The second event of the WSOP Europe in London was the much-anticipated £2,500 buy-in HORSE event. Many of the best players in the world were there for it, as were quite a few fans that wanted a close-up glimpse of their favorite poker pros. And with such a stacked field, it was no surprise that the final table had a few notables seated there.
Out of the original 110 players, only eight could be seated at the final table at the Casino at the Empire in Leicester Square. But it took longer to get to the elite eight than the staff hoped. The final table was supposed to be reached on Day 2, but after more than 14 hours, they called it a day with 11 players remaining. That left Day 3 to play to the final eight, reseat the finalists, and play to the winner. Though that process also consisted of a long day, it was necessary.
With the elimination of Erik Albinsson in 9th place, the final eight were seated with their respective chip counts as follows:
Seat 1: Sherkhan Farnood 88,000
Seat 2: Phil Ivey 139,000
Seat 3: Spencer Lawrence 113,500
Seat 4: Jeffrey Lisandro 165,000
Seat 5: Ivo Donev 65,000
Seat 6: Jeff Duval 136,000
Seat 7: Howard Lederer 283,500
Seat 8: Mark Gregorich 104,000
The HORSE mixed-game format included the five games (limit hold’em, Omaha hi/lo, razz, stud, and stud hi/lo) played in order for eight hands each in rotation. Besides the difficulty inherent in the HORSE tournament itself, the field was tough, with seasoned pro Lederer in the lead and players like Ivey and Lisandro in the hunt for the coveted bracelet.
And it was Phil Ivey who came out of the gate in force, first crippling Mark Gregorich in an Omaha 8 hand, and then taking a sizable razz pot from Ivo Doney to climb up to second place on the leaderboard. But when Doney came back and doubled through Ivey, the roll was squashed for the time being.
Sherkhan Farnood was in trouble early when Lederer took a significant Omaha 8 pot from him. Farnood then took his remaining stack into battle with Jeff Lisandro and Spencer Lawrence, and Farnood found himself with the wheel to win the main pot and triple up.
After that hand, Lawrence sat with only 55,000 and was further crippled by another Omaha 8 pot taken by Farnood, then a stud pot claimed by Jeff Duvall. With only 20,500 chips left, Lawrence put them at risk in a stud 8 hand on third street with showing. Ivey, Lederer, and Duval continued to play at the pot, but in the end it was Duval who scooped the pot with and a pair of kings. Lawrence took home £8,938 for his 8th place finish.
Next, it was Lisandro who had been unable to gather much momentum at the final table. In a hold’em hand, he raised it preflop, and with a call from Lederer, the two saw the flop come . More betting led to the turn, and Lisandro pushed for his last 15K. Lederer called with for the straight, and Lisandro turned over pocket jacks. The river was the , and Lisandro was out in 7th place with £11,000.
Ivey took his earlier roll into a hand with Lederer during the stud 8 round and doubled through the chip leader, but Ivey’s new 60,000 stack didn’t last long. He lost much of it in a stud hand against Farnood and then sat with only 14,500. He immediately took that into battle with against the of Gregorich, and in the end, Gregorich showed for the winning two pair. Ivey mucked his losing hand and went to the cashier in 6th place with £13,750.
Though Gregorich eliminated Ivey, it was a small pot and he needed to increase his stack. He did so by doubling through Duvall in a stud 8 hand, but that wasn’t to last. In the next hold’em round, Gregorich and Farnood tangled, and when the flop came , more chips went into the pot. The last of Gregorich’s stack went in after the on the turn with , but Farnood tabled pocket fives. The river was the , and Farnood won with two pair. Gregorich was sent away in 5th place with £17,188.
The remaining four took a dinner break and came back to Lederer still in the lead at 407,000, with Farnood slowly but surely climbing. Doney was in solid third place, but Duvall was low with 161,000.
Duvall had all of his chips in the pot in an Omaha 8 hand with Lederer with the board showing . Lederer showed for the flush and the low, and Duvall let his hand go. Duvall was eliminated in 4th place with a £22,000 payout.
With three players remaining, the action slowed quite markedly. Doney and Farnood became about even in chips, but Doney lost a significant pot to Lederer in a hold’em hand that put him down to only 76,000. He went on to double through Lederer in a subsequent hand, though, and continued to climb so that he eventually took over the chip lead.
It was Lederer who had taken some hits to fall to only 186,000. He was then further crippled in a stud hand with Farnood that left him with only 22,000 chips. Though he chipped up in little bits with subsequent hands, it was not to last long. Lederer started the deciding hand with , along with Farnood’s and Doney’s . Lederer was all-in before fourth street, with the other two staying in until the end. Farnood showed for the high, Doney had for the low, and Lederer could only muck on his way out in 3rd place with a £30,250 consolation prize.
Heads-up action began with the following chip counts:
Ivo Doney 654,000
Sherkhan Farnood 448,000
And Farnood took the reigns almost immediately. He took a razz hand that included a sizable pot from Doney, which evened their chip stacks. Farnood then continued to chip away at Doney aggressively, until Doney sat with only 185,000. In Omaha 8, Farnood took a significant pot with the nut straight and the low with 2-8-4-7-6 on the board and Farnood holding A-2-10-9. Doney was then extremely low with only 30,000 remaining.
In the final stud hand Doney shoved all-in on third street with plus . Farnood called with plus . The queens and eights were good for Farnood as Doney missed his flush, and Doney was left with a 2nd place finish and the £48,125 that accompanied it.
Sherkhan Farnood completed Day 3’s 14 hours of play with a well-earned victory in the WSOPE HORSE tournament. He was awarded the £76,999 prize money and the coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet.
(Thanks to PokerNews for its detailed hand recounts and tournament action updates.)