Scotty Nguyen won $1,989,120 at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, topping a field of 148 players and emerging from a final table of eight after a marathon session of 14½ hours.
Nguyen beat 23-year-old Michael DeMichele early Monday in HORSE, a rotating-game tournament with a $50,000 entry fee, the highest of any annual tournament in the world. The various games and limited betting structure reward all-around play and is said to truly challenge the best players over the long haul. Only the players that excel in each of the five games entered this Event 45, and the final table was filled with some of the biggest names in the poker world.
Nguyen won the final hand at hold 'em, pushing DeMichele all-in with A-10. DeMichele called with A-3 and after a board of A-9-6-7-4, DeMichele was eliminated in second place and Nguyen was holding the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy and his fifth WSOP bracelet. Reese died last December; the WSOP Players Advisory Council voted unanimously to award a trophy in his honor to the winner of this tournament.
Nguyen, one of the more colorful players in the game, told the World Series of Poker that this victory meant more to him than just another bracelet.
"When I was first coming into poker, I wanted to be playing with Doyle [Brunson], Chip [Reese], and Stuey [Ungar]," Nguyen said. "Now, two of them are gone. I wanted to win this trophy to be the first winner to honor Chip."
With his victory, Nguyen becomes the first WSOP main event champion to win the $50,000 HORSE event. Huck Seed, who also reached the final table, was hoping to set the same record.
DeMichele, who finished in third place at the United States Poker Championship in 2006, was proud of his accomplishment, but felt he's only starting his career.
"I never dreamed I would finish this deep," DeMichele said. "There were so many players deserving of this victory more than me -- I was the new kid on the block."
Sixteen players made the money in this event, earning at least double the entry fee. Last year's winner, Freddy Deeb, was eliminated on Day 2. The HORSE tournament, also known as the Player's Championship, began in 2006, with Reese winning the inaugural event.
Below are the complete results from Event 45 of the 2008 World Series of Poker:
Event 45: HORSE
Prize pool: $7,104,000
Players in the money: 16
1. Scotty Nguyen ($1,989,120)
2. Michael DeMichele ($1,243,200)
3. Erick Lindgren ($781,440)
4. Matt Glantz ($568,320)
5. Lyle Berman ($444,000)
6. Barry Greenstein ($355,200)
7. Huck Seed ($284,160)
8. Patrick Bueno ($230,880)
9. Rafael Perry ($177,600)
10. Raymond Davis ($177,600)
11. David Bach ($159,840)
12. Phil Ivey ($159,840)
13. Daniel Negreanu ($142,080)
14. Joseph Michael ($142,080)
15. Andrew Bloch ($124,320)
16. Doyle Brunson ($124,320)