Friday, March 11, 2005

E-WSOP Final Table Set

Eight players remaining. Sweden's Andreas Harnemo has the chip lead, with Pascal Perrault in a strong second. Finishers are below. Full report with chip counts shortly.

Chip leader Andreas Harnemo

9--Jeffrey Rogers (PokerStars online qualifier)


10--Lothar Landauer
11-Paul Hersleth
12--Alan Betson (PokerStars online qualifier)


13--Milurat Peric
14--Luca Pagano, Italy
15--Sigi Stockinger, Ireland


16--Paul Testud
17--Cohen Robert
18--Mike Shalibi

19--Tibor Tolnai
20--Horst Riedlinger
21--Bernhard Reither
22--Denis Kharitonov, Russia
23--Luis Jaikel, Costa Rica
24--BadGirl Pham, Great Britain
25--Harry Casagrande
26--Falker Leview, Russia
27--Joseph Grech

In the money, and goodbye Mr. Bubble Bush

After a long hand-to-hand session, we've finally reached the final 27 players, and, hence, the money.

Getting to the money was as comedic as it was sad.

With 28 players remaining, Londoner Gary Bush was on a desperately shortstack and was holding on by the skin of any teeth he could find. Once, he doubled up with AQ against Joachim Sanejstra and it gave him new life.

In the interim, others came close to bubbling.

In one case, a player from the U.K. pushed in and a Frenchman labored and labored over whether to call. At one point, he picked up a mock phone and desperately asked "Mama? Mama?" The man needed advice. Finally he folded KT suited and saw his opponent turn over AK.

Clutching his heart like America's Fred Sanford in a heart attack fit, the man again picked up his mock phone and said, "Merci, Mama! Merci!"

Shortly thereafter on another table, the button made an ill-advised blind steal and the big blind pushed all-in. The amount of money in the pot required the button to call. Still, the big blind begged.

With a pint of Beefeater Gin in him, the big blind stood and belted out the chorus to SuperTramp's "Give a Little Bit."

"Give a little bit!," he sang. "Give a little bit of your chips to me!"

The button called and with a smile turned over nine-three. The big blind had AT and took down the hand.

Finally, it came back to Gary Bush. Again in desperation, he pushed in with pocket fives and again Sanejstra called. This time with A7. Bush's hand didn't hold up and he left with no cash.

Bubble Bush

Now we're in the money.

For those watching the young guns, Noah Boeken and Elky have both busted out, as well. Pascal Perrault is still the chip leader, now with 326,000 in chips.

Updates as they are warranted.

E-WSOP Day 2 Dinner Break

The buffet has beef, salmon, and pasta.
The players have chips.
These players have the most:

Pascal "PP The Bandit" Perrault
Andreas Harnemo
Mika Puro

All of them have slightly more than 200K in chips.

We're headed into the 1500/3000/300 level with 35 players remaining. We've dispatched with nearly 50 players since 2pm. I don't think I'm making any grand prediction when I suggest the next four hours will not go as quickly.

Then again, as my dad like to say, "Lord knows I've been wrong before."

Carnage. Sheer carnage.

Pascal "PP The Bandit" Perrault, the new chip leader

PP the Bandit summed it up in one sentence:

"You need luck sometimes," he said.

Earlier in the day, I'd dubbed him the All-In Man. It was a moved he used more than folding, often to much success. Just moments ago, it happened again, and it resulted in such bloody carnage that it's elevated him to chip-leader.

Perrault raised pre-flop to 7000 (a little more than 3x the BB). Justin Bonomo made it 17,000 to go. Perrault pushed all-in and Bonomo called. The Bandit showed KQo offsuit. Bonomo showed pocket kings.

Domination, right.

Mais, no

A queen on the flop and queen on the turn sent Bonomo home. I can't describe the look on his face.

Seconds later, Hendon Mobster Ross Boatman got all in on a king-high flop with his pair of aces. After some thought, his opponent called and turned another king.

Around here, when you need drink, all you have to do is shout "Service!"

Suddenly, there are a lot more shouts like that.

I wonder if the waiters can clean up the blood.

E-WSOP Day 2 Insta-Photo Gallery--UPDATED with a few chip counts

Day 2 of the E-WSOP underway

First, if you're in the States and just logging on, here's the wrap-up from Day 1.

Now, some photos.

Denis Kharitonov began the day as chip leader after a day of play on Thursday that confounded his opponents

Cruel, cruel world. Luca Pagano gets sat right next to the guy he faced on the last hand of Day 1. See yesterday's wrap-up to see why this is so cruel.

Jeffrey Rogers, thr English gentleman, ended Day 1 second in chips

Pro-gamer and PokerStars fan, Elky makes it to Day 2

This gentleman took over the role of Supreme Aggressor this morning, going all-in more times than I could count. He came out in front almost every time (although Justin Bonomo did call his 86 offsuit bluff when Bonomo held a pair of aces. This guy is now gettinig a massage after flopping quad aces against an unfortunate player's pair of sixes.

Mika Puro came into the day third in chips

Morton Stenheim, one-time King of Bad Beats, works his stack up to a respectable level

Josh Schiffman recovers from a rough start of Day 2

Action at the Concord Card Casino

As we near the end of Level 11 (800/1600/150), we're down to 52 players. The top 27 will get paid.


Going into the 1000/2000/200 level, here are some random, approximate chip counts (not comprehensive, just somoe people I talked to at the break)...

Mika Puro--140,000
Denis Kharitonov--110,000
Milurat Peric--110,000
jeffrey Rogers--110,000
Josh Schiffman--90,000+
Morton Stenheim--90,000+
Noah Boeken--80,000+
Justin Bonomo--61,000
Ross Boatman--60,000

Mea culpa, Noah, and some frenzied action

First, the action, in breif:

*Jennifer Walsh, (Hickory, NC) came into the day with a large stack and ended up doubling up Tony "Tikay" Kendall and Ross Boatman She called Tony's all-in bet with AQ. Tikay held TT. Then she got all in with pocket fives against Boatman's nines. Again, she lost and now she's gone.

*American John Wells is gone after going to war with a player who had his number. Wells finally got all in with pocket tens against his nemesis. His nemesis held AK and flopped an ace.

*Duke University Mafia member Josh Schiffman has lost a good portion of his stack early in the day, calling a big bet from a guy who made a flush on the turn with 86 of diamonds on a big board that showed both a straight and flush possibility (methinks Josh had the straight).

Now...the mea culpa...

Now down to 60 players, I've been informed by a Noah Boeken proxy that I screwed up. Last night, in writing about a big Boeken hand, I had Noah's hand right, but the order of the board wrong. With his KJ vs. KQ, but he didn't have a four-outer. He got all-in open-ended and then made his straight (not making a four-outer on the river as I incorrectly reported). I have a thousand excuses, but I'll leave it at that and offer a heart mea culpa to Noah (I'll be changing yesterday's news for posterity).

More later.

E-WSOP Day 2 Underway

We're underway here in Vienna for Day two of the E-WSOP. We began with 83 players and are already down to 72 after a half hour of play. Just two seconds ago and two feet away, American Justin Bonomo, shortstacked and in danger of leaving early, doubled up. American John Wells had raised to 5000 in the cutoff. The next player pushed all-in on the button a stone-cold bluff with 86 offsuit. Bonomo, in the small blind, found aces and went all-in. His hand held up and just like that, he's got chips with which to play.

I'll be back with a photo gallery in a bit.

EPT Vienna E-WSOP Day One Wrap-Up and Chip Count

The room cleared, the chips fell into bags, and the room's cacophony slipped into a quiet buzz. Almost all the players had taken taxis back to the hotel. One sat alone in his seat, a painfully blank stare set on his face.

Luca Pagano seemed to be hypnotized. Occasionally he shook his head or brought his fingers to his lips. But, basically, he just sat there staring into nothing.

It had been the last hand of the night. Almost all the tables had quit. Luca Pagano was facing a bet that would force him to call for all his chips. The board was about as scary as it gets. Four cards were already down, with one left to come: AKQ9 with two spades. The man who had bet into Pagano had him covered by quite a bit. Watching from tableside, I tried to put them both on hands. I considered every option. The made straight, the flush draw, two pair. All of them seemed to be possible. Pagano was in pain.

The opponent said, "Do you have the ace?"?

Pagaono allowed a smile, "Of course, I have an ace."

Minutes went by. I thought for a moment that Pagano was going to call, which surprised me. I was sure he would lay down the hand. Pagano is a fantastic, but conervative player. I didn't think he would call with any less than two-pair, or better yet, the made straight. Finally, after some murmurring from the railbirds behind him, Pagano said, "I'll believe you" and mucked and ace and king face-up. Top two pair. I exhaled with the words, "What a laydown."

Then, his opponent, with no particular flair, turned up AQ.

Pagano had just laid down the almost sure winner.

And so he sat staring into nothing. He still had more than 30,000 in chips going into Level 10 tomorrow (600/1200/100). But, in his mind, he had just blown it all.

He was still sitting there an hour after the game was over. He was still sitting there when I left. I wouldn't be surprised if he were still sitting there when I return later today.

That was the end of the day.

The beginning

The snow had stopped falling, but a hard chill sat in the air. The space-heaters in the tented dinner buffet had to ask for help from the veal goulash and noodles. Players, still recovering from jetlag and pre-game hangovers, looked surly. It was a crowded room with cigarette smoke filtering in from the cash games. And while it had all the conditions of an Eastern European war--the cold, the smoke, the goulash--it was not at all unplesant for the 297-something players who made their way to Vienna for the first day.

Of course, there were hard times. Shortly after the dinner break, I found French Open 3rd place finisher Mark Ristine sitting alone at an empty table in the front of the room. He still wore his dark sunglasses.

"I don't remember a hand I won," he said.

Twice Ristine had made powerful sets to see them fall to better hands. They were beats from which he would not recover. They would turn out to be among his final hands on the EPT this year.

No repeat for Ristine

And then there was the story of blog-favorite John Gale. Before the dinner break, he was dealt pocket kings twice, pocket queens once, and Big Slick four times. He lost with every one of them. Still, he managed to hold on to some chips. How, I'm not entirely sure. But, that's why I'm writing and he's playing. In fact, he'll be playing in Day 2.

Gale, the suvivor

In fact, it seemed that many of the top players here faced short-stacks early on and many of them found a way to battle back to the middle of the pack. Other top players did not, however.

Midway through the day, a familiar voice came over the intercom. Devilfish had grabbed the mic from the poker room manager and announced he and Ram Vaswani had both busted from the tournament and they were ready for a cash game.

As if to entice the cash-hungry, Devilfish closed his announcement with, "We're both steaming."

Devilfish, pre-steam

And for as cold as it was outside, it wa a steamy evening inside the cardroom. Marcel Luske, Isabelle Mercier, and Devilfish were out before we hit the halfway mark in players.

As we hit the 150 mark, I surveyed the room. Sixteen tables of aching bodies struggled to stay in their seats. Two chip-stacks stood out at this point. Morten Stenheim, the King of Bad Beats (I'm going to stop using that moniker as of had amassed a sizable stack of chips and removed his sunglasses so he could better admire his mountain. He would ride a rollercoaster the rest of the day, at one point vowing to go home if he finished with less than 50,000. He came very close, but is still going to stay.

Stenheim, going into Friday with just under 50K in chips

John Wells, hopeful for an Oakley Sunglasses sponsorship, kept his shades on. He constantly scanned the room looking for chip stacks as big as his. He sat near 60,000 and hoped to end the day as the chip leader. As it would happen, from that moment forward, he would get no cards and would end the day around 50,000 in chips.

A Texan playing Texas Hold'em, John Wells

There were other rags to riches stories. Scandinavian Open champ Noah Boeken at one time had fallen below 1000 in chips and somehow managed to rally back to more than double his starting stack. Then on one of the last hands of the night, he got all his chips in with an open-ended straight draw, holding KJ vs KQ. He ended up hitting the open-ender to double up.

I'd had hopes for Henry and Jamie Terranova, a father and son team that came here from Long Island, NY to play together. Sadly, neither of them finished the day. Neither did my Cinderella story Kevin Fangerow.

My other hope had been in a couple of buddies from Duke University. I dubbed them the DUM (Duke University Mafia). Jason wouldn't finish the day. But half of the DUM, finished well. Josh Schiffman has more than 80,000 in chips. (Note: Funny story. The young man counted out and signed for his chips, giving himself 71,000 to finish the day. The Duke University student apparently needs to hit Math 10 again. He shorted himself by 10,000. He can give Stacey the Dealer an extra tip for catching his mistake. That's S-T-A-C-E-Y).

Schiffman, the chipman

THAT table

You know, there's almot always THAT table, the action table where crowds can't help but form. Tonight, it was the table where Russian Denis Kmaritonov (my apolgies if I misspelled that)sat. When the crowd formed the first time, the Russian was almost all-in with pocket aces. He got two all-in callers, pocket kings and pocket queens. His aces held up and he rocketed to chip-leader. Half an hour later, he got two more players all in when he held pocket sevens. He was up against ATs and AKs. Not only were his sevens good by themselves, he turned a straight on a 634/5/9 board.

In fact, the Russian ends the day with with the chip lead and not a few people who would like to see him lose a few hands.

The chip-leading Russian

Other notables, London's Jeffrey Rogers who goes into tomorrow in second place, just ahead of Mr. Puro Mika (that's how he wrote it down for me but I think it might be Mika Puro) who sits in third place.


Here's the official chip count:
KHARITONOV Denis 146,875
ROGERS Jeffrey David 119,175
PURO Mika 115,475
SMITH Luke 97,200
LANDAUER Lothar 81,600
PHAM Xuyen 79,050
COOPER Robert 76,425
WALSH Jennifer 74,675
SCHIFFMANN Josh 71,425
TOLNAI Tibor 66,075
SANEJSTRA Joachim 64,650
GROSPELLIER Bertrand (Elky) 61,650
BETSON Alan 59,475
GRECH Joseph 59,050
Resink Johann 57,600
JAIKEL Luis 56,300
HARNEMO Andreas 55,400
RIEDLINGER Horst 55,050
WELLS John 52,850
KOZINSKIY Yuriy 50,150
CASAGRANDE Harry 48,950
CLAYTON David 48,650
STENHEIM Morten 46,775
Boatman Ross 45,100
STOCKINGER Sigi 43,600
SZEREMETA Nic 41,875
COHEN Robert 41,725
LERBREKK Ove 40,925
NOWAB Simon 39,125
PERIC Milurat 38,825
MESUT Bütün 38,725
PAGANO Luca 36,500
BOEKEN Noah 32,850
PUNTALA Timo 31,525
RAPP Rainer 30,900
SHALABI Mike 30,050
PAGANO Claudio 28,775
Torbey Sami 28,000
HERSLETH Pel 27,225
JONES Iwan Bryn 26,250
WOLTERS Christoph 25,825
REITHER Bernhard 25,400
PERRAULT Pascal 25,250
GUNDERSEN Thomas 24,500
RAMSEY Timothy 24,175
Tyler Thomas 23,425
BENTIVEDO Mario 22,350
FIRICANO Daryn 21,475
TSOUKALAS Nicholas 21,325
TESTUD Paul 20,800
WALSER Severin 20,625
KENDALL Tony 20,250
TSOUKALAS Maria 19,775
VLADAR Steve 19,700
SOKOTIN Sergeij 18,775
BÖCKSTRÖM Stefan 18,525
Beevers Joe 18,325
GALE John 18,275
URE Anthony 18,100
LINNEMAN Roger 18,050
HUCKLE Jonathan 17,925
VELLIOS John 17,900
TRAN VAN Hung 17,000
ZHANG Luzeh 16,850
HAUGLAND Erlend 16,150
WAGENKNECHT Dieter 15,550
SHOREMAN John 15,450
SWAINS Howard 14,175
BUSH Gary 13,425
Hadayia Mark 13,125
LEVIEW Falker 12,550
FRIEDMANN Mark 12,400
BONOMO Justin 12,350
LEEB Thomas 11,975
BAUER Georg 10,900
Kalpesh Batel 8,850
BARTLOG Mark 8,700
CHOY-SING Tony 8,375
MAIRHOFER Peter 7,900
Ovadia Ofer 7,025
KEINER Michael 4,575

Eighty-three players remain going into this afternoon. At some point, I suspect all of us will sleep. Perhaps at the dinner break.

You can thank the two Thomases (fine, fine gentlemen) for the official count. These guys work very, very hard.

I could write and write, but the sun is about to come up. Plus, I think someone needs to check on Luca to see if he's gotten up from the table yet.

We're back at 2pm.

My, what an hour can do

Thing are starting to move quickly. So, quickly, in fact, I don't quite have as handy a handle on the chipstacks as I did an hour ago. Suffice it to say, Morton Stenheim is no longer the chip leader. He's still in, but his stack has been under attack for the entire level. Justin Bonomo has given away a sizable chunk of his stack as well.

And, here's the update for all people who think online poker is rigged:

I just watched a live (repeat LIVE)hand with two players all-in preflop and another in for most of his stack. I don't even have to tell you the hands, but I will for the sake of clarity...

AA vs. KK vs. QQ

And you know what was more amazing?

Aces held up.

Notable names, notable chip-stacks

At some point when I was caught up in a series of all-in bets, Thursday turned into Friday. My body suggested it was time to call it a night. Then I realized we still had two more levels to go. Still, some players have started to pull away and build good stacks. Below is by no means a comprehensive list. We still have 138 players remaining and this list is just a cursory glance around the 14 tables.

One thing seems to be clear. The man I once dubbed "The King of Bad Beats" is, for the moment, the King of Chipstacks.

King Morton Stenheim

Morton Stenheim 69,000 Norway
John Wells 67,000 USA
Ross Boatman 60,000, U.K.
Josh Schiffman, 55,000 USA (Duke University)
Cohen Robert 52,000, France
Justin Bonomo 50,000 USA
"BadGirl Pham" 45,000

Again, this is far from a comprehensive list, but it gives some idea of where we are heading into the eighth level (300/600/75)