High-roller H.O.R.S.E. tournaments in the World Series of Poker like this year’s $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. event draw some of the toughest fields in the entire series. The prohibitively expensive buy-in, coupled with the necessity to play five different poker variants at a high level made this tournament an unlikely attraction for non-professional tournament players, as indicated by the small field of just 78 entries. Jesse Klein was an exception to this rule, and he now has a WSOP gold bracelet and a first-place prize of $552,182 to show for it.
Klein had a grand total of five documented live cashes on his Hendon mob page before his victory on Saturday night. All five of those cashes came in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments in Atlantic City from 2008 through 2010, adding up to just $23,100. So it goes without saying that this Pennsylvania native would not have been a betting favorite to run deep in this event.
What most of the field and the poker community may not have known, however, was that one of the main reasons for Klein’s lack of tournament success was that he preferred playing live mixed cash games to tournaments. Klein told PokerNews in an interview that the temptation of a high-stakes mixed-games tournament like this one was too much to resist, and that he flew out to Las Vegas specifically for this tournament.
The WSOP $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament had a loaded final table
A total of 12 players were paid in this event, which had a total prize pool of $1,842,750. Poker Go founder Cary Katz, who has over $30 million in live poker tournament earnings, was the first player eliminated in the money. Roland Israelashvili and Daniel Negreanu were knocked out in 11th place and 10th place respectively on the same hand by Benny Glaser. Negreanu of course is a six-time WSOP bracelet winner with over $40 million in live poker tournament earnings. Israelashvili is the all-time leader in WSOP cashes with 286.
The final table had four WSOP bracelet winners on it: one-time winner David Benyamine, three-time winners Benny Glaser and Ben Yu, and 15-time winner Phil Hellmuth (who finished in sixth place). The table also included Chad Eveslage with $3,636,110 in documented live tournament earnings and Matt Glantz with $7,170,611 in live tournament earnings.
Jesse Klein never looked out of place despite the star-studded field around him. He finished Day 1 in fourth place with 490,500 chips and Day 2 in second place with 1,800,000 chips. Klein did not struggle under pressure, building up a massive chip lead over Glaser and Benyamine during three-handed play. The father of two took 87% of the chips in play into heads-up against Glaser, and only needed about 20 minutes to seal the victory.
Final Table Payouts
1. Jesse Klein: $552,182
2. Benny Glaser: $341,274
3. David Benyamine: $236,626
4. Chad Eveslage: $169,218
5. Philip Sternheimer: $124,935
6. Phil Hellmuth: $95,329
7. Ben Yu: $75,260
8. DJ Buckley: $61,549
9. Matt Glantz: $52,211
Featured Image Credit: Twitter – WSOP