Laliberte's appearance at the executive-class Steve Wong, as well as top pros David "The Dragon" Pham and a short-stacked Chad Brown.
Brown found himself the first member of the final table eliminated, pushing his stack in the middle with pocket eights and running into Vasile Buboi's pocket nines. The board was especially cruel for Vanessa Rousso's sweet baboo, coming K♣ 8♣ 5♣ 9♠ A♠ to give Brown the advantage but then quickly snatch it away. The former actor hit the rail in ninth place for $32,592.
Next to the cashier's table was Michelle Law, who came into the day with barely more chips than Brown but who managed to put forth a gutsy and inspiring performance all the same, outlasting every other female participant to claim eighth place and a $48,888 prize. Law was eliminated at the hands of Cory Carroll when her A♦ T♥ could not improve against the Haligonian's pocket nines.
Steve Wong, surprisingly, was next out the door. Wong made a pair of head-scratching moves that were remarkably out of character for Bellagio's 20th poker millionaire, first doubling up Eric Davis with king-high against the King of Ka's boat, threes full of eights, and then a few hands later pushing on a jack-high flop for his last $171,000 with Big Slick and no draw on a jack-high flop and getting a quick call from Vasile Buboi with pocket tens. Wong received $65,184 for his finish and at least has the grim consolation of knowing that he has proven the PokerListings.com pre-final table interview curse is no myth.
Sixth place went to David "The Dragon" Pham, thus sweeping the table of recognizable pros and leaving the $506,176 first prize pretty well up for grabs. Pham himself made a questionable play just minutes before bustification, calling a $200,000 river bet from Eric Davis to leave himself with only $35,000 behind when Davis showed jacks for the check mark.
Pham pushed all-in on the next hand, and soon found his A♦ 2♦ was not in great shape against Justin Pechie's pocket kings. The board could bring no salvation, and the Dragon was banished, slinking back to his lair with $81,840 as a consolation prize.
Five-handed, play seemed to slow down as players realized the $6,000-$12,000 blinds were no real match for their $700,000+ stacks. Eventually, however, Paul Kitsos succumbed to the war of attrition when his Q♠ J♠ failed to improve against Eric Davis' A♦ 4♣. Kitsos took home $97,776 for his fifth place finish.
Justin Pechie entered four-handed play only $176,000 to the good, but soon righted his sinking fortunes with a couple of well-timed double-ups, including one particularly nasty hand against Vasile Buboi when he pushed with A♦ J♣ and ran into Buboi's pocket jacks. An ace on the flop reversed Buboi's advantage, and Pechie was able to double up and keep the dream alive, while Buboi never seemed to recover from the bad beat.
Not long afterwards, Buboi would get all-in with top pair on a nine-high board but would fall to Cory Carroll's turned straight. Buboi hit the bricks in fourth place, and was seen wandering around the poker room with eyes glazed, muttering about his cracked pocket jacks long after the ink had dried on his $114,072 check.
Eric Davis was next, as the man with the very supportive parents (who screamed "That's my boy!" every time their son took down a pot) pushed with A♣ T♣ on a ten-high board and was called by Carroll with the nut spade-flush draw. The turn brought a fifth spade, and Davis was out in third for $130,368.
That put us at heads-up between Justin Pechie and Cory Carroll, with the Canadian kid holding a decided chip advantage (nearly 2:1). That advantage would be temporarily reversed when, following an intermission marked by actors dressed as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra inviting the two finalists to "enjoy the spoils of Rome" - apparently large bricks of $100 bills - Pechie doubled through Carroll with top pair top kicker against a busted straight draw, but a few hands later, Carroll would get his chips back and more.
In the hand of the tournament, Pechie led out with a $60,000 raise and was promptly re-raised to $200,000 by Carroll. Pechie retorted by bumping the price up to $600,000, and Carroll moved over the top all-in for his last $1 million more. Pechie tanked for a few minutes but made the call, showing K♦ J♥ to Carroll's pocket nines, and a board full of blanks later, the Haligonian had all but $100,000 of the $33 million chips in play and a stranglehold on the title.
One hand later, Cory Carroll was champion of the WSOPC at Caesars Palace for 2007. The young Internet pro receives a first prize of $506,176 for his efforts, as well as a $10,000 entry into the WSOP Main Event and a shiny new WSOPC ring fashioned of Caesar's finest gold. Pechie takes home $260,736 for his second-place finish.
Thus concludes PokerListings.com's coverage from Caesars. We'll take a two week break from tournament reporting, but you can catch us at the Mirage on May 19 for the start of the WPT's (Sabina-less, we hear) sixth season, and in New Orleans for the finale of the WSOPC's 2006-2007 campaign. The World Series is looming as well, so get all the rest you can and we'll see you back on the refresh button in a couple of weeks' time!