Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bellagio Challenge Cup Final Table Part 2: Amnon Filippi Wins!

Despite the intense heat wave in Las Vegas (10 straight days above 110 degrees including tying the record all time high a few days ago), Flipchip and I headed back to the Bellagio poker room to cover the second part of the final table for the Bellagio Challenge Cup. 97 players bought in on Monday for $10K and the event featured some of the best players in the world including T.J. Cloutier, Erik Seidel, Scotty Nguyen, Allen Cunningham, Cyndy Violette, and John Juanda.

We wandered over to catch part two of the final table... a heads up battle between 2005 WSOP bracelet winner Quinn Do and Amnon Filippi. Both players agreed to chop the prize money ($364,200 for first and $228,850 for second) and they played for the cool and hip Challenge Cup including the $25K seat at the WPT Championships, which will be held next year at the Bellagio.

Amnon Filippi started the day the chipleader with a little over $1.1M. Quinn Do had about $775K. Their heads up match was quicker than expected. It lasted about a half hour. Quinn Do raised preflop and Filippi called. Quinn got all his money in on the turn with A-K. The board was 8-3-3-J. Amnon had 5c-3c and flopped trips. He smooth called Quinn's bet and went over the top on the turn. Since Quinn was pot committed, he moved all in for the rest of his chips. Amnon Filippi took down the pot and won the Challenge Cup. When he took pictures, they dumped some of the chips int the actual cup. Too bad they didn't fill it with champagne. Scott Fischman, Paul Darden and his wife were all on the rail watching the completion of the event.

I spoke to Quinn Do afterwards and he seemed pretty down about second place. He's going to return to Seattle with a WSOP bracelet but he really wanted to win this event, especially because some of the best players in the world were in the tournament.

"It's a mind game," he explained to me about the intricacies of heads up play.

When I asked him how he thought Tobey Maguire played in the Challenge Cup, he responded, "I've played in tournaments against him in L.A. and he's a very solid player. He needs to be more aggressive. But he is solid."

Of course, the most impressive sight was BJ plugging away for Card Player covering the event. While I slowed down, he's still running strong. Also, Steve "Foiled Coup" Hall made another token appearance at the Bellagio.

Bouncin Round the Room: I spoke for a while with Charlie Shoten. He won the $500 daily tournament yesterday and was playing again. He's a really great guy and it's been cool to get to know him a lot better since I moved to Las Vegas. If you get a chance, you should pick up a copy of Charlie's Book... No Limit Life. Flipchip took most of the pictures and even yours truly made it in there!

I also saw Daniel Negreanu yapping with Johnny World Hennigan out front of the poker room, while the ever lively Bob Stupak shuffled by. Unfortunately, there were no Liz Lieu or Carmel sightings while I was there. Yeah I stuck around and played $8/16 for 5+ hours. Stay tuned for that recap.

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You should be reading... Iggy's blog Guinness and Poker.

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