20 players returned to the Amazon Room for Day 3 of Event #51, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., including Day 2 chip leader Phil Hellmuth, going for his record 12th World Series of Poker bracelet. With a limit format and two split-pot games in the mix, the drive to the final table was long, and the road to the bracelet even longer as James Schaaf outlasted a massive field of 803 competitors to claim his first WSOP bracelet.
It didn't take long for the field of 20 to thin down to two tables, as Edmond Tonnellier (20th), Jens Voertmann (19th), Hoyt Verner (18th) and Steven Wolff busted in the first level of the day. Wolff went to the rail in 17th when he got all his chips in the middle against Phillip Penn, Sr. with Ad-5c in a hold'em round. All the money went in on the flop of , and Penn called with . His big blind special held up as the turn and river ran out . Wolff picked up $6,686 for his finish.
Keith Sexton was one of the biggest names left in the field, and his exit came early on Day 3 as well. Sexton logged his 12th lifetime WSOP cash in Event 51, but busted in 15th ($8,878), well off the final table. He busted to Steve Diano in razz when his 10-7-4-2-A was no good to Diano's 8-5-4-3-A. Once Tommy Hang bounced Edward Brogdon in ninth place ($22,031), the final table was set and players took a dinner break.
When the eight survivors returned from dinner, the final table looked like this:
1 - James Schaaf - 392,000
2 - Matt Grapenthien - 46,000
3 - Sam Silverman - 310,000
4 - Phil Hellmuth - 400,000
5 - Jason Dollinger - 346,000
6 - Tommy Hang - 680,000
7 - Victor Ramdin - 78,000
8 - Esther Rossi - 166,000
Matt Grapenthien was the first to fall, busting in eighth place ($27,511) in an Omaha hi/lo hand. Grapenthien, Tommy Hang and Victor Ramdin all checked the flop. Grapenthien led out at the turn, and Hang raised. Ramdin got out of the way, and Grapenthien called all in. Hang tabled for the full house, while Grapenthien was looking for help with for trips. The on the river was no help, and Grapenthien was eliminated. Ramdin busted in seventh place when he got the last of his short stack in the middle in a stud hand against Sam Silverman and James Schaaf. Schaaf led out on every street until Silverman folded on fifth street. Schaaf tabled two pair, tens and deuces to send Ramdin to the rail with $32,992 in consolation money.
Sam Silverman was next to fall in hold'em when he ran pocket threes into Jason Dollinger's pocket sevens preflop. The board ran out , and Silverman was done in sixth place ($42,966). Play slowed considerably when it went five-handed, taking almost as many hands to eliminate Jason Dollinger in fifth place ($54,804) as is did to take out everyone before him.
In stud, Dollinger completed with in the door, and Tommy Hang raised with the showing. Dollinger re-raised, and Hand called. Dollinger led out again on fourth street when he drew the , and Hang called after catching the . Dollinger paired his king on fifth street and led out once again, sending Hang deep into the tank. After careful consideration, Hang raised, and Dollinger called all in. Dollinger showed  to Hang's  -x. Dollinger failed to improve on sixth or seventh, and Hang's trip sevens were good.
If play slowed after Sam Silverman's elimination in sixth, the pace became absolutely glacial after Dollinger went to the rail. Finally the blinds caught up to the tightness of play, and Esther Rossi busted in fourth ($68,505). Phil Hellmuth raised from the button with in hold'em, and Rossi re-raised all in with from the big blind. Hellmuth called, and the board ran out . Hellmuth's king kicker played, and Rossi was busted.
Hellmuth's quest for a 12th bracelet ended just a few hands later, as he got it all in preflop in Omaha hi/lo with Tommy Hang. Hellmuth showed to Hang's . The board came down , and Hang's two pair was good enough to send Hellmuth home just shy of his bracelet. Hellmuth picked up $93,168 for third place.
Tommy Hang took nearly a 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play, but over the next 60 hands James Schaaf chipped away and finally took the chip lead. In the final hand of stud hi/lo, Schaaf raised on third street with the in the door. Hang called with the showing, and then led out with on fourth street. Schaaf called after catching the , and then took the lead in betting when he caught the on fifth street. Hang's fifth-street card was the ; he called, then raised all in on sixth street when he picked up the . Schaaf caught the and called, then revealed   for trip eights. Hang was one pip behind with trip sevens, tabling  , and he was busted in second place ($158,933).
James Schaaf claimed a WSOP bracelet in his first trip to the Word Series, outlasting some of the biggest names in the business on his way to the gold and the $256,412 first prize.