The long-awaited winner of the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event was crowned on Monday night. The heads-up match pitted a Russian, Ivan Demidov, against Denmark native Peter Eastgate. In front of a packed house at the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas, the two battled it out for the $9.1 million first place prize.
Eastgate is a 22 year-old poker pro from Odense, Denmark and, with the win, breaks Phil Hellmuth’s record as the youngest WSOP Main Event champion ever. His opponent, Demidov, also made the final table and finished third of the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event, the first time that a player has made both marquee final tables. Demidov’s experience on the poker felts propelled him to heads-up play. Those in attendance to witness history on Monday night included 2006 Main Event champ Jamie Gold, young poker gun Jeff Madsen, “Miami” John Cernuto, Cyndy Violette, Full Tilt Poker pro Chris Ferguson, Hevad “Rain” Khan, and Team PokerStars Pro member and three-time bracelet holder Barry Greenstein. Play began around 10:30pm local time.
Although Eastgate started with the chip lead entering heads-up play, Demidov pulled to even within a half hour. On the 208th hand of final table play, Demidov raised to 1.95 million chips pre-flop and Eastgate called. The flop came 9-7-6 and Demidov bet out 3.625 million. After some thought, Eastgate called. After a jack fell on the turn, the action went check-check. A river queen prompted a 7 million chip bet by Demidov, who was quickly called by Eastgate. Demidov showed A-10 for a bluff; Eastgate showed J-8 for a pair of jacks (and had a straight draw after the flop). The pot pushed Eastgate to over 100 million chips, giving him nearly a 3:1 advantage.
Eastgate became the first Dane to win the WSOP Main Event and just the second bracelet winner from Denmark ever. The other is Jesper Hougaard, who has two WSOP titles under his belt. Eastgate broke Hellmuth’s record for youngest Main Event champion ever by nearly two full years, as Hellmuth was 24 years, 10 months, and 5 days old when he won back in 1989.
The newly crowned champion commented to WSOP officials after the final cards were dealt, “I do not think I have realized yet what a big moment this is. It will come in the next days and weeks. I expect I will get emotional about it later, but not as much now.” His win came at the end of a grueling final table. Although it was spread out over two days, with play on Sunday determining the final two contestants, who returned to the Rio on Monday, the 2008 WSOP Main Event final table was the longest in history at 15 hours and 39 minutes. The old record was the 14 hour marathon when Joe Hachem took down the 2005 title, defeating Steven Dannenmann.
On the final hand of the night, Demidov, who had about half of his stack already invested in the pot, pushed all in on a board of 2-K-3-4-7. Demidov flipped over 2-4 for two pair. Eastgate showed A-5 for a turned wheel. On his tournament, Demidov remarked, “I think I played really well at the start, but I did not play as well towards the end. It is really tough to say what went wrong. Every time I tried to bluff, he called and had a hand.”
Eastgate took home $9,152,416 for the win. Demidov took home a $5,809,595 consolation prize. Amazingly, Eastgate is already in second place on the all-time WSOP money list, trailing only Jamie Gold, who won $12,067,092 for taking down the 2006 Main Event. The $9.1 million payout was the second largest in WSOP history. Here is a look at the final payouts from the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event:
1st Place: Peter Eastgate, $9,152,416
2nd Place: Ivan Demidov, $5,809,595
3rd Place: Dennis Phillips, $4,517,773
4th Place: Ylon Schwartz, $3,774,974
5th Place: Scott Montgomery, $3,096,768
6th Place: Darus Suharto, $2,418,562
7th Place: David “Chino” Rheem, $1,772,650
8th Place: Kelly Kim, $1,288,217
9th Place: Craig Marquis, $900,670
The final table will air tonight on cable station ESPN. Network officials will spend Tuesday editing the two-hour show as well as adding commentary from Norman Chad and Lon McEachern.
(Credit: Poker News Daily)
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