Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bon Chance, Isabelle!

Sometimes at the WSOP, ordinary days become spectacular ones. Take today for instance. It was supposed to be a lazy Wednesday at the Rio, but that was not the case as the tournament and media rooms buzzed with anticpation.

The lovely Isabelle Mercier began day 2 of Event #9 $5K NL as one of the short stacks. She was on the verge of being eliminated but doubled up twice early (Ace-rag vs. K-J and then K-Q vs. A-rag) to build up a decent stack.

The French-Canadian vixen fought her way to the final table. Also in the mix was Phil Hellmuth who chased bracelet #10. He made the money in his record-setting 51st event but would not rest until he slaps his tenth bracelet wround his wrist. The always entertaining Marcel Luske lurked in the background along with Vinnie Vinh.

Here are some semi-live updates:

10:30pm... Sweet Sweet Isabelle Mercier is currently in 4th place. There's 11 players remaining after she eliminated someone when her Hilton Sisters held up against 2-2. Phil Hellmuth is second in chips while the Flying Dutchman Marcel Luske is 8th in chips. Check out some pics of Isabelle over at PokerStars Blog.

11:15pm... The action is ten handed and the players redrew for seats. They will play until one more player is eliminated since the final tables at the WSOP are nine-handed. Vinnie Vinh is the chipleader. Isabelle slipped to 7th in chips. Marcel jumped up to 6th and Hellmuth is second in chips. ESPN's crew was given the weekend off. They were not scheduled to televise this event. I made a bet with Michalski who thinks that ESPN is going to bring the crew back to tape the epic final table where Hellmuth (possibly) wins #10. I don't think they will. Time will tell. Regardless, the suits at ESPN are icing their testicles after they kicked themselves in the junk after dropping the $5K event from their TV schedule.

11:55pm... We have a final table! Dang Trinh busted out in 10th place. Action resumes tomorrow at 2pm. We'll find out if Isabelle can go all the way or if Hellmuth wins #10. Here's the final table chipcount courtesy of Poker Wire:
Event #9 $5K NL Final Table:
1 Vinnie Vinh 784K
2 Phil Hellmuth 461K
3 Marcel Luske 458K
4 Isabelle Mercier 301K
5 Jeff Cabanillas 275K
6 Doug Carli 273K
7 Eugene Todd 240K
8 Thomas Schreiber 200K
9 Dan Smith 117K
* * * * *

Isabelle at the 2005 WSOP
(photo by Flipchip)

This is one of the best final tables I have seen in the past year of covering poker tournaments. I'm not missing any of it. Hellmuth. Marcel. Mercier. Vinnie Vinh. And Gene Todd is no slouch either.

Isabelle cashed in the $1,500 NL event last week and has three other career WSOP cashes, all of those coming last year. She took 33rd in the $5K NL event in 2005. Earlier this year, Isabelle also made an EPT final table at Deauville, France. Can she win her first bracelet on Thursday? Or will Hellmuth tie Texas Dolly and Johnny Chan who have 10 bracelets each? Or can Marcel Luske or Vinnie Vinh win his first WSOP bracelet? Will ESPN be taping the event? Will Otis get a double-kiss from Isabelle?

Stay tuned to find out.

Last summer I watched both Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson win their 10th bracelet. If Hellmuth does it on Thursday, I want to be there. And if Marcel or Isabelle win their first bracelet, I want to be sitting in the front row.

Oh, and I predicted that Hellmuth was going to win bracelet #10 a few days ago. I was shit-talking more than anything else and trying to kiss Hellmuth's ass. Well, if he does win #10... you heard it here first.

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