2009 Legends of Poker Recap
August 27, 2021
In the 2008 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker, renowned tournament pro John Phan outlasted 371 players to earn $1,091,428 and a title already shared by poker heavy-hitters Doyle Brunson and Dan Harrington. In 2009, many wondered if yet another well-known pro could possibly follow suit and continue the tradition of a legend actually winning the Legends of Poker.

When the 2009 WPT Legends of Poker began, the prospect of another big name star winning the event seemed highly unlikely. 279 players opted to enter the tourney, and despite many pros like Daniel Negreanu, Greg “FBT” Mueller, Layne Flack, Nick Schulman, Vanessa Rousso, Allen Cunningham and Carlos Mortensen in attendance, there were countless more unknown players.

After the event’s opening weekend, the original field had been whittled down to 73, with a few notables still in contention. Some of the pros that survived the first two days included Negreanu, Nick Schulman, Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Prahlad Friedman and PokerRoad’s Bryan “Devo” Devonshire.

Day 3 of the Legends saw the field shrink further with nearly all of the pros mentioned above being sent to the rail, including Devo, who held the chip lead when the 28th place money bubble burst, only to be eliminated two spots later (first doubling up Matt Marafioti and then finding himself on the losing end of a flopped flush vs. flopped higher flush situation against Todd Terry - not only the biggest pot of the night but also the last one Devonshire would see).

Following one more day of competition, the final table was set and two well-known players remained in contention to carry on the “legends” tradition: WSOP bracelet winners Toto Leonidas and Prahlad Friedman.

Neither pro held the chip lead entering the final table, that honor instead went to Kevin Schaffel, an unknown last year in the poker community but no longer after making both the Legends AND 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event final tables.

The final table chip counts for the 2009 WPT Legends of Poker were as follows:

1. Kevin Schaffel 2,234,000  
2. Todd Terry 2,219,000  
3. Prahlad Friedman 1,476,000  
4. Mike Krescanko 1,209,000  
5. Sam Stein 743,000  
6. Toto Leonidas 580,000  

Schaffel outlasted over 6,400 players to reach this November’s WSOP Main Event final table, and at the Legends - in an amazing example of playing “the rush” - Schaffel nearly outlasted the entire 279-person starting field before finally ending his run with a second place finish worth over $470,000.

Almost as remarkable as Schaffel making it all the way to second place was the fact that, once again, the winner of the Legends was a well-known tournament pro, though often times he is as “well known” for his rapping as he is for skills at the felt - Prahlad Friedman.

The final table finishes for the 2009 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker main event were as follows:

1. Prahlad Friedman $1,009,000  
2. Kevin Schaffel $471,670  
3. Todd Terry $231,300  
4. Toto Leonidas $144,600  
5. Sam Stein $116,225  
6. Mike Krescanko $89,220
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