Five days have passed since the championship started, and we are now down to the TV final table which is, of course, six players. For an introduction to the tournament, please click here. My article will cover the last three days of the tournament to get us up-to-date and ready for tomorrow’s highly anticipated final table.
Day 3 started with 188 players looking to make the long days worth it by cashing for part of the $13 million prize pool. People didn’t sit back, though – some made a run for big stacks and many people busted in a hurry. Some big names going busto early on Day 3 were Scotty Nguyen, John Juanda, Dan Harrington, Phily Ivey, and Mike Matusow.
Which big names survived the day, you might ask? Well Jayde Tran, Kenny Tran’s wife, built a very large stack early. Her husband survived, as well. In fact, at one point they were sitting back to back at different tables! Makes it easy to keep tabs on how the significant other is doing without having to use sign language across the poker room!
Okay if Jayde Tran wasn’t a big enough name for you, how about a Daniel Negreanu update? He actually ended up busting after making the money, getting it in bad with an over-pair versus two pairs, a set, and an open ended straight draw. The straight draw got there and Negreanu was one of three people eliminated in that one hand alone.
Other notables that made it through Day 3 were Gus Hansen (he actually had the chip lead by the end of the day), Tom Dwan, and defending champion Carlos Mortensen.
Day 4 started with 55 people, and the plan for the day was to play down to the final 18 or to play five tournament levels. Plenty of action ensued, and the field was trimmed down to 18 players long before five levels were played. The previously mentioned Jayde Tran was eliminated in 45th place, and the last female to remain in the field, Isabelle Mercier, busted soon afterwards in 41st place. Other notable busts included Mortensen, who was unable to continue his bid to defend his title, and T.J. Cloutier, who lost all of his chips on time to take 34th place.
Amir Vahedi held the chip lead at the end of Day 4, followed by both Hansen and Dwan, second and third in chips respectively. Kenny Tran made it to the final two tables as well, along with Andrew Black and David Chiu, a Full Tilt pro. Actually, let’s just make it easy – here were the seating plans going into Day 5 (along with chip stacks):
1. Kenny Tran – 1,442,000
2. Amir Vahedi – 3,907,000
3. Bryan Devonshire – 984,000
4. Jeff King – 1,903,000
5. Tommy Le – 1,950,000
6. Cory Carroll – 1,346,000
7. John Roveto – 556,000
8. Jeff Shulman – 473,000
1. Karga Holt – 1,500,000
2. David Chiu – 1,742,000
3. Tom Dwan – 2,874,000
4. Andrew Black – 411,000
5. Gus Hansen – 2,929,000
6. David Tran – 2,543,000
7. Nick Binger – 701,000
8. Robert Mizrachi – 1,079,000
9. Michael Gracz – 1,674,000
On to Day 5! The goal for this day was to play down to the TV final table of six people. The money was starting to get much more significant at this point; although everyone guaranteed at least $105,525, the top prize was a whopping $3,389,140! Literally millions of dollars was at stake.
Both Shulman and Black started the day very short, were forced to make moves, and were eliminated very early. Black actually went in ahead with pocket aces, but Mizrachi made a straight with J9s and sent Black packing. These extra chips did not help Mizrachi for much longer, however, and he was sent home as well, along with Binger and Tran. Hansen actually busted both Binger and Tran, adding to his ever increasing chip stack.
When you’re aspiring to build a gigantic stack, it always helps to get it in with 12 outs and then even hit your outs. Gracz held pocket deuces on an 8c3d2c board versus Hansen’s Ac5c, but he just couldn’t fade the deck and Hansen raked in a huge pot on the final table bubble. Gracz finished in 11th place and it became 10-handed, with Hansen in the chip lead with almost 8 million chips and Chiu in second place with 5 million chips.
As I said earlier, the goal was to play down to the TV final table, so four unlucky (it IS luck, right?) poker players were yet to be eliminated. Tran was the first to bust, losing his chips Dwan’s way and leaving the table to go home with Jayde. While both Trans failed to make the TV final table, one has to admit that it’s pretty impressive that both were able to cash the tournament in the first place.
Dwan may have won Tran’s chips, but he was not destined to win this time around. A mere 15 minutes later he got it in good with KK versus Carroll’s AJ, but luck (see, there’s that word again!) was not on his side and a bad beat eliminated him in 9th place. And to be honest, the entire poker world should be sad that Dwan busted before the TV final table because he was being forced to wear some pretty amazing hats for his entire run in this tournament. How much would you have paid to see Dwan in a giant Chiquita Banana hat on WPT television? And would it be more impressive than the pink flamingo hat he wore on Day 5 or the feather hat or bowling pin hat he wore on days earlier in this championship? Thanks to that wretched AJ, the world will never know …
Oh and if you’re wondering why Dwan was wearing these ridiculous hats, it’s because he lost a bet. But this is getting off-topic. I like off-topic rambles, but I really need to go to bed soon … so back on-topic we go!
Holt was the next to bust, becoming another Hansen victim as his AK lost a race for his tournament life against pocket jacks. And to round out the TV final table bubbles, Vahedi, who entered the day with the chip lead, was Hansen’s last victim for Day 5. He unfortunately got it in preflop with a pocket pair only to be called by Hansen’s better pair, and Hansen increased his already large chip stack to 8.5 million.
Here’s how the TV final table will look as action starts on Day 6:
1. John Roveto – 2,720,000
2. Gus Hansen – 8,570,000
3. David Chiu – 6,050,000
4. Tommy Le – 1,950,000
5. Cory Carroll – 6,670,000
6. Jeff King – 1,305,000
It should, almost without a doubt, be a great day of poker tomorrow as the TV final table plays down to first place. Gus Hansen is certainly one of the world’s most entertaining players to watch, and so the WPT producers are probably thanking their lucky stars that he has made it this far. Will he hold on to his chip lead to take the championship, or will one of the other five players win the $3,389,140 instead? Be sure to come back to the FTR blogs for the final table report.