2007 World Series: Part 2 - Final Table Coverage
The line of spectators snaked from the Amazon Room, down the hall (and believe us, it's a long hall) and nearly all the way out of the front door. But only a few of them would get a prized position to watch the final from the comfort of a grandstand seat. The rest were offered batches of chairs, laid out neatly in lines in front of various television screens around the room. It was like an open-plan school, with classes dotted around at which the students sat waiting eagerly for their poker lesson.
But when it all started, they were disappointed, as while the screens above the final table showed all the action, the ones they were forced to watch screened only the flop cam. It meant they saw some cards laid out, the occasional chip passing by, and the top of the dealer's head. But that was it. Soon, the pupils had truancy on their mind, not poker, and started drifting away.
Stuck in one corner of the room, on a little stage, sat Phil Gordon, doing his hand-by-hand commentary here for television. At least he gave the crowd something to gawp at.
The final table started in typically showbiz fashion - with first the National Anthem, and then each player introduced one-by-one to the crowd. Of our three here, South African Raymond Rahme came on first to enthusiastic roars from his family and friends. The 62-year-old is the first player from Africa to make it to the final table, and he won his seat here as part of his prize for coming fourth in the All Africa Poker Championship.
Tuan Lam, from Canada, came on next to more cheers from his fans, many waving Canadian flags - and then Hevad "RaiNKhan" Khan was introduced. He ran in bouncing around and cheering, no doubt letting off some of his boundless energy before the final got under way.
Another player at the final table will be familiar to PokerStars players. Philip Hilm, from Denmark, has enjoyed considerable success on the PokerStars European Poker Tour, and also represented Poland (where half his family come from) at last year's PokerStars World Cup of Poker - see here for details of this year's World Cup and how you can take part.
At the EPT, Hilm came fourth in the Copenhagen event in season two for $90,000, and also a creditable 15th in season three's Monte Carlo Grand Final for another $53,000. You can watch him in EPT action here. At the World Cup of Poker, Hilm's Poland team won the event. You can see him in World Cup action here.
Early action has not seen a lot of work by the three PokerStars players in the field. With only an hour and half under our belts, there's still time for that. Just ask Philip Hilm (mentioned a mere one paragraph of above this one). He just got the rest of his chips in on a draw versus Jerry Yang one with one card to come. Hilm needed a five, eight, or diamond on the river and didn't get there. He was eliminated in ninth place.