The second-ever $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tourney at the WSOP reached the end of its five-day run with an endurance-testing finale. Not long before dawn in Vegas, Lebanon-born Freddy Deeb finally wore down France's Bruno Fitoussi for the title. In other headlines, Phil Hellmuth once again extended his career record for WSOP cashes by notching his 62nd payday in Event #45, $5,000 No Limit Hold 'Em, his fifth of the series.
Event #39, the high-dollar H.O.R.S.E. tourney, began action with Amnon Filippi in the lead. On this day, though, the cards would not go Filippi's way, as he departed in fourth. As play passed midnight and into the morning hours, Deeb, Fitoussi, and the relatively unknown John Hanson played on. Deeb pressed his chip lead, though, and wore the others down, claiming the special diamond-studded bracelet and $2,276,832 winner's check. Fitoussi collected a tidy $1,278,720 for finishing second, while Hanson won $852,480 for third.
Another bracelet was awarded on Thursday, to admittedly less fanfare. Said Ahmad, though, likely won't mind. Ahmad captured the title in Event #43, $2,000 Limit Hold 'Em, finishing off William Jensen for the win. Ahmad's triumph was worth $217,329.
Event #45, $5,000 No Limit Hold 'Em, attracted a high-profile field, among them Hellmuth and Men Nguyen, who, when the money bubble burst at the end of the day's action, assured themselves of their 62nd and 56th career WSOP cashes. Hellmuth's 62nd cash extends his own record, which stood at 57 before the WSOP began four weeks ago, and he returns to Day Two in sixth place, with Dutch Boyd at the top of the board. Nguyen sits in tenth, while other big names near the front include Bill Gazes (fourth), Ram Vaswani (fifth), Erik Friberg (seventh) and Alex Brenes (eighth).
Over in Event #44, $2,000 Omaha High/Low Split, the field was trimmed from 77 to the final nine. Marcel Luske stayed near the top all day and comes to today's final table with a narrow chip lead over Ming Lee and Frankie O'Dell, with the winner's share of $240,057 at stake.
The $1,000 Seven Card Stud High/Low event (#46), drew the late-afternoon Thursday start. The 688-player field was whittled down to 185 by night's end, with Yueqi Zhu the overnight leader. Ron Ware, Dan Heimiller and O'Neil Longson are among those close behind, while Doyle Brunson, Scotty Nguyen and many other notable players remain in the hunt.
Two new events begin on Friday. Event #47, $2,000 No Limit Hold 'Em, began at noon and drew a large field, while 5pm local time brings the kickoff of Event #48, $1,000 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw (w/ Rebuys). More reports will be available throughout the day in PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' section.