Filippi guns for first WPT title

Amnon Filippi
Amnon Filippi is second in chips heading into the final table at the Foxwoods Poker Classic.

Amnon Filippi will be looking for his first title in his fourth World Poker Tour final table on Wednesday night at Foxwoods.

Filippi finished fifth at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic earlier in Season 7, banking $288,235 in the process.

The New Yorker has never finished higher than fourth in any World Poker Tour event, despite also making final tables at Borgata in Season 4 (fourth) and Mirage in Season 6 (sixth).

Now he has a chance not only to claim the Foxwoods Poker Classic title and its $731,079 prize, but also to vault himself into the running for WPT Player of the Year.

With 400 points to his name coming into this final table, Filippi is guaranteed at least 300 more.

If he wins the tournament, he'll bump that number up to 1,000, giving him 1,400 in total and tying him for first with John Phan.

Filippi refused all interviews after the conclusion of play on Day 5 and was out of the tournament room before any of his opponents had even finished bagging their chips.

But he'll return on Wednesday evening with 1,852,000, good for second-place among the final five.

Chipleader Vadim Trincher enters play with 2,813,000, his numbers padded by an unusual double-elimination on the final hand of the day that saw both Will Botchis and Joe Raposa sent to the rail.

Vadim Trincher
Chip leadah!

The hand - which saw Trincher's aces hold up against his rivals' nines and jacks, respectively - means that tomorrow's final table will start with one fewer than the traditional six finalists.

Filippi enters as the de facto star after fellow name pros Allen Kessler and Lee Markholt succumbed during Day 5 action.

Kessler played the short stack throughout the day and finally busted in 9th place, earning $46,315 after running K-Q into Filippi's A-J.

Markholt, meanwhile, entered Day 4 fourth in chips, only to see his fortunes steadily falter. The "Seattle Set" lost most of his stack doubling up Vadim Trincher, jacks against kings.

He'd go broke a few rounds later, this time when his pocket jacks failed to hold against Matt Castanella's A T. Castanella turned the diamond flush and Markholt was a goner.

The final table will take place on the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover, a scheduling quirk that threatened to cause a problem for at least one finalist.

Alex Perelberg was reportedly considering skipping the final table to attend a Seder, but after Botchis and Raposa were eliminated, the choice was clear.

"That decision was never in question," Perelberg told PokerListings. "Passover is a very important holiday for my religion, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Raposa had also suggested he might skip the final table - "There's a Golden Girls marathon," he said - but his elimination rendered moot any thought of an absence.

The final table gets underway at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Tune in to the PokerListings Live Tournaments section for complete coverage.

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