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The 2008 World Series of Poker was the 39th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). Held in Las Vegas, Nevadamarker at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casinomarker, the series began on May 30, 2008, and featured 55 poker championships in several variants. All events but the $10,000 World Championship No Limit Texas hold 'em Main Event, the most prestigious of the WSOP events, ended by July 15. As has been the WSOP custom since 1976, each of the event winners received a championship bracelet in addition to that event's prize money, which (after the casino's rake) ranged from $87,929 to $9,119,517.

Highlights of the 2008 series include the selection of Erick Lindgren, who won a bracelet and made three final tables, as recipient of the "Player of the Year Award". Nikolay Evdakov led all players with a record 10 money finishes, and Phil Hellmuth set a WSOP record of 41 career final tables. The Main Event, which began with 6,844 participants (a level exceeded only by the number of participants at the 2006 event), was suspended once the event was down to the nine players needed for the final table; the Main Event was resumed on November 9, and concluded with the heads-up final between Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov the next day. This year was the first in which the Main Event was suspended in this fashion, a change introduced at ESPN's request to allow the television network to do a same-day Main Event broadcast. In a stunning near statistical improbability, Justin Phillips knocked out Motoyuki Mabuchi in the Main Event. Phillips held a Royal Flush, Mabuchi held quad aces. One of the broadcasters, Lon McEachern, mentioned on air that the chances of such a showdown occurring were 1:2.7 billion. Ray Romano had just sat down at the table when this hand played itself out.

Event schedule

# Event Entrants Winner Prize Runner-up Results
1 $10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Hold'em 352 Nenad Medic $794,112 Andy Bloch Results
2 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 3,929 Grant Hinkle $831,462 James Akenhead Results
3 $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em 713 David Singer $214,131 Jacobo Fernandez Results
4 $5,000 Mixed Hold'em 332 Erick Lindgren $374,505 Justin Bonomo Results
5 $1,000 No Limit Hold'em w/Rebuys 766 Michael Banducci $636,736 Jeff Williams Results
6 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better 833 Thang Luu $243,356 Spencer Lawrence Results
7 $2,000 No Limit Hold'em 1,592 Matt Keikoan $550,601 Shannon Shorr Results
8 $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event 192 Anthony Rivera $483,688 James Mackey Results
9 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Six Handed 1,236 Rep Porter $372,929 Nathan Templeton Results
10 $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low-8 or Better 388 Freddy Rouhani $232,911 Tom Chambers Results
11 $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout 360 Phil Tom $477,990 Greg Mueller Results
12 $1,500 Limit Hold'em 880 Jimmy Shultz $257,105 Zac Fellows Results
13 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em 1,397 Duncan Bell $666,777 Steve Merrifield Results
14 $10,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud 158 Eric Brooks $415,856 Fu Wong Results
15 $1,000 Ladies No Limit Hold'em World Championship 1,190 Svetlana Gromenkova $244,702 Anh Le Results
16 $2,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better 553 Andrew Brown $226,483 Ted Forrest Results
17 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Shootout 1,000 Jason Young $335,565 Mike Schwartz Results
18 $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball w/Rebuys 85 Mike Matusow $537,862 Jeff Lisandro Results
19 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha 759 Vanessa Selbst $227,965 Jamie Pickering Results
20 $2,000 Limit Hold'em 480 Daniel Negreanu $204,874 Ugur Marangoz Results
21 $5,000 No Limit Hold'em 731 Scott Seiver $755,891 Dave Seidman Results
22 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. 414 Jens Vortmann $298,253 Doug Ganger Results
23 $2,000 No Limit Hold'em 1,344 Blair Hinkle $507,563 Mark Brockington Results
24 $2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em/Omaha 457 Max Pescatori $246,471 Kyle Kloeckner Results
25 $10,000 World Championship Heads Up No Limit Hold'em 256 Kenny Tran $539,056 Alec Torelli Results
26 $1,500 Razz 453 Barry Greenstein $157,619 Chris Klodnicki Results
27 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 2,706 Vitaly Lunkin $628,417 Brett Kimes Results
28 $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/Rebuys 152 Phil Galfond $817,781 Adam Hourani Results
29 $3,000 No Limit Hold'em 716 John Phan $434,789 Johnny Neckar Results
30 $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold'em 218 Rob Hollink $496,931 Jerrod Ankenman Results
31 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em Six Handed 1,012 Dario Minieri $528,418 Seth Fischer Results
32 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 2,304 Luis Velador $574,734 Anthony Signore Results
33 $5,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better 261 Sebastian Ruthenberg $328,756 Chris Ferguson Results
34 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha w/Rebuys 320 Layne Flack $577,725 Daniel Makowsky Results
35 $1,500 Seven Card Stud 381 Michael Rocco $135,753 Al Barbieri Results
36 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 2,447 Jesper Hougaard $610,304 Cody Slaubaugh Results
37 $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better 235 David Benyamine $535,687 Greg Jamison Results
38 $2,000 Pot Limit Hold'em 605 Davidi Kitai $244,583 Chris Bell Results
39 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 2,720 David Woo $631,656 Matt Wood Results
40 $2,500 2-7 Limit Triple Draw Lowball 238 John Phan $151,896 Shun Uchida Results
41 $1,500 Mixed Hold'em 731 Frank Gary $219,508 Jonathan Tamayo Results
42 $1,000 Seniors No Limit Hold'em World Championship 2,218 Dan Lacourse $368,832 Dale Eberle Results
43 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better 720 Martin Klaser $216,249 Casey Kastle Results
44 $1,000 No Limit Hold'em w/Rebuys 879 Max Greenwood $693,444 Rene Mouritsen Results
45 $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E. 148 Scotty Nguyen $1,989,120 Michael DeMichele Results
46 $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Six Handed 805 Joe Commisso $911,855 Richard Lyndaker Results
47 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better 544 Ryan Hughes $183,368 Ron Long Results
48 $2,000 No Limit Hold'em 2,317 Alexandre Gomes $770,540 Marco Johnson Results
49 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 2,718 J.C. Tran $631,170 Rasmus Nielsen Results
50 $10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Omaha 381 Marty Smyth $859,549 Peter Jetten Results
51 $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. 803 James Schaaf $256,412 Tommy Hang Results
52 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em 2,693 David Daneshgar $625,443 Scott Sitron Results
53 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout 823 Matt Graham $278,180 Jean-Robert Bellande Results
54 $10,000 World Championship No Limit Hold'em Main Event 6,844 Peter Eastgate $9,119,517 Ivan Demidov Results
55 $500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold'em 930 Jonathan Kotula $87,929 Kevin O'Harra Results

2008 records

Nikolay Evdakov set a WSOP record for most cashes at a single World Series with 10. The previous record of eight was held by four players: Phil Hellmuth, Humberto Brenes, Michael Binger, and Chad Brown. Evdakov's achievement also represents the most cashes by a player at one WSOP without reaching a single final table. Hellmuth, who made two final tables, established a new WSOP career record of 41 final tables, two more than T. J. Cloutier. Scotty Nguyen became the first player to hold both a Main Event and a $50,000 H.O.R.S.E World Championship bracelet.

Several nationals were the first from their country to win bracelets. Brazilianmarker Alexandre Gomes won Event 48 to become the first South American player to win a WSOP bracelet since Ecuadorian-bornmarker Carlos Mortensen won the 2001 Main Event. Rob Hollink won Event 30, becoming the first Dutchmarker WSOP bracelet winner, and Davidi Kitai won Event 38, becoming the first Belgianmarker player to win a bracelet.

The 2008 Main Event final table took 15 hours and 28 minutes to play, beating the previous record of 14 hours and 2 minutes in 2005.

Main event

The 2008 World Series of Poker Championship Bracelet
The $10,000 World Championship No Limit Texas Hold 'em Main Event began on July 3 with the first of four starting days. After reaching the final table of nine players on July 14, the final table was delayed until November 9. This change in schedule was made to allow ESPN to broadcast the final table on November 11, shortly after it was played. All final table players were paid ninth place prize money ($900,670) in July, with the remaining prize pool distributed in November. Instead of the Amazon Room, aka "the Poker Room," where all of the events were held, the final table would be held in the Penn and Teller Theatre. On November 9, players played down from nine to two and the winner was decided the next night. The final table consisted of 274 hands in total.

After a large decrease in Main Event participants in 2007 (6358) compared to 2006 (8773), the number increased slightly in 2008 (6844) but was still far from the 2006 number. As in 2007, the payout structure is flatter than in 2006 and before, with the lowest payouts at $21,230 (more than double the buy-in), as compared to $10,616 in 2006.

The "last woman standing" in the 2008 Main Event was Tiffany Michelle, who finished in 17th place. Celebrities best known from television, music, and professional sports, among other areas, also participated, with two placing in the money. The list includes:

Final Table

Place Name Prize
1st Peter Eastgate $9,152,416
2nd Ivan Demidov $5,790,024
3rd Dennis Phillips $4,503,352
4th Ylon Schwartz $3,763,515
5th Scott Montgomery $3,088,012
6th Darus Suharto $2,412,510
7th David Rheem $1,769,174
8th Kelly Kim $1,286,672
9th Craig Marquis $900,670

At the age of 22, Peter Eastgate became the youngest Main Event winner, surpassing Phil Hellmuth who was 24 when he won in 1989 and became the first European to capture the title since Noel Furlong won in 1999. His winning hand was a five high straight known as a "wheel", made from his hole cards and three of the community cards which were , while his opponent Ivan Demidov lost with for two pair.

Other notable high finishes

NB: This list is restricted to top 30 finishers with an existing Wikipedia entry.

Place Name Prize
17th Tiffany Michelle $334,534
20th Brandon Cantu $257,334
26th Phi Nguyen $257,334
30th Mike Matusow $193,000

Performance of past champions

Twenty past WSOP Main Event champions, representing 22 bracelets, participated in the 2008 Main Event. Two champions from the late 1980s finished in the money: Johnny Chan placed 329th for $32,166, and Phil Hellmuth finished 45th for $154,400.

Name Championship

Day of

Doyle Brunson 1976 and 1977 1-d
Bobby Baldwin 1978 1-a
Tom McEvoy 1983 1-b
Berry Johnston 1986 1-a
Johnny Chan 1987 and 1988 4
Phil Hellmuth 1989 6
Brad Daugherty 1991 2-b
Jim Bechtel 1993 1-c
Dan Harrington 1995 1-a
Huck Seed 1996 1-c
Scotty Nguyen 1998 2-a
Noel Furlong 1999 1-d
Chris Ferguson 2000 1-d
Carlos Mortensen 2001 2-b
Robert Varkonyi 2002 2-a
Chris Moneymaker 2003 3
Greg Raymer 2004 1-b
Joe Hachem 2005 2-b
Jamie Gold 2006 1-b
Jerry Yang 2007 2-b


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