That's right: today at 5 p.m. we welcome the third running of the $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E. tournament to the '08 WSOP. For many poker fans, this is the pinnacle of the Series, eclipsing even the $10,000 Main Event in terms of appeal.
It's not hard to see why. Since its inauguration in 2006 the H.O.R.S.E. World Championship (renamed this year in honor of the late Chip Reese, who won that first tournament) has attracted only poker's biggest, brightest and best-bankrolled.
It's a festival of the best this game has to offer, with poker superstars competing for dizzying amounts of money at five of the most popular variations on the poker theme. Each year produces a final table of legendary caliber, and this year should be no exception.
Last year's Event 39, the Horsiest of World Championships, attracted 148 well-heeled poker icons and offered a massive $7,104,000 prize pool for the taking. Internet phenom Justin Bonomo made an impressive run, playing deep into the fourth day before busting in 17th place, just two spots from the money.
The list of those who cashed reads like a who's who of the poker community, including such names as Mike Matusow, Greg Raymer, Dewey Tomko, Barry Greenstein, Kenny Tran and David Singer, who made his second consecutive final table in this event.
Eventually, however, the action boiled down to a heads-up match between France's Bruno Fitoussi and popular pro Kassem "Freddy" Deeb and it was Deeb who would emerge victorious, defeating the proprietor of the Aviation Club after a protracted heads-up battle to claim his second WSOP bracelet, a whopping $2,276,832 in prize money and this exclusive PokerListings.com interview.
This year's iteration (Event 45), its numbers no doubt bolstered by a number of mega-satellites run last-minute to help those pros unable or unwilling to part with Mercedes money to run with the proverbial bulls, will begin at 5 p.m. in the Amazon Room and you'd better believe PokerListings will be there to take you through each of the tournament's five days of play.
Also kicking off today is Event 44, the noon-hour $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em w/Rebuys tournament. This event, usually an all-out assault on common sense during the initial rebuy phases, will be interesting to watch in its early stages, as it will present a quandary for those pros who might otherwise have thought nothing of dropping bocoo coin on the rebuy event were it not for that $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. lurking a few hours away.
Last year, this tournament called itself Event 52 and attracted 1,048 players, the likes of whom rebought a collective 2,336 times. Ninety-eight players took home a piece of the prize pool, including former world champions Joe Hachem and Jamie Gold.
The final table featured such poker luminaries as Arnold Spee, Isaac Haxton and Chad Batista, but it was Michael Graves who would carry the day, beating Theo Tran in heads-up play to earn his first WSOP bracelet and $742,121 in spending money, as well as the honor of a PokerListings.com interview.
Besides the H.O.R.S.E. and Rebuy events, we'll have plenty more action from the tournament floor in the Amazon Room all the live long day. Check out our 2008 WSOP section and last night's recap to get up to speed on everything Dub-Sop related for Day 27. Then grab yourself a tasty poker deal and get yourself in game shape for the Main Event.