Ahem. Please keep reading. No, seriously. The jokes get better, or at least more plentiful. So Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth, famous poker players both, each made the final table of the World Poker Tour's LAPC at the Commerce Casino in depressing City of Commerce. That's the point we're trying to make here.
Right. Well anyway, it was a long and grueling day for both Phils, and for the other four players who ultimately survived the struggle and earned a few hours under the WPT mood lighting tomorrow at the Commerce. The 18 hopefuls who survived four days of play were rewarded on the fifth by hostile opponents, the sweet sound of heavy construction and, well, birthday cake. But we'll get to that.
Like I said, 18 players made it to Day 5 and their undisputed leader was - how 'bout that - Phil Ivey, who entered the day with $1,543,000 to his name. Other players amongst the final two tables you may have heard of included second-place Blair "blur5f6" Hinkle, Phil "Phil Hellmuth" Hellmuth, Nam Le, Weikai Chang, Quinn Do, Matt Brady, Jennifer Tilly, Theo Tran and David Singer, while the remainder of the survivors were also very good and just as deserving to be there.
Eliminated first was Singer, who open-shoved from the button with A♣ Q♣ and was called by Hellmuth in the big blind. The Poker Brat had aces, and after the board came 10-9-8-7-2 the aces held and Singer was eliminated in 18th place. He takes home $48,760, as do Brian Taylor and Yury Parad, who finished in 17th and 16th, respectively. While that would be the end for Singer and Taylor, it would prove not to be the last time we'd see Parad on Wednesday.
Pete de Best would then prove himself a liar, getting all-in with A♠ 7♠ against Ivey's pocket sixes and winding up de fifteenth best when he failed to improve in the coin flip scenario. De Best, along with Matt Brady and Matt Carson, would earn $55,520 for his efforts in Los Angeles, although the man would likely trade all or most of that money for just a freaking day without jokes about his last name. Ship it, sir!
Between Brady and Carson's eliminations came an interesting hand that Hellmuth (who knows a thing or two about these things) would call "a spectacular blowup," involving the Brat, Phil Ivey, and Blair Hinkle. Hinkle had been winning a significant number of pots in the rounds preceding the hand and Hellmuth had remarked on his aggressive play. In this hand, however, Hinkle simply flat-called Hellmuth's $90,000 raise (3x big blind) from the cut-off and saw Ivey re-raise to $290,000 from the button, leaving himself with only $714,000 behind.
Hellmuth folded out but Hinkle added $400,000 to the wager and Ivey quickly moved all-in. Hinkle called with J♥ 9♥ and saw Ivey table a pocket pair of kings. The cowboys held up despite Hinkle picking up straight and flush draws, and Ivey doubled to more than double the chip average while Hinkle was down to half-average.
Hinkle would manage to outlast Carson and Jennifer Tilly before he hit the bricks in eleventh, though Tilly's elimination was the one that would likely get the most attention from WPT staffers hopeful that a movie star would grace their final six. Shortstacked and desperate, Tilly moved all-in over the top of a Phil Hellmuth raise with T♣ 7♣ and saw the Brat call with K♣ Q♠. The board brought no miracles and J-Tilla was history, earning $61,610 for her time and in the process breaking her own record for deepest cash by an Academy Award-nominee in a WPT event.
Then Hinkle busted in eleventh and the field was reduced to its final ten players, thus prompting a redraw for seats at the final table and a slowdown in play to a glacial pace. Thankfully, after about a level of ten-handedness the field was treated to the surreal return of Yury Parad, who came bearing a chocolate cake and exhortations that the field should help celebrate his sixtieth birthday.
Some players, notably Nam Le and Phil Ivey, refused to partake, but Phil Hellmuth successfully argued for a cake break and was first in line after Parad blew out his candles and distributed the booty. After a few minutes of confectioneering, Hellmuth returned to the table and the game was afoot once more.
Mike Watson would be the first to go from the final table, busting out in 10th place when he ran A♠ 4♣ into Quinn Do's pocket kings. Watson earns $61,610 for his time while Do would then set his sights on Jeff Schwimmer, who moved all-in with A-Q and lost a race against Do's pocket sevens. Schwimmer collects $92,570 for his ninth place finish.
Shortstacked Theo Tran would be next to go, calling all-in after Scott Montgomery open-shoved and turning up deuces to Montgomery's pocket kings. A king on the turn would give Montgomery the set and though Tran picked up a flush draw he couldn't make it stick, succumbing to the no-chips disease in eighth place for a $127,680 haul.
Then play slowed even more, partially because the players had reached the TV bubble and partially because an optimistic member of a rival media outlet had had the gall to suggest the over/under on the conclusion of play for the day should be set at four-bloody-p.m.
In fact it was closer to midnight by the time the final elimination occurred, and as the offending journalist recovered from his savage beating PokerListings.com fave Weikai Chang was getting all-in with K-Q and finding himself dominated by Hellmuth's A-Q. The board brought no suckouts for the likeable young pro, who misses out on TV exposure and flattering mood lighting tomorrow but does earn a $172,410 consolation prize.
And there you have it. The final table of this baby starts at 5 p.m. PST on Thursday, although PokerListings.com will likely be on-scene from about 4:30 onwards, mooching off the crew buffet and polishing our arsenal of witty bon mots. Feel free to holla at us (we promise no more "Phil" puns if you drop us a line) and in the meantime, chew on these juicy chip counts/seating positions one time:
|Seat 1||Quinn Do ||$1,450,000 |
|Seat 2 ||Nam Le ||$1,180,000 |
|Seat 3 ||Phil Hellmuth ||$2,380,000 |
|Seat 4 ||Phil Ivey ||$4,100,000 |
|Seat 5 ||Charles Moore ||$1,510,000 |
|Seat 6 ||Scott Montgomery ||$2,680,000|