WSOP '05 Reports

Another Ill-Conceived Poker Movie to Hit the Big Screen...Seriously

"Salty" Joe Hachem is among the stars in an upcoming poker documentary. Behind him, Vaughn Sandman predicts how many screens the movie will open on.

Hollywood isn't a hard one to figure out. If a movie is successful, you make more like it. Or you make sequels. Deep Impact (great name for a porno) begets Armageddon. Dante's Peak begets Volcano. The Mummy begets another Mummy. Pluto Nash does not beget Pluto Nash Forever.

So why, exactly, are more poker movies being made?

No matter. For those who haven't gotten their fill from Lucky You, The Grand, that shitty Stu Ungar flick, and Deal, here comes Pass the Sugar...a documentary on the final nine from the 2005 WSOP Main Event.

"Pass the sugar," btw, is the phrase that 2005 champ "Salty" Joe Hachem would say after winning pots. Which means after David "Chino" Rheem inevitably wins the 2008 WSOP Main Event, expect a docu called "Ship It" to hit the screens sometime in 2011.

Anyway we're bored writing about this already, so read more about this sure-fire blockbuster that is certain to put Brad Kondracki back on the map here.

In related news, in case you missed it yesterday, poker-themed Vegas shows are also not learning the same lesson.

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One Week Until 2008 WSOP + We're Off Memorial Day Weekend


Barring some crazy breaking story, Wicked Chops Poker will be off Memorial Day Weekend. With the 2008 World Series of Poker just a week away (meaning six straight weeks of unrelenting poker coverage), and 2/3 of the Entities in Ireland right now, and 1/3 of the Entities staggering drunk for three-days, let's be honest, not much is going to get done.

But to get in the mindset for the 2008 WSOP, here's some recommended reading from WCP coverage of WSOP's past.

2005 WSOP
Before going down on Dancing with the Stars' Derek Hough, Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth went down in four-way action.
Wily Brit Barry Baskin smelled like shit.
Whatever happened to Johnny Rockets from Daytona? That guy seemed to have the total package.
Brad Garrett was urinating and so dork had an Elmo head.
The longest massage ever?
Some dude got real creepy around Greg Raymer.
Tiffany Williamson...that bitch is crazy!

2006 WSOP
Where to even begin? How about some Card Player Like You Were There Moments (TM) here here here here here here and here.
Phil Hellmuth wins a then record-tying 10th bracelet.
Clearly us at our absolute most bedlam ensuing.
Some chick played in a nun outfit which probably blew Gank's mind.
The Milwaukee's Best Light girls need to make a comeback.
Somebody told us that Bill Gates has a regular call girl he sees in France.
Our Sweats did OK in Day 1B.
Mean people applauded when Doyle Brunson busted.
Our mutual love-affair with Anna Benson began.
Joanna Krupa (above) officially became the hottest girl to ever play the WSOP.
Some more hot girls from the 2006 WSOP.
Vaughn Sandman (where ya been, bud?) absolutely toys with "Salty" Joe Hachem.
We were the first to introduce the world to Jamie Gold.
And we were the only ones to get a pic with Jamie Gold and Crispin "Don't Call Me Bruce" Leyser.

Continue reading "One Week Until 2008 WSOP + We're Off Memorial Day Weekend" »

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ESPN Wraps WSOP Coverage Tuesday
Hachem vs. The Weaz Showcases Poker's Growth


You are the lucky ones.

After outlasting 5,618 rounders and avoiding minefield after minefield for seven days, nine players became (pre-tax) millionaires by making the WSOP final table

The very same final table that lasted a grueling 16 hours before Joe Hachem beat Steve "the Weaz" Dannenmann heads-up for the title.  Mike "the Mouth" Matusow was the first elimated, and commented on his way out that the rest of the final table would be "very tight."

It was.  Fortunately for you, you get the pre-packaged highlight reel.  You won't have to endure the pre-flop raising and fold-fest that dominated a good portion of final table play.  You'll see the action hands. 

And this is a good thing.

Showdown all-ins and big bluffs are the "homerun equivalent" for poker.  While it doesn't show the texture and feel you need to play consistent, winning poker, it is what brings the ratings.  And for television, it's all about the ratings.

USA Today reported that last year's WSOP ME final "...drew 2.8% of cable TV households, making it a bigger draw than nearly everything else on ESPN except NFL games, postseason baseball and marquee college football and basketball."  Who would've thunk that just three years after Robert Varkonyi won the WSOP ME and the Travel Channel debuted the World Poker Tour, that our game of choice would be consistently outdrawing sports that have long been part of the American cultural fabric.

Continue reading "ESPN Wraps WSOP Coverage Tuesday
Hachem vs. The Weaz Showcases Poker's Growth" »

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Back to Binions, Big Busts the Story as WSOP ME Coverage Continues

Raymer_reach_2As ESPN moves into WSOP ME Day 6 coverage tomorrow, and the story isn't so much who survived as who...did...not......survive.

Some big name favorites dropped off earlier than expected during Day 6.  Ivey, Raymer (who is chatting on ESPN literally right now, or is archived there if you read this past 6pm EST), and Tim Phan fought for pots at one aggressive table.  All of them suffered early demises, with Raymer and Phan's particularly brutal.  Raymer played brilliantly but lost most of his chips against Aaron Kanter when a river heart flushed his pocket Kings.  Tim Phan's WSOP run ended after Andrew Black hit a four-outter on the river for a full house (Queens over Aces).  Phan had flopped a set, but Black busted it with the Queen. 

Ivey overplayed two hands early, losing a chunk.  Then he fell to Aaron Kanter as well when his Jacks didn't hold against Kanter's Kings.

MouthsheikMike Matusow had to take a time-out yet again, this time for telling Crazy Bitch’s nemesis, Shawn “the Sheik” Sheikhan, to "shut the fuck up." Sheikhan repeated Matusow's four-letter no-no to the tournament director, so both got hit up with the penalty. When the Sheik returned, he doubled-up through Matusow, then busted Norman Chad’s man-crush, Tom Sartori. And yes, we had to play the role of "spoiler," but Crazy Bitch did get knocked out in 15th place. Not sure if you'll hear the collective sigh of relief from the 14 remaining players through your TV set.

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Mouth + Raymer Redemption Spotlight Tonight's WSOP Coverage

Day45Sure, Joe Hachem won the $7.5 mil WSOP ME first prize in a grueling heads-up battle against the Weaz.  But the real focus of this year's WSOP, the topics that everyone wanted to discuss, revolved around two totally different forms of redemption from two totally different players: Mike "the Mouth" Matusow and his 2004 nemesis, Greg Raymer

Tonight, both get their-fair-share-of-face-time with ESPN's continued WSOP coverage.

Matusow spent six month in the clink before coming out and playing the best poker of his life during the WSOP ME.  Expertly working his way through the massive field, Matusow rebuilt his rep as one of the best NLH players in the world.

Maybe because of the glasses, maybe because he was an Internet-qualifier many thought would flame-out like Chris Moneymaker, but Greg Raymer never gained the full respect that some of his 2004 final table opponents, such as Josh Arieh and David Williams, received.  However, Raymer's overall 2005 WSOP performance was even more impressive than last year's world championship bracelet victory.  Raymer cashed in three 2005 WSOP events (including a final table appearance), and if not for a river suck-out, would likely have cruised to another ME final table.  Best of all, when he wasn't busting every player in sight, he was threatening to bust a weirdo spectator's head open.

Continue reading "Mouth + Raymer Redemption Spotlight Tonight's WSOP Coverage" »

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WSOP Main Event Day 2 Coverage Tonight


Day 2 of the WSOP ME was one of the most entertaining and interesting days of the tournament, as pros made their moves and built their stacks as amateurs white-knuckle-clung to their tournament life, hoping to cash.  In fact, when the day ended, only six or seven players needed to bust before everyone made the money.

When the day started, rounders were dropping like flies, or some other metaphor indicating that many players were getting eliminated quickly.  Among them were Gus Hansen (maybe he needed to skip town again to avoid paying off his debt) and Chris Moneymaker (drunk).

The first featured table of the day included Layne Flack and Paul Darden. Later, things really picked up when Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi moved to the featured table with Flack.  As we all know, the Grinder, who before playing poker was the WWF's Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, is a machine, and he was taking his maniacal game to Layne Flack, who took it right back to him.  Should make for good TV. 

Chip Reese showed us why he’s one of the best ever, and Minneapolis Meehan consistently spewed comedic verbal poetry.  And Barry Paskin.  Oh Barry Paskin.  Paskin was in full stink/theatrics mode early on, and eventually had to change shirts because he smelled so damn bad.  We couldn’t get within 10 feet of the guy.

We also saw  Shannon Elizabeth go down in a four-way. Former world champ Greg Raymer started his “Is this the most impressive run in WSOP history?”, while another former champ, Dan Harrington, ended his.   And of course, we’re sure you’ll see Johnny Rockets from Daytona hopping up on his chair and begging for his tournament life…and 15 minutes of fame. 

Read all of our day 2 coverage, and then tune into ESPN at 8 (PM, EST) tonight for their take.

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WSOP Tomorrow + Heads-Up with Mike Kleinstub


ESPN continues its WSOP Main Event coverage tomorrow night at 8 (PM, EST).  Since they didn’t air it last week, we can bet that Phil Hellmuth’s featured table should make the first hour of coverage. 

And if so, you’ll meet a new face at that table: Mike Kleinstub (seen above, far right raking chips after one of many verbal/pot bouts with Hellmuth).  Mike was briefly shown last week winning the Phil Hellmuth arrival-time prop bet.  While he was knocked out along with Hellmuth during Day 1 of WSOP ME play, Kleinstub has been a veritable ATM machine in online tournaments lately (not Thunder Keller kind of cash, but not bad). 

Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Kleinstub to discuss his WSOP ME experience...

WCP: Poker's boom has brought many new faces to the WSOP ME.  How long have you been playing poker?

MK: I have been playing poker for about 4 years...but have only become serious for about 2 years.

Continue reading "WSOP Tomorrow + Heads-Up with Mike Kleinstub" »

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WSOP Main Event Airs Tonight


ESPN beings airing the WSOP Main Event tonight at 8pm.  The Main Event had three Day 1's, and Day 1 and Day 2 of Day 1 (still with us?) are covered tonight. 

Who knows what ESPN will show...except maybe the editors and program directors at ESPN.  But according to, in hour 1 defending champ and general bad-ass Greg Raymer will be featured, along with celebs like Shannon Sharpe (who was a Day 3 of Day 1 participant, so go figure), James Woods (same), Jennifer Tilly, Peter Parker, and Shannon Elizabeth (who eventually went down in a four-way).  If we knew what the expression meant, we'd bet our bottom dollar that Sam Farha knocking out Oliver Hudson on THE FIRST HAND will be featured in hour 2.  Just a hunch. 

But we imagine some of the real flavor (yes, flavor) that made the WSOP ME so interesting will be left out.  So just in case they decide to show nothing but all-ins at the featured table, here's some shit you may miss...

Continue reading "WSOP Main Event Airs Tonight" »

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Brunson's 10th Bracelet Featured Tonight

DollyLast week, ESPN featured the one player most likely to pass the greats on the all-time WSOP bracelet list, as Phil Ivey won his fifth.  This week, it's one of the guys he's going to have to pass, the all-time great, Doyle Brunson.

Brunson bested an impressive final table in Event #29 ($5,000 short-handed NLH) for his record-tying 10th WSOP bracelet.  The final table included Minh Ly, Scotty Ngyuen, Layne Flack, Ayaz Mahmood, and Jason Lester. Brunson banked $367,800 for the win.

Also airing is Dan Schmiech's victory in Event #28 ($5,000 Limit Hold'em).  In another, dare we say, "star studded" final table, Dan triumphed over the likes of one Gabe "Mr. Kotter" Kaplan for the title.  Also featured at the final table were Annie Duke, Barry Greenstein's kid Joe Sebok, Jeff Shulman, and Young Phan.

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Two Time Winner Seif Featured

MarkseifTwo time 2k5 WSOP bracelet winner Mark Seif is featured on ESPN coverage Tuesday. 

Seif bested an impressive final table to win Event #23 ($1,500 NLH).  A little less than a week earlier, Seif won Event #15, the $1,500 NLH shoot-out (not shown by ESPN). 

At the final table with Seif for Event #23 was 2004 Main Event champ and in general a bad mofo not to be f'ed with, Greg Raymer.  Minh Ngyuen, Devilfish, and Bill Gazes filled out this stacked final table.

Event #25 ($5,000 7 Card Stud) is also featured.  Jan Sorensen won the event blah blah blah.

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Atlanta's Arieh Featured Tonight

Joshchops_1_1ESPN airs more new WSOP final tables tonight.  One of the final tables you probably won't care much about.  The other will be highly entertaining.  See if you can figure it out:

Option 1 at 9pm EST: The $2,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event won by Edward Moncada (banking $298,070).  Freddie Deeb and Marco Traniello are also involved.   

Option 2 at 10pm EST: The $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha (w/ re-buys) event won by the always polarizing Josh Arieh (banking $381,600 ).  Chris "Jesus" Ferguson came in second.  Max Pescatori and Erik Seidel are also involved. 

Yes, those who think Option 2 will make "better TV" are probably right.  And with with two pot-limit events in the docket, you might get to see some real play as opposed to just a bunch of pre-flop all-ins that ESPN is growing increasingly fond of force-feeding us. 

For more on Arieh's Omaha win and expanded WSOP coverage, check out the Wicked Chops Poker WSOP section.

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Gracz & Seidel's WSOP Wins Featured Tomorrow

CyndySeidelGraczTomorrow night's ESPN WSOP coverage is a classic showcase of new school and old school.

First up is Event #7 ($1,000 buy-in with re-buy) won by this year's requisite poker phenom, 24 year-old Michael Gracz.  Gracz has been absolutely tearing up tournaments the past year.  Aside from the $594,460 he won from Event #7, he cleared $1 mill by winning the PartyPoker Million on the WPT, and nearly $300k in the Trump Classic last December.

Next up is Event #9 ($2,000 NLH) won by the pros-pro, Erik Seidel.  This was Seidel's 7th WSOP bracelet.  He outlasted Cyndy Violette and "Tiltboy" Perry Friedman for the title.

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Cunning WSOP Coverage

Allcun_2ESPN begins airing non-circuit WSOP tournaments tomorrow night, starting with the record-setting (all of ‘em set records) Event #2 ($1,500 NLH with 2,300+ entrants)

Spoiler alert: Eventual WSOP Player of the Year, Allen Cunningham, captured the event in a great three-way battle with two non-fish-Fishes, Devilfish Ulliot and Scott Fischman. 

For more detailed coverage of all WSOP tournaments, check the Wicked Chops Poker WSOP section

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2005 WSOP TV Schedule

ESPN has listed its 2005 WSOP television schedule.  The first airing is this Tuesday at 8pm when the monolithic sports giant begins showing over a month's worth of WSOP circuit events (Las Vegas, Atlantic City, San Diego, Lake Tahoe, New Orleans).  Each week ESPN will air 2 full hours worth of poker.  Poker poker poker. 

So give your girlfriend/wife a kiss and your Tuesday evenings good-bye until November, when Main Event coverage finally wraps. 

On August 23rd ESPN will start showing the actual WSOP tournaments, beginning with Event #2 ($1,500 NLH, won by Allen Cunningham) and Event # 4 ($1,500 Limit Hold'em, captured by Eric “Efro” Froehlich). 

No need to list the whole schedule here.  The WSOP air dates are on

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Hachem Hatches Raise In WSOP Coverage

There is no shortage of media coverage spotlighting Joseph Hachem today (seen spotlighted in the pic below).  Check out some suggested reads on Hachem and his 2005 WSOP victory.

Aussie Hachem Wins World Series of Poker (CNNSI)
World Series of Poker Decided In Record 14th Hour (
Black Prince's $10M Poker Win (The Australian News)
Cool-hand Joe Pockets $10M as Poker's World Champion (The Advertiser)
Aussie Grabs Glory, Big Poker Jackpot (Inside Bay Area)


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No Joe Shmoe

HachemwinsThere is a new world champion of poker.  And chances are, you've never heard of him.

But you will soon come to know Joseph Hachem.  His all ins will be all over your television in October, when ESPN begins airing the WSOP Main Event. 

It was the longest final table in the history of the WSOP (something Mike Matusow hinted would be the case after he was knocked out in 9th).  Play began shortly after 4pm (PST) and last waaaaaaaaaay into the morning.  Finally, at 6:44am, Joseph Hachem won Texas Hold'ems biggest prize. 

So, who is Joseph Hachem?

Continue reading "No Joe Shmoe" »

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Oi! Oi! Oi! Joseph Hachem Wins 2005 WSOP!

Joseph Hachem from Melbourne, Australia, has won the 2005 WSOP.

His seven-high straight tops Steve Dannenmann's top pair the title.

After the victory, Hachem did victory laps around the stage as his countrymen (still there and still awake...and rowdy) chant the phrase of the WSOP: "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!"

With the victory, Hachem wins his first gold bracelet, $7.5M, and becomes the all-time cash earner in WSOP history.  Hatchem is the first foreign-born player to win the WSOP since Carlos Mortensen in 2001.  While Hachem has numerous cashes in tournaments in Europe and Australia, this is his first major states-side finish. 

Steve Dannenmann takes home $4.25M for second place.  Tex Barch banks $2.5M for third. 

More pictures and stories to come...

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It Keeps Going and Going and Going...

Hachem_1We're down to three...and it's only taken 16 hours to get there.

For the first time in the touranment, Joseph Hachem (pictured right) has the chip lead with over 25M.  He's followed by Steve Dannenmann (about 24M) and Tex Barch (about 7M).  Blinds are now 150-300k with 50k antes.  Anyone got a Red Bull?

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The Final Four

It's taken nine hours, but we're now down to four.

Andrew Black's pocket tens (pocket tens being a pivotal hand tonight) were cracked by Steve Dannenmann's A-K (a King hit on the turn), and our former chip leader goes home with $1.75M.  Earlier, Scott Lazar was knocked out in 6th place when his Q-T fell to Andrew Black's Jacks.  Daniel Bergsdorf went home in 7th when his Jacks were busted by Black's trip Tens.

Play is loosening up some.  Aaron Kanter has doubled through Tex Barch.  Both were all in, and Kanter showed A-7.  Barch had A-Q.  The flop though gave Kanter trip 7's, and he took a chunk of Tex's total. 

Approximate chip counts for the remaining four are now: Steve Dannenmann - 26,000,000, Tex Barch - 16,000,000, Aaron Kanter - 8,500,000, and Joe Hachem - 5,000,000.

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Where We're Stacked


After some very loose and aggressive play the past two days, things have tightened up considerable.  Andrew Black and Aaron Kanter did play one big pot before the break (Black threw in a 6M+ re-raise on Kanter after the flop) and is now the significant chip leader with over 18M.  The rest of the chip counts, courtesy of are: Aaron Kanter (10,680,000), Tex Barch (10,480,000), Steve Dannenmann (7,130,000), Scott Lazar ($5,370,000), Daniel Bergsdorf (2,940,000), and Joseph Hachem (2,450,000).

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Thank GOD ESPN edits this footage down to an hour.  You are the lucky ones.   

And Matusow wasn't kidding when he said that, with him gone, the rest of the final table would be very tight.

Kondracki Nearly five hours into this, we've only lost two players (Brad Kondracki went out in 8th...that's him on the right, in case you didn't know).  It's pretty much a pre-flop raise and fold fest.  If we're lucky, we see a flop that's raised and folded.  If it's a miracle, we see a showdown.  Given that the remaining field has little to no experience with championship tournament poker, or playing short-handed, expect this trend to continue. 

For more info on who the remaining players are, the official WSOP site posted their bios earlier today

We did find out that they will play down to till there is a winner tonight.  So sometime within the next 47 hours, the 2005 WSOP champion will slip on that gold bracelet.  We promise. 

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Shut Up and Shut Out

Mike "the Mouth" Matusow, the lone true "pro" remaining at the WSOP, is the first to bust out of the final table.

And that is a shame. 

As easy as it is to hate Matusow from you see on TV, he's very funny live, and in this year's Main Event, was very focused and probably the best player.  During his "exit interview" with the media, he told us that "[we] will be amazed to see how well" he played over the past six days.  How it was "perfect poker" (watching it, it was). How many pots he won with nothing.  And in particular, how he increased his stack by 3 million yesterday with basically nothing.  His last statement was very prescient, as you'll find out in our next post.  And that is: without him around, the rest of the table will play "very tight."

Matusow was ultimately done in when his pocket tens didn't hold up against against an A-J that caught a wheel.  Matusow walked off sad, but maintained his composure.  But as true poker fans, we're sad to see the one player that could mix it up get busted so early.  Instead, the Mouth was shut up and shut out of the Main Event in 9th place, taking with him $1M.

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Best of the Worst

With nine players who have (theoretically) played the best in this year's WSOP remaining, it got us thinking of the WORST plays we've seen over the past week.  Here's our list (from least worst to most worstest):

Fbomber_1 9) Brit Barry Paskin wearing the same "Beckham" shirt two days in row...which, from the smell of it, he actually wore something like two years in a row.  How does this qualify as a bad play?  First, the odor of Paskin's "lucky" shirt had to disrupt his concentration.  Had to.  Other-wordly kind of smell.  McDonald's cheeseburger and fries fart in a hot car bad.  Second, when the tournament officials actually made him change shirts, Paskin went on mini-tilt, again, breaking his concentration.  For a man that didn't strike us as having terribly great focus to begin with, this would be tantamount to having the button and checking a straight flush on the river. 

8)  Speaking of checking a straight flush on the river... that actually did happen.  Some Internet clown didn't realize they turned a straight flush and checked it down to the river.  Nope, wasn't trying to trap...just didn't know.  Gotta love Internet players.  The fact that we don't win every single online SNG is depressing.  Spot #8 was almost occupied by James Woods though.  Why?  Woods checked quad 3’s on the river!  Since Woods at least won SOME money for his hand though, we're letting it slide.  Worst part is, Woods set it up perfectly until then.  With pocket 3’s, Woods limps and is in a three-way pot.  Flop comes up A-A-K.  Woods bets, one guy folds, the other calls.  Turn is a 3, giving Woods a boat.  He bets again and is quickly called.  River is another 3.  He acts flustered.  Upset.  What an actor!!! He checks.  The guy quickly checks.  Woods, hoping to set a trap (yet failing, so much for another Oscar nod), flips over his quads.  The other guy just mucks.  Pretty hard to think the guy was calling Woods down with J-10, so Woods missed an opportunity to get more chips out of someone (he called all the way down, so what’s one more call?).  The lesson: never check the nuts on the river.  There’s no guarantee the other guy will bet. 

Poopin 7)  Chops using a men's room stall just seconds after Elix Powers.  Let's just say the chicken sandwiches sold outside the Rio convention center didn't sit well with Chops.  And Chops didn't sit well knowing that, as he rushed to the men's room, the only open stall was just vacated by one Elix "Jack high!" Powers.  You wanna talk about stench?  Paskin ain't got nothing on Powers.

Continue reading "Best of the Worst" »

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Finally, A Final Table

After out-playing (with a few lucky breaks along the way) a field of 5,600+, nine rounders have made their way to the 2005 WSOP Main Event final table.  Leading them all is Aaron Kanter.  After KO'ing Ivey and crippling Raymer, Kanter sits with a mountainous stack of 10,700,000 chips.  Joining him are: Tex Barch - 9,330,000, Andrew Black - 8,140,000, Mike Matusow - 7,410,000, Steven Dannenmann - 5,460,000, Joe Hachem - 5,420,000, Daniel Bergsdorf - 5,270,000, Scott Lazar - 3,370,000, Brad Kondracki - 1,180,000.

Kanter does have one cash in a WPT event (the Ultimate Poker Classic) where he finished 92nd.  But otherwise, he's in personal uncharted poker territory.  Matusow, Black, Hachem, and Lazar have more experience (Matusow raking more career tournament winnings than everyone else combined), but Kanter is not afraid to go heads-up with anyone. 

Play is supposed to kick-off today at 4pm (PST).  This still may change, but that's the latest word from WSOP officials.  We'll keep you posted. 

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Ivey Out!

Iveyout_1Shocker of the night: Everyone's pick to win it all, Phil Ivey, has been eliminated from the 2005 WSOP when his pocket Jacks got smacked by Aaron Kanter's pocket Kings.  Ivey goes down in 20th place.

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Phan, Fossilman Flame Out

Tim Phan's run at the WSOP ended after Andrew Black hit a four-outter on the river to fill a full house (Queens over Aces).  Phan flopped a set, but Black busted it with the Queen.  Phan finishes in 24th place, grabbing $304,680.

Also out is the Fossilman.  Raymer lost most of his chips against Aaron Kanter when a river heart flushed his pocket Kings.  Raymer goes out in 25th, earns $304,680, and with this performance, likely earns some long overdue respect as a great no limit hold'em tournament player.

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Mouthing Off

Mike "the Mouth" Matusow is teetering on the brink of having another classic blow-up.  He was hit up during one of the first hands with a 10 minute penalty for telling Shawn Sheikhan to "shut the f-bomb up."  Sheikhan then real smartly repeated Matusow's four-letter no-no to the tournament director, and both got hit up with a 10 minute time-out. 

Shortly after they got back to playing, Sheikhan doubled-up through Matusow, then busted Tom Sartori. 

Sheikhan should drop f-bombs more often.

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Sweden, Sweden, Sweden, Oi! Oi! Oi!

ImswedenThe country that brought us IKEA, Volvo wagons and the smorgasbord is exporting a new commodity: top notch poker players. With just 27 remaining rounders left in the main event, close to a third hail from overseas, and half are from Sweden. It’s a trend that’s been in the making since 2004 when Stockholm’s Martin de Knijff took the WPT Championship and its 2.7 million dollar prize and “Screaming Swede” Mattias Andersson woke up the WSOP main event with his earsplitting shrieks and 8th place finish.

Bergwithivey_1Stepping into Knijff ‘s and Andersson’s shoes here are Daniel Bergdorf ($2,550,000), Oskar Silow ($1,440,000), Per Hildebrand ($645,000) and Ayhan Alsancak ($225,000). While Hildebrand and Alsancak will need miracles to stay in much longer, especially since they’re sharing a table with Phil Ivey and Greg Raymer today, Silow is miraculously still in with a workable stack after doubling up from Ivey on Day Five. Bergdorf (pictured with Ivey) though is the Swede to watch as he sits around the chip average going into today but he’s no average player with a good read on the field and changing gears from solidly tight to Viking-like aggression.

AussieWhile the Swede’s are here in numbers at the tables, it’s the Aussies who are the force to reckon with in the stands, as a dozen or more from Down Under cheer loudly for current national hero Joe Hachem. Hachem’s a top tournament player at home in Melbourne with final table appearances at the Crown Victorian Championship and Australasian Championship, and he’s been making noise at the feature table with a double up here and there that sends his crew into a roar, chanting “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!”

EnglandThe nationalist pride from the Swedes and the Aussies is giving this World Series an Olympic like feel. You can even sense the generally reserved British media in the room quietly rooting for their country mates Tiffany Williamson ($1,000,000) and John McGrane ($600,000) as they attempt to do what no other Brit has done before, win the main event at the WSOP.

IrelandRounding out the players from abroad is the former monk Andrew Black, who’s broken his vow of silence to amass $2,350,000 going into Day Six. Practicing the Golden Rule of “do onto other as you would have them do on to you,” Black exhibited uncommon sportsmanship on Day Five when he refused to play while Bing Wang wasn’t at the table. The short-stacked Wang had mistakenly thought it was a dinner break instead of a regular break and was being blinded and anted off much to Black’s chagrin. Almost in tears and standing away from the table, Black objected to playing until Wing returned, which he did moments later after someone tracked him down.

It was the sign of a true gentleman, in a game not always known for such, but with 7.5 million dollars now closer in sight, Black will likely toss aside empathy for a shot at victory in the biggest game of all.

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WSOP Final Table May Start on Saturday

We just received word that the WSOP final table may not begin play until Saturday...and that it will run until Sunday.  WSOP officials say this is due to the high interest in the Main Event this year.  We'll keep you posted.

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Full Tilt Fills Pockets

Kristygazes For those not fully consumed by the 2005 WSOP Main Event, Fox Sports Net last night televised the first ever live broadcast of a Las Vegas poker tournament.  The live game, sponsored by, was won by poker pro and limit specialist Kristy Gazes. 

Kristy beat out 23 other top rounders, including Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Clonie Gowen, Erik Seidel, Daniel Negreanu, Annie Duke, and Johnny Chan.  Fortunately for her, two of Full Tilt's top no limit players--Mike Matusow and Phil Ivey--are sitting atop the chip lead in the Main Event and couldn't make it.

This total PR-fueled event (it was also hosted at the new Wynn Casino) came down to Gazes, Gowen, and five-time WSOP bracelet winner Ted Forrest.  Gazes out-dueled Forrest heads-up to win the $250,000 first prize.

Amazingly, Wicked Chops Poker was paid absolutely no money to write-up this story.

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Full Tilt Fully Stacked

Matusow_feature Full Tilt is representing strong in this year's WSOP Main EventMike "the Mouth" Matusow continued his steady ascension yesterday, and he now sits with the overall chip lead (5,140,000) going into Day 6.  The Mouth appears focused and has avoided one of those "Matusow Moments" that, in the past, has sent him in a downward spiral to the rail.

Right behind Matusow is prohibitive favorite Phil Ivey with 4,635,000.  Steven Dannenmann is third with 4,300,000, followed by Tex Barch (3,900,000) and defending champ, Greg Raymer (3,840,000).  A few spots behind him in eight is Scott Lazar (3,025,000).  Check out for full chip counts.

Play was stopped after the field whittled down to 27.  Action moves to Binion's Horseshoe Casino today.  New tables have been assigned, and cards will be dealt at 3pm (PST). 

Matusow is the overwhelming big stack at his new table today.  The closest person to him is Brad Kondracki, who has nearly two million fewer chips (3,160,000).  Tiffany Williamson, the lone female remaining, sits next to Kondracki, but with a significantly smaller clay fortress (1,125,000). 

Phil Ivey, Greg Raymer, and Tim Phan (down to 1,575,000) will let chips fly at a sure-fire, fire-away aggressive table.  Raymer has position on Ivey at the table, and it will be interesting to see how these two ultra-competitive pros play their cards. 

Steven Dannenmann and Tex Barch occupy the most evenly stacked table, along with Minh Ly (2,050,000). 

So while the table match-up everyone wants to see, Matusow vs. Raymer, is still on hold, the way both are playing, it appears inevitable.  And if it does, expect one of them to fully go on tilt before it's done.

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Tex and Stevie D Take the Lead, But Not for Long

Tex_1John Derrick Barch is his name, but most just call him Tex. And if the McKinney, Texas native keeps things up he just might finally bring the title back to the state where the game began over a century ago. With $4 million in chips Tex carries the big gun in the field along with Maryland’s Steve Dannenmann who’s also stacking near the quad millions mark. Somewhere online the odds of Barch winning were set at 350-to-1, but with under 30 rounders to go, Tex’s odds have gone from rather slim to pretty darn good.

Elsewhere at the 4 tables left, John Juanda has finally run empty after pushing his last 340k left with 8h-4h and running into two players with wired pairs, one with queens, the other tens. The board hit K-Q-2-5-8, forcing Juanda to hit the exit, with a nice size pay out in tow and a loud applause to boot.

Russellhandjob_1For Russell Salzer, the happy ending was not meant to be, at least in the poker sense (see pic), as the Muscle and his masseuse were sent to the rail courtesy of Swede Oskar Silow, who now has about $1.5 million.

At the featured table, it’s been an all-in fest with big stacks hammering short stacks as well as each other. Tiffany Williamson was the first to take a hit, calling Raymer’s all-in with an A-Jo, which was no match to the champ’s pocket kings. But Tiffany had him outstacked and was still in the game, winning an all-in race herself just a few hands later. Right now she sits just over the million mark but that’s a tough place to be when the average stack is almost twice as much and the blinds $20-40k. Also at the feature is Aussie Joe Hachem, who’s had a crowd cheering him along with soccer hooligan-like chants as he amasses 3.5 million. Phan meanwhile could use some cheering up himself as he took a hit in an all-in against Michael Kessler. Phan had pocket queens but Kessler’s big slick hit its ace on the turn, doubling him up to 2.4 million.

IveymouthAs I type, Cardplayer’s updated their chip count and it looks like Matusow has once again claimed the lead with $4.5 million, while Stevie D. and Tex are close behind (4.2 and 4 respectively). The Mouth’s been doing it all along, hanging in and climbing up, and it’s looking more and more likely that it will be the Mike Matusow Show when ESPN airs the final table later this October. But if Matusow somehow, someway goes down in flames prior to the final nine, well you’d have to imagine that would be must see TV just as well.

If he does make it to final table, Matusow may have a few co-hosts stealing the show, as Raymer and Ivey are still very strong; Raymer with $3,050,000 and Ivey at $3,000,000. Raymer is making big calls and big moves and they’re paying off for the defending champ who isn’t afraid to risk it all. In one particular hand, with the board showing 8d-Js-2s-7d, Radu Butan was all-in with a Queen high flush draw and Raymer called with 5d-6d for a straight flush draw. The river brought a jack of diamonds and Raymer the pot to put him up near the top once again.

Also hanging tough around the two million mark or above are Minh Ly (3,000,000), Scott Lazar (2,800,000), Irishman Andrew Black (2,200,000), Tim Phan (2,050,000), Swede Daneil Bergsdorf (2,000,000), and Cornell grad and a former chip leader Brad Kondracki (1,800,000). For the hometown Atlanta crowd, our very own Joe Connor is still in the mix with 1.3 million in chips.

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The top pros remaining are bustin' up short-stacks and positioning themselves for a final table appearance.  Leading them all right now is Mike Matusow with 4,500,000.  He's followed by Steve Dannenmann (4,200,000), Tex Barch (4,000,000), Greg Raymer (3,100,000), Phil Ivey (3,000,000), Minh Ly (3,000,000), and Scott Lazar (2,800,000).  One bust to go before play stops for the night. 

John Juanda busted, as did Russell Salzer. That loud sigh you hear is from every masseuse at the Rio.

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An Expat and Ex-Monk Make it to Day 5

Tiffandraymer_1And then there was one . . . woman left.

When the UK's Sarah Bliley went out around midnight on Day 4, Tiffany Williamson, a Columbia, SC-born attorney now living and working in London, was the sole remaining woman left in the field. And she was sitting with about $2 million in chips in front of her.

Her story is the kind that has catapulted the WSOP into mainstream consciousness as people around the world dream of getting into the main event on the cheap. For Williamson it was first winning a freeroll at's live club in London (she did "top-up for a tenner" as they would say which is an add-on for about 20 bucks). That win got her in another satellite and eventually a package to Las Vegas complete with travel accomodations. Once here, she continued her roll by winning a seat in one of the main event satellites just days before the start on July 7.

TiffrayphanSince the main event got underway, Williamson has played a tight-aggressive game modeled after her favorite poker player Dan Harrington, and she has gone on to outlast the Action Man, as well as more than 5,500 players, to guarantee herself no less than $235,390 in earnings and even more importantly, a shot at becoming the first woman and Briton to win the main event.

She is now seated at the ESPN feature table with both Raymer and Tim Phan to her left. In front of her, about 1.3 million.

TheexmonkFrom across the Irish Sea, and here in Vegas, just a few tables aways, is Dubliner Andy Black who was needing some Irish luck yesterday when he was below half a million. Now, the ex-monk (seriously) appears to have had his prayers answered, tripling and doubling up and currently at about 2 million in chips.

Black plays his poker mostly in Dublin and London and now plans to play much bigger events in the UK thanks to his bankroll guaranteed to be at least a quarter of a million. Like a typical Dubliner, Black has been fun spirited the whole way through, but when he drops his shades (upside down, Luske style) he drops the blarney and is all business.A_black

With two-thirds of Wicked Chops Poker team being Irish, we're quietly rooting for the Dubliner Black to at least earn a seat at the final table on Friday, but it will take more than the luck of the Irish and a few prayers to win it all with Ivey, Matusow and Raymer among those still in the game.

By the way, speaking of Guinness (well sort of), call up the world record folks because Russell the Muscle is still getting a massage and an happy ending, NYC style, looks now to be a sure thing.

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Day 5 Play Underway

Ivey4_1From the feedback we're getting, it seems like Phil Ivey is (to the surprise of no one) the overwhelming favorite to win the 2005 WSOP.  Not only do most people expect him to win, but most people want him to win too (like the guy standing behind him in the photo with the Phil Ivey shirt and button).  Ivey is the big stack at his table, and definitely knows how to bully other rounders to control play.

Raymer is back up over a million after starting today under by about 250k, and Mike Matusow is on a tear with around $2.5 million. Tim Phan has once again knocked out a player and looks to have at or close to 3 million now.  Seven  players have already been eliminated since play began.

One of those is Rod Pardey, Jr., out in 52nd ($173,880)  So much for our prediction of a final table for him.  After taking huge hits early in Day 4, he came in short today and finally went out when his pocket Tens got whipped by trip Queens. 

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The Real World Series

Globe1 With its ubiquitous presence, the newfound celebrity status of pros, and infiltration into pop culture, the poker phenomenon in the U.S. is second to none.

But some of the most skilled practitioners of the game hail from across our waters.

On Day 4 at the WSOP, the field was a virtual United Nations of poker with more than 30 players representing nations in Europe, Asia, Central America and elsewhere. And of course, a large number of the American rounders here are originally from abroad, including John Juanda (born in Indonesia), Farzad “Freddy” Bonyadi (Iran), a few Eastern Europeans now living in New York and the always strong crew of pros born in Vietnam, including Hung La, Minh Ly and JC Tran.

One of the strongest and most surprising contingents is the Scandinavians...

Continue reading "The Real World Series" »

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No Flash in the Phan

Day 4 of the 2005 WSOP is done.  We have 58 players left fighting for a $7.5 million first place prize.

Timphancutout_1Once again, the chip leader is Tim Phan with 3,244,000.  Phan is wielding a big stack to clubber his opponents.  He's got some other heavy hitters though right behind him.  Mike "the Mouth" Matusow continued his steady climb and is now second with 2,561,000.  Farzad Bonyadi is third with 2,402,000.  Right behind him is Steve Dannenmannenminamenemen (kidding, Dannenmann) with 2,143,000.  The current favorite though has to be Phil Ivey.  He's the fifth highest stack with 2,027,000. 

Other notables include 7th: Tiffany Williamson - 1,992,000, 9th: Scott Lazar - 1,629,000, 13th: Lee Watkinson (finally making a move) - 1,221,000, 17th: Minh Ly - 1,102,000, 24th: Dustin "Never win" Woolf - 968,000, 25th: John Juanda - 841,000, 31st: Greg 'Fossilman' Raymer - 766,000, 37th Russell "The Muscle" Salzer (those massages must be working) - 710,000, and 56th: Rod Pardey Jr. - 187,000. 

Even with over 5,600 entrants, looks like there's a good chance the final table will have some top pros filling the seats. 

Occupying the same table today when play kicks off are Farzad Bonyadi, Dustin Woolf, and Mike Matusow at table 117.  Scott Lazar and Tim Phan will be at table 119.  Salzer, Ivey, and Hung La will be at table 129.  And Lee Watkinson and Tiffany Williamson will be at table 133. 

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Will Salzer Have a Happy Ending?

Russell Salzer has been getting a massage for roughly three straight days.  We're not kidding.

In fact, we can't think of a time where we HAVEN'T seen him getting a rub down on some part of his body.  If that sounds gross, trust us, it is. 

If given the choice though, we're sure he'd take a happy ending at the end of the main event, as opposed to one from this poor girl who is working very hard for her money. 

Salz1_1  Salz3

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Speak Softly, Carry a Big Stack

Raymerwithfan_Greg Raymer is a nice dude.  Very accommodating.  Jokes around with his table.  Takes photos with or gives autographs to anyone.   All in all, this is one decent guy.

But don't fuck with him.

Just like Raymer drops the hammer on unsuspecting short-stacks, he does the same to anyone that comes between what matters to him.  Namely, his family and money. 

Last year, it was two idiots from San Diego who tried to mug him at gunpoint in Vegas.  Tonight, it was some random guy asking creepy questions about his daughter.

Raymer's table is near the main media area.  His wife was sitting in a chair close by.  This random guy, no press badge, no credentials of any kind, struck up a conversation with Raymer's wife.

"So, you have a daughter?" "How old is she?"  "Where's she at right now?"

Raymer overhears this, stands up, turns around and tells the guy, "Fuck with my daughter and you're dead."



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Getting the "Led" Out

JuanlediveySomehow, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, and Howard Lederer (three of the top names left in the field) drew the same table (Lederer was moved there).  Somehow, this was NOT the featured table (that still belongs to Mike Matusow). 

When you have three big guns like Ivey, Juanda, and Lederer, shots will be fired, and hot lead will take someone down. 

LedereroutAnd Howard Lederer was the first to get whacked.  He was done in by Full Tilt buddy John Juanda.  Poor guy, probably never saw it coming.  It's always your good buddy pulling the trigger too. 

Or a pre-flop all in A-K vs. A-J, with a King hitting on the flop. 

Juanda has been moving up in chip count, taking a few hits on Phil Ivey.  With two hyper-aggresive players like Ivey and Juanda fighting over pots, there will be causilities.  Juanda is getting the best of it right now, moving up to 950,000. 

Greg Raymer is still the chip leader, with 1.5 million.  Mike the Mouth is up to 864,000. Phil Ivey is down to a half mill. 

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And the Winner Is...

With 185 players remaining (which is 3% of the original field…amazing), let’s sort out our favorites to win the 2005 WSOP Main Event...

Continue reading "And the Winner Is..." »

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"One Million Dollars"

MillionchipsIt didn't sound like a lot of money when Dr. Evil said it, but here at level 17 of the WSOP, with blinds at $2500-5000 and antes $500 a hand, it's some serious loot for the three players now stacking a million: Greg Raymer (1,064,000), Rod Pardey, Jr. (1,041,000) and Brad Kondracki (962,500).

At the kick off press conference, Raymer gave himself about 1500-to-1 odds to win again this year, something only 4 men have done before, but his chances now are definitely looking much better with less than 200 players left. For Pardey, he's been sitting pretty all day, hitting a million first and still holding on. Kondracki's been at or near the top of the pack since he finished Day One, without much attention, but now that he's over the mark he'll no longer be under the radar.

In the rest of the field, Ivey (722,500), Matusow (454,500), Lederer (496,500), Ly (530,250), and Salzer (512,500) are names that could rise to the top while Watkinson (181,000) and Boyd (92,000) need to do some work before they bottom out.

For the Grinder, the machine finally stopped when his pocket sixes failed to improve against Lucky O'Brien's pocket queens. And joining Mizrachi on the rail not long after was his feature table mate from yesterday, Layne Flack, who played exceptionally all three days. It would be a river suck out that would bring his WSOP to an end. Minneapolis Meehan and Matthew Hilger have also been eliminated.

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Standing at the Top with a Mountain of Chips

Pollackday3Timphanday3_2Pardeyday3We're in the $21,070 payout level with 310 players remaining and certainly less by the time this post is done. At the top with a mountain of chips still is a set of relative youngsters. 28-year-old Rod Hardey, Jr. is now in the $700-800k range with California's Tim Phan ($675,000) and North Carolina's James Pollack ($572,000) close behind, both continuing their aggressive play.

Phan is 31-years-old and has been playing poker for over 10 years now, with his biggest win at the 2004 Grand Slam of Poker Championship. The San Gabriel, Ca. resident has also made final tables at the LA Poker Classic and Festa al Lago.

Pardey, Jr., as we reported earlier, is the son of 2-time 7CS world champion Rod Pardey, Sr. Only 28-years-old, Junior is playing exceptionally well, bullying with his stack and hitting the cards.

Little is known about James Pollack except that he's been carrying a large stack the past two days and he looks like he's not much more than 21 years in age. He was seated next to Phil Ivey for a bit yesterday, never intimidated as he came into today with the second largest count. Ivey is amazingly still in and strong ($310,000) after a rollercoaster run the past two days in which most had counted him out.

After the dinner break, it was the Minneapolis Meehan, Farha and Phan Comedy Show at the ESPN feature table until Farha got busted out at around 315th place by John Falconer. Yesterday, Farha and Phan traded words repeatedly while at the same table, and Meehan has been non-stop with his brash comments, even going over to Farha/Phan's table last night to razz the two.

Raymerday3With Farha, Williams and Moneymaker gone, only Raymer is left representing the final two over the past two years, and he's doing a good job with a glacier of chips in front of him measuring about $650,000.

Other top stacks include Denis Ethier, who already has a gold bracelet in the seven card stud/8's or better event this year and cashed in seven card stud. Last we saw he had close to half a million. Hung La is also hanging at the top. The Manhattan Beach pro finished 3rd in this year's LA Poker Classic (significantly better than Snake and the Addict did this year) and last reported had $444,000.

The Grinder is showing he is indeed a machine this year at big tournaments, and he's still doing well in the one that truly matters with around $500k in chips. Also standing firm and making it a strong possibility we'll have a table full of big name pros on the final day are Lee Watkinson, Mike Matusow, Layne Flack, Paul Darden and John Juanda. Darden and Juanda have been at the same table all day, battling it out with each throwing major punches and taking blows. The upper hand is now in Darden's corner after he took a pot from Juanda that looked to be more than a quarter of a million.

Cigarmc82-year-old Paul "Cigar' McKinney, the oldest player in the main event, is still in but down in count. We're guessing he'd attribute his presence this late in the event to his healthy diet of "moonshine whiskey, big cigars and young women."

An update on the few unknowns and relatively unknowns we've been following the past couple days: Our favorite Belize player and the only one we know, Bob "The Hotch" Hotchendani, is looking good with over $300k in chips and a few levels closer to making a nice size down payment on that casino he wants to open. Shannon Sharpe superfan Greg Amoils was still in after the dinner break while Andrew Prock went out in 520th place. The Russian Howard Stern lookalike was nowhere to be found early on today as was Robo-Pong pro "Blue."

Side note: you'll see less photos and anecdotes from the tables from here on out as the ESPN crew claims territory and has been butting heads with the media here.

We're down to 285 now and a payout of $24,365.

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As the Bubble Bursts, the Big Stacks Bully

And we have our bubble boy.

YgbornTwenty-five-year-old Carl Ygborn of Gothenborg, Sweden, who won his seat in a $1,000 super satellite the day before the main event, was eliminated in 561th place, becoming the last person of this year’s WSOP to walk away with a goose egg cash. As a consolation gift he did receive a toaster and, oh yeh, a free seat into next year’s main event. Very nice of the WSOP folks although I’m sure Ygborn would prefer a cash payout instead. While we’re not sure if he’ll take the toaster back with him to Scandinavia, based on his comments afterwards, the down but not destroyed Ygborn will likely be back next year. When asked if he was trying to play tight because they were finally down to one from the money, Ygborn declared proudly, “I wasn’t playing for 560th place. I was playing to win.”

Standing in the way of those plans was 22-year-old Corey Cheresnick, who took all of Ygborn’s chips with a flopped Jack high straight. Failing to sense strength, Ygborn thought his pair of tens with an ace kicker was the best hand and went all-in on the turn. With Cheresnick quickly calling and a king landing on the river, Ygborn was out and 560 players were left competing for the $7.5 million prize. All remaining are ensured of at least a $12,500 walk away.

HandshakingCellcelebrating2When played started this morning it was almost two hours of brutal, snails-pace play as they went hand-for-hand until eight were knocked out. For the online players still in who won their seat on the cheap, the wait was well worth it, and when word got out that we were down to 560, a roar of gitty excitement went across the room as players congratulated each other on the cash and called family and friends. While the $12,500 pay out for 501 to 560 is far from riches, it’s still a nice cash for those who qualified through satellites.

Raymer_reachPhanFor the pros though, there’s only one thing they’re playing for and that’s the gold bracelet in the largest poker tournament ever held. While Pardey, Jr. and Phan were out ahead this morning, word is being passed around that Raymer may be in the lead as well as an amateur or two with over $400k in chips. By the looks of it, Raymer still seems short of the top as well as a long shot to join the ranks of Moss, Brunson, Ungar and Chan by winning back-to-back championships, but the Fossilman is putting himself in great position and we all saw last year how he can bully with the big stack.

Things are moving fast as the big stacks gobble up the small stacks, many who were just hanging in there for the cash, and we'll be seeing the chip leader changing frequently throughout the day. As I type, 487 players left.

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Day 2 is Done: Redux

According to the offical time board in the Rio Pavilion this morning there are 568 players left, though I'm hearing 566 and 567 from others around the room. It's a big difference when only 560 will get paid.

After counting up the chips, the young Tim Phan is no longer the man with the most, a title now held by Las Vegas resident Rod Pardey, Jr. who is the son of a two time gold bracelet winner in seven card stud and himself finished 4th in the seven card stud event at the 1998 WSOP when he was just 21. Pardey's chip count: $ 464,000.

Raymer is indeed among the chip leaders, standing 9th with about $318,700 in chips. Michael "The Grinder" Mizarchi is still, as he would boast, "a machine at the table" with around $294,800, and staying strong is his feature table mate Layne Flack with $188,100.

Impressively still building his stack is Belize's Bob Hotchandani who has $372,700 and is in 5th position. We got word from Bob when he was at Arnold Spee's table the other day that he plans to build a casino back home. A win or final table apppearance here will certainly make that feasible.

Right behind Hotch is Lee Watkinson who is continuing his superb play from Day One, banking $336,800 after Day Two. Just as strong is Russell "The Muscle" Salzer with $326,000.

Minneapolis Jim Meehan is still on a roll, with both his irreverent remarks (see several posts below) and his chip count that now stands at $211,900.

Finally, here's how some notables look going into Day Three: Phil Ivey (89,600), Mike Matusow (120,100), Clonie Gowen (64,400), Howard Lederer (127,800), Layne Flack (188,100), Paul Darden (144,000), Dutch Boyd (103,800), John Juanda (141,100), and Atlanta's Matthew Hilger (60,900).

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Day 2 Is Done

Play wrapped up with 569 players left (9 short of getting into the money).

Tim Phan is by far the chip leader, with around 650k. His stack is seriously ridiculous. He's sitting at Sam Farha's table, and the two keep taking swings at pots and verbal jabs at each other.

Chip Reese was eliminated around place #580 when his nut flush got crushed by a boat on the river.

Defending champ Greg Raymer is among the chip leaders, with about 350k. Also moving up is Michael "The Grinder" Mizarchi, with around 225k.

Others very likely to cash include Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, Clonie Gowen, Howard Lederer, Minneapolis Meehan, Layne Flack, Paul Darden, Dutch Boyd, John Juanda, Matthew Hilger, Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf, and Lee Watkinson.

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Johnny Rockets from Daytona Has Been Eliminated


Johnnyrockets2Johnny Rockets.  From Daytona.  You know.  World famous poker player.  Dominator of the Big Game.  A-lister banging Perfect 10 models.

What's that?  Never heard of him? 

Well, you will.  Yet another poker player at this year's WSOP has put himself on a William Hung-esque career trajectory.  And that man is Johnny Rockets.  From Daytona. 

"I need ESPN to table 25, please!"  Johnny hollered in the Rio convention hall.  "Johnny Rockets from Daytona is all in!"

This wasn't the first time Johnny tried to get on the TV radar.  But it was his best effort.  ESPN rushed over and captured every split-second of this gripping, life-altering hand unfold. 

"I need clubs!" Johnny yelled as the flop yielded one club for his suited hand. 

"I got one of 'em!" he screamed as the turn gave him another club. a moment that will go down right behind Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon in the history of impactful television...Johnny...missed his club and was sent to the rail.

"Johnny Rockets is done!" said Johnny Rockets.  From Daytona.

And then...he left to a round of applause from players and spectators.  It was a show of respect on par with the kids in Dead Poet's Society giving Mr. Keating the "Oh Captain, My Captain." 

See that tear of water rolling down your monitor?  That is a tear from Wicked Chops Poker, truly touched by this moment.  Sniff. 

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Smells Like Poker Player Spirit

PaskinshirtlessSomeone finally had the nerve to tell Crazy Brit Barry Paskin that he smells like a port-a-pot in a junk yard that hasn't been cleaned out in about, say, 6 years. Well, they didn't actually say that but whatever they said they got Barry pretty peeved. Supposedly the players at his table asked the dealer to have Barry change his shirt, which Barry retorted, "You guys are being rude and discriminatory. Show me where there's a rule that you can't smell at the table." As he took off his shirt, walked around and then put it back on, this time backwards, Barry explained that he's sorry it smells but it's his lucky shirt. Meanwhile the dealer called "Floor" for some help, then tournament director Johnny Grooms was brought in to resolve the matter. When Grooms suggested that Barry change out his shirt for an orange World Series of Poker T-shirt, Barry replied, "I'm not gonna advertise for anybody!" Ironically, moments later Paskin was seen sporting a Team Gutshot shirt he got from one of their reps.

Paskin_faceWord is from the Gutshot people that after he was taken away from the table to chat with Grooms, Barry declared, 'My wife loves it when I smells like this!'.

Fortunately for "The Grinder" Mizrachi and Layne Flack, the featured table is about 100 yards from where's Barry's seated, although Flack would probably have preferred to endure the stink of Barry than the stink The Grinder laid on him in a $260,000 pot. In the hand, Flack raised preflop to $4,000 with the Grinder calling. Then on a flop of 10-J-10, the Grinder leads out for $10,000 and Flack raises it to $20,000. Eventually the two are all in with the Grinder showing pocket kings and Flack with A-J. The turn card is a 9, the river a Q and Grinder hits a King high straight and a $260,000 scoop.


Update from the tables: Chops just walked by Raymer's table, with last year's champ taking the time to tell him, "I'm at 170." That doesn't stink.

Elsewhere, Ivey is looking low at around 30k while an Al Krux-look alike is now at Clonie's table sitting pretty with a rather healthy chip count.

One more update: Crazy Brit Barry Paskin is out.

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Meehan on Phan

MeehanfarhaMinneapolis Meehan is on a roll.

After standing up to view Tim Phan's stack, Minneapolis Meehan told his table, "That Asian kid has a stack larger than a mule's d!ck!" A few minutes later, he went over to Sammy Farha's table where Phan is also seat and said "Hey Sammy! Welcome to America!"

They need to move Meehan to the featured table, which Layne Flack finds himself at again. Flack was moved to The Grinder's table when ESPN decided to spotlight Ivey's group. But Flack and The Grinder have been knocking heads, so ESPN switched the tables...yet again. Should make good TV.

Speaking of good TV, Crazy Brit Barry Paskin has survived another all in, when his A-T held against A-4. This time, he screamed, "Hallelujah!" and then collapsed on the floor.

It was just announced that 792 players remain. Only 232 till the money. Two of them are "Blue" and his table buddy, this Howard Stern clone.

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Up Down Up Down


Layne Flack (now moved from the featured table to Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi's table) isn't the only bracelet winner ramping up his stack today (although since moving, Flack is down to 150k, and The Grinder up to 110k). 

Phil Ivey's table replaced Flack's for ESPN coverage, and since then, Ivey has finally started a steady climb up, now sitting with around 48k. 

Since moving to table 1, Greg Raymer is doing a lot of talking and pot raking, now sitting with over 100k.  He spends most of his time shootin' sh!t with his fellow players.  On one hand, Raymer had the button, and it was folds all around.  He takes a look at his whole cards, looks at the small blind and says, "I hate doing this."  The small blind folds too, showing Raymer a 3-2.  "I had you dominated!"  Raymer says.  "I had 4-2!"  The big blind flashed the guys pocket 6's, Raymer_bounceand both were happy they didn't make a play for the pot.  He then spent about five minutes explaining why 5-3 is his "most profitable cash game hands."  Kids, don't try that at home.

But that's nowhere near Tim Phan, who leads everyone with over 400k after winning another huge pot.  Long Islander Bryan Stellwagen continues to run his table, and currently has almost 300k, as is Chip Reese.

Crazy Brit Barry Paskin is staying alive, suriving yet another all in.  For this one, he hopped up on his chair, flipping over Queens.  His opponent shows A-Q.  Paskin's Queens hold, and he jumps off his chair and screams, "Viva Las Vegas!!!" 

Huckleberry Seed's stack was fluctuating all day long, going anywhere from 20k-80k each level.  Right now, though, Huck's at 0k, busting out of this year's main event. His pocket queens were taken down by A-K after an Ace dropped on the flop and the turn and river offered no help to Huck . 

Prock_lederer_2Dutch Boyd was around 55k seemingly all day, but he's finally breaking through and now stacks 80k.

Andrew Prock has been moved to Howard Lederer's table and is taking notes.  Prock has Lederer out-stacked right now, about 120k to 70k.

Mike Matusow keeps singing his poker song ("Poker is all luck/skill...") on each all in, or just standing up and dancing and belting out other tunes.  Say what you want of Matusow and Hellmuth and the way they come across on TV, but trust us, sitting here for 15 hours a day, the provide VERY welcome entertainment.  Let's hope Mike keeps building his 120k+ chip castle, we need the laughs. 

While Clonie Gowen is a knock-out...we mean knocking-out players at her table, (and collecting 100k in the process), former 4th Streeter Carmel Petresco is TKO'd.  Sorry guys.

Atlantan Matthew Hilger dropped to around 30k, but has built his stack up to 60k. 

And with 20k is this really old dude (think Blue from Old School), looks like he might live in a cardboard box off the strip with Elix Powers.  His hat reads "Robo Pong!"  He's gotta be one of our favorite players of this year's WSOP. 

Clonie_g CarmelRobopong
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Girls on the Rail at 2008 WSOP


    Our photog at the 2008 WSOP is having a hard time focusing his lens on the pros at the table. We like him for that. Check out girls on the rail here.

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