WSOP 2008 Event #51, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., Final Results and Report

WSOP 2008 Event #51, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., Final Results and Report

Number of Entries: 803
Total Net Prize Pool: $ 1,096,095
June 29 – July 1, 2008

Final Results

1 James Schaaf $256,412 Torrance California
2 Tommy Hang $158,933 Seattle Washington
3 Phil Hellmuth $93,168 Palo Alto California
4 Esther Rossi $68,505 Las Vegas Nevada
5 Jason Dollinger $54,804 Coral Springs Florida
6 Sam Silverman $42,966 Las Vegas Nevada
7 Victor Ramdin $32,992 Bronx New York
8 Matt Grapenthien $27,511 Chicago Illinois
9 Edward Brogdon $22,031 Thorndale Texas
10 Lonnie Heimowitz $22,031 Monticello New York
11 Steve Diano $16,551 Las Vegas Nevada
12 Phillip Penn Sr. $16,551 Omaha Nebraska
13 Randy Holland $11,070 Los Angeles California
14 Arash Ghaneian $11,070 Maumee Ohio
15 Keith Sexton $8,878 Henderson Nevada
16 Arthur Young $8,878 Biloxi Mississippi
17 Stephen Wolff $6,686 Irvine California
18 Hoyt Verner Jr. $6,686 Melbourne Beach Florida
19 Jens Voertmann $6,686 Dortmund Germany
20 Edmond Tonnellier $6,686 London Ontario, Canada
21 Roland Isra $6,686 Forest Hill New York
22 Huai Zhang $6,686 Mountainview California
23 Joe Hachem $6,686 Las Vegas Nevada
24 Chad Brown $6,686 Margate Florida
25 Michael Scipione $5,042 Philadelphia Pennsylvania
26 Daniel Sindelar $5,042 Las Vegas Nevada
27 Allan Enciso $5,042 Los Angeles California
28 Brian Wehner $5,042 Henderson Nevada
29 Giovanni Rizzo $5,042  
30 Allen Cunningham $5,042 Las Vegas Nevada
31 Alex Jacob $5,042 Tulsa Oklahoma
32 Joseph Bolnick $5,042 Los Angeles California
33 Casey Kastle $3,945 Chicago Illinois
34 Vaughan Machado $3,945 Nantucket Massachusetts
35 John Juanda $3,945 Las Vegas Nevada
36 Jan Suchanek $3,945   New Zealand
37 Mark Gregorich $3,945 Las Vegas Nevada
38 Michelle Ankenman $3,945 Acon Connecticut
39 Blakely Purvis $3,945 Montgomery Alabama
40 Michael Baxley $3,945 Brevard North Carolina
41 Christopher Back $3,617 Kamloops British Columbia, Canada
42 David Gee $3,617 Gilbert Arizona
43 George Bourdos $3,617 Scottsdale Arizona
44 Thomas Koral $3,617 Skokie Illinois
45 Michael Binger $3,617 Las Vegas Nevada
46 Gary Hutzler $3,617 Bridgewater New Jersey
47 Gregory Jamison $3,617 Las Vegas Nevada
48 Andreas Foulias $3,617 Gilbert Arizona
49 Scott Epstein $3,288 Las Vegas Nevada
50 William Williams $3,288 Riverside California
51 Kristan Lord $3,288 Palm Harbor Florida
52 Allen Bari $3,288 West Orange New Jersey
53 Paul Sherr $3,288 Phoenix Arizona
54 John Cutter $3,288 Florence South Carolina
55 Raymond McClure $3,288 Stratford Ontario, Canada
56 Clifford Pappas $3,288 Scottsdale Arizona
57 Mike Matusow $2,959 Henderson Nevada
58 Hassan Kamoei $2,959 Indio California
59 Topias Wahlbeck $2,959 Espoo Finland
60 Derek Mcclasky $2,959 Columbus Ohio
61 Thomas Hufnagle $2,959 Las Vegas Nevada
62 Charles Mcgowan $2,959 Columbus Ohio
63 Van Arreca $2,959 Baldwin Park California
64 Todd Ickow $2,959 Valparaiso Indiana
65 Reed Spore $2,630 Cedar Falls Iowa
66 Nicholas Rainey $2,630  
67 Esther Taylor $2,630 Portland Oregon
68 Teddy Selby $2,630 Coral Springs Florida
69 John Zaleski $2,630 Mission Viejo California
70 Thomas Doeh $2,630 Hermosa Beach California
71 Eugene Katchalov $2,630 New York New York
72 Thomas Gehret $2,630 Philadelphia Pennsylvania
73 Jan Sjavik $2,301 Oslo Norway
74 Brett Richey $2,301 New York New York
75 Charles Barker $2,301 Richardson Texas
76 Jeff Campbell $2,301 Duluth Georgia
77 Mickey Appleman $2,301 Fort Lee New Jersey
78 Paul Jackson $2,301  
79 Svetlana Gromenkova $2,301   Russia
80 Adam Heller $2,301 London England


Tournament Notes

The $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship (Event #51) attracted 803 entries, creating a prize pool totaling $1,096,095. The top 80 finishers collected prize money.

This is believed to be the largest major live H.O.R.S.E. tournament in history.

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 tournament was played over three consecutive days. The final table was played on the secondary stage. The main stage was used by ESPN for its broadcast of the Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship (Event #50) which took place at the same time. Due to the potential historic consequences of the finale, the crowd of spectators for this event was much larger than average.

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).

This is the third of three H.O.R.S.E. tournaments on the 2008 WSOP schedule. The $50,000 buy-in World Championship event (won by Scotty Nguyen) concluded two days earlier.

Last year’s champion was Jens Voertmann. He entered this event but did not cash. So far, 50 of 51 defending champions at this year’s WSOP have failed to cash in their respective events. Blair Rodman was the lone exception.

The $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion is James Schaaf, from Torrance, CA. He is a 36-year-old software engineer.

Schaaf works for Alpine Electronics, which specializes in design and the manufacturing of automobile navigation systems.

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.

Prior to this event, Schaaf played in very few tournaments. In fact, he felt a great amount of personal satisfaction after knocking out his first top pro. “When I knocked Todd Brunson out on the first day, that was a big deal for me,” he said. “I had never knocked out a pro before.”

Schaaf’s hometown cardroom is the Hustler Casino in Gardena, CA.

The second-place finisher was Tommy Hang, from Seattle WA.

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.”

An Interesting Bit of Trivia: Hellmuth’s first WSOP cash was in Event #6 at the 1988 WSOP. Twenty years later he faced Esther Rossi at the final table, who’s first-ever WSOP cash came just one day after Hellmuth’s – in Event #7 at the 1988 WSOP.

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.

Esther Rossi took fourth place. This was her tenth career WSOP cash and first since 2005 when she cashed in the Main Event that year.

Victor Ramdin finished in seventh place. Ramdin gives a sizable percentage of his tournament winnings to charity. He pledged 50 percent of the top prize (if he won this event) to medical services in his native country of Guyana (South America).

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.

Other former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament included Joe Hachem (24th), Allen Cunningham (31st), John Juanda (35th), Mike Matusow (57th), Hasan Kamoei (58th), Tommy Hufnagle (61st), and Mickey Appleman (77th).

Nikolay Evdakov not only broke a WSOP record. He shattered it. A few days ago, the Russian poker player tied, and then later broke the record for “Most WSOP Cashes in a Single Year.” The previous record was eight cashes. With his 28th-place finish in this tournament, Evdakov has now cashed ten times. Incredibly, he still has five more events remaining on the schedule to add to his tally (including the four events which will be played at WSOP-Europe).

Phil Hellmuth was the chip leader at the End of Day One in this event. He finished in third place. Through Event #51, the End of Day One chip leaders have gone on to cash 78 percent of the time -- 38 of 49 occasions (the chip leader was not applicable on two events). Only thirteen of these same 49 chip leaders (27 percent) made it to the final table. Only one chip leader went on to win the event. That lone wire-to-wire winner was Vanessa Selbst in Event #19.

Sam Silverman was the chip leader at the start of this final table. He ended up as sixth-place finisher. Through Event #51, eighteen of 49 chip leaders at the start of the final table (36 percent) went on to win the event. Twenty-nine of 49 chip leaders (59 percent) went on to finish in the top three spots. Two events did not have a chip leader (Heads-Up and Shootout tournaments).

Winner James Schaaf is officially listed as being from Torrance, CA. Through the conclusion of Event #51, the gold bracelet count by nations and states reads as follows:
12 – Nevada
9 – California
4 – New York
3 – Germany
2 – Italy
2 – Missouri
1 – Arizona
1 – Belgium
1 – Brazil
1 – Denmark
1 – Florida
1 – France
1 – Georgia
1 – Holland
1 – Maryland
1 – Michigan
1 – Ohio
1 – Pennsylvania
1 – Russia
1 – South Carolina
1 – Wisconsin

Eleven different nations have produced a gold bracelet winner at this year’s WSOP. This list now includes Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and the United States.

The Event #51 winner James Schaaf is to be classified as an amateur player. He holds a full-time job and plays poker recreationally. Accordingly, the “Pro-Am” gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads:
Professionals – 37 wins
Amateurs -- 12 wins
Semi-Pros -- 2 wins

Erick Lindgren now leads the “Player of the Year” race (through the end of Event #50). Barry Greenstein, Jacobo Fernandez, David Benyamine, and John Phan are close behind, For a complete updated points list, see:

Scotty Nguyen is now the leader on the 2008 prize money list, having won the most money at the WSOP, to date. His accrued winnings total $2,039,628.

Through the conclusion of Event #51, the total amount of prize money awarded at this year’s WSOP totals $111,115,333. This is more than last year’s prize pool at this same time last year.

On this day, Harrahs Entertainment/WSOP and BetFair jointly announced the upcoming schedule for WSOP Europe. WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack presided over a short press conference at the Rio which provided details about the event. There will be four gold bracelet tournaments which will take place in London, England. The dates are September 19th through October 2nd, 2008. More details can be found at the official WSOP website: