas    $3,288    Scottsdale    Arizona
57    Mike Matusow    $2,959    Henderson    Nevada
58    Hassan Kamoei    $2,959    Indio    California
59    Topias Wahlbeck    $2,959    Espoo    Finland
60    Derek Mcclasky    $2,959    Columbus    Ohio
61    Thomas Hufnagle    $2,959    Las Vegas    Nevada
62    Charles Mcgowan    $2,959    Columbus    Ohio
63    Van Arreca    $2,959    Baldwin Park    California
64    Todd Ickow    $2,959    Valparaiso    Indiana
65    Reed Spore    $2,630    Cedar Falls    Iowa
66    Nicholas Rainey    $2,630         
67    Esther Taylor    $2,630    Portland    Oregon
68    Teddy Selby    $2,630    Coral Springs    Florida
69    John Zaleski    $2,630    Mission Viejo    California
70    Thomas Doeh    $2,630    Hermosa Beach    California
71    Eugene Katchalov    $2,630    New York    New York
72    Thomas Gehret    $2,630    Philadelphia    Pennsylvania
73    Jan Sjavik    $2,301    Oslo    Norway
74    Brett Richey    $2,301    New York    New York
75    Charles Barker    $2,301    Richardson    Texas
76    Jeff Campbell    $2,301    Duluth    Georgia
77    Mickey Appleman    $2,301    Fort Lee    New Jersey
78    Paul Jackson    $2,301         
79    Svetlana Gromenkova    $2,301         Russia
80    Adam Heller    $2,301    London    England

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