Courtesy World Series of Poker
Published Wednesday, July 1, 2009 | 4 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, July 1, 2009 | 6:52 p.m.
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It is only fitting that a marathon heads-up session determined the winner of arguably one of the toughest and most prestigious events at the World Series of Poker Wednesday morning.
After more than seven hours of heads-up play, 37-year-old Athens, Ga., resident David Bach claimed the fourth annual $50,000 HORSE World Championship against John Hanson in the longest American WSOP final table in history.
This year's HORSE final table clocked in at an American record of 18 hours, 44 minutes with 480 hands players. The world record of 19 hours, 9 minutes with 484 hands occurred in the 2008 WSOP European Championship.
"It hasn’t even sunken in yet," Bach said. "Especially this tournament. This is Chip Reese’s tournament. I think this is the best tournament of the whole year. It means the world to win."
Bach banked $1,276,802 for his endurance-filled performance in addition to his first WSOP gold bracelet and the coveted Chip Reese Trophy, which is named after the winner of the first $50,000 world championship HORSE tournament. Reese, a former Las Vegas resident, died in his sleep in 2007 at the age of 56.
Hanson, who was short-stacked for most of the heads-up round, earned $789,199 for his second place finish.
"Chip Reese was known for longevity and toughness and I kept telling myself that through the final table to remember Chip and play like he would," Bach said.
Prior to Wednesday's victory, Bach's best result was a $257,425 payday from a sixth place finish at the LA Poker Classic championship event in 2007.
A former professional bowler and psychology major at the University of Georgia, Bach started focusing his career on poker six years ago. He has amassed more than $2.4 million in poker winnings, but he had never won a major tournament until this event.
Bach managed to outlast 94 other players at a star-studded final table of Hanson, Erik Seidel, Chau Giang, Huck Seed, Vitaly Lunkin, Ville Wahlbeck and Eric Sagstrom for that elusive tournament victory.
Bach's winning hand came during a round of Razz. The tournament gets its name from the five games played in it: hold ’em (the H); Omaha high-low (the O); razz (the R); 7-card stud (the S); and 7-card stud eight or better (the E).
"This is the best tournament there is," Bach said. "The structure is so good. Of course any tournament you have to get lucky to win, but there is so much more skill in this even than any other tournament including the Main Event. This above anything else is the tournament I wanted to win."
$50,000 HORSE Final Table Payouts
1. David Bach - $1,276,802
2. John Hanson - $789,199
3. Eric Sagstrom - $522,394
4. Vitaly Lunkin - $368,813
5. Huck Seed - $276,610
6. Ville Wahlbeck - $219,655
7. Chau Giang - $184,087
8. Erik Seidel - $162,382
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].