After a grueling Day 2, the final nine players in Event #39, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, returned to the Amazon Room at the Rio for their shot at glory in the 2008 World Series of Poker. Only chip leader Thom Werthmann started the day with a prior WSOP bracelet, while several of the final-table players were making their first ever WSOP cash. Werthmann started the day atop the leader board, as the final table chip counts looked like this:
Thom Werthmann — 1,600,000
Thanh Dat Tran — 1,255,000
Curtis Early — 1,225,000
David Woo — 1,090,000
Matt Wood — 675,000
Habib Khanis — 645,000
Eric Beren — 640,000
Jim Paras — 535,000
Michael Glasser — 495,000
Jim Paras came to play, and it didn't take him long to get his short stack in the middle. On a flop of , Paras moved all in with . David Woo quickly called with for bottom set. The turn brought outs for Paras, but the river left Woo's full house intact and sent Paras to the rail just five hands into the final table. Paras picked up $58,290 for his ninth-place finish.
Play was otherwise deliberate throughout the final table, as the players picked their spots and generally avoided big confrontations as they tried to inch their way up the money ladder. With several of these players making their first major final table, the difference in cash in each spot was not insignificant. Mike Glasser started the day as the short stack, and picked up nearly $30,000 extra just by outlasting Paras. Glasser busted in eighth place ($85,394) when he lost a race to Matt Wood. That happened when Glasser moved all in preflop with pocket nines, and Wood called with . Glasser held his lead on the flop, and the turn was no help to either player. The river brought the and washed away Glasser's hopes for a first WSOP bracelet. Glasser logged his third cash of the 2008 WSOP with his eighth-place finish.
David Woo then reclaimed elimination duties at the final table, sending Thanh Dat Tran to the rail in seventh place ($113,240). Woo moved all in over the top of Tran's preflop raise, and Tran went into the tank for a while before making the call with . Woo tabled the dominating , and Tran was eliminated as the board ran out .
Woo then trimmed the field to four with a double elimination, sending Thom Werthmann (fifth, $191,209) and Curtis Early (sixth, $150,368) to the rail in the same hand. Woo limped in from middle position, and Early limped from the button in what started off as a sedate, friendly hand of poker. Matt Wood completed his small blind, and Thom Werthmann checked his option from the big blind, as four players saw a flop of . Fireworks ensued after Werthmann led out at the flop. Woo made the call and Early moved all in over the top. Wood got out of the way, and Werthmann raised all in over the top of Early. Woo barely hesitated before making the call with for the flopped Broadway straight. Early tabled for top pair with the straight draw, and Werthmann showed for top two pair. The turn and river came down , and Woo knocked out two opponents in one exciting hand.
Habib Khanis was next to fall when he pushed all in preflop and was called by Eric Beren with . Nothing out of the ordinary happened as the board ran out . Beren's king kicker played, and Khanis picked up $233,906 for his fourth-place finish.
Beren lasted another couple dozen hands before he got the last of his chips in against Matt Wood with . Wood dominated preflop with , and the board ran out , bringing no hearts or ten for Beren, and he went to the rail in third place ($278,460).
David Woo took the chip lead into heads-up play, but it took nearly 40 hands for the bracelet to be decided. The chip stacks looked like this when heads-up play began:
David Woo — 5,000,000
Matthew Wood — 3,165,000
In the final hand, Matt Wood raised from the button with , and Woo made the call. The flop brought , and Woo led out, Wood raised, and Woo three-bet. After a few minutes of thought, Wood shoved all in, putting the decision back on Woo. After some consideration, Woo made the call with . His overpair led as the turn brought the , and Wood needed a nine or a six to survive. The river brought the , and Wood was eliminated in second place for $389,844. David Woo had claimed his first WSOP bracelet and the $631,656 first prize.