It was a really long final day of preliminary events on Wednesday as Event 52 played until nearly midnight to find a winner and Event 53 didn't end until the early morning hours today.
When all was said and done, though, David Daneshgar had finished off the final $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event of the 2008 World Series of Poker for his first bracelet win, and Matt Graham had defeated Jean-Robert Bellande to win the $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout.
That means the deck is all clear for the start of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em World Championship Main Event today, but before that event gets rolling, let's take a look at how the final two preliminary events played out.
David Daneshgar has a day job as a venture capitalist and investor, but his part-time poker career on the side has been quite lucrative for him despite the distractions. He's cashed in seven previous WSOP events, including two others this year alone, and has gone deep in European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour events.
The seventh $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event of the 2008 WSOP was finally his time to strap on a shiny gold bracelet win as well.
Daneshgar topped a field of 2,693 players after three days of play to come up with the win. In the end it came down to him versus Scott Sitron in heads-up play.
When the two began play, Daneshgar was at a chip disadvantage, but his experience helped him pull ahead.
"I just wanted to play small pots and chip away. I won some small pots, won a pretty big pot then a couple more small pots and I got to the point where I was in my comfort zone," Daneshgar said in his post-game interview.
On the final hand, Sitron limped in from the button and Daneshgar made it $400,000 from the big blind. Sitron ended up moving all-in, and Daneshgar was right behind him making the call.
With pocket tens, Daneshgar had to avoid Sitron picking up an ace on the board to add to his A♥ 8♣. However, the board came 6♥ 6♦ 4♥ 9♣ J♥ to give Daneshgar the win.
The final table played out as follows:
For more details on how it all went down at the final table or through the entire tournament, visit the Event 52 live updates.
Confidence was key for Matt Graham when it came to winning the $1,500 Limit Shootout event. He admitted that he's more of a No-Limit Hold'em player in his online poker career, but when the final table got down to just a few players, Graham was confidently gunning for first place despite being the underdog.
"I even told [Jean-Robert Bellande] when we were three-handed and we were getting run over a little bit, 'Keep playing like that. The difference between first and second is $70,000, but the difference between third and first is $180,000 so I think I'll go for that,'" Graham said in his interview after the game.
After being down to his last $300,000 at one point against Bellande, Graham clawed his way back up to eventually take the chip lead.
After taking a break early this morning, Belland got off to a bad start by blowing off a large chunk of his chip stack on a jack-high rainbow board. Graham had J-9 for top pair, and Bellande mucked.
Then a couple minutes after that, it was finally all over. Bellande got all-in pre-flop and turned up 9-7 offsuit to Graham's A-J. The board crapped out for both of them, making Graham's ace-high good for the win.
The final table played out as follows:
For more details, visit the Event 53 live updates.
The day is finally here - the 2008 WSOP Main Event gets started with its first Day 1 today at noon, and there's plenty of days of poker to follow that one.
This year the Main Event is scheduled to play four Day 1's, then take a day off before starting in on two Day 2's. It'll take five more days after that to get down to a final table of nine.
Normally that final table would take place right away, but things are going to be a little different this year. The play will end and not resume again until November when the final table will play out over two days, allowing ESPN to tape and edit it and then broadcast it the evening after the winner is found.
Catch it all in the 2008 WSOP Live Tournaments section where our tournament reporting team will be busy getting all the details to bring direct to your computer with videos, live updates, photos, interviews and more.