Poker professional Freddy Deeb, 51, laid claim to the title of world’s greatest all-around poker player today by winning the $50,000 HORSE Championship at the 38th Annual World Series of Poker .
Deeb bested a record field of 148 high-stakes specialists to win more than $2 million, plus an 18-carat gold bracelet studded with 91 black diamonds and a custom-designed wristwatch, both made by luxury Swiss watchmaker CORUM, in an event that demands players excel at five poker variations. Poker greats consider the winner of the $50,000 HORSE Championship the best all-around player because taking the title demonstrates he or she can outplay top professionals in a wide range of game variations with high stakes on the line.
“When I won my first bracelet, I was mostly a cash game player so it didn’t really matter to me,” Deeb said. “But this one – it means everything to me. These are the toughest players in the world. It has the highest buy-in. Except for the $10,000 buy-in (Main Event), this is the bracelet that means the most of any of them.”
Deeb combined great play in the various poker variations – (H)old ‘em, (O)maha High-Low, (R)azz, Seven-Card (S)tud and Seven-Card Stud (E)ight or Better – to outlast a field that included scores of the game’s most popular names, including Phil Ivey, Annie Duke, Daniel Negreanu, and Howard Lederer. Also taking part in the event were several former world champions, including Phil Hellmuth, Jr.; Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Jim Bechtel, Scotty Nguyen, Greg Raymer, and Chris Ferguson.
The final table lasted a grueling 14 ½ hours and ranked as the fourth-longest final table in WSOP history. The tournament began five days ago with a field of the world’s top professional players, all determined to showcase their expertise in a variety of poker games.
Deeb, a native of Lebanon who came to the United States in the 1970s, has now cashed in a total of 22 WSOP events and owns two WSOP gold bracelets.
Poker great Chip Reese won the inaugural HORSE World Championship last year, besting a field of 143 of the world’s best players to collect $1,784,640. He returned to defend his title this year and compete for the top prize of $2,276,832.
The top 16 finishers this year received a share of the $7,104,000 prize pool.