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Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Francis Lee


Event 51 at the World Series of Poker 2008 was the second H.O.R.S.E tournament, this time being a bit cheaper to enter at just $1,500. 803 players turned out for this event with a large number of well known pro’s in the field. The prize pool generated by this field reached just over $1 million dollars with the first place prize set at $256,412.

The eliminations started to flow early on even though this was a limit event with some big names in the list going out. These included Katja Thater , Max Pescatori, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Chris Ferguson and John Phan. The first day ended with just 179 players left standing. At the top of the leader board was the 11 time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth looking for his record 67th WSOP cash.

Play was slow at the beginning of the second day before Thor Hansen burst the bubble. This led to a wave of eliminations as the short stacked players got busy trying to get into a decent position. The day ended with 20 players still remaining and Hellmuth still sat at the top of the leader board. Once play began on the third and final day it didn’t take too long to reach the final table. During this time Tommy Hang had a good time of it over taking Hellmuth in the chip rankings.

Final Table Chip Rankings

  • 1st Tommy Hang $680,000
  • 2nd Phil Hellmuth $400,000
  • 3rd James Schaaf $392,000
  • 4th Jason Dollinger $346,000
  • 5th Sam Silverman $310,000
  • 6th Esther Rossi $166,000
  • 7th Victor Ramdin $78,000
  • 8th Matt Grapenthien $46,000

Matt Grapenthien only lasted for one orbit of the table with his short stack and was eliminated by Tommy Hang playing Omaha hi low. Grapenthien was All In after the first four cards down was the :as :kd :qs :ad Hang held the lead with :ks :kh :8h :2c having a full house against Grapenthien’s :3h :6s :js :ah needing an Ace or Jack to save him. The :10s completed the board sending him to the rail in 8th place.

Victor Ramdin managed to last a bit longer on his short stack, going on until the 25th hand playing stud. He could only manage a pair of Nines up against James Shaaf’s two pair, going out in 8th place winning $32,992. Sam Silverman quickly followed Ramdin to the rail just a dozen hands later when playing hold’em. Silverman’s pocket Three’s were easily beaten by Jason Dollinger’s pocket Sevens as the final board ran down :10d :js :10s :kh :8s

Dollinger was the next player out when he clashed with Tommy Hang playing stud hi low. Dollinger was All in by the fifth street looking to hit his low draw. His draw didn’t materialize as Hang scooped the whole pot with just a pair of Sevens.

Four handed play lasted for quite a while as the 4th place position wasn’t decided until the 120th hand of play. This came when Esther Rossi got the last of his short stack in against Phil Hellmuth with :jh :9h against :ks :8h Neither player hit any piece of the final board showing :2h :4h :4s :10c :as and Hellmuth’s King proved decisive.

Just nine hands later Hellmuth’s search for his 12th WSOP bracelet came to a halt as Tommy Hang eliminated him into 3rd place playing Omaha hi low. Hellmuth got all his chips in pre flop with :as :ks :10s :5d against :qd :qh :4c :8d and lost out as neither player improved on the board. Hellmuth collected $93,168 in prize money.

Tommy Hang took a chip lead of $1.5 million to James Schaaf’s $880,000 going into heads up. Schaaf had the best of it though coming back at Hang and finishing off the event after 60 hands of heads up play. The end came for Hang when he got all his chips in playing stud hi low. Hang had made trip Sevens on the fifth street only to find Schaaf with trip Eights to win the event. He collected $256,412 and his first WSOP bracelet. A good achievement considering he was down to his last few chips earlier in the event.

WSOP 2008 Event 51 Final Standings

  • 1st James Schaaf $256,412
  • 2nd Tommy Hang $158,933
  • 3rd Phil Hellmuth $93,168
  • 4th Esther Rossi $68,505
  • 5th Jason Dollinger $54,804
  • 6th Sam Silverman $42,966
  • 7th Victor Ramdin $32,992
  • 8th Matt Grapenthien $27,511



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