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Sunday, June 22, 2008 | Francis Lee


Event 36 at the World Series of Poker 2008 attracted a field of just under 2,000 players, to play a $1,500 no limit hold’em tournament. The total prize pool rose to just under $3 million dollars with the first place prize set at $610,304. The bubble was set to burst after there was just 198 players left in the event.

Only 187 players survived the first day as the bubble burst just before play finished. The player who went out on the bubble had to leave the Amazon card room for an unknown emergency. His chip stack was blinded down and once they were gone the tournament director announced that the bubble had burst, which was met with a huge cheer.

It took over twelve hours for the 187 players to whittle down to just the final nine to return for day three. Jesper Hougaard making his third cash at this year’s WSOP, was leading the field going into the final table with $1.5 million, just ahead of Cody Slaubaugh an online poker pro on $1.4 million. Every body at the final table was looking to win their first WSOP bracelet.

Final Table Chip Rankings

  • 1st Jesper Hougaard $1,582,000
  • 2nd Cody Slaubaugh $1,419,000
  • 3rd Danny Wong $1,105,000
  • 4th Rick Solis $900,000
  • 5th Justin Wald $873,000
  • 6th Owen Crowe $674,000
  • 7th Doug Middleton $356,000
  • 8th John Shipley $269,000
  • 9th Aaron Kanter $165,000

Aaron Canter managed to double up on the first hand of play against Cody Slaubaugh. This left John Shiperly in the short stack position and he decided to have a go at doing the same on the 14th hand of play. Cody Slaubaugh opened the betting to $55,000 with pocket Jacks and Shiperly moved over the top All In with :ks :qs Cody made the call and it was a race to the finish. The all low board showing :5d :4h :9s :6d :10s didn’t improve Shiperly’s hand sending him to the rail in 9th place.

Half a dozen hands later Owen Crowe clashed with Danny Wong after the first four cards down was the :ac :9c :8s :as Wong check raised All In with :kc :6c and Crowe called with :ad :7s This looked to be a good call until Wong completed his flush with the :5c coming down on the River. This was Crowe’s third cash this year adding $81,883 to his bank roll.

Rick Solis was next to go after just two more orbits round the table. He moved All In after the Turn with the board showing :qc :9c :10c :9s with :jd :10s Unfortunately his opponent Jasper Hougaard had flopped a nut flush holding :ac :3c and called, leaving Solis needing a Nine or Ten to survive. The :js improved his hand but not enough to beat the flush.

It took a while for the next elimination to come about, but two came along almost immediately once we reached 60 hands of play. Justin Wald was eliminated in 6th place in a three way pot involving Wong and Hougaard. All of Wald’s chips went into the middle after the final board was showing :js :4d :jd :kd :5c Wong made the call revealing a diamond flush, beating Wald who had flopped trip Jacks. Doug Middleton quickly followed Wald to the rail in a coin flip situation with :ah :qs against pocket Three’s. Hougaard’s Three’s held up as Middletons hand missed the board.

Four handed play lasted as long as it took to eliminate the first five players from this final table. Danny Wong moved All In pre Flop with pocket Kings for his last $380,000. Hougaard made the call with :ah :5h and needed to improve or double Wong up. The Flop was perfect for Hougaard as the :10h :qh :6h gave him a nut flush. The :8d on the Turn meant Wong was drawing dead with one card to come. Wong headed for the rail after the :js completed the board to collect $217,110 in 4th place.

Aaron Kanter the most improved player on the final table, starting the day with a $165,000 short stack, was the next player to get knocked out. He was looking certain to double up with pocket Queens against Hougaard’s :ks :jc with the first four cards down being the :3c :4h :ac :7d But the :kd on the River continued Hougaards good run and finally ending Kanter’s tournament. This was Hougaard’s fifth elimination hand win on this final table putting him in a 7-1 chip lead over Cody Slaubaugh going into heads up.

Heads up play was an epic battle as Cody managed to claw back Hougaard lead, doubling up twice to take a slight chip ladvantage. Hougaard who had dominated the table for most of the day was not to be denied, as he retook control and finished Cody off on the 166th hand of play. All of Cody’s chips went into the middle as he picked up :ad :10h Hougaard made the call holding pocket Queens and was favourite to win. The Flop confirmed this superiority as he hit a set of Queens leaving Cody drawing dead with two cards to come. Hougaard finished up with the WSOP bracelet and the $610,304 first place prize.

WSOP 2008 Event 36 Final Standings

  • 1st Jesper Hougaard $610,304
  • 2nd Cody Slaubaugh $389,128
  • 3rd Aaron Kanter $258,862
  • 4th Danny Wong $217,110
  • 5th Doug Middleton $177,028
  • 6th Justin Wald $140,286
  • 7th Rick Solis $106,884
  • 8th Owen Crowe $81,883
  • 9th John Shipley $55,782



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