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Bach is best in $50k H.O.R.S.E.
David Bach has been on poker's biggest stage before. Now, after an epic 20-hour final table, he has one of the game's biggest prizes - a $50k H.O.R.S.E. bracelet.
The "Gunslinger" staved off a remarkably resilient John Hanson in a heads-up battle that lasted seven hours, winning his first WSOP bracelet and the right to have his name engraved on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy.
Bach's reward for enduring 480 hands at the final table is $1,276,802 in cash and ownership of arguably the most prestigious bracelet in the game.
"It hasn't even sunk in yet," said a tired but overjoyed Bach after the win.
"Especially this tournament, Chip Reese's tournament, and it being the best tournament of the whole year. It just means the world."
The win is a breakthrough for Bach, who's made a final table in each of the last five years at the WSOP but wasn't able to earn himself a bracelet until this year.
Bach, who says he played 30-hour sessions regularly earlier in his career, showed that endurance on Day 5.
"Two nights ago, I told (friends) that this is the bracelet I should win," Bach said.
"It's the game that I'm best at, it's the tournament I want to win the most. If I'm going to break through and win one this is the right one."
Bach appeared to be headed for a certain third-place finish at one point when play was three-handed, and he held a woefully short stack at 670k in chips, with Erik Sagstrom at 6.25 million and Hanson at 7.36 million.
Instead of packing up and exiting, however, Bach went on a spectacular comeback stretch, quickly rebuilding his stack to 1.7 million chips just a few hands later.
"I just had to remind myself to keep fighting and play well," Bach said. "I could live with losing if I played my best."
Bach never looked back after that, eventually becoming the chip leader as Sagstrom's fortunes took a wrong turn.
The heads-up finale between Bach and Hanson emerged after Sagstrom went out in third, collecting $522,394 for the third-place finish.
Sagstrom's good friend Gus Hansen was part of an entourage that cheered on the Swedish pro, but it wasn't enough as the cash-game specialist came up just short.
Player of the Year contender Vitaly Lunkin continued his incredible run in the 2009 WSOP, but he also came up just short of his second bracelet of the year, finishing fourth.
After spending parts of Day 5 as the chip leader, Lunkin's fortunes began to fade late in the day, and a Stud-8 hand against Sagstrom proved to be Lunkin's undoing.
The Russian pro cashes out for $368,813 and stays amongst the leaders for Player of the Year and most cash won at the 2009 WSOP.
Four-time bracelet winner Huck Seed was a crowd favorite at the final table, but his chances for a bracelet ended four spots short. Seed's fifth-place finish earns him $276,610.
Ville Wahlbeck continues to breathe down Jeffrey Lisandro's neck in the POY race, and his sixth-place finish puts him at 320 points, just behind Lisandro's 355.
It's been an amazing run for Wahlbeck in events with buy-ins of $10k or more. The Finnish pro took his first bracelet in the $10k Mixed Event World Championship, the first-ever bracelet win for a player from Finland.
He came up just short of another, finishing runner-up in the $10k Deuce-to-Seven Lowball. He finished third in $10k World Championship Seven Card Stud and 13th in $10k World Championship Omaha Hi-Lo.
Wahlbeck has said he's quitting poker after this year, but he's had enormous success at the 2009 WSOP, also taking a 12th place finish in $2,500 Razz.
"I rank this second after the Mixed Event win," said Wahlbeck of the 6th-place finish in $50k H.O.R.S.E.
"In the Mixed Event I wasn't all in a single time during the whole tournament, and it was pretty much the same here. Even though I was the short-stack for a long time, I wasn't all-in until the end.
"So in that sense, I think I have played the best in those two tournaments. Of course I wanted to go all the way and win the bracelet, but if someone had offered me sixth place before the tournament, I obviously would have taken it."