Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday is poker night on ESPN. Extended coverage of Day 6 of the WSOP Main Event continued as action dipped under 100 players. The first hour of coverage focused on four heavy hitters... the highly underrated JC Tran, the defending champ Peter Eastgate, former champ Joe Hachem, and last year's fly-over state mahatma Dennis Phillips. I hope you got a good look at those four as they sat underneath the bright lights of the featured TV table because three of them would not advance to Day 7.
A short-stacked and anxious Joe Hachem folded A-K to a massive re-raise from Thai Tran, who had just taken his seat at the TV table and mentioned that he was a bit nervous. Many players, even pros, tense up when they have to reveal their cards to the hole cameras. Some players have minor-panic attacks when they realize that every movement and sound will be recorded and used against them in a court of law... which these days... is the 8-10pm ET slot on ESPN. Anyway, Tran tensed up a bit and he overbet his pocket Kings. Hachem knew that Tran's bet was screaming "I got a big fuckin' hand, you stupid bogan, so fold your shitty Ace-King!" Hachem wisely folded.
With about 100 or so players remaining, whispers swirled around inside the Amazon Ballroom because many reporters thought that Billy Kopp was a lock for the final table. He was running over the field on Day 6 and the deck was definitely in his favor. Kopp sat at the featured TV table and found A-A. He opened for a standard raise. Dennis Phillips called with 4-4. El Nasir re-raised with Q-Q. Kopp four-bet his Aces. Phillips folded. El Nasir five-bet shoved. Kopp insta-called. The flop was 10-4-2. Phillips jumped out of his chair because he folded the potential winning hand. Kopp's pocket Aces held up and he rocketed towards the top of the leader board.
Kopp was just getting warmed up. A card-dead and exasperated Joe Hachem shoved with Jc-9c and Billy Kopp called with pocket fours. Hachem flopped a flush draw and even winked at the dealer to try to cajole a favorable turn or river card. The wink did not help. Kopp's fours held up and he busted the former world champion.
With Hachem's departure in 103rd place, Peter Eastgate was the last Main Event champ still alive. You don't become the world champion unless you can win a coin flip. Lots of them. Peter Eastagte was all in with A-Q against a Vegas pizza shop owner's J-J. Eastgate flopped an Ace to take the lead. His hand held up.
"I always win these," Eastgate said matter-of-fact to the pizza man. "You should know better than to play pocket Jacks. I always flop the Ace. So let me ask you something about your pizza place, Sal. How come you ain't got no brothas on the wall? How come you ain't got no Scandis on the wall either? Like Thor Hansen. William Thorson. Andreas Hoivold."
Photo by Flipchip
Dennis Phillips gave JC Tran a sympathy double up. JC Tran's K-Q outflopped Dennis Phillips' pocket tens. Phillips took a shot at the pot with a weak bet and Tran shoved all in.
"Your Queens are good," said Phillips, who knew he was beat, but called anyway.
JC Tran had one of the most accurate quotes about the not-so-glamorous life as a professional poker player... "Too much travel and too much bad food." Yep, that pretty much summed up the last four years of my life. JC Tran is a straight shooter. No bullshit. Alas, a short-stacked JC Tran's run ended when Dennis Phillips took him out.
The coolest kid in school, Joe Sebok, joined the featured TV table. He was second billing to the Dennis Phillips and Peter Eastgate show. Last year's November Niners were the headliners. A super short-stacked Sebok folded his button with rags instead of stealing the blinds. Good thing that Seebs did not shove with any two cards, because Eastgate held Aces in the small blind.
Peter Eastgate's bid to make back-to-back final tables came to a close when he was all in with A-J in a three-way pot against Dennis Phillips and Billy Kopp, who won the hand with a four-flush. Eastgate bowed out gracefully in 78th place. Fellow countryman, Gus Hansen, thinks that Eastgate is the best player to win the Main Event over the last few years. Gus isn't exactly going out on a limb there because the young Dane is the real deal. If he can just stop donking off his money in cash games, he'll still be around the game in a decade and a force to be reckon'd with.
Ah, the life of Phil Ivey.
The famished shark tormented the rest of the aquarium gobbling up blind guppies in his destructive path. The man, the myth, and the legend himself... Phil Ivey was on display out on the secondary TV table. It was sort of like feeding albino mice to your pet snake. You're know they're going to get swallowed whole but watch in amazement anyway.
Ivey always attracts an abundance of railbirds including his super fans who bring him nutritious meals, delicious snacks, and enthusiastically chant "Ivey! Ivey! Ivey!" every time their hero wins a pot.
Steve Begleiter was one of the few courageous players who actually got a punch in against Ivey. Ivey raised pre-flop with Kc-Jd and Begleiter called from the blinds with 8d-7d. On a flop of Ah-9h-6s, Begleiter checked, Ivey fired at the pot with just King-high after he whiffed and Begleiter called with a gutshot. The turn was the 3s and both players checked. The river was the Qd. Begleiter fired out 175K into a 300K pot. Ivey folded. He might make that call in a cash game, but he folded the best hand. Bluffed by the Wall Street guy.
High stakes cash game guru Hac "trex313" Dang found himself all in with Q-Q against Phil Ivey's J-J. But you know how this story ends. Ivey runs so fuckin' good that he promptly flops a Jack and Dang sprints to the rail so he can rush back to his room and fire up Full Tilt to win his $10,000 back on one hand of $500/$1,000 NL.
Photo by Flipchip
Ivey was so hot that the brash and cocky online kids avoided him. Ivey induced Lucky Chewey to fold a better hand to a river bet. Ivey even 4-bet James Ankenhead with J-10. Ankenhead held A-10 and ran for the hills when Ivey squeezed his balls.
"You brought out the bat with that one," said Ryan Fair who was also involved in that hand but wanted nothing to do with the potential fire fight between Ivey and Ankenhead.
"I can have a hand once in a while," said Ivey, which was his way of saying, "Fuckin' crackers! If you want to piss in the tall weeds with the big dogs, you better have good aim."
It's really a love story. A man. A woman. Poker as their common bond. I'm talking about the dynamic duo of DonkeyBomber and AngryJulie. As DonkeyBomber embarked on a deep run in the Main Event, his wife was there on the rail rooting on his every step.
DonkeyBomber held A-A and was pitted against John Martin's A-K. They got it all in on a King-high flop. DonkeyBomber won the pot and the cameras captured the first glimpses of AngryJulie giving everyone her best Bring It On! imitation.... "Brrrr.... it's cold in here!"
Actually, ESPN was very kind to AngryJulie in the editing room. They made her look much calmer and saner than what really happened because she was going ape-shit berserk on the rail. I didn't have to sweat DonkeyBomber that day. All I had to do was listen for AngryJulie because I could gauge his progress based upon her rambunctious choruses of yelps, shrieks, and bellows. Didn't matter if I was at the featured TV table or in the press box, every time that the DonkeyBomber won a pot -- we heard about it through AngryJulie's effervescent reaction.
"Stack 'em, stack 'em!" AngryJulie screamed.
Here's one of my favorite AngryJulie stories. One random afternoon during the first week of the WSOP, Benjo rushed back into the press box. "Holy shit, there is this hot woman. I have never seen her before, but she looks familiar. Who is she? Who is this MILTF?"
Europeans generally think that most Americans are inbred Diabetes-riddled beef jerky-eating yokels. But they absolutely love Jazz music and our affinity for creating acronyms, especially the MILTF. I explained to Benjo that the MILTF in question was AngryJulie, the fiery and feisty wife on 2007 WSOP Player of the Year Tom Schneider.
When DonkeyBomber doubled up with Big Slick against Ramage's A-Q, an encouraging AngryJulie proclaimed, "Ace-king is your friend."
"Poor DonkeyBomber. He looks like he wants to dig himself a hole," said Change100 as she sympathized with DonkeyBomber's dilemma. On one hand, he's thrilled to have a support system so close to the action. But then again, sometimes AngryJulie goes a little overboard and she's unable to contain herself. At any given moment, she unleashes an eruption of elated emotion. Loud is an understatement when describing her celebrations. Raucous comes to mind. She's the equivalent of a dozen soused football hooligans... minus the booze and the British accents.
"Stack 'em. Stack 'em up! To the top!!"
"I'm trying to maintain calm and piece right now," explained DonkeyBomber about trying to focus on surviving in the Main Event.
Photo by Flipchip
The Lone Lady: Leo Margets and Nichoel Peppe were seated at the same table at one point. They were both fighting for their lives, but it was Peppe who flinched first and busted out in an odd hand -- all in with Jh-4h against pocket Aces. Not even AngryJulie sweating her on the rail could help Peppe's cause. She finished in 75th place and Spain's Leo Margets was awarded the last woman standing cup.
French Frites: ElkY's stack was slipping all day and he got into a tough spot when he was all in with A-K against pocket Kings. He could not conjure up an Ace on the river and the one-time chipelader was out.... ElkY's fellow Frenchman, Ludovic Lacay, found himself in a dire situation -- all in with Kings against pocket Aces. It was Ludovic's day because the poker gods gifted him a King on the flop to win the hand and leap frog to the front page of the leader board.
Quote of the Day: "Nice hand is code for 'you're an idiot'..." - Howard Lederer.
Click here for Flipchip's WSOP Main Event photos.
You can read my end of day reports for Day 6 of the Main Event... Day 47: When I'm 64.
And here are previous recaps...
Main Event Day 5.5 and Day 6 on ESPN - Introducing the DonkeyBomberSee you next week.
Main Event Day 5 on ESPN - ElkY and Happy
Main Event Day 4 on ESPN - Bubbles and the World Series of Ivey
Main Event Day 3 on ESPN - Aussies, Ivey, and No Shake for Hellmuth
Main Event Day 2B on ESPN - A Kinder and Quieter Hellmuth and the Always Aloof Ivey Time
Main Event Day 2A on ESPN - The Fossilman and Costanza Show
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