Friday, June 5, 2009

WSOP Day 9 - 6 of 1, Half a dozen of the other

Day number 9 of the 2009 World Series of Poker would bring another story for the history books, as two more champions were crowned. The most notable story had to be that of the 6th Bracelet of Poker legend, Phil Ivey. Ivey’s poker prowess is renowned throughout the poker world, and he is heralded by many as the greatest poker player to have ever lived. The owner of now 6 bracelets, Ivey is certainly more than deserving of being in the discussion.

Ivey took down Event #8, the Deuce to Seven Draw Lowball No Limit Event, besting a field of 147 to claim the top prize, but the player that became the 146th elimination proved to be his toughest foe. John Monnette has yet to win a bracelet, and will have to settle for “he played amazing, but couldn’t best one of the greats.” For three and a half hours, these two players locked horns heads up. Monnette began with the chip lead, but Ivey would eventually take it from him, and held a giant 8 to 1 advantage. Then, Monnette would refuse to roll over, doubling up twice to take a similar lead. But Ivey would rebound and get a double himself, eventually squeeze a 3:2 lead, and get all the money in to claim the top prize. He didn’t take much time to relish in the victory, as he snapped a few quick photos with his new jewelry, and jetted over to take his seat in the $10,000 Mixed World Championship.

Here is how the final table was paid:

1st – Phil Ivey, Champion ($96,367)
2nd – John Monnette ($59,586)
3rd – Yan Chen ($38,891)
4th – Eric Kesselman ($26,757)
5th – Rodeen Telbi ($19,346)
6th – Raphael Zimmerman ($14,663)
7th – Elia Ahmadian ($11,627)

Congratulations to Phil Ivey, who now sees himself as tied for the 7th most bracelets of all time. I think that everyone is expecting Ivey to continue to climb that ladder.

In Event #7, the $1,500 Buy in No Limit Hold’em, 2791 players would enter the field, and Travis Johnson would best them all. He was the prominent figure throughout the day, and was on the right side of some big early pots against Michael Pesek and Gary Tang. He was able to ride that large stack to the final table, and play his way to an eventual Bracelet. Congratulations to Travis Johnson. Here’s how the final table paid out:

1st – Travis Johnson, Champion ($666,853)
2nd – Steve Karp ($414,116)
3rd – Michael Ciotola ($273,385)
4th – Mark Salinaro ($193,343)
5th – Craig McConville ($145,721)
6th – Brian McInnis ($116,234)
7th – Walter Wright ($97,985)
8th – Jim McLain ($87,013)
9th – Kam Low ($81,185)

This was Travis Johnson’s first cash as well as his first bracelet in his WSOP history. Congratulations to Travis.

A new rule at the WSOP dictates that play will end at 3AM. I think that it’s a good rule, as really there isn’t much need to continue to play till all eternity. But the trend has been set that instead of playing events down to the final table, we’re playing them just short of that, and then restarting the day in the afternoon. Such was the case for events # 9 and #10, as they will return 8 and 18 players respectively.

In Event # 9, the 6 max tournament has seen some brilliant, and some amazingly aggressive play. The final 8 remaining players and their chip counts are:

Charel Furey – 1,690,000
Bryce Yockey – 1,489,000
Carman Cavella – 1,059,000
Peter Gould – 780,000
Bryn Kenney – 656,000
Praz Bansi – 630,000
Ken Aldridge – 411,000
Manny Minaya – 339,000

One of these 8 men will emerge victorious for the next bracelet of the 40th WSOP.

In Event #10 the final elimination game more than an hour prior to the cutoff, so it was a welcomed sign. I think that eliminations will pick up as the day restarts. There are 2 players that have really pulled away from the rest of the field, Daniel Makowsky is the chip leader with 561,000 and Rami Boukai has 508,000. Between the two of these players, they account for nearly 30% of the chips in play. But in Omaha, it could really go any way.

The other two events in play saw action trimmed slightly. Event #11 will be back with 243 participants, of which 171 of them will make the money. There are still some big names left including the likes of T.J. Cloutier and Phil Hellmuth. The chip leader on the day is the very young Scott Hall with 144,000. There is still a lot of poker left in this event.

In Event #12, the chip leader emerged as a poker veteran. Daniel Negreanu is tops of the remaining 128 players of the $10,000 Mixed Game championship. But only 66 players hit the rail in play. This event has a number of top name pros still alive like Mike Matusow, Greg Raymer, John Juanda, and Phil Ivey who made it back in time to still be in the mix with a decent stack.

That’s about it from day 9. Events #13 and #14 also kick off today (#13 is the $2,500 buy in No Limit Hold’em event, and #14 is the $2,500 Limit Hold’em event). See you tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

WSOP Day 8 - Three Times the Charms

Day 8 produced three champions, Event #4 – Steve Sung, Event #5 – Jason Mercier, and Event #6 – Freddie Ellis. I couldn’t be more proud of Steve for this take down, and the way that he played, this may be the first of a couple pieces of jewelry that he’ll have to add to his collection.

In Event #4, Steve Sung would just flat out dominate the final table. It seemed that whenever there was a large pot brewing, Steve was right in the middle of it. He came here to play, and to win, and that’s exactly what he did. It started out rough for Sung, who began the day 2nd in chips, only to see the first few hours give him a terrible run. He was spewing chips around the table, and saw himself fall to under $1 million chips. He needed a re-bound, and re-bound he did. With a strong push over about 1 hour, Steve chipped up to our chip leader, eliminating 3 players en route to getting there. By the time 4 handed poker began, Steve was holding onto roughly 60% of the chips in play, and he’d never look back. In the Final hand, Steve held pocket K’s for the long awaited 1st bracelet of his career. I predict that it will be one of a few that he’ll have by the time his career is done. A special Pablosplace congratulations to Steve, who is a Pablosplace follower.

Here is how the final table played down, and the money won:

1st – Steve Sung, Champion ($771,338)
2nd – Pete Vilandos ($473,282)
3rd – James Matz III ($313,826)
4th – Larry Sidebotham ($227,253)
5th – Nathaniel Mullen ($175,851)
6th – Dan Heimiller ($145,009)
7th – Jeffrey Oakes ($126,612)
8th – Phong Huynh ($117,414)
9th – Daniel Fuhs ($114,167)

In Event #5, it was the Jason Mercier show. Day 1 of this event saw Mercier storm to a giant chip lead, and Jason would have to slow down some in day 2. But his giant stack was really able to carry him the entire way to the final table, where when we’d reach the last 9 players, Jason was 4th in Chips. But his experience really shined through as, eventual short stacks panicked and threw their chips around, Jason calmly side stepped the land mines, and took advantage of the good opportunities. When heads up play began, the stacks were relatively close between he and eventual runner up Steven Burkholder. But about 30 minutes in, Jason asserted himself, and took over the match completely. This was also Jason’s first bracelet, and his 5th overall cash in his WSOP career. But I love when one of the good guys of poker takes down a prize like this.

Here is how the final table finished out:

1st – Jason Mercier, Champion ($237,462)
2nd – Steven Burkholder ($146,748)
3rd – Kevin Iacofano ($96,128)
4th – Matt Giannetti ($66,544)
5th – Chris Biondino ($48,533)
6th – Jonathan Tare ($37,192)
7th – Dario Alioto ($29,881)
8th – An Tran ($25,122)
9th – Vic Park ($22,052)

Congratulations again to Jason Mercier.

In event #6, a World Champion was crowned. The $10,000 buy in events are really the pinnacle events of their related game, and the 7-Card Stud championship is a bracelet that any poker player would covet. This one would end up being shipped to the affable Freddie Ellis, who really controlled the rail, the media, and everyone else at the Rio, as he was able to use his jolly demeanor and overall pleasant attitude to win over the casino. Then he would use his cards to win the table that he was sitting at. It was a well played event by Freddie, who got the exact cards that he needed at exactly the right times that he needed them to take down this prize, his first bracelet as well. Here’s how the final 8 players finished:

1st – Freddie Ellis, Champion ($373,751)
2nd – Eric Drache ($231,013)
3rd – Ville Wahlbeck ($152,914)
4th – Max Pescatori ($107,958)
5th – Hasan Habib ($80,968)
6th – Ivan Schertzer ($64,297)
7th – Greg Mueller ($53,885)
8th – Tim Phan ($47,532)

Congratulations to the man who has the best last name in all of poker, Freddie Ellis (not that I’m biased).

The plan for Event #7 and Event #8 were to play down to the final table. And with 9:51 remaining on the clock in level 15, Event #8 was able to achieve that when Layne Flack busted in 8th place. Event #7 however, had different ideas.

In what began as a mass genocide, Event #7 started this day with a field of 337 remaining players, half of which would be gone by the dinner break. But players must have come back sleepy from the food, as play slowed to an absolute crawl. When play stopped at 3AM, 33 players removed themselves from their chairs, bagged their chips, and returned to their beds for some much needed rest. Play will resume again today at 1pm. Leading the pack at the moment with the largest stacks would be Steven Karp (990k), Jacob Kalb (950k), and Craig McConville (900k). But really, all of my hopefuls have fallen, including my main hopeful Lee Childs, who fell victim to the 2 outer. A pre-flop all in with QQ (or Fleapowder as it is more commonly known) was called by a player with JJ. The turn would deliver the dagger J, and Lee would leave much earlier than hoped for. I still think that there are a couple of final tables for Acumen53, and that this is only the first of many cashes for Childs.

In Event #8, the Deuce to Seven Lo-Ball tournament reached their final table. When play resumes today, here’s how the players will be stacked:

1 – John Monnette (259,000)
2 – Raphael Zimmerman (238,000)
3 – Yan Chen (159,000)
4 – Elia Ahmadian (136,900)
5 – Eric Kesselman (119,400)
6 – Phil Ivey (106,300)
7 – Rodeen Talebi (94,500)

The favorite to win this event has got to be Ivey, who despite being 6th in chips, is never out of a tournament until he has zero. Phil is also responsible of the best quote of the day, as he showed up casually late to the tournament, sat down and glanced at his cards awkwardly, and said “What game is this?” The players all laughed it up as the dealer informed him. He then commented “Where did all my chips go?” and the dealer had to explain about the add-on’s. Ivey replied “Oh, I want to re-buy.” And the dealer informed him that he’d have to wait till the hand was over. So Ivey raised that hand, and took the pot. Classic.

The other two events that got underway yesterday were Event #9 (the No-Limit Hold’em 6 Max tourney) and Event #10 (the Pot Limit Omaha Tourney). After ten levels of play, Event #9 came to an end with nearly 1,300 players failing to make it to day 2. Play was not surprisingly frantic as the stakes continue to grow as the pay scales move up faster and faster. 105 players will get underway today, as the intent is to play this event down to a final table. I don’t see that being much of an issue. The top 5 chip counts at the end of the day belonged to Doug Lee (200k), David Fox (175k), David Squires (170k), Ken Aldridge (135k), and Jeremiah Smith (131k).

And in Event #10, 104 players remain from the starting field of 453. They were only allowing players behind the ropes as the players bagged their chips, so I don’t really have any counts to report. But players that are still alive in this event include the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Alex Kravchenko, Hevad Khan, and Adam Levy (who survived the day with just 4,500 chips). I’ll be able to get more information on who’s left later today.

That’s a wrap from day 8. Today’s events under way will include the Final table of event #8, and the likely play down to the final table of Event #7, #9, and #10. In addition to those 4 events, 2 more get under way. Event #11 is the $2,000 buy in No Limit Hold’em event, a 3 day monster that should see several Top Name pro’s. And Event #12, the World Championship $10,000 Mixed Event, which should really bring out some huge names. It will be an entertaining day yet again at the Rio.

Congratulations again to the champions, and see you again tomorrow. Cheers

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WSOP Day 7 - A Bracelet tease

Day 7 of the World Series of Poker was an absolute zoo. There were 5 different tournaments underway simultaneously, including one that had originally been planned to finish. But it looks as though at least 3 bracelets will be given out on Day 8 now.

While originally slated to provide the bracelet in Event #4, the $1,000 Buy in “Obama Stimulus” No Limit Hold’em event, we just didn’t get that far. Because it required 2 day 1’s, and a monster field of 6012 players, Day 2 wasn’t able to play down to the final table, and the final 51 players began the day in the afternoon. At around 10PM, with 10 people remaining, the players and the event staff discussed moving the final table to today at 2PM, and there was a consensus agreement that once the table had eliminated the player in 10th position, the Wednesday 9 would resume action.

And shortly after the break, that’s exactly what happened, as Steve Sung eliminated Eric Chhor in 10th. Both players took a flop of A-6-4, and Steve raised enough to move Chhor all in. Chhor made the call with AJ, and found himself painfully behind Sung’s 2-pair, A6. The board ran out Turn/River Q-T, and Chhor was done in 10th ($80,567) And so the final 9 players will do battle for the final day today. Here is are how they are chipped:

1 – Dan Heimiller (4,155,000)
2 – Steve Sung (3,395,000)
3 – Vilandos ‘Pete’ Panovote (1,940,000)
4 – James Matz III (1,885,000)
5 – Jeff Oakes – (1,680,000)
6 – Larry Sidebotham – (1,500,000)
7 – Phong Huynh – (1,310,000)
8- Nathan Mullen – (1,210,000)
9 – Danny Fuhs – (965,000)

Steve Sung has performed WONDERFULLY, and I still hope that he takes this one down. He got very lucky earlier against Phong Huynh, when his tournament was at stake. On a board of J-Q-2, Sung put all of his chips in the middle. Huynh thought for a while before making the call, and having Sung covered with AJ. Sung tossed over AK, and was in need of help. He would get it on the river as a T hit giving Sung Broadway, and vaulting him to the top of the leader board with that pot. Hopefully, Steve can continue his good fortune and ride this wave to the 4th bracelet of the WSOP.

In Event #5, the pot limit Omaha Tournament, we have reached our second final table of the day. After 18 levels of play, Day one chip leader Jason Mercier is still in the running, having ridden his large stack to the final nine, and in 4th position overall. Here is how the final Nine in Event # 5 are stacked.

1 – Kevin Iacofano (770,000)
2 – Jonathan Tare (639,000)
3 – An Tran (445,000)
4 – Jason Mercier (384,400)
5 – Victa Park (341,000)
6 – Dario Alioto (315,000)
7 – Matt Giannetti (311,000)
8 – Steven Burkholder (263,000)
9 – Chris Biondino (182,000)

I still think that Mercier is the best player at this table, but he’s really been stuck in neutral for quite some time. Eventually, players are going to be forced to play pots with him, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t emerge with some Jewelry from this event.

Event # 7 was slated to play down to the final 8, however after some 13 hours of play, it was apparent that after 3:00 AM was reached, tomorrow would be better to play 2 tables to a finisher (also, that's one of the rules in the WSOP - no play after 3AM). 101 Players made their way into the 7-Card Stud World Championship, and to me, the most interesting story is that of Daniel Negreanu. Kid Poker was down to around 10,000 chips before making some hands, and using them to rake some incredible pots. Eventually, he’d rally to over 300,000 chips, before seeing those dwindle to under 200,000. Here are how the final 11 players are chipped:

1 – Eric Drache (785,000)
2 – Hasan Habib (593,000)
3 – Freddie Ellis (580,000)
4 – Jeff Lisandro (524,000)
5 – Ville Wahlbeck (472,000)
6 – Max Pescatori (401,000)
7 – Ivan Schertzer (368,000)
8 – Greg Mueller (208,000)
9 – Daniel Negreanu (191,000)
10 – Ray Dehkharghani (141,000)
11 – Tim Phan (45,000)

Tim Phan is hanging on for dear life, but in 7-card stud, I would never rule a player out. Chip swings can happen easily, and quickly.

The last two events in play were events #7 and #8. Event #7 is the $1,500 buy in No Limit Hold’em event. 2791 Entries were involved in Day 1, and as play ended for the night, just 338 players remain. We’re creeping in on the bubble which is 297. The player that I would VERY much like to see take this one down is Lee Childs. Lee had a tough late run, and saw his chip stack take a hit, but he’s still very much in the running. Currently, he’s holding a stack well south of the leaders, but his $15,800 still gives him enough to make some noise with a couple of good hands. Lee is definitely patient enough to make some trouble for anyone that wants to get into a pot with him.

The biggest stacks belong to Victor Greely (195k), Jerry Fowler (183k), Gary Tang (145k), Jacob Fernandez (123k), and Paul Dominski (102k). Those are the 100k club members, with other notable players in the field, including the likes of Brandon Cantu, Shaun Deeb, Alex Jacob, and ‘Minneapolis’ Jim Meehan.

And finally, Event # 8 wrapped it’s day one. There were 147 official entrants in the No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event, and the big names all turned out for this. Unfortunately for Daniel Negreanu, multi-tabling this event and the seven card stud event proved to be a disaster in this event. But eliminations also took place for players such as Doyle Brunson, Chau Giang, Allen Cunningham, Mike Caro, and Jen Harman. Surviving the day 1 carnage were 35 players, and among them, some of the top names are there. Players still looking for this bracelet include the likes of Freddy Deeb, Phil Hellmuth, Layne Flack, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, and Erick Lindgren. It’ll be interesting to see what the final table of this event looks like, as it is likely to include a star studded table.

Well that about wraps the day. Today should be quite a news-worthy day as 3 bracelets will be awarded for Events #4, #5, and #6. In addition, Event #8 should play down to the final table, and it is hopeful that the same result can be reached for event #7, but I think that is a stretch. In addition to those 5 events, 2 more get under way. Event # 9 begins it’s 3-day adventure, as the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em 6 Max tournament starts. This should be a very large field as well. And Event #10 also gets under way, the $2,500 buy in Pot Limit Omaha Tournament. It should be another crazy poker day at the Rio. Cheers

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 6 - A Corvette for a Champ

The end of Day 6 brought us a championship, but no bracelets. In the Champions Invitational event, 1983 WSOP Main Event winner Tom McEvoy bested the most ceremonious field ever assembled, by outlasting the other 19 former world champs. He rode a very hot day 2 to win the very first ever “Binion Cup” and a vintage, fully restored, 1970 Corvette Stingray convertible. Very nice. It was an interesting tournament field from the standpoint that every time two players mixed it up, it was a battle between former world champs. It was definitely eye candy for the poker player. In the end though McEvoy emerged as the ceremony champ, so congratulations Tom.

There were 3 other events under way during day 6, each of which was designed to shrink the field, and no tournament did a better job of that than Event #5 – the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament. You kind of have to be an action junkie to play PLO, as the game is notorious for inducing “flopitis,” a common disease of PLO players whereby they are compelled to see a flop, any flop, regardless of their hand holdings, just to see if they hit something. Holding 4 hole cards instead of the 2 that Hold’em offers, gives gamblers more opportunities, and most find that all too tempting to waste throwing chips in the middle to see what they hit.

Well Day 6 certainly didn’t disappoint, as we moved things along to the money today. We began with 809 players competing for the coveted bracelet of Event #5, and the day finished with just 81 players after the final level, all of which are now in the money. Jason Mercier emerged from the carnage as the days chip lead, having amassed a large stack taking advantage of the tight play of his opponents at the bubble. It was brilliant tournament play by Mercier, and excellent strategy as he now has 227,000 chips, which is good for 88,000 more than 2nd place. It’s a big gap for the other players to over come. Play will resume today at 2PM in the PLO tourney and continue until a final table is reached. If it goes like yesterday, we may have that Final Table by the dinner break.

It was the 2nd day for Event #4, the No Limit Hold’em “Obama Stimulus” (as the players have dubbed it) $1,000 buy in event, and we narrowed the massive 6012 players down to the final 50. Play was fast and furious, and saw the exit of most of the notable names, including JC Tran. Tran got the rest of his chips in with a weak Ace, and it didn’t hold.

Of the 50 remaining players in the field, the chip leader is Danny Fuhs, who amassed a nice stack of 1,112,000, and is the only player over the million chip mark. Other notable players are Eric Mizrachi (75,000) whose brother is Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Full Tilt Pro Lee Watkinson (108,000), and Steve Sung (335,000). I’ve got to pull for all three of these guys, with Steve being my personal pick to take this one down. I love watching Steve play poker, and I think that he is one of the most unheralded players in the game. Steve has 3 WSOP Final tables under his belt, but has yet to take a bracelet home. In the 2007 WSOP, he cashed in 3rd in the 7-Card Stud $1,500 buy in for $51,222, and he also made the Final table of the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship that year. He was the first to exit that Final table however in 9th place, for $50,177. Last year, Steve just missed the final table of the Limit Hold’em Championship event, finishing 14th for $30,738, and he also made the final Table of the World Championship 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo event, finishing 7th for $46,001. I’m hoping that Event #4 will prove to deliver Steve’s first piece of WSOP jewelry.

The last event in play yesterday was the World Championship 7-Card Stud $10,000 buy in Event #6. As you’d expect a World Championship to deliver, the event featured a star-studded field that was chalked full of poker talent. The eight levels of play seemed to zoom by, and there were very few eliminations. In fact, the first bust didn't take place until just before the dinner break, after 4 full levels of play. But eventually players would start to see their chip stacks dwindle, and the play would present more regular casualties. 3 players of note reamining in the tournament are the chip leaders, 2006 $5,000 Seven-Card Stud champ Benjamin Lin, 2008 Double Final Tabelist (in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. and $10,000 Eight Game mix) Matthew Glantz, and David Oppenheim, who has made the Final table of this event the last two years. Each of these players is at or around the chip lead with around 100,000 chips each.

Today the remaining 102 players will play down to a final table of 8, which if play continues at this pace, won’t happen till the November 9 are assembled. Actually, I expect that things should pick up mightily as the blind levels increase.

That’s all from Day 6. Today we’ll have the above mentioned tournaments in action, as well as 2 more getting under way. Event #7 begins which is the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, which is a 3-Day event. I think that this one will be very well participated in. But I expect a smallish field for Event #8, the Deuce to Seven Draw Lowball (No-Limit) event. It’s a $2,500 buy in, that I just don’t see being as popular as the $1000 less NLHE King. We’ll see later today, and I’ll update you tomorrow. Cheers!

Monday, June 1, 2009

WSOP Day 5 - Two for the money

After two straight days without a bracelet, 2 championships were won yesterday. Congratulations are in order to Vitaly Lunkin for taking down the Bracelet in Event #2. He bested a field comprised of exactly 200 other players, that included easily the most challenging, and best players in a single tournament ever assembled. The win gave Lunkin the jewelry and a nice $1,891,012 prize for the 1st place finish.

But while the money was impressive, I think that the better story belongs to the champion of Event #3. The 2009 WSOP has been a year of records so far, and perhaps it was only fitting that the Omaha 8-or-Better event concluded with a history making performance. Thang Luu, who was last years defending champion in this event, eclipsed a record-setting field of 918 entrants to capture his second bracelet. What makes Luu’s run in this event even more amazing, was that back in 2007, Luu took 2nd place in this event for $147,726. Then last year, he bettered that performance by overcoming the largest Omaha Tournament ever played to win the event for $243,342. But this year, he performed a feat that can only be compared to Johnny Chan’s back to back World Championships. His second win in a row in this event will leave Luu in the poker annals as maybe the greatest tournament Omaha player of all time, as his bracelet winning performance this year earned him $263,135. He began the tournament early with the chip lead, and would ride the large stack to the final table. Eventually, with 3 players remaining, Luu would over take the lead, and never look back. I think that the WSOP will have a hard time topping this story this year. Congratulations to Thang Luu.

In this event, the final table payouts went as such:
1st – Thang Luu, Champion ($263,135
2nd – Ed Smith ($162,110)
3rd – Ming Reslock ($106,373)
4th – Robert Price ($73,405)
5th – Pascal Leyo ($53,293)
6th – Jordan Rich ($40,612)
7th – Jim Geary ($32,404)
8th – Freddy Deeb ($27,029)
9th – Senovio III Ramirez ($23,520)

In Event #2 – It was Lunkin’s day for sure. This was Lunkin’s second WSOP bracelet. The other came in last year’s $1,500 buy in NLHE event, where Lunkin finished 1st for $628,417. His only other WSOP cash had come in the 2006 main event where he’d squeezed into the money in 829th place for a cash of $14,597. But he dominated the play in the end at this final table winning many of his pots without a showdown, and that proved to be the winning formula. Here’s how the final table finished:

1st – Vitaly Lunkin – Champion ($1,891,012)
2nd – Isacc Haxton ($1,168,566)
3rd – Greg Raymer ($774,927)
4th – Dani Stern ($548,315)
5th – Justin Bonomo ($413,166)
6th – Alec Torelli ($329,730)
7th – Alex Velhuis ($277,940)
8th – Noah Schwartz ($246,834)
9th – Ted Forrest ($230,317)

It was a tremendous 3 day tournament, and congratulations to Lunkin for his second bracelet.

In the other 2 events played that day, Event #4 was completely overshadowed by the Champions event. I talk about the Champions Event second however as the Event #4 update is brief.

3012 players today, and 3000 players yesterday, combined for a field of 6,012 total. It was a large enough field that the $1,000 buy in NLHE event needed to be broken down into 2 day 1’s. Today was day 1b, and the main story was that of the play of poker great JC Tran. My favorite story of this event was that in learning that Tran was not the chip leader, he got fired up. Tran was sitting at a table with around $50k in chips, and he was told that the day 1a chip leader finished on 130,000. JC proclaimed, “How am I going to reach that here? They need to break my table.” Shortly after that, JC was moved to the Amazon room, and as play ended, he was around 120,000. There are now 767 total players from both days remaining, and they will all combine today to play today at around 2PM.

In a special event this year, the 40th WSOP is having an invitation only invent. The 20 surviving Main Event champions were invited to a free roll to compete for a Corvette. The champions that have already made their exit from the event include, Jamie Gold, Chris Moneymaker, Jerry Yang, Amarillo Slim Preston, Brad Daughtery, Scotty Nguyen, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Johnny Chan, Joe Hachem, and also Greg Raymer. Unfortunately for Raymer, he was blinded out for much of the tournament having been playing in the #Event 2 $40k final table during the same time. He did sit down for a couple of orbits during the $40k dinner break, but the lost chips in the blinds were really too much to overcome. He’d eventually return after busting in 3rd place from the $40k, and move all in with Ad-9c only to have Carlos Mortensen wake up with KK. The board offered no help, and Raymer was eliminated in 16th.

But of the remaining 10 players, here’s how they are chipped:
1st – Carlos Mortensen (42,375)
2nd – Tom McEvoy (31,000)
3rd – Jim Bechtel (30,475)
4th – Doyle Brunson (20,250)
5th – Dan Harrington (19,975)
6th – Peter Eastgate (18,425)
7th – Huck Seed (15,400)
8th – Robert Varkonyi (13,450)
9th – Berry Johnston (7,625)
10th – Phil Hellmuth (1,125)

The Poker Brat is extremely short stacked, and his stay will likely be short lived at this table.

That’s a wrap on Day 5. Today’s Day 6 brings the action for Event #4 closer to a final table, and the final table for the Champions Invitational will be played out as well. In addition to that, two more events kick off as the 3 day Event #5 and Event #6 get started. Event #5 is the $1,500 buy in Pot-Limit Omaha event, and Event #6 is the World Championship Seven Card Stud $10,000 buy in event. That one should prove VERY interesting. That’s it for day 5.