H.O.R.S.E. World Championship
Number of Entries: 148
Total Prize Money: $7,104,000
Date of Tournament: June 24-28, 2007
Click here to view the official results.
The winner of the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. World Championship was Freddy Deeb, from Las Vegas, NV. This was Deeb’s second World Series of Poker victory. He won a gold bracelet previously, back in 1996.
Deeb was born in Lebanon. He fled his homeland during the 1970s while his nation was in the midst of a civil war. Deeb was unable to secure legal residency and obtain a work permit inside the United States. So, he turned to gambling to make a living. He has been playing poker successfully for more than 30 years.
Deeb is married and has four children.
Deeb has now cashed 22 times at the WSOP. He owns two WSOP gold bracelets. His first win was for Deuce-to-Seven Lowball. The H.O.R.S.E. championship was his biggest career win by far. “When I won my first bracelet, I was mostly a cash game player so it didn’t really matter that much to me,” Deeb said. “But this one – it means everything to me. They are the toughest players in the world. It has the highest buy-in. Except for the $10,000 buy-in (main event) this is the bracelet that means the most of any of them.”
Deeb is one of the most popular players on the poker tournament trail, with peers and fans alike. Deeb is routinely talkative, engaging, and humorous while he is playing. He often wears vibrant colored shirts, including at this final table when he wore what was termed his “lucky shirt.”
When play was at four-handed, Deeb was all-in on a critical Omaha High-Low hand. He managed to scoop the pot and survive. That propelled Deeb back into the match. However, Deep was the shortest stack during much of play in the finale, yet still managed to outlast his final opponents in the end.
The final table lasted 14.5 hours. This finale ranked as the fourth-longest recorded final table in WSOP history.
First place paid $2,276,832. Deeb was presented with his gold and diamond bracelet as well as a custom-designed wristwatch made by luxury watchmaker Corum, with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack doing the honors.
“I have a very (loose) reputation as a poker player,” Deeb said in a post-tournament press conference. “When I bet out, I know I am going to get called. So, I adjust my play and it works in my favor.”
“When I sit down to play, I do not ask anyone what is the game,” Deeb said when asked about the mix of poker games in H.O.R.S.E. “I just play whatever the game is dealt….You see what level they are at, and you go a level higher. That’s how you win.”
This event is generally regarded as the ultimate test of all-around poker skill. Five poker games are played in rotation – Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Stud Eight-or-Better. The tournament was played over a five-day period.
Eli Elezra had the chip lead after Day One. He began the second day with 561,000 in chips (he did not cash). Day One eliminated 21 players as 127 survivors continued for Day Two.
The chip leader at the end of Day Two was John Hansen (who ended up with third place). Toto Leonidas was close behind in second place. Eli Elezra ranked third. Nearly two-thirds of the field was gone, as 52 players returned for Day Three.
The chip leader at the end of Day Three was Amnon Filippi (ended up fourth). Last year’s champion, David “Chip” Reese busted out just short of reaching the money.
The chip leader at the end of Day Four going into the final table was Amnon Fillipi. Only one player made a repeat performance in the final eight from the previous year – David Singer.
Thor Hansen started out with the lowest stack – just 40,000 in chips. With betting limits at 50,000-100,000 all Hansen could play is one hand in the finale. He went out just four minutes into play and pocketed $188,256 for eighth place.
Barry Greenstein was the next lowest in chips and promptly went out in seventh place. The two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner and “Robin Hood of Poker” collected $259,296.
The final table was not a pleasant experience for David Singer. Hopeful of getting his first WSOP win, Singer sang the blues by going out in sixth place. Most people would be content with $337,440 in prize money. But to the highly-competitive former environmental lawyer from New York-turned poker pro, the end result was a disappointment.
Kenny Tran, from Arcadia, CA went out in fifth place. He earned $444,000 in prize money. Tran donates ten percent of his poker winnings to charities in his native Vietnam,
The early chip leader was Amnon Filippi. In fact, he was the chip leader for more than two days. Unfortunately, Filippi went card dead when it mattered most and lost most of his stack in the middle stage of the final table. He ended up as the fourth place finisher – good for $586,080 in prize money.
Three-handed play lasted for about six hours. Finally, John Hansen busted out and collected $852,480. Hansen is a high-stakes cash game player who plays in private games around New York City.
The runner up in this tournament was Bruno Fitoussi, from Paris, France. Fitoussi is France’s poker pioneer. He was responsible for introducing and promoting many poker games and tournaments in Paris. He currently hosts and manages The Aviation Club in Paris, which is one of the most luxurious cardrooms in Europe. Second place paid a very respectable $1,278,720.
This year’s H.O.R.S.E. World Championship attracted 148 entries, up slightly from last year’s inaugural number of 143.
Gabe Kaplan, the actor and comedian (“Welcome Back Kotter) finished ninth. Kaplan has nine WSOP cashes on his poker resume.
Three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner (and runner-up in the main event two times) Dewey Tomko was short-stacked throughout the tournament. He still managed an impressive 10th-place finish. Tomko also took 7th place in this event last year.
2004 world poker champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer busted out in 14th place.
Chris Reslock, from Atlantic City, NJ continues to play phenomenal poker. He won the Seven-Card Stud World Championship two weeks ago and took 15th place in this event.
Mike Matusow’s continuous record of eight straight years making at least one WSOP final table is now in serious jeopardy. He busted out in 16th place.
ESPN taped heavily during most of the five-day event. The network plans to make the HORSE championship a five-part series as part of its 2007 WSOP coverage. The shows are expected to air later in the year.