It was the evening of November 10th, 2008 when the two finalists in the 2008 World Series of Poker No-Limit Hold’em Championship event came to the table to play for the ultimate poker victory. Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov were as ready as they could be to compete in the heads-up match to determine poker’s new world champion and winner of more than $9.1 million.
The final two solidified their spots at the coveted table late the night before, and as scheduled, the pair of finalists left to get some rest before playing for the title and their fair share of nearly $15 million. The November 9th festivities ended with the following finishes and payouts:
9th place: Craig Marquis ($900,670)
8th place: Kelly Kim ($1,288,217)
7th place: David “Chino” Rheem ($1,772,650)
6th place: Darus Suharto ($2,418,562)
5th place: Scott Montgomery ($3,096,768)
4th place: Ylon Schwartz ($3,774,974)
3rd place: Dennis Phillips ($4,517,773)
With the post-midnight elimination of Dennis Phillips, there were two players remaining, and it would be a battle between two PokerStars players -- the Dane and the Russian. Their chip stacks going into heads-up action were as follows:
Peter Eastgate 80,300,000
Ivan Demidov 56,600,000
On Monday night, November 10th, the Penn & Teller Theater was filled to capacity once again, this time with a slew of poker fans and a few of the most notable poker pros in the business. The festivities began with the 2008 WSOP Player of the Year honors bestowed upon Erick Lindgren, and just after 10:30pm, the cards were shuffled and dealt.
Play commenced toward the end of Level 37, with blinds at 300K/600K and a $75K ante, and action began on the very first hand of the night (170th hand of the final table). Eastgate started with a raise, and when Demidov called, they saw come on the flop. Eastgate made a 1.75 million chip bet, which was called by Demidov. Both players checked the on the turn, but the brought an 8 million chip bet from Demidov, and Eastgate folded to that. Whether Demidov had quads will remain to be seen until ESPN airs it.
With less than 20 hands dealt, Demidov had worked his way up to an even chip count with his opponent, technically having his opponent covered by nearly one million chips. Neither player seemed to be shying away from aggressive play, but there was a certain trepidation evident that kept either player from getting reckless or devoting too many chips to one particular pot.
And in that semi-cautious fashion, Eastgate slowly built his lead back up to where it started. After more than an hour of play, chip counts were back to near-original standings, with Demidov down to 50,575,000 and Eastgate up to 86,325,000.
Just after the first break, the distance between the two players grew. It started before the flop with Eastgate limping in, Demidov raising to 1.95 million, and Eastgate calling. After the flop of , Demidov bet 3.625 million, and Eastgate called. The turn of brought checks from both players, but the on the river prompted a bet of 7 million from Demidov and a quick call from Eastgate. Demidov showed , but his ace high couldn’t beat Eastgate’s pair of jacks with . The sizable pot went to Eastgate, who thusly climbed over the 100 million mark, while Demidov sat with only 36.6 million.
Though the Russian was nothing if not perseverant, it was Eastgate who continued to come back and put more distance between him and his opponent. As play neared the 100th hand of the night, the two players got involved to see a flop, after which they both checked. With a on the turn, Eastgate began the betting with 2.5 million, and Demidov raised to 8 million. Eastgate called, and the came on the river. Demidov put in a 12 million bet, and Eastgate quickly check-called and showed for the turned flush, while Demidov only showed for ace high. With that pot, Eastgate catapulted up to 109 million.
The next hand put Demidov further into the danger zone. It began with Demidov raising preflop to 2 million and Eastgate calling. After a flop of , the two players checked. The turn of a brought a bet of 2.5 million from Eastgate and a simple call from Demidov. And the on the river gave Eastgate the incentive to bet 2.5 million again. Demidov called but couldn’t beat the pocket threes and full house of Eastgate. With that, Demidov was relegated to a stack of only 19.65 million to the 117.25 million of Eastgate.
Only three hands later, Demidov made his move for his tournament life. It started slowly, with Eastgate limping in and Demidov checking his option, but it heated up after the flop. Eastgate bet 1.25 million, and Demidov check-called. The on the turn brought a 2 million bet from Eastgate, and Demidov check-raised to 6 million. Eastgate called, and the was given by the dealer on the turn. Demidov didn’t take much time with a decision to push all-in with and two pair. But Eastgate quickly called and showed for the wheel and the best hand.
Ivan Demidov was eliminated in second place, which was worth a substantial payout of $5,809,595 and a place in poker history.
Peter Eastgate, however, trumped that. His victory in the 2008 WSOP main event not only gave him the second largest payout in poker history - $9,152,416 - but the distinction of becoming the youngest WSOP main event winner ever. At the age of 22, Eastgate beat Phil Hellmuth’s record and made history.
The young pro from Odense, Denmark, looked a bit taken aback by his victory, continuing to stare at the table and seemingly holding back some emotion. Eastgate was clearly struck by the enormity of the moment, and though he finally produced some smiles and words for the crowd, it may take awhile to sink in that he is the World Series of Poker champion.
Congratulations to Peter Eastgate, the 2008 WSOP main event champion!