When the back and forth tussle was over early Saturday, Chip Reese won his first World Series of Poker event in 24 years and collected his richest tournament paycheck ever - more than $1.78 million.
His last championship, in 1982, was worth $92,500.
Saturday's first-place prize was the highest payout in World Series of Poker history for any event other than the no-limit World Championship Texas hold'em match, which begins this year on July 28.
The championship bracelet is the third in Reese's collection, each given for winning a tournament event in what has become the world's largest poker marathon.
"It's pretty nice," said Reese. "This is the biggest payday I've ever had in tournament play."
The three-day HORSE tournament, which had a record buy-in of $50,000 per player and attracted 143 players, consisted of five different poker games that rotated every 40 minutes, with the stakes increasing roughly every three hours.
No-limit Texas Hold'em was the only game played during the 12-hour final table, which began with nine players just before 10 p.m. Friday.
When it came down to the final two, Reese, 55, went head-to-head against fellow pro Andy Bloch for a record 7 hours and 12 minutes. They played more than 300 hands, twice as many as it took to eliminate the previous seven players.
Spectators who had left the night before returned to the poker room again on Saturday morning to find the players hadn't moved.
Then, after 9 a.m., Reese pushed all his chips in holding an ace and a queen and Bloch called with a nine and eight. Five community cards gave both players a pair of sevens and a pair of fours, but Reese's high card won the day.
Bloch received $1.03 million for second place.
"Being the best is not just about winning one day or two days - it's every day," Reese said afterward. "Doyle Brunson was once asked who he thought the best poker player was, and Doyle said, 'I don't know, come back and ask me again in 20 years.' Being the best is proving it over the long run."