Final of the 2007 World Series of Poker $2,500 No-Limit Hold'Em event
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 08:40 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
Francois Safieddine came into this final table dead last in chips. After getting lucky to double up twice, he rode his aggression to a big stack and then the victory. On the final hand, he spiked a two outer (bucking the 22-1 odds against) to hit a set of fours to crack John Phan's aces. In his post-victory interview, he said, "I wish every poker player could experience what it feels like to win a tournament like this." We'll just have to imagine what it's like, Francois, as very few get to wear one of those bracelets. And let's not forget the $521,785 first place prize! Congratulations to our champion, Francois Safieddine!
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 08:26 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
It took 25 hands and 40 minutes to find a winner in this heads-up match. John Phan just took a drubbing by the combination of his opponent's big stack and fearless aggression. Francois Safieddine repeatedly put Phan to the test by moving all-in and Phan just never seemed to find cards good enough to call. On several hands, Francois had to call the clock on Phan, who took excruciatingly long times to fold. On the 25th and final hand, and with a 4-1 chip advantage, Francois moved in on the button and Phan finally found a hand he liked: A A . Francois had 4 4 . Phan looked to be in great shape to double up and be back in this match, as the board came J 8 2 5 . But the pro-Razor crowd gasped in horror as the 4 river gave the pot and the title to Francois.
John "The Razor" Phan is our runner-up, earning a very nice $330,846.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 07:25 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
Marcus limped in the small blind and Francois raised another 400K from the big. Marcus called and they both saw the A 8 9 flop. Marcus announced that he was all-in and Francois called immediately. Marcus had 8 6 for middle pair, but Francois had A Q for top pair. The 4 J turn-river spelled the end of Marcus' run. Marcus Obser finishes in 3rd place, taking home $212,021.
We're taking a break while they stack bricks of U.S. currency onto the table.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 07:21 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
Francois Safieddine has had the chip lead for a long time and once the blinds moved up to a lofty 60K/120K (15K ante), he ratcheted up the aggression. When Marcus folded the button, Francois moved all in for his three million and John Phan, well covered, kneeled in his chair and then slid out his entire stack, then turning over T 8 ! And he was in great shape against Francois' 5 3 . The board came out 8 6 9 6 3 , so John Phan doubles up and rebalances the chips at the table.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 06:20 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
Devin Porter doubled up earlier when he re-raised for more than half his chips preflop with T-3 and then proceeded to hit two pair on the flop (why didn't I think of that strategy?) About twenty minutes later, Francois Safieddine raised to 160K and Devin jacked it up to 400K. Francois, who had Devin covered, moved all-in. Devin gave it plenty of thought and decided to go for it, calling and flipping over: A J . Francois had 7 7 . The flop was just what Francois was looking for: 7 9 4 . Devin never came close to catching up when the turn-river came 5 Q . Devin Porter finishes in 4th place, earning $139,794.
The three remaining players have asked for and received a short break.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 05:54 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
Wow, this thing has done an about face. While earlier it was an aggression fest, these final four players have slowed down and are playing far more cautiously. We did have one all-in confrontation, in which Francois Safieddine doubled up by nailing a 12-outer on the river. In the process, he took the chip lead. None of the four players are short-stacked now, so we may continue to see some real poker.
Blinds have now gone up again, though. They are now at 40K/80K with a 10K ante.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 04:58 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
What a sick hand that was. Marcus Obser raised to 180K and Devin Porter moved all-in for his 515K. Obser called and showed A 7 . Porter had 3 3 . The flop came a dramatic 5 2 4 . Marcus had the ace high and the flush draw. but Devin had the open end straight. The 5 turn kept Obser in the lead. And the river was ... 3 ! That card simultaneously gave Obser a straight and a flush, and Devin Porter at first flinched, thinking he had lost the pot to Obser's flush. But then it sank in that the three on the river gave him a full house and he is still in this thing! Not only that, but he has well over a million chips now.
After that hand, the players requested a short break and the TD said okay.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 04:23 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
And another one bites the dust. Shawn Hattem threw in the few chips he had left and three players called. All of the others checked to the river when the board came K Q 6 A A . Francois Safieddine turned over A-T and everyone else mucked. Shawn Hattem is our 5th place finisher, making $97,856.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 04:14 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
They're dropping like flies now. Lars Bonding raised to 120K and John Phan raised it to 300K. Bonding moved in and Phan, who had him covered, called. Bonding showed K Q and Phan had 7 7 . The action came a jawdropping 7 9 4 , giving Phan his set of sevens but at the same time giving Bonding the flush draw. The drama ended abruptly, though, with the 4 turn, filling John Phan up and closing out the tournament for Lars, who was the chip leader heading into this table. Lars Bonding is out in 6th place, earning $74,557.
Francois Safieddine has just doubled up twice, once through John Phan and once through Shawn Hattem. Shawn is now on a very short stack.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 04:05 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
John Phan doubled through Devin Porter when his K-J prevailed over T-8. But it wasn't easy. Devin flopped two pair to take the lead, but Phan made his gutshot straight on the turn.
On the next hand, Devin Porter raised to 110K and Humberto Brenes moved all-in for about 400K and Devin called. Porter had 9 9 and Brenes had A K . The board came 7 2 3 8 6 . Humberto Brenes failed to improve his hand, so he is our 7th place finisher, taking $55,918 back to Costa Rica.
That makes Humberto 0 for 3 in his final table appearances at this 2007 World Series of Poker. But then again, he is the only player to accomplish the feat of three final tables so far this year.
After Humberto left the stage area, John Phan, asked loudly, "Where did the shark go?"
Humberto, still within earshot, yelled back, "The shark is gone! But he is hungry! The shark will be back ..."
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 03:52 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
Humberto made his favorite move ... his chips and now both his sharks moved in to the middle. No callers again.
On the next hand, Alex Bolotin moved all-in for his last 300K or so. Marcus Obser called and showed 8 8 . Bolotin turned over 7 5 . These guys are reading different strategy books than I have. Anyway, the flop came out 2 J 2 , giving Alex a flush draw. The 5 turn gave him a couple more outs. But the 8 river gave Marcus the boat. Alex Bolotin has been eliminated in 8th place, making $40,773.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 03:34 PM(Michael Cheser shivering)
By the way, if you really want to know what it's like to be here in the Amazon Room within the Rio, just imagine that it is a crisp October morning somewhere in the Midwest. That would make it about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And that's what it feels like in here: disturbingly, distractingly, uncomfortably cold. At certain tiimes of the day, it gets even worse. I have seen several people wearing parkas and I have heard countless players and spectators complaining about the temperature.
I guess the Rio is redefining the poker term "freezeout". Buh-bump-bump. But seriously, why would Harrah's want to pay the bill to bring an enormous space like this down to absurdly low temperatures, when it is 105 degrees outside? Couldn't they save a ton of money by just setting it at 75 or something? Then they could use that money to hire a few more registration desk workers. Harrah's? Hello?
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 02:59 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
This first half hour has not been lacking for action. Alex Bolotin moved in but didn't get called. Humberto is a living, breathing "pushbot" - i.e. someone who only knows one move: all-in. He has moved in twice, once on top of John Phan's raise, but so far has not been looked up. John Phan doubled through Shawn Hattem when his K-K stayed ahead of A-J, and Francois Safieddine doubled through Bertrand Grospellier when he made a flush on the turn.
45 minutes into this final table, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier moved all-in for about 247K and Devin Porter, in the big blind, called and turned over A J . Bertrand looked embarrassed and turned over 3 2 . Things were looking pretty bleak for him when the flop came 5 T 5 . Then the 2 came on the turn, looking to rescue him from his folly. Ah, but the A on the river finished him off. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospelllier is out in 9th place, earning $29,124.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 02:25 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
What a difference it makes not having the ESPN crew here filming. Once all the players were here, we got started right away. We are already a few hands into this match. Blinds are 15K/30K with 4K antes.
Wednesday, 13th of June 2007 02:07 PM(Michael Cheser reporting)
It's a bit chaotic here this "morning" - 2:00pm in poker-speak - as the organizers made a late night decision to swap coverages between event #19 and event #21. Now this event is no longer in the sequestered tent, but will be played at the main ESPN table (though it will not be filmed). Evidently, a number of the players did not even know this, so there has been confusion all around.
But here we are. Players are unbagging and stacking chips and a good-sized audience is beginning to materialize. I'll post again as we are getting started.
Not far behind Lars in second place is Devin Porter from Riverton, UT who has 819,000 chips. Devon has had 6 cashes totaling $622,978 which included a near miss at the Mirage Poker Showdown where he finished 3rd for $332,937. Devon also made the money in last year's main event, but will be looking to go all the way in today's final.
Shawn Hattem is from Quebec, Canada and is currently in 3rd position with 787,000 chips. Shawn is a relative newcomer, and will no doubt be thrilled to have made his first WSOP final table. His previous best cash came at Bellagio in the Festa al Lago where he finished 4th for $22,385.
John Phan from born in Vietnam, but now lives in Los Angeles, CA is in 5th place in chips. He brings 445,000 to the final. John has won $2,825,124 in prize money and has cashed 76 times, but he is still in search of his first WSOP bracelet. John came so close last year in WSOP event #17 where he came runner up to Jon Friedberg, but couldnt quite make it. He will be focused on going one better this time around.
In 8th chip position is Humberto Brenes with 343,000 in chips. Humberto is the most succesfull out of the "Brenes" brothers with 100 cashes to his name and winnings of $4,655,753. The most experianced of the final table, Humberto has already won two WSOP bracelets and will be looking to make it a hatrick when play gets underway. Although short stacked, he will be one of the favorites. Keep it here to see all the action unfold.
And here is what they are playing for:
The chip leader is Lars Bonding, who has a number of big cashes in the past two years, including a 2nd place in a no-limit hold'em event in the 2005 WSOP.
Second overall in chips is Devin Porter, a tournament professional who made WPT final tables in both 2005 and 2006.
Another familiar face at this table is John "Razor" Phan, who was the runner-up in a no-limit hold'em event in last year's World Series of Poker. He will try to improve that finish by one spot to capture his first bracelet.
This event is one that had been pre-selected to be a webcast instead of a televised final table. What this means is that the players are quarantined in a tented area and spectators are not allowed inside. The action is broadcast, along with hole cards and expert commentary, on a one-hour delay. For obvious reasons, the media is not allowed to report any results until after those hands have been broadcast. As the action is set to get under way at 2:00pm, be sure to join us at 3:00pm to see how this plays out!
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