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WSOP 2009

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Event #21, $3,000 HORSE, Final Results

Official Report
Event #21
Buy-In: $3,000
Number of Entries: 452
Total Net Prize Pool: $1,247,520
Number of Places Paid: 48
First Place Prize: $311,899
June 9-11, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Zac Fellows Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet
  2. Canada Joins Circle of WSOP Winners – Vancouver’s Zac Fellows Takes HORSE Event
  3. Attendance Up for Another WSOP Event Over Last Year

The Winner

The 2009 World Series of Poker $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion is Zac Fellows, from Vancouver, BC (Canada).

Fellows is also listed under the name “Zachary Fellows” at some poker sites.

Fellows is 25-years-old. He started playing poker at the age of 17.

Fellows is an Internet affiliate. He earns most of his living from marketing and referring players to various online sites.

Fellows is an avid table tennis player. He is highly-competitive, which is what led to his interest in poker.

Fellows is a huge movie fan. His favorite movie of all-time is “The Shawshank Redemption.”

Fellows earned some redemption in this event. At his last final table in the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em championship last year, Fellows came in second. He vowed to win given another chance and accomplished that feat in this tournament.

Fellows collected $311,899 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to the official records, Fellows now has 1 wins, 2 final table appearances, and 3 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

Fellows currently has $481,284 in WSOP winnings.

At the poker table, Fellows wore his lucky hat. His baseball hat says “Lucky” on the bill.

Winner Quotes

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet: “It’s unbelievable. It’s surreal. Even right now, it’s not going to sink in for a couple of more days. This is something that everybody wants. It’s something everybody goes after. I fell really lucky and very fortunate to come out on top.”


On luck versus skill in poker tournaments: “You have to run good and you have to play good. A lot of guys do one, but not the other. I was fortune to do both today.”

On his heads-up strategy: “I don’t play a lot of heads-up HORSE. But a lot of the guys who are here with me do. I talked to them and developed a strategy. I would be aggressive with the good steal card in the Stud games and just try and put the pressure on (my opponents).”

On what it takes to win: “I ran really good. I have to be honest. James (Van Alstyne) is an excellent player. If we ran this ten times, he might come out on top more than me. He didn’t run good heads-up against me – it’s as simple as that. At the end, I flopped top set and I got the bracelet for it. I can’t complain. Things went very well today.”

On his opponent, James Van Alstyne: “James definitely has a gold bracelet in his future.”

On the stamina required to win this event: “I was pretty sleep deprived. In HORSE there is so much memorizing of cards. Your brain is working overtime. I think in No-Limit you can relax a little more. There was one point where I looked at the tournament clock and it was literally like a blur. I have 20/20 vision. I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on.”

On finishing second at his last final table, and finishing first this time: “I think the experience is important. You learn to take it a little better. I remember that I ran really bad when I lost before. I was sort of like James last time. I ran bad and I could not get a hand. Nothing was going for me. This time, when that sort of thing happened to me at the final table, it did not rattle me as much. Experience is always good.”

The Final Table

The final table contained no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. This was the eighth of 21 finales held so far this year with no former winners -- which guaranteed a first-time champion.

Five different nations were represented at the final table – including Canada, France, Italy, Norway, and the United States.

Five of the nine finalists were aged 30 and under.

The runner up was James Van Alstyne, from Las Vegas, NV. Van Alstyne has a long history of success at the WSOP, but no wins. His first cash came back in 1994. Van Alstyne was chip leader during much of the finale, but ran poorly late in the event. This was his fifth final table appearance and 12th time to cash at the WSOP.

Van Alstyne said afterward: “I fell alright. I mean, I ran unlucky at the end, but then again I was lucky to be in that spot (playing heads-up for a bracelet). I ran very well for three days – right until the heads-up. So, I really cant’ complain too much.”

The third-place finisher was Timothy Finne, from Fanwood, NJ. Up to this point, Finne had played mostly in local nightly tournaments at various casinos. This was his highest finish at the WSOP after four previous in-the-money finishes.

The fourth-place finisher was Michele Limongi, from Naples, Italy. He previously made two final tables in the Italian Poker Championship. This was his highest WSOP finish ever.

The fifth-place finisher was Chris Amaral, from Fall River, MA. Two months ago, Amaral won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

The sixth-place finisher was Martin Eikeng, from Oslo, Norway. He previously finished as the runner up in the Norwegian Poker Championship (HORSE).

The seventh-place finisher was Gabriel Nassif, from Paris, France. Nassif is another Magic the Gathering player (a growing list which includes former winners such as Brock Parker, Eric Froehlich, David Williams, and many others) who has converted to poker.

The eighth-place finisher was Matt Hawrilenko, from Boston, MA. He concentrates primarily on high-stakes cash games played online.

The ninth-place finisher was Stewart Yancik, from Blue Springs, MO. This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP event.

Other In-the-Money Finishers

Other former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Chau Giang (3 wins) who finished 16th, Steve Billirakis who finished 23rd, David Singer who finished 27th, Pat Poels who finished 39th, David Sklansky who finished 40th, and Berry Greenstein who finished 43rd.

Three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Chau Giang finished 16th. He now has 47 lifetime cashes, which ties him for eighth on the all-time list.

Gavin Smith (Las Vegas, NV) remains snake bitten at the WSOP. On everyone’s list as one of the top players yet to have won a WSOP gold bracelet, Smith took 10th place in this event. James Van Alstyne, the runner up, also belongs on this short list.

Ylon Schwartz, who finished fourth in last year’s WSOP Main Event, finished 18th. He currently ranks 20th on the all-time money-winnings list at the WSOP, with nearly $4 million in earnings.

Daniel Shak, perhaps best known as the co-winner of the 2007 “Ante-Up For Africa” Charity event at the WSOP (he donated his entire six-figure cash prize to the cause) finished 24th.

The defending champion from 2008 was Jens Voertmann, from Dortmund, Germany. He entered this year’s tournament, but did not cash.

Odds and Ends

Attendance for this tournament increased by 9 percent over last year. This year’s event attracted 452 entries. Last year’s event attracted 414 entries.

H.O.R.S.E. is an acronym for the five most popular poker games played inside American cardrooms today. H.O.R.S.E. tournaments include a rotation of the following games -- 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. This claim was perhaps best illustrated at the 2006 World Series of Poker, where H.O.R.S.E. returned to the tournament schedule after a long hiatus. For more than two decades, the late poker legend Chip Reese had been widely regarded as the best all-around player in the world. Appropriately, he won the inaugural tournament which cost $50,000 to enter and became the first H.O.R.S.E. world champion.

The rotation of games in this tournament lasts eight hands. In other words – following eight dealt hands of Hold'em, there are eight hands of Omaha High-Low followed by eight hands of Razz, and so forth.

This is the first of three H.O.R.S.E. tournaments on the 2009 WSOP schedule. There is the $50,000 buy-in world championship and a $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament still to come.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days. On Day Three, the final table was dealt out on ESPN’s secondary table. The feature table, located nearby, hosted the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em final table. Most days at the WSOP this year will include two final tables.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

The Event

The $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship attracted 452 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $1,247,520. The top 48 finishers collected prize money.

The chip leader at the end of Day One was Rob Amereno, from Tucson, AZ. He did not cash in this event.

The chip leader coming into the final table was James Van Alstyne. He ended up finishing second.

The final table lasted about ten hours, making it the second-longest finale of this year’s WSOP, so far.

Zac Fellows was second in chips during most of the finale. Once heads-up play began, he gained momentum and mostly dominated play during the final hour. Once Fellows had the chip lead, he never lost it.

When heads-up play began, Fellows and Van Alstyne were close in chips. They battled heads-up for nearly two hours.

The final hand of the tournament came in Limit Hold’em when Fellows was dealt 6-6 and made a full-house when the final board showed 6-5-3-J-3. Van Alstyne’s last chips were committed on the turn and he revealed A-5, which was a pair of fives with a straight draw. The board paired, which sealed Van Alstyne’s fate as the runner up and gave Fellows the title.

The tournament officially began on Tuesday, June 9th, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Thursday, June 11th, at 2:40 am.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Fellows, Zac $311,899 Vancouver BC, Canada
2 Van Alstyne, James $192,866 Las Vegas NV
3 Finne, Timothy $126,199 Fanwood NJ
4 Limongi, Michele $87,264 Napoli Italy
5 Amaral, Christopher $63,536 Fall River MA
6 Eikeng, Martin $48,590 Oslo Norway
7 Nassif, Gabriel $38,947 Paris France
8 Hawrilenko, Matthew $32,647 Boston MA
9 Yancik, Stewart $23,777 Blue Springs MO
10 Smith, Gavin $23,777 Las Vegas NV
11 Cremen, Frank $17,939 Las Vegas NV
12 Derei, Asher $17,939 London United Kingdom
13 Blanda, William $14,209 Galveston TX
14 Steury, Aaron $14,209 Fort Wayne IN
15 Heller, Adam $11,477 London United Kingdom
16 Giang, Chau $11,477 Las Vegas NV
17 Baker David $8,782 Katy TX
18 Schwartz, Ylon $8,782 Autsin TX
19 Debus, Frank $8,782    
20 Mckain, Brian $8,782 Madison IN
21 Okun, Jared $8,782 Las Vegas NV
22 Mcmahan, William jr. $8,782 Newport TN
23 Billirakis, Steve $8,782 Bourbonnais IL
24 Shak, Daniel $8,782 Las Vegas NV
25 Leonidas, Alfredo $6,449 Los Angeles CA
26 Luske, Marcel $6,449 Almere Buiten  
27 Dickstein, Mark $6,449 New York NY
28 Huff, David $6,449 Alameda CA
29 Golser, Markus $6,449 Anthering  
30 Frangos, Nikolaos $6,449 Mays Landing NJ
31 Lake Scott $6,449 Bremerton WA
32 Phillips, Dale $6,449 Naples FL
33 Schaaf, James $5,838 Torrance CA
34 Paz, Jose $5,838 Santa Cruz BL
35 Tatalovich, Richard $5,838 Scottsdale AZ
36 Glantz, Matthew $5,838 Lafayette Hill PA
37 Singer David $5,838 Las Vegas NV
38 Watson, Michael $5,838 Toronto ON
39 Poels, Patrick $5,838 Mesa AZ
40 Sklansky, David $5,838 Las Vegas NV
41 Soulier, Fabrice $5,277 Las Vegas NV
42 Delvin, Stephen $5,277 Omagh Co. Tyrone  
43 Greenstein, Barry $5,277 Rancho Palos Verdes CA
44 Sarkeshik, Ali $5,277    
45 Jurgens, Tad $5,277 Long Beach CA
46 Hillel, Aitan $5,277 Pasadena CA
47 Davis, Martin $5,277 London United Kingdom
48 Tulchinskiy, Mikail $5,277 Moscow Russia

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