2008 Event 51 H.O.R.S.E.

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2008 WSOP Event 51 H.O.R.S.E.

Individual Event Reports

Event #51 -- H.O.R.S.E. Day 1

Statistics for event:

  • Number of Entries 803
  • Net Prize Pool $1,096,095
  • First Place Prize $256,412
  • Total Spots Paid Out 80
So far the WSOP has stated that this turnout is the largest in the history of this style of poker. Barry Greenstein is at the tables, fresh off his 6th place finish in Event #45 H.O.R.S.E. Newest champion of the Womens No Limit Hold'Em from Russia Svetlana Gromenkova is also in the field. They were joined by Phil Hellmuth, Joe Hachem, Mark Gregorich, John Juanda, Victor Ramdin and Brett Richey.

As the day went on, over 600 busted out on the first go round. Some of the names that will be seated on Day 2 include Mickey Appleman 14,200, Brett Richey 13,900, Greg Jamison 13,500, Thor Hansen 12,800, Michael Binger 12,800, Mike Matusow 11,900, Allen Cunningham 10,400, John Galbraith 10,300, Jerry Buss 9,900 and WSOP Hall of Famer Debbie Burkhead 9,100. By 3:00 am on June 30th there were 179 remaining who began bagging their chips to come back later.
  1. Phil Hellmuth 46,400
  2. Steven Diano 38,200
  3. Joe Hachem 37,500
  4. Todd Ickow 37,500
  5. Chad Brown 36,700
  6. Tommy Hang 36,000
  7. Lonnie Heimowitz 33,200
  8. Ken Zeng 32,500
  9. Michelle Ankenman 32,100

Event #51 -- H.O.R.S.E. Day 2

Payout schedule for the final table:

  1. $256,412
  2. $158,993
  3. $93,168
  4. $68,505
  5. $54,804
  6. $42,996
  7. $32,992
  8. $27,511
  9. $22,031
Going into the second day, Phil Hellmuth continues his dominance of the field in his quest for bracelet number 12, which would increase his lead over all the poker players in the world as to holding the highest number of WSOP bracelets. If he succeeds, it would be the first one he has earned that was not in Hold'Em. One thing he did accomplish was to make the money and increase the record number of cashes at the WSOP.

Some who were not as lucky as Phil went to the rail after trying their best. The list includes Thor Hansen, Mike Matusow during a round of Omaha 8 o/b, Chad Brown, Michael Binger, Greg Jamison, Allen Cunningham, John Juanda and Main Event champion Joe Hachem who lost during a round of Stud. At 3:30 am the next day, tournament officials ended the activity so there will be 21 players to meet on Day 3 for a shot at the final table.

Here are the top 9 final table players:
  1. Phil Hellmuth Jr. -- 287,500
  2. James Schaff -- 236,500
  3. Art Young -- 175,000
  4. Victor Ramdin -- 158,500
  5. Matt Grapenthein -- 151,000
  6. Ester Rossi -- 133,500
  7. Steven Diano -- 120,000
  8. Arash Ghaneian -- 114,000
  9. Jason Dollinger -- 110,500

Event #51 -- H.O.R.S.E. Final Table

Event notes from the WSOP:

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 the following games -- Texas Hold'em, Omaha High-Low Split, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (also called Eight-or-Better). Many 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. The format tends to favor stud specialists, since 3/5ths of the games are stud-based (Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split, and Razz).

The $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion is James Schaaf. He is a 36-year-old software engineer. Prior to his victory, Schaff had never cashed in a WSOP event. He won $256,412 for first place. Schaaf accomplished one of poker's most amazing all-time tournament comebacks. On Day One, after starting out with 3,000 in his stack at one point he was down to just 200 in chips. He was all-in a few times during the critical orbit, but maintained his stack at less than 500 for several hands. Finally, Shaaf was all-in with Jack-Ten-Eight in the Razz round (normally a terrible hand in the lowball game) and somehow managed to triple up. He then went on a rush and made it to Day Two. The rest is history.

The third-place finisher was 1989 world champion Phil Hellmuth. The famous poker icon 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. Hellmuth arrived at the final table second in chips and gained the chip lead at one point. That electrified the crowd. But his fortunes were eventually reversed and he played the final two hours as the shortest stack. Hellmuth finally busted out 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." Hellmuth wore one of the 11 WSOP gold bracelets on his left wrist. It was from his first triumph, which occurred at the 1989 world championship. Hellmuth has reportedly given most of his other gold bracelets away to family members.

Day Two lasted 14 hours. In fact, 21 players returned for Day Three (instead of eight). It took another 12 hours to play down to the winner.


The last hand took place while playing Stud 8 o/b. As the cards were drawn, James Schaaf had three 8's to the three 7's of Tommy Hang. A river card of 5h came up and that sealed the deal for James Schaaf to be able to pick up his first WSOP bracelet as champion of Event #51.

  1. James Schaaf $256,412
  2. Tommy Hang $158,933
  3. Phil Hellmuth $93,168
  4. Esther Rossi $68,505
  5. Jason Dollinger $54,804
  6. Sam Silverman $42,966
  7. Victor Ramdin $32,992
  8. Matt Grapenthien $27,511
  9. Edward Brogdon $22,031

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