As one of the last events of the 2009 World Series of Poker prior to the $10K Main Event, the stud-8 tournament attracted 467 players on Sunday, June 28. The resulting $637,455 prize pool set aside for the last 48 players forced them to attempt to stick around as long as possible, though only 136 made it through the first day.
Day 2 saw the bubble burst and the final 48 players cash for a minimum of $2,696. But play slowed into the morning hours as the field attempted to push its way toward the final table. The 3:00am cutoff time kicked in after Jared David was eliminated in 15th place, and the remaining 14 players bagged their chips for the night.
The last day of the event began with those 14 players and Brian Swinford in the lead, and it didn’t take long for several players to take leave of the table as follows:
14th place: Mike Krescanko ($7,260)
13th place: Christian Toboc ($7,260)
12th place: Jose Paz ($9,166)
11th place: Jack Rosenfeldt ($9,166)
10th place: Vince Burgio ($12,149)
The last nine players drew new seat numbers to take their spots at one table, and it was David Halpern who then held the lead with 427K. With one more elimination before the official final table was set, play didn’t slow as much as one would think. A hand developed that saw Sklar and Halpern get involved all the way to fifth street, at which point Sklar pushed all-in. The two ended up with Sklar showing () and Halpern turning over (). That left Richard Sklar out in ninth place with $12,149.
Seat 1: David Halpern 480,000
Seat 2: Max Stern 235,000
Seat 3: Allie Prescott 100,000
Seat 4: Chad Brown 285,000
Seat 5: Brian Swinford 320,000
Seat 6: Matt Savage 165,000
Seat 7: William Kohler 335,000
Seat 8: Zak Gilbert 130,000
Prescott lost ground from the moment he hit the final table and lost another 60K in a pot with Kohler. That put him in the position to need to move and did so on fifth street of a hand involving Savage and Kohler, though Savage got out of the way before seventh street. Prescott showed () versus Kohler’s () and the winning two pair. Allie Prescott exited in eighth place with $16,682.
Over the course of the afternoon, the original chipleader took a fall and continually lost momentum until Swinford finally made his push against Brown with . But Brown showed for the best hand, and Brian Swinford had to settle for $19,901 for seventh place.
Seven-handed action saw Halpern at the top of the leaderboard with 750K, though Kohler made a run at him with 695K. Gilbert was the shortest stack with only 33K and losing even more to Savage, he decided to risk it against Halpern. Gilbert ended the hand with against the of Halpern. Zak Gilbert was eliminated in sixth place with $24,828.
Famed tournament director Matt Savage took some hits and finally pushed all-in on third street. He found a caller in Halpern, who turned up . That beat Savage’s with a last unknown card, and Savage was gone in fifth place with $32,465.
The last of the PokerStars pros was put to the test with a short stack of 100K, and he pushed against Max Stern. Chad Brown had (), but Stern had him beat with showing and three more unknown cards. Brown was given $44,589 for his fourth place finish.
Kohler and Halpern still maintained a solid neck-and-neck race for first place in the chip counts, while Stern struggled with less than 300K. He was eventually relegated to a stack of 10K by Halpern.
Stern took his 10K into battle with , and Halpern and Kohler came along for the ride. Halpern showed () and Kohler had (). Max Stern simply mucked his other three cards and accepted the third place finish and $64,484 that went with it.
Heads-up action began with the following counts:
David Halpern 1,100,000
William Kohler 950,000
As the next four hours played out, the two opponents seemed to become friends. Super aggressive play was kept to a minimum, and it wasn’t until quite some time after the dinner break that Kohler looked to be losing the grip on his chips. After a hand that saw Kohler down to 200K, Kohler knew he had to move.
He did it after seventh street after betting down the line. Kohler showed () in the end, but Halpern had () for the win. William Kohler was eliminated in second place, which was worth $98,550.
It was David Halpern who finally won the event, which came with a WSOP gold bracelet and $159,390.