After three grueling days and an extraordinarily long final table, Sherkhan Farnood came from behind to best Ivo Donev heads-up to capture his first WSOPE bracelet and claim the £76,999 top prize in Event #2 £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. Along the way he faced some of the world's toughest mixed-game players in what is considered one of the toughest formats in tournament poker. Finally, after back-to-back 14-hour days, Farnood became the champion in an endurance-themed tournament run.
Howard Lederer kicked off Day 3 atop the leader board, as the final 11 players returned to the felt after a long Day 2. Raul Paez started off as the shortest stack, and all his chips went in against chip leader Lederer on the very first hand. On a flop of , Lederer led out while holding , and Paez called. Lederer fired again when the came on the turn, and Paez called all in. Paez showed and was well behind Lederer's flopped two pair. The river was no help to Paez as Lederer scooped the pot and sent him to the rail in 11th place (£6,188).
Yuval Bronshtein moved the last of his chips in on the first hand of stud hi/lo, showing . Phil Ivey called with and caught the on later streets to go with the king he had in the hole. Ivey's pair of kings was good enough to bust Bronshtein in 10th place (£6,875). Erik Albinsson then became the final-table bubble boy when Jeff Lisandro sent him home in ninth place (£6,875) during the round of stud hi/lo.
Howard Lederer took the chip lead into the final table as the stacks and seating assignments looked like this:
Seat 1: Sherkhan Farnood 88,000
Seat 2: Phil Ivey 139,000
Seat 3: Spencer Lawrence 113,500
Seat 4: Jeffrey Lisandro 165,000
Seat 5: Ivo Donev 65,000
Seat 6: Jeff Duvall 136,000
Seat 7: Howard Lederer 283,500
Seat 8: Mark Gregorich 104,000
Spencer Lawrence got all his chips in the middle on third street in a stud hi/lo hand that saw three-way action between Jeff Duvall, Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey on the side pot. Duvall started with a ten in the door and picked up another on fourth street. He led out, and Ivey folded. Lederer called with showing, and Duvall bet out again on fifth street when he picked up the . Lederer caught the on fifth and called. Both men checked on sixth street, as Lederer picked up the and Duvall drew the . By seventh street, Lawrence had a pair of nines up; Duvall showed a pair of tens and Lederer showed three spades and three to a low. Lederer and Duvall checked seventh street, and Duvall showed kings in the hole for two pair for the high hand. Lederer showed an ace in the hole for a pair, and Duvall scooped the pot when Lawrence showed nines and threes for the high. Lawrence picked up £8,938 for his eighth-place finish.
Jeff Lisandro was next to fall as he got it all in with Howard Lederer in a hold'em hand. The last chips went in on the turn with the board reading . Lisandro's pocket jacks were no good against Lederer's for the turned straight. The on the river was no help for Lisandro, and he went home in seventh place (£11,000).
Phil Ivey's quest for a sixth WSOP bracelet ended in sixth place when he ran into Mark Gregorich in stud. With a board showing , Ivey called off his last chips on seventh street when Gregorich bet in the dark behind a board of . Ivey made the call and Gregorich showed queens in the hole with an ace for two pair. Ivey mucked and headed off to collect £13,750 for his sixth-place finish.
Gregorich was next to fall, finishing in fifth place at the hands of Sherkhan Farnood. Farnood three-bet preflop in hold'em, and Gregorich called to see a flop of . Gregorich led out at the flop and Farnood raised. Gregorich called to see the come on the turn. Gregorich checked, then moved all in for barely more than Farnood's bet. Farnood called and showed . Gregorich revealed and needed help. The river wasn't it, and Gregorich was done in fifth place (£17,188).
As the evening wore on, the remaining players took turns leading the pack and riding the short stack. After a hard-fought three days, Jeff Duvall's tournament came to an end in fourth place (£22,000). Duvall, Sherkhan and Howard Lederer all saw a flop of in Omaha hi/lo. All three players checked the turn and Duvall led out on the river. Lederer raised, Farnood folded, and Duvall called for his tournament life. Lederer showed for a 7-low and the nut flush, as Duvall mucked his hand and headed to the rail.
After Duvall's departure, it took more than three hours for the next elimination to occur. When it finally happened, it was one-time chip leader Howard Lederer that headed home after a series of tough hands. First he lost a big razz pot to Donev to surrender the chip lead, and then he found himself crippled in a big stud hand with Sherkhan Farnood.
Lederer had the bring-in with the in the door. Farnood completed with the showing. Donev folded, and Lederer called. Farnood picked up the on fourth street and led out again, and Lederer called with the . Farnood bet again on fifth street, and Lederer called again. On sixth street, with his board reading , Farnood checked. Lederer bet out with showing, and Farnood called. Both players checked seventh street and Farnood showed eights in the hole for one pair. Lederer looked back at his hand and mucked, crippled. Lederer went out in third place (£30,250) a few hands later in stud hi/lo.
Ivo Donev took a significant chip lead into heads-up play, but a big win in razz by Farnood turned the tables for the last time. By the time all the bets were in and the dust had settled, Farnood tabled a J-6-5-3-A, just barely good enough to beat Donev's J-7 low. That hand brought Farnood back to even in chips and swung the momentum firmly in his direction. From that hand, it seemed that Donev could get no traction, as he slowly bled chips until finally all the chips went in the middle on third street in stud. Donev started the hand with the showing, and Farnood showed the . By the end of the hand, Farnood held   for queens up, while Donev showed   for a busted club-flush draw. After hours of final-table play, Ivo Donev finished in second place for £48,125.
Sherkhan Farnood became only the second Afghanistani to win a WSOP bracelet, following Qushqar Morad in 2002, as he picked up his first bracelet and the £76,999 first-place prize money. The businessman and amateur poker player held his own against one of the toughest fields in the world for three days and came out on top in Event #2 of the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe.
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