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Last time I wrote, I left off at the end of Day 4 of the 2008 No-Limit Holdem Championship of the Foxwoods Poker Classic. There are two days left to discuss, so let’s get right to Day 5!

Day 5 started with just 9 people and the day’s goal was to play down to 6 people for the WPT final table. Needless to say, Day 5 was not nearly as long as the previous four days were.

Erik Seidel started the day as the chip leader, followed closely by Adam Katz and Ted Forrest. Here was how the table looked at the start of Day 5:

Seat 1: Erik Seidel — 2,472,000 chips
Seat 2: Frank Cieri — 577,000 chips
Seat 3: Robert Richardson — 719,000 chips
Seat 4: Michael Farris — 312,000 chips
Seat 5: Natale Kuey — 525,000 chips
Seat 6: Ted Forrest — 1,682,000 chips
Seat 7: Andrew Barta — 1,433,000 chips
Seat 8: Adam Katz — 2,190,000 chips
Seat 9: Allen Bari — 530,000 chips

Since the tournament was down to just one table, all the attention was on the remaining nine players and the WPT cameras were all ready for the action. “Well, at least there’s no pressure,” Katz joked as the first hand was dealt. He then proceeded to fold his first hand, saying, “Since the bright light [of the cameras] is on me, I’m going to fold.”

Farris was the short stack at the table, so the pressure was on him to double up and stay alive. He got lucky the first time he pushed, getting it in behind but runner-runnering (what a great verb – did I make it up?) a straight for a chop. He pushed again one orbit later and didn’t get so lucky this time, losing a coin flip with his KTs against Richardson’s pocket sevens. Ninth place earned Farris $40,378.

A short while after Farris’s death, Bari found himself with a very short stack and decided to move in with AQ preflop. He unfortunately ran into Barta’s pocket kings and although he turned an ace, Barta had already flopped a set. Bari took home $48,450 for his efforts.

Kuey had a short stack too, and although he doubled up once off Seidel, he was unable to survive the day and ended up the WPT final table bubble-boy. He even had a good hand when he got it in preflop, but his AK unfortunately couldn’t win a flip against Forrest’s pocket sixes, and he busted in 7th place which was good for $71,061.

Kuey’s bust meant that Day 5 was over and that the WPT final table was set. Here’s how it was set to look at the start of Day 6:

Seat 1: Erik Seidel — 3,820,000 chips
Seat 2: Frank Cieri — 403,000 chips
Seat 3: Robert Richardson — 526,000 chips
Seat 4: Ted Forrest — 2,347,000 chips
Seat 5: Andrew Barta — 1,522,000 chips
Seat 6: Adam Katz — 2,301,000 chips

Seidel had a big chip lead to start the day, and one may have thought that Forrest would have been the one to give him a run for his money. That was not the case, however, for Forrest ran into some great hands and ended up busting first on Day 6. First he ran into pocket kings after four-betting all-in with his pocket nines (I always bust with 99 too), and then he ran into pocket aces after getting it in with pocket jacks! Talk about some bad luck. To add a little bit of irony to the story, Forrest had actually said at one point, when the action was slow, “This has gotta be one of the most exciting final tables in WPT history. Everyone’s waiting for the aces, kings, and tens.” The poker gods obviously dealt his opponents kings and aces because of that remark! He received $103,360 for his 6th place finish.

While Forrest was busy getting coolered, Cieri was busy chipping up out of the short stack position. At one point he was all-in 3 times in 13 hands, and he was able to double up without a showdown just from aggressive preflop play. Katz, an online pro known as ‘AKAT11′, was doing the opposite with his stack, getting involved in pots and being forced to give them up. He even noticed this trend and at one point he said, “I would like Frank’s cards please. Or at least I’d like to play ’em like Frank.” He eventually became the short stack at the table and was unable to recover; he got his last chips in good with QJ on a Q65 board, but Richardson, who held K7s and a flush draw, caught a K on the river. Katz won $151,811 for finishing in 5th place.

Cieri managed to chip up all the way to second in chips at one point, but his run ended when he pushed a flush draw over Richardson’s top pair. His flush draw missed and his stack was crippled, and then Richardson took the rest of his chips, too, calling with K6 after Cieri pushed with Q7. K6 held and Cieri busted in 4th place, winning $200,261 for his efforts.

Richardson found himself with the chip lead after busting Cieri, but it didn’t last long. His inexperience showed as Seidel raised and re-raised pots away from him, and eventually Seidel had the chip lead again. To add to Richardson’s troubles, Barta became an all-in machine, and when Richardson finally called him, Barta actually had a hand. Richardson doubled Barta up and his stack dropped down to last place.

This wasn’t the end for Barta, though – at least not for many many hours. Day 6 lasted a long time – almost 12 hours total, in fact – and it was at this point that the action slowed down considerably. Barta won a pot versus Richardson and got his stack back up, and then it stayed like that for a while. The players exchanged chips back and forth several times, each of them with around 3.5 million chips, none of them wanting to make the mistake that would ship them out in third place.

After a few hours had gone by, Seidel had managed to chip up a bit, boasting a stack of 5 million to his opponents’ 2.5 million stacks. Barta finally decided he didn’t want to be pushed around anymore so he started doing the pushing – literally. After several preflop shoves he had taken the chip lead from Seidel, but when he was finally called, he couldn’t win a coin flip. Seidel called him down with JJ and even though Barta had some nice hole cards with AQ, the community cards didn’t cooperate and his stack was crippled. He was left with just enough to pay the next hand’s blinds but Seidel won that hand, so he ended up the third place finisher for $281,011.

3-handed had lasted hours at this final table, but heads-up only lasted one hand. Richardson made a move with 97 on an AK98 board, but Seidel called his shove with AJ and the K on the river didn’t improve Richardson’s hand. He busted in second place for $558,792, and Seidel won his first WPT title for $967,390! He also won a $25,500 entry to the WPT World Championship which will take place later this month at the Bellagio.

I think it’s safe to say that Seidel deserved to win with the way he played the final table. He picked on the right people and was aggressive enough in the right places, ensuring he was almost always near or holding the chip lead. Congratulations to Seidel and thanks, as always, for reading!