Longest, Biggest, Richest Poker Tournament Series Ends with First-Ever Danish Champion Topping the Famed 'November Nine'
* The 2008 World Series of Poker champion is Peter Eastgate, from Odense, Denmark.
* Eastgate is a 22-year-old professional poker player. He was born in Denmark and is a Danish citizen. However, he spends much of his time in London (UK) playing poker.
* First-place paid $9,152,416 in prize money - the second-highest poker payout in history.
* Eastgate is fluent in both Danish and English.
* Eastgate becomes the first Danish WSOP Main Event champion in history.
* The previous WSOP gold bracelet winners who were nationals of Denmark include only player, Jesper Hougaard, from Copenhagen. Hougaard currently holds two WSOP gold bracelets - one from earlier this year in Las Vegas and a second won in London at WSOP-Europe last month.
* Eastgate's win instantly vaults him up in second place on the WSOP all-time money winners' list. Only 2006 world champion Jamie Gold has won more prize money, at $12,067,092.
* Prior to Eastgate's victory, the last time a non-American won the WSOP Main Event was in 2005, when Australian Joe Hachem was the winner.
* With Eastgate's win, foreign-born players have now won 6 of the last 11 world championships (Nguyen, Furlong, Mortensen, Hachem, Yang, and Eastgate).
* Eastgate became the youngest WSOP Main Event champion in history. He was aged 22 years, 10 months, and 28 days at the time of his victory. This smashed the previous record by nearly two years. The previous record was held by Phil Hellmuth, Jr. who was aged 24 years, 10 months, and 5 days at the time of his victory in 1989.
* "I do not think I have realized yet what a big moment this is. It will come the next days and weeks. I expect I will get emotional about it later. But not as much now." - Peter Eastgate following his victory
* Eastgate says he plans to go with his parents on a vacation after his victory. "I love my parents," he said. "I want to treat them as I have always treated them - with love and respect."
* "I like to gamble. The way I have learned to play poker is by putting a lot of hours into it and learning from my mistakes." - Peter Eastgate following his victory
* I like the psychological aspects of poker." - Peter Eastgate following his victory
* "I was not focusing on the records I could break (as the youngest winner or the first Dane to win). I just concentrated on the game." -- Peter Eastgate following his victory
* Eastgate admitted to being only a break even player during the first two years he turned pro.
* Eastgate said he bought into the Main Event with cash. He did not qualify via a satellite.
* The 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event began on July 3rd. The official Day Seven was played 11 days later on Monday, July 14th. Once the final nine players were finally determined, there was an unprecedented 117-day recess.
* The nine surviving players who made it to the final table were deemed "The November Nine." Fittingly, play resumed on November 9th.
* Final table play officially started at 11:08 am. The first day ended 13 hours and 27 minutes later, at 12:35 am.
* Continuation of the final table resumed at 10:34 pm the following night, and officially ended at 2:36 am. Hence, the combined length of the finale clocked in at 15 hours and 39 minutes. This broke the previous record for the longest WSOP Main Event final table, which took place in 2005 (won by Joe Hachem). The previous record was 14 hours. Note: Dinner breaks are excluded from time official records.
* The final table lasted 278 hands. More than a third of the hands were played heads up.
* The final table was played onstage at the Penn and Teller Theatre at the Rio in Las Vegas. This was the first time this venue had been used and was the seventh locale in the 39-year history of the WSOP. Previous final table locations included - (Old) Binion's Horseshoe baccarat pit, (Old) Binion's Horseshoe rear casino, (New) Binion's Horseshoe Poker Room, (New) Binion's Horseshoe Benny's Bullpen, Fremont Street Experience, and the Rio Pavilion Amazon Room. Note: "Old" refers to the older East side of the Horseshoe, while "new" refers to the West side of the casino, which was expanded with The Mint was acquired in 1988.
* Both days/nights attracted capacity crowds. One-time attendance was estimated at 1,065 given the number of seats inside the arena. However, many different spectators rotated through the arena over duration of the two day competition. The actual number of spectators who saw at least some portion of the WSOP final table live this year is estimated at about 3,000. This was the largest crowd ever to watch a poker game of any kind, in a live setting.
* For the first time in poker history, a tournament blind reached the 1,000,000 mark. Level 39 was reached, meaning the big blind was 1,000,000 (the small blind was 500,000, along with a 150,000 ante). Interestingly, the 1,000,000 blind level with the mandatory 150,000 ante meant that each hand cost the equivalent in starting chips from 57.5 entrants into the Main Event.
* This was the final day of a 62-day span which comprises the totality of 59 gold bracelet events (including WSOP-Europe).
* The $10,000 buy-in championship is officially listed as Event #54. Due to the 117-day delay, the event ended after the conclusion of Events 55-59.
* The final table (first day) began with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack addressing the large crowd and the final nine players who were assembled onstage. Pollack thanked the players for being poker ambassadors during the layoff.
* Prior to play, each of the nine finalists received a Corum limited-edition W.S.O.P. "Romvlvs" timepiece. Each watch dial featured the card suit of choice, engraved with the player's name and starting chip count on the reverse. The special presentation was made by President of Corum Watches, Michael Wunderman.
* Rio Las Vegas General Manager Gerry Tuthill also took the stage to thank the players and audience for their support of the WSOP. The Rio has been the home of the WSOP since 2005, and has attracted record numbers each of the four years the property has played host to poker's supreme event.
* 2007 World Series of Poker champion Jerry Yang provided the ceremonial "Shuffle Up and Deal" announcement. He took a few moments to thank poker fans for all their support and jokingly noted that he was the longest reigning single year WSOP champion in history. Of course, Yang's extended poker sovereignty was made possible by the unprecedented 117-day layoff.
* The chip leader at the start of play was Dennis Phillips (St. Louis, MO). Peter Eastgate, the ultimate victor began play ranked fourth.
* All players who made it to the final table were guaranteed a payout of $900,670. However, Harrah's added another $98,179 in prize money to the top eight finishers. This was the amount of interest paid on the $24,527,416 which accrued interest during the four-month layoff.
* The runner up was Ivan Demidov, from Moscow, Russia. Demidov was vying to become the first Russian poker world champion in history, but came up just short.
* It's astonishing to think that the second-place cash prize ($5,809,595) still amounts to a figure larger than any other poker tournament in the world.
* Demidov's victory would have meant that two of the top titles in poker would have been held by natives of Russia. Five months ago, Svetlana Gromenkova (from Moscow) won the 2008 Ladies World Poker Championship.
* Demidov became the first player to ever make it to the final table of the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP-Europe Main Event. Incredibly, Demidov accomplished this feat within the same year.
* Demidov had the chip lead a significant part of the first day of the final table. However, Eastgate proved to be a formidable foe, as Demidov was unable to establish any momentum during the final few hours which might have catapulted him to victory.
* The final hand of the 2008 WSOP came when Eastgate was dealt Ad-5s against Demidov's 4h-2h. The final board showed K-3-2-4-7 (suits were insignificant). Demidov called Eastgate's all-in move and tabled two pair - fours and twos. Eastgate showed A-5, good for the straight, five-high.
* "I was lucky on the last hand. Ivan had two pair, and I had a wheel. When that happens heads-up, all the money is (going to go into the pot)." - Peter Eastgate explaining the winning final hand
* Just because I won the heads-up does not make me a better player than (Demidov). It goes to show that it is sometimes good to be lucky." -- Peter Eastgate explaining the winning final hand
* Demidov was profoundly disappointed, but was also gracious in defeat. He congratulated the new champion and remained onstage afterward for multiple media interviews.
* "I think I played really well at the start. But I did not play as well towards the end. It is really tough to say what went wrong. Every time I tried to bluff he called, and had a hand." - Ivan Demidov moments after being eliminated in second place
* "It has been a great year for me.... - Ivan Demidov moments after being eliminated in second place
* The third-place finisher was Dennis Phillips, from St. Louis, MO.
* Phillips was accompanied by the largest cheering section in poker history. More than 300 friends and co-workers came to Las Vegas to support Phillips. Adorned in white shirts and logos, Phillips' army of supporters was one of the final table's most memorable highlights.
* The fourth-place finisher was Ylon Schwartz. The enigmatic former chess pro from Brooklyn, NY was cheered by a dozen or so supporters. Schwartz was the final table's most unorthodox player. He vowed to run away and disappear if he won the world championship. Yet, Ylon was gracious even in defeat. He returned to the final table on day two and watched Eastgate's victory.
* Former WSOP Main Event winners who made a ceremonial appearance at this final table included Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Chris Moneymaker, Jamie Gold, and Jerry Yang.
* None of the top four finishers wore glasses at the final table. However, all nine players wore caps adorned with various logos.
* The fifth-place finisher was Canadian player Scott Montgomery, from Perth, Ontario.
* Montgomery was eliminated by a one-outer on the river. "Hopefully, I'll do better next time," he said.
* The sixth-place finisher was another Canadian player, Darus Suharto - from Toronto, Ontario.
* Suharto says he plans to return to his job as an accountant, despite his big win. I made a commitment and I want to stick with it (regardless of poker)," he said.
* The seventh-place finisher was David "Chino" Rheem, from Los Angeles, CA.
* "For the most part, I did not get a lot of hands. I think I played great. I was just really card deal." - Rheem following his elimination
* Rheem was the only player at the final table who showed any political allegiances. Rheem sported an "Obama "08" button on his shirt.
* The eighth-place finisher was Kelly Kim, from Whittier, CA.
* Kim arrived at the final table with only two percent of the chips in play. He managed to survive three hours before he was finally eliminated.
* "I thought I had a shot today. But I wanted to wait and survive (the early rounds). It's really tough when you are short-stacked. It's amazing that I was able to move up." - Kelly Kim, moments after being eliminated
* Kim's patience paid off, as his leap from an expected ninth-place finish (according to chance) up to eighth place paid and extra $380,547 in prize money.
* Kim was ecstatic following Marguis' elimination. The unanticipated bust out inched him one spot higher in the prize money, worth an extra $388,000 in prize money.
* The ninth-place finisher was Craig Marquis, from Arlington, TX. Marquis was bidding to become the first Texan to win the WSOP in 23 years, when Bill Smith (from Dallas) was the 1985 Main Event.
* "Everyone has a big hand where they take the worst of it at some point, and they hit a hand just to get here. I had a few of those. Now, it was Scott (Montgomery's) turn. That's the way poker is." - Craig Marquis, moments after being eliminated
* "It feels bad to be knocked out ninth. But I was playing to win, all the way. I was not trying to just move up to seventh or eighth place." - Craig Marquis, moments after being eliminated
* "It's sad to be over. But on the other hand, it will really be nice to get back to my real life again." -- Craig Marquis, moments after being eliminated
* The first elimination took two hours and ten minutes, which is believed to be a WSOP record (Note: Early years at the WSOP were not well documented).
* The first flop was not seen until 39 minutes into play.
* Ylon Schwartz made the first all-in move of the finale. Scott Montgomery folded to his raise.
* The first chip lead change took place when Ivan Demidov seized a sizable number of chips from Dennis Phillips' stack. Next, Ylon Schwartz took the chip lead. Then, Demidov regained the lead. Peter Eastgate took the chip lead late on the first day of the finale.
* First-place prize money totaling $9,152,416 was brought to the main stage immediately following a 75-minute dinner break. The colossal display of banknotes weighed an estimated 500 pounds. Two years ago, WSOP organizers placed a similar amount of prize money onto a large table, causing it to buckle from the massive weight. This year, organizers learned their lesson and the numerous stacks of one-hundred dollars bills were placed upon a reinforced table.
* The Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place during a break. The Hall of Fame was launched in 1979 and now includes 39 members. The "Class of 2008" included two new inductees - Dewey Tomko and Henry Orenstein.
* Nations represented at the final table included: United States (5 players), Canada (2 players), Denmark (1 player), and Russia (1 player).
* A Russian poker player has now made it to the final table in each of the last two years. Ivan Demidov followed in the footsteps of Alex Kravchenko, who finished in fourth place last year.
* A Canadian poker player has now made it to the final table in each of the last two years. Two Canadians, Darus Suharto and Scott Montgomery follow in the footsteps of Tuan Lam, who finished in second place last year.
* This was one of the younger final table averages in WSOP history. The youngest player (Eastgate) was 22. The oldest player (Phillips) was 53. The average age of the surviving players was 31.8 years. Five of the final nine were in their 20s.
* Late on Day Seven (played July 14th), although ten players actually sat at a single table, only the nine surviving players constitute the official "final table," in standard poker reporting and official WSOP records.
* The tenth-place money spot is now referred to as the "TV bubble." This is because the player did not partake in the three-month publicity build-up to the final table, nor the actual play of the November Nine," which will be shown on ESPN. Dean Hamrick ended up as the tenth-place finisher.
* The nine finalists were each paid 9th-place prize money ($900,670) when play was suspended on July 15th. The remainder of the prize money (the difference) was paid out at the Rio as players were eliminated.
* ESPN will broadcast the final table on Tuesday, November 11th, just hours after play ended on the previous days/nights. The show will air at 6 pm PST and runs for two hours.
* The final table was played just five days after the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election and Barack Obama's historic victory.
* Peter Eastgate played a total of 80.9 tournament hours to win his victory, not counting breaks or end of day recesses.
* When the tournament ended, all 136,900,000 chips were in Peter Eastgate's stack. He began the tournament like everyone else, with just 20,000 in chips.
* In the 39-year history of the WSOP, champions were citizens of the following nations at the time of victory: United States (35), England (1), Ireland (1), Australia (1), Spain (1), and Denmark (1).
* WSOP champions have now been born in the following nations: United States (31), Iran (2), Ireland (1), Lebanon (1), Ecuador (1), Laos (1), Vietnam (1), China (1), and Denmark (1).
* This was the largest overall World Series of Poker in history. A grand total of 58,720 players entered into 55 gold bracelet events surpassed last year's number of entries, which was 54,288. These figures represent an 8 percent increase over 2007.
* This ranks as the second-largest live poker tournament in history. This year's turnout surpassed 2007 attendance (6,358) by 7.4 percent. Only the 2006 WSOP Main Event was larger than this tournament -- with 8,773 entrants.
* This is the second-largest tournament prize pool in history. The total prize pool amounted to $64,431,779. The top 666 finishers collected prize money.
* There were 124 different nations and territories represented by all players who entered the 2008 Main Event. By contrast, there were 87 different countries present last year. This represents a 36 percent increase
in international participation.
For event results see the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event Result
2008 World Series of Poker
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
Buy-In: $ 10,000
Number of Entries: 6,844
Total Net Prize Pool: $64,431,779
Number of Places Paid: 666
First Place Prize: $9,152,416
July 3 - November 10, 2008