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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOPE

Juanda, Negreanu, and Demidov Lead to WSOPE Main Event Final

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Three preliminary tournaments - the £1,500 NLHE event , £2,500 HORSE even t, and £5,000 PLO event  - led up to the fourth and final event of the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe. The £10,000 NLHE main event was the much-anticipated highlight of this second annual WSOPE, especially after the inaugural main event was won by the then 18-year-old online phenom Annette Obrestad.

When the dust settled after the September 27th and 28th first days of the main event, many were surprised at the number of entrants - 362 - because it was the exact same number of registered players at the 2007 WSOPE main event. Though there was no increase, there had been an additional event added in 2008, which attracted 410 people.

Regardless, the 2008 WSOPE main event attracted an all-star crowd that packed the Empire at the Casino in London’s Leicester Square.

Day 1A alone brought names to the felt like Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Andy Black, Joe Hachem, Freddy Deeb, Howard Lederer, Layne Flack, Kathy Liebert, Vanessa Rousso, Eli Elezra, Alex Kravchenko, Max Pescatori, Ram Vaswani, Tuan Le, Erica Schoenberg, Patrik Antonius, Erik Seidel, Josh Arieh, Andy Bloch, and Shane Warne. Also included in the 159 player field were three of the WSOP November Nine - Craig Marquis, Ivan Demidov, Scott Montgomery, and Peter Eastgate.

Benyamine was one of the first players to hit the rail, followed by Lederer, Flack, Ivey, Le, Pescatori, Vaswani, Warne, Eastgate, and Marquis. Antonius was crippled and eliminated by Brandon Adams. Among the players who came back from near extinction were Liebert, Hellmuth, Elezra, and Black. When it was all said and done, Justin Smith was far ahead of the rest of the 86-member pack with 158,925 in chips, followed by Eric Sagstrom, Andy Bloch, Scott Montgomery, and Ivan Demidov on the leaderboard. Rounding out the top ten were Brandon Adams, Mike Matusow, Scott Fischman, Dustin Dirksen, and Goran Gratte.

Day 1B was no less star-studded than the first of the two starting days, with players like Doyle Brunson, Scotty Nguyen, Phil Laak, Chris Ferguson, Gus Hansen, Nenad Medic , David Ulliott, Antonio Esfandiari, Marco Traniello, Jennifer Tilly, Jeff Madsen, Roland de Wolfe, Juha Helppi, Allen Cunningham, Juan Carlos Mortensen , John Phan, Gavin Smith, Shane Schleger, Daniel Negreanu, member of the WSOP November Nine David Rheem, and reigning WSOPE champion Annette Obrestad comprising the field. The number of registrants was 203, making for a total field of 362 players - exactly the same number as the 2007 WSOPE main event.

Madsen was one of the early eliminations, courtesy of Brunson, and Cunningham also left soon after play began. Mortensen, Smith, Phan, Schleger, and Hansen followed. And by the end of the day, the reigning champ was relegated to the rail by Traniello, and Obrestad would have to wait another day to claim her next live tournament title. When play ended, it was Negreanu at the top of the board with 154,050, followed by Jamie Rosen, David Benefield, Sargon Ruya, and Jean Thorel. Marco Traniello and Roland de Wolfe were also in the top ten.

A total of 179 players joined together to play Day 2, and the action began immediately. Early eliminations included Tom Dwan, Chris Ferguson, Dario Alioto, David Theem, and Scotty Nguyen. Hellmuth was taken out by reigning WSOPE HORSE champion Sherkhan Farnood, and Vanessa Rousso, Roland de Wolfe, and Doyle Brunson followed.

Only 67 players remained when the second full day of play came to a close, and the top ten was an impressive list with Andy Bloch in the number one spot. The rest of the top finishers, in order of chip counts, were: Brian Townsend, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, Philippe Rouas, Christopher Elliott, Chris Moorman, Justin Smith, Daniel Negreanu, and Brandon Adams.

Day 3 was when it became really interesting, as they played to the goal of 27 survivors with the money bubble ready to pop as the day progressed. As Justin Smith took an early lead in the action by eliminating two opponents, numerous others hit the rail without a dime of prize money to show for it. Eventually, it was Stephen Ladowsky who burst the bubble, and James Keys took the honor of 36th place with a £25,340 payday.

Notable eliminations in the money were Jani Sointula in 35th place and Josh Arieh in the 33rd spot. The staff decided to play down to the final 24, and with the bustout of Panicos Panaxi in 25th place, play ended for the day. The top chip counts belonged to a number of well-known players, some of whom were no stranger to the leaderboard throughout this event. John Juanda was the leader with 657,500, followed closely by Daniel Negreanu and Justin Smith. Filling out the top ten were Philippe Rouas, Johnny Lodden, Brian Townsend, Bengt Sonnert, Toni Hiltunen, Soren Kongsgaard, and Ivan Demidov.

Day 4 began with the elimination of Tim West in 24th place at the hands of Peter Neff. Shortly thereafter, Andy Bloch’s attempt at a WSOP bracelet was cut off by John Juanda, and Bloch had to settle for 23rd place. Perttu Bergius left in 22nd place, followed by Mel Judah in 21st (by the persistent Juanda), Kim-Andre Torsvik in 20th, and Erik Seidel in 19th place. All of the mentioned players received £28,960 for their efforts.

With only two tables left, the next to go was one of the most eccentric players in the room. Mike Matusow was sent to the rail by Johnny Lodden in 18th place when his J-10 was bested by Lodden’s 5-6 that turned into a straight on the turn and a spade flush on the river. The 17th place finisher was Brandon Adams, whose A-Q looked good against the K-Q of Negreanu until a king flopped. Matusow and Adams each won £36,200.

Negreanu was on a tear, and with a 4-5 and a flopped straight, he eliminated Justin Smith who held pocket sevens and hit a set on the flop. Smith left in 16th place, also with £36,200.

Brian Townsend couldn’t gain momentum and moved all-in with his A-8, but Scott Fischman’s pocket tens were good enough to send Townsend packing in 15th place. Phillippe Rouas was the next victim of Fischman when his A-J ran into the pocket nines of the climbing Fischman; a nine on the flop sent the Frenchman out in 14th place. And with the elimination of Talal Shakerchi in 13th, each of the three players took home £42,250 and made way for another money jump.

Soren Kongsgaard was short-stacked and moved in with A-7 suited, but Stanislav Alekhin called with A-K and took the pot, sending Kongsgaard to the cashier cage in 12th place. Johnny Lodden was the next to go when his A-K met up with the pocket nines of Peter Neff; Lodden took 11th place. Both eliminated players received £54,300 for their efforts.

The final ten players were then seated at one table, and it wasn’t long before Neff was crippled by Fischman and felt compelled to move all-in on the next hand preflop. Neff had pocket kings, though, versus the A-10 of hearts of Ivan Demidov. The board brought two hearts on the flop and another on the turn to give him the flush and send Neff out as the final table bubble boy in 10th place with £54,300.

With that, the final table was set as follows:

Seat 1: Robin Keston   849,000
Seat 2: Daniel Negreanu 1,002,000
Seat 3: Chris Elliott   281,000
Seat 4: Bengt Sonnert   385,000
Seat 5: John Juanda 1,349,000
Seat 6: Ivan Demidov 1,006,000
Seat 7: Toni Hiltunen   386,000
Seat 8: Scott Fischman   732,000
Seat 9: Stanislav Alekhin 1,278,000

Harrah’s and the World Series of Poker Europe couldn’t have asked for a more exciting final table! Poker veteran John Juanda would enter the final day of play as the chip leader, with Daniel Negreanu, already with two significant 2008 WSOPE cashes in his pocket, chasing in third. But the big story of the table would be Ivan Demidov in second place, as he is one of the elite November Nine scheduled to return to the WSOP final table in Las Vegas in just over one month. Demidov was not only the first player to ever make main event final tables at the WSOP and WSOPE, in the same year no less, but he set himself up to win a World Series bracelet before heading to that November final table.

Stay tuned for all of the final table action…

(Thanks to PokerNews for its detailed hand recounts and tournament action updates.)

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