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Seven for dinner at the WSOP Main Event
With a raucous crowd in attendance and a ton of action on the felt to placate them, the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event played down to seven players before heading off on a two-hour dinner break at 7 p.m. PT Saturday.
Play got going just after 1 p.m. and started rather slowly.
There wasn't much movement on the leader board until short stacked Brit James Akenhead finally made a move.
He shipped it in with king-queen and was called by Steven Begleiter before Eric Buchman reraised.
Begleiter folded and Buchman revealed a dominating ace-king.
It appeared Akenhead would be the first out before he hit a miracle queen on the river and the boisterous British supporters he brought in tow went absolutely nuts.
"I don't know what happened when that queen came out," Akenhead would say later. "My mind just froze. I couldn't believe it."
It wasn't to be for Akenhead, however. A short while later he ran kings into Kevin Schaffel's aces and found himself short again.
Eventually he put threes up against Schaffel's nines and busted out ninth cashing for the final table minimum of $1,263,602.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed, but I went in as the short stack and I had to get it in and gamble," he said. "I gambled and got lucky once, and busted out ninth anyway. It was bit more harsh, but it wasn't my day. Kings against aces, what can you do?"
In the meantime, Frenchman Antoine Saout doubled up to get back into contention and although Schaffel rode aces over kings to get right there with him, the very same hand would be his downfall soon after.
This time he got it in against Buchman's kings and looked good to double up into a spot just behind chip leader Darvin Moon.
However, a king on the flop and another on the turn gave Buchman quads and sealed Schaffel's fate.
He busted eighth for $1,300,228.
"What are you going to do?" asked Schaffel. "I got it in with aces against kings twice. I was right back in it. I was down to seven and a half million, I got up to 15 and then 19. I think I was counting my chips to like 43 million and I would have been right behind Darvin.
"There's just nothing you can do. It was a sick flop. I still had six outs if the board didn't pair after that, but we all know what happened."
Darvin Moon still held the chip lead when seven handed play began, but that did not last.
In a seemingly bizarre hand, he check-raised Begleiter to 15 million on a four high flop with two spades and almost 11 million chips already in the pot, only to fold when Begleiter shoved for just six million more.
After the hand, Buchman had moved into the chip lead with Begleiter close behind and Moon in third, although Moon picked up some chips to move back into second position before the break.
Saout sat fourth at the break and through some aggressive play, Phil Ivey had chipped up to fifth position.
A once short stacked Cada also rode a wave of aggression to put himself in sixth and the relatively quiet Jeff Shulman found himself with the smallest stack as the players headed off for dinner.
The final table will play down to heads-up today (Saturday) and come back to crown a champion Nov.9 with an $8.5 million first place prize on the line.
To follow all the action as it happens tune into PokerListings 2009 WSOP Main Event Live Coverage.