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I’m back to continue my report on the PartyPoker Premier League of 2008. On Thursday, day 5 had just ended and people were fighting to make the prestigious final table featuring a $520,000 prize pool with $250,000 of that for first place. At this time no players were mathematically eliminated yet, but Phil Hellmuth was pretty close having earned only five points in his first five matches. Tony G and Andy Black were the only players guaranteed seats at the final table at this point, with the rest of the players needing to earn points to have a chance to play in the second half of day 7.

Day 6 featured the last two matches of Round One, with each player participating in their final heats and final chance to earn points. The first table of the day seated Eddy Scharf, Ian Frazer, Alex Kravchenko, Vicky Coren, Annie Duke, and Marcel Luske. Note that Hellmuth was scheduled to play in the second match, but he was still officially eliminated from the tournament in the first hand. How, you ask? Here’s a description of hand one: Duke raised to 6k with A7s and Marcel Luske 3-bet to 26k with KK. Frazer decided to squeeze in the BB and pushed his entire stack in the middle with JTs (what is it about this hand that makes so many donkament players go busto? We may never know), to which Luske said, “It must be aces.” Frazer replied (truthfully), “I’m not strong”, and Luske ended up saying, “Okay I call, how can I lay down kings?” Luske called, Frazer busted, and with the bust, Hellmuth was eliminated because he needed Coren to bust first in this match to mathematically stand a chance.

Another funny hand involving Luske occurred in hand 5 blind versus blind when Annie Duke completed with QTo and Luske checked 57o. Duke bet a blank flop and Luske called with a gutshot, but he actually thought he had an open ended straight draw instead. The turn made his gutshot straight, but he thought it only made him a single pair, so he just called a second barrel from Duke. He had the nuts on the river but didn’t know it, so he ended up checking behind (value check!) and was surprised when he flipped his hand over. In the end it didn’t matter because Duke was betting with air anyhow, but still humorous. This hand ended up giving Luske almost half the chips in play extremely early in the tournament.

Despite Luske’s early chip ups, he was unable to win his last match and lost heads-up to Kravchenko. This put him in fourth place in the standings, but he was in front of Roland de Wolfe by only one point. With de Wolfe yet to play, it looked like Luske would probably be playoff-bound. Kravchenko’s win, however, secured him a seat at the final table.

The completion of the first Day 6 match meant that the final heat could begin. The table featured Andy Black, de Wolfe, Dave Ulliott, Juha Helppi, Tony G, and Hellmuth. As previously mentioned, Hellmuth had only pride to play for since he had zero mathematical chance to make the playoffs. Tony G and Black were already guaranteed final table seats, but they were still playing for extra chips. At this point in the tournament, de Wolfe was guaranteed a spot at the final table if he managed to gain at least one point (so fifth or better at his table or, in other words, he could not be the first to bust); he acknowledged this by saying that he would need to fold aces if put all in. He then proceeded to fold to raises without even glancing at his cards.

Hellmuth added to the entertainment by raising hands like 42s and announcing continuation bets in the dark. In another hand he raised T7s UTG and told Tony G, “I only have aces” when he called with KTo. The reply: “I believe you.” The flop came K high, and both players checked. Both players also checked on an A turn, and when the river came 7, Tony G bet out of position. “Do you want me to call?” asked Hellmuth as put his chips out behind the line. He told his opponent to push them in if he wanted; Tony G obliged (“Can I take them as well?”) and raked in the pot with his pair of kings. Later hands saw him raising, getting 3-bet, and saying, “I haven’t looked at my cards yet” before looking and folding.

de Wolfe stuck to his game plan and just kept folding preflop. At one point he even left for a “break” during play and allowed the dealer to just fold his blinds. By hand 37 he still hadn’t played a pot yet, and the short stack Helppi (who needed to win the table to have a shot in the playoffs) doubled up with AJo vs Hellmuth’s KQo. He finally saw his first flop during hand 54 (holding 23s) but he folded when he flopped bottom pair. He started to lose his patience a few hands later as short stacks kept failing to bust and his stack kept getting lower. “What the fuck is going on here?” he said in frustration. “This is disgusting.” He then proceeded to fold 88 UTG, passing up the opportunity to increase his stack and instead allowing it to fall to a dangerously low level. His attempt at folding to the final table finally ended in failure when he called all-in with A8o in the small blind and lost to Hellmuth’s QTo. “I’m kind of rooting for you, Roland,” Hellmuth said before the community cards fell. de Wolfe replied, “Can you muck then?”

Hellmuth ended up going out in third and finished at the bottom of the league. He couldn’t resist saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I lost every single race in all six matches,” upon his departure. Ulliot triumphed over Tony G heads-up to win the second match of the day and secure a spot in the play-offs.

The end of Day 6 saw Tony G, Black, Kravchenko, and Luske all guaranteed seats at the final table and de Wolfe, Scharf, Duke, and Ulliot earned spots in the playoffs for the chance to win the remaining two seats. The remaining four players have been eliminated from the league.

Here’s how the final standings ended up at the end of 12 heats:

Tony G: 38 pts
Andy Black: 33 pts
Alex Kravchenko: 26 pts
Marcel Luske: 21 pts

Roland de Wolfe: 20 pts
Annie Duke: 19 pts
Dave Ulliott: 19 pts
Eddy Scharf: 19 pts

Vicky Coren: 17 pts
Juha Helppi: 11 pts
Ian Frazer: 9 pts
Phil Hellmuth: 8 pts

Well it appears that I had too much fun writing about Day 6 of this year’s PartyPoker Premier League, so I’m gonna end this here and finish up with Day 7 on Thursday. Thanks for reading!