WSOPE 2008 – Afghan Defeats Austrian Heads-Up in HORSE Tournament

Deanna Goodson - 26 Sep 2008

Event #2 at the WSOPE was a £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament. A relatively small field of 110 players entered the tournament. However, the depth of talent was intense. Barry Greenstein and John Juanda, two of the world’s best and brightest players headed to the rail early on Day 1 of the tournament.

The big story of the first day of play was Howard Lederer. The talented “Professor” rose to the chip lead and dominated the action. Lederer, who has several World Series of Poker bracelets as well as a WPT title, made it to the final table with his chip lead intact. Joining him at the star-studded final table were Phil Ivey and Jeff Lisandro. Lisandro and Ivey made fairly early exits from the table. Lisandro, who earned his first WSOP bracelet in Seven Card Stud back in 2007, was the seventh place finisher.

Ivey, a recent winner of the Full Tilt Poker Million Dollar Cash game, headed to the rail in sixth position. The “Tiger Woods of Poker” lost his tournament life on a hand of stud. Ironically he lost to fellow American Mark Gregorich’s pair of Queens in Old Blighty. The talented Ivey collected his £13,750 and will most likely make a return trip to a final table soon. Perhaps in the Main Event, which begins on Saturday?

At this point, the Afghan player Sherkhan Farnood KO’d Gregorich taking most of Gregorich and Ivey’s chips. Each of the four remaining players took turns as the chip leader. Then, London’s last great hope for the title Jeff Duvall hit the rail.

As three-handed play got underway, the match looked more like chess than poker. Perhaps Austrian player Ivo “The Chess Master” Donev’s influence had something do do with it. Regardless Donev, Lederer and Farnood spent about three hours weighing their options and taking their time on each hand. Then, the near-unthinkable happened. Lederer went out. He went from former chip leader to railbird after some big hits to his stack. Donev gave him the fatal blow in a stud hi/lo hand. He received £30,250 for the effort.

As a result, Donev, went into heads-up play with a nice chip lead. However, during a big razz hand, Farnood, a resident of Kunduz, turned the tables and never looked back. Soon afterwards, he became the first player from Afghanistan to win a WSOPE bracelet and only the second ever to earn a World Series title.

(Note: Qushqar Morad was the first player to do so. He accomplished the feat in 2002 by winning the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Tourney at the 33rd Annual WSOP)

These are the final results:

1) Sherkhan Farnood (Afghanistan) - £76,999
2) Ivo Donev (Austria) - £48,125
3) Howard Lederer (United States) - £30,250
4) Jeff Duvall (United Kingdom) - £22,000
5) Mark Gregorich (United States) - £17,188
6) Phil Ivey (Las Vegas) - £13,750
7) Jeffrey Lisandro (Italy) - £11,000
8) Spencer Lawrence (United Kingdom) - £8,938

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