A 20 hour final table of 492 hands, culminating in a 7 hour heads up endurance test….surely this is the stuff of World Series of Poker records? 10am Vegas time Wednesday morning finally saw 37-year-old former professional bowler from Georgia, David Bach, victorious in Event 49 – the $50 000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. competition – one of the most respected bracelets in the business.
In the marathon heads up, Bach faced New Yorker John Hanson (44) in a see-saw battle for supremacy that saw millions of chips in play as the lead changed and changed again. The duo had bested five former World Series of Poker tournament winners at the final table, including eight-time gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel.
Bach takes the coveted Chip Reese Memorial trophy and $1 276 802 in prize money back to Athens, Georgia, and the lion's share of a $4 560 000 prize pool generated by the 95 entries for this year's event, widely regarded as second only to the WSOP Main Event itself.
John Hanson earned great respect for giving Bach a real run for his money, and creating a heads up to remember in the process. He returns to New York $789 199 wealthier thanks to the generous runner-up prize. This is the second time that Hanson has experienced the final frustration of being runner-up – in the 2007 H.O.R.S.E. he was second placed for $850 000.
The five day competition started with a star-laden entry list that included Erick Lindgren, Phil Ivey, Bill Chen, Yuval Bronshtein, Matt Glantz, James Van Alstyne, Rob Hollink, Nick Schulman, Ralph Perry, Jim Bechtel, Johnny Chan, Cory Zeidman, Abe Mosseri, David Grey, Jeff Lisandro, Jon Turner, Mike Matusow, Jennifer Harman, Scott Clements, Kirill Rabtsov, Steve Billirakis, Jason Gray, Jerry Buss, Brett Richey, Justin Bonomo, John Hennigan, Fabrice Soulier, Farzad Bonyadi, 2008 champion Scotty Nguyen, David Singer, David Benyamine, Thor Hansen, Bruno Fitoussi, Daniel Negreanu, Freddy Deeb, Andy Black, Erik Seidel, Matt Hawrilenko, Pat Pezzin, Justin Smith, Eli Elezra, David Chiu, Alexander Kostritsyn, Mike Wattel, Doyle Brunson, Chad Brown, Vitaly Lunkin, Greg Mascio, Ville Wahlbeck, Todd Brunson, Yan Chen and Chau Giang.
The H.O.R.S.E. format rotates five games and tests the all-round player more than no-limit Hold 'em, the most popular variation of poker.
On Day 5 of the contest the final table assembled as follows: Erik Sagstrom with a convincing chip lead of 3 675 000, followed by Vitaly Lunkin on 2 490 000, David Bach (2 345 000), John Hanson (1 700 000), Huck Seed (1 380 000), Chau Giang (1 075 000), Erik Seidel (965 000) and Ville Wahlbeck (645 000). Few could have forseen that the quest for a winner was to take 20 hours and extend over 492 hands.
Erik Sagstrom's third place elimination for $522 394 – what a lucrative WSOP 09 this young Finn has enjoyed – presaged an exhausting heads up that went on for 7 hours as Bach and Hanson started the action with pretty much even chip stacks in the seven million range.
When InfoPowa went to press the final table for Event 55 – the $2 500 buy-in 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) competition had been reached and looked like this:
Hertzel Zalewski – 111000
Nam Le – 95000
Masayoshi Tanaka – 345000
Brad Libson – 146000
Kris Lord – 87000
Julie Schneider – 163000
John Juanda – 182000
Blair Rodman – 358000
Abe Mosseri – 447000
The event has attracted 258 enries, building a prize pool of $593 400.