Moneymaker Millionaire Finals

Editor's note: The Moneymaker Millionaire finals will be running all day today, beginning at 11am ET in the Bahamas. We'll be reporting the action as it happens on live blog. Twenty-seven players from around the world played through 800,000 entries in the $2.5 million freeroll. Now, they are here in the Bahamas and will play down to the winner. Whoever walks away with the victory will win a $1 million prize package, including $850,000 and an Aston Martin DB9. Click refresh here all day to see the latest news.

3:28am--Alright, the details of the hand now...

Perhaps not the oddest I've seen. But, still, with a $700,000 at stake, pretty impressive.

On the button, Quillan raised to 15K and Jerry called. The flop came 7d 5h 7s. Jerry checked, Quillan bet 20K, an Jerry made it 40K to go. Quillan called. The turn was a 2h and Jerry pushed for 65K or so. Quillan though for maybe a minute before calling and showing K5. Jerry turned over QsTs for queen high. He had six outs and missed. Just like that, Jerry finished in second place and Quillan won a $1 million first prize.

Jerry Watterson -- 2nd place -- $300,000

3:19am--And it's over on the oddest hand I've seen in a long time. Details in a bit, but Quillan Nagel has just won the Moneymaker Millionaire championship.

He says: "It feels pretty good, thank you."

3:12--And here arrives Chris Moneymaker with...well, yeah...$1 million American. Looks like it's time to play.

3:11am--The wives are feeling sick right now as their husbands begin to play for a million bucks. Quillan's wife is being supported by fellow Moneymaker Millionaire Finalist, David from Slovenia. They met on the first night here, and they are now friends. She needs some support right now, because she was sitting in the crowd alone. Jerry's wife and his two buddies are equally as freaked out right now. Jerry's wife had a great story for me. She said she threw away Jerry's passport last week. She went dumpster diving on New Year's Eve day to find it, after losing A LOT of sleep. Luckily, she found it, and the rest is history. By the way, did I mention the wives of the final two players are both named Lisa? Seriously.

3:05am--Not that this matters much at all, but Jerry has chosen apple juice as his drink of choice going into the heads up match. Making it all the sweeter, Lee Jones ordered it for him over the PA system. Sadly, Atlantis staff announces it only has grapefruit or cranberry. Jerry orders bottled water instead.

3:04am--Bobby Skanes says he's going to smoke, call his girlfriend, and go to bed. It hasn't really sunk in just how much money he made here at the Moneymaker Millionaire Finals. For now, he says he got lucky a few times. He says it's poker, and anything can happen. His best friend Bill Neville was here to cheer him on in full Canada gear. Fellow Canadians Phillip Sears and Richard Colin came over to hug their buddy and congratulate him on his first big win. Now, the two guys who are left are playing for a top prize totalling about a million bucks.

2:55am--Lot of TV production work going on, necessitating a short break. That gave us time to sort out the chips.

Quillan: 138,100
Jerry: 132,000

*Extra 100 chip result of chip race earlier in event.

2:46am--After ten minutes of near-silence, we're heads up. Bobby raised on the button and Quillan pushed all-in with pocket nines from the big blind. Bobby called with 78 suited in diamonds. Quillan showed pocket nines. Bobby flopped an eight, but coudn't improve any further. He finishes in third place for $170,000.

Bobby Skanes -- 3rd place -- $170,000

2:35am--Jerry still has a sizable chip lead on his opponents.

Jerry: 150K
Quillan: 73K
Bobby: 56K

2:29am--I just talked to Jerry's wife after that last beat. She says she's been better, and she wants to throw up. She says her husband has his A-game, and he's come back many times before. In fact, he just won another pot.

2:22am--Tragedy strikes for Jerry. He picked up AA at the right time. Quillan held QQ. All the chips went in. The flop came all clubs, but that didn't really matter to Jerry at the time. He held the ace of clubs. The turn, though, was a queen. Jerry needed a club that didn't pair the board or an ace for the win. The four of spades fell on the river Quillan doubled up. He now has about 88K.

2:15am--We're about to move up to the 3000/6000/300 level.

2:14am--Steve Bozzo's huge cheering section has just left the room. After he busted out in 4th place, 21 year old Bozzo hugged Quillan as his mom smiled on the rail. He was very angry about the way he went out, and he needed to take a walk. He came back to face the TV cameras and his very proud family. He told the TV reporter he just wanted to be in 3rd place! He says, of course his life is going to change with this big cash. He said he would have been happy with $5,000, but he will take home $118,000. He still plans to move to Vegas with his friends and try to go pro, a plan his mom totally supports. His grandma hopes he invests his winnings in a good CD. His mom wants him to save a bit, and play a LITTLE more poker. Now, Bozzo seems torn between going to bed and going to celebrate. He's earned whichever choice he makes with his performance today.

2:08am--Quillan just messed with Jerry at the wrong time. Ed, the Roving Reporter tells us Quillan bluffed a total of 36K of his stack off. Jerry must have had some kind of read on the guy. He called him with a small pair and took the pot.

1:54am--Steve just went bust. After doubling up Bobby with 84 vs A9, Steve pushed all in with A2 vs. Bobby's J4. The board comes T42/Q/3. Steve is out in fourth place for $118,000.

Steven Bazzo -- 4th place -- $118,000

1:43am--Steve, with only 14K remaining, declared he was all-in blind from the small blind. Good time to do so, I suppose, as he was dealt A5. Bobby called from the big blind with J9. No help for Bobby and Steve doubled through. Steve's mom turned to the crowd, gave a few hugs and kisses, and then announced, "I was the youngest mother here. Now, I feel like the oldest."

1:42am--Chris Moneymaker just asked, "how long can four people battle?" That remains to be seen. There was a short break just a little while ago. Steve went over to talk to his family, who is represented quite well. He also chatted with his boss from Subway, who is also here at Atlantis. Jerry stayed at the table for a bit, and then went over to hug his wife. Quillan got a coffee and then went over to hug and chat with Jerry. Bobby came back and ordered an orange juice. Funniest moment was when Steve's mom said to me, "you guys must be exhausted!" I replied, "Not as exhausted as you must be!"

1:38am--Quillan just doubled up short-stacked Bobby with A8 vs. AK.

1:34am--Alright all you NeverBeg boys sweating Jerry online...wait for it...wait for it...

On the very next hand after doubling through Steve, Jerry doubled again, re-raising all in against Bobby's raise. Jerry held AK to Bobby's KT. Bobby turned a flush draw but didn't get there. Jerry has rebounded after being down all the way to now more than 100,000.

1:30am--Big hand, well-played by Jerry...though it looked ugly for a second. Steve limped from the button. Bobby called in the small blind and Jerry jammed from the big blind. Steve called with K9. Jerry showed AT. The flop looked to be a heart-breaker for Jerry...QTJ. Steve flopped the straight. Then...a king on the turn to give Jerry the higher straight and the double up.

1:28am--Updated approximate chip counts:

Quillan: 109K
Steve: 58K
Bobby: 78K
Jerry: 25K

1:22am--Jerry, who now is becoming a victim of the blinds and antes, is still trying to pick up chips to supplement his stack. This time, he jammed with KQ. After some thought, Quillan called...also showing KQ. Jerry had a flush draw on the turn but didn't get there. Jerry jammed again on the the next hand and picked up the blinds and antes. Now we're on a short break.

1:18am--It's been almost exactly an hour since we lost the last player, Boomer Lawrence. These last four guys are playing some great poker. Although they just met, they have a great deal of respect for one another, and it shows in how they're playing. The guys are laughing and joking with each other. They have five minutes left in this blind level.

1:12am--Jerry, still in need of picking up some chips, just dodged a bullet. As his wife sat stone-faced, Jerry moved all-in over the top of Quillan's raise. Quillan called and showed pocket fours. Jerry showed A4s. The board ran out 625/7/3 for a chopped pot. On the very next hand, play folded to Jerry in the small blind, who jammed again. This time he picked up the blinds and antes when Quillan folded.

1:01am--Those who know him likely know that Jerry is no poker neophyte. So, they probably won't be suprised to know Jerry has gone to work on the blinds and antes. He's chipped back up and has a playable stack again (sorry no total on it).

12:59am--Steve Bazzo's mom is freaking out. I mean, she's totally calm. At least that's what she wants you to think. He's now the chip leader. His mom says he just got quite a raise. He was making like $7.25 an hour working at Subway. In fact, his boss, the franchisee, is here cheering Bazzo on. Mike Ziemba says he and Steve planned to move out to Vegas to try to become pros no matter what happened here today. Now, he's guaranteed to win at least $118,000. Mike said even though Steve has gotten quite a raise on his annual earnings today, Steve is the kind of guy who might actually stick around at the Subway until he hires a replacement. That's a nice guy, folks.

12:49pm--Steve has just offered his mother a double high-fives. Jerry, on the other hand is not celebrating. Steve came in for a raise and Jerry popped him back, making it 36,000 total. Steve moved all-in and Jerry, already priced in, called. Steve showed QQ to Jerry's AK. The board was no help at all and Jerry lost more than 50,000 of his 76,000 stack.

12:42pm--Quillan just laid a big one on Bobby. All-in pre-flop with A8, he ran into Bobby's KK. The board came out AT2/6/5. That one hand moved Quillan right into the chip lead.

12:41pm--Cards are back in the air at the 2000/4000/200 level.

12:40pm--Updated chip counts:

Quillan: 44,100
Steve: 46,800
Bobby: 102,400
Jerry: 76,800

12:38pm--Players are on a quick break right now. I just talked to Bobby Skanes, who knocked out Boomer Lawrence. Bobby says he's as calm as can be, and that surprises him. Bobby is maintaining his chip lead, and he believes Jerry Watterson III is the man to beat. By the way, all the guys who are left are guaranteed six figures.

12:35pm--Boomer Lawrence is about to call his sisters. They and about 50 to 60 other people have been following along on the blog, and Boomer says he expects there are a lot of tears back home. There are no tears here, though. His fiance, Josie is here with him. He's been watching closely all day. They're planning to get married in July, 2008. She's Italian, so Boomer says the $86,000 he won today will help fund an even bigger wedding. They also plan to put some more money down on a condo they're buying. Josie says she expects Boomer will be up all night, replaying the hands in his head. Boomer says people often forget this is a seven card game, and anything can happen. He says the guys who are left are playing great poker, but he predicts Jerry Watterson III will be the winner. But, like Boomer said, you never know what can happen on the river.

12:18pm--So, here's how Boomer busted. Play folded around to Bobby in the small blind and he limped. Boomer checked his option and they saw a J9x flop. Bobby checked and Boomer moved all in. Bobby immediately called and flipped over QJ. Boomer, sick, showed J5. Reduced to only three outs for a win, Boomer sat waiting for the turn. Then it happened. The dealer pulled off a five. Boomer, knowing he was in no way guaranteed of a win, barely moved. That's when the dealer peeled...a nine, counterfeiting Boomer's two pair. After having his aces cracked, the hand had to be a hard thing to endure. Nonetheless, he's smiling now, finishing in fifth place and winning $86,000.

Boomer Lawrence -- 5th place -- $86,000

12:16am--One heartbreakingly rollercoaster hand has knocked out Boomer. Details to come.

12:13am--In case you're wondering, the play has tightened up a lot recently. A raise is usually good to take the pot. As such, we're not seieng any big hands and about to go on break.

11:56pm--And in the continuing story of how aces don't always win, Boomer just made the easiest move of his life. Steve jammed for 23.6K under the gun and Boomer moved all-in behind him. Boomer had red aces. Steve held KTs. The flop came 9cKh2d. Suddenly Steve had hope. The turn was a brick, 4c. But just as Greg Raymer announced how big of a dog Steve was, the king of diamonds fell on the river. Boomer, the consumate professional, took it like a man, despite watching his stack get cut in half.

11:55pm--I just caught up with David Carthy, who finished 8th. He takes home $44,000. He didn't know how much he had won until a spectator told him. His buddy, Mike Hubbard, has been here to cheer him on all day, and he was here to celebrate victory. He picked Phillip Sears to win it all, but Sears was the next player out. He has no idea what he's going to do with the money he's won. All he knows is that he's now an ex-bus boy, who just made tens of thousands of dollars in one day. He and his buddies have a phrase called, "Ringing the bell." It's a title that goes to the biggest cash winner in their group. So far, none of his friends has topped his cash from today. In addition to his friend, Mike, two other buddies have helped coach him over the past few months. His first thanks goes to Steve "horseracing" Weisman. He also wants to thank Barnett "Kr@ 2 horse" Walker. Carthy has been wearing his sunglasses since he was on the plane ride here. He's only taken them off briefly to stare down an opponent. He just took them off. He says he won't be wearing his shades for a while. Carthy says he had been struggling off his poker winnings for the past several months, and now he'll be LIVING off them.

11:47pm--In case it wasn't mentioned, we're now playing at the 1,500/3,000/200 level.

11:38pm--On the very next hand, we lost another as Jerry claimed another victim. Looks like Richard was just waiting for the money jump. He got T6 all-in against Jerry's AT. Dominated from the beginning, Richard couldn't improve and busted in sixth place, earning $72,000.

Richard Colin -- 6th place -- $72,000

Update: I just caught up with Richard. He just turned 21 in August. After graduation, Richard had been working at The Packing House, sorting fruit on an assembly line. He was making about $10-$12 an hour. He made $72,000 today. We figure that's about $10,000 an hour. That's more money than he's ever had in his life, and this is all very unbelievable to him. His first calls will go to his parents and a buddy who loves to watch the pros play poker. Richard says he hopes he can get a good bankroll going. Buddy, it looks like you've already done that.

11:34pm--We just lost Phillip Sears in seventh place. All-in for his final 12.5K in chips preflop with AT, he was up against Boomer's pocket eights. The flop came down JKJ, offering Phillip a few more outs. However, an eight fell on the turn, locking him out of the pot. He wins $58,000.

Phillip Sears -- 7th place -- $58,000.

Update: Today was Phillip Sears' first time in a casino. He's leaving the Atlantis with $58,000. His girlfriend has been sitting there dying every time he's gone all-in. Right now, she's in tears. Sears says today's winnings amounts to two years of wages for him. He knew when he got here he was guaranteed $5,000. He hoped for $10,000. He just didn't want to be one of the first guys out. He didn't dream he would be at the final table. He was low stacked and went all-in four or five times. He says he got some good breaks, but the cards go how they go. He expects his buddies back at Dooly's to razz him when he gets home. He expects that they will love trying to beat him from here on out, because they could be "the one" to beat a guy who has cashed big in a real live tournament.

11:30pm--Updated chip counts:

Richard: 12.5K
Quillan: 28.2K
Steve: 26.4K
Bobby: 82.7K
Boomer: 56.4K
Phillip 12.5K
Jerry: 51.4

11:22pm--That Jerry, he's a cagey one. Under the gun, he limped for 2000. Everybody folded to David who jammed for 16,900. Jerry, without more than a few seconds of thoght, called to see David's AKo. Jerry casually turned over QQ. The board ran out 5722Q and and knocked David out in eighth place for $44,000.

David Carthy -- 8th place -- $44,000

11:21pm--Jerry has just knocked out David in eighth place. Details to come.

10:57pm--John Haefele had two of his buddies who he grew up with here as his cheering section. His friend, Wes, says he predicted John would go out in 9th, and he did. John says it's pretty cool that his buddies could be here for this. He says he had no problem with the way he went out of this tournament. It was, afterall, his first tournament with a live dealer! He's been playing on PokerStars for a year now. He says PokerStars did a fabulous job of making guys like him comfortable in their first live poker experience. John plans to go sit down for a minute and let it all sink in. He says with four kids, he should have no problem spending his $32,000 winnings.

John Haefele -- 9th place -- $32,000

10:40pm--John Haefele has just exited in ninth place earning $32,000. He got AQo in against Bobby's JJ. The flop cme QJ2 giving Bobby middle set. John had runner-runner possibilies and drew a ten on the turn to give him four outs to Broadway. However, the river was a ten, knocking John out in ninth place. Congrats, John.

10:37pm--Phillip Sears stack was hurting but he just got his small stack in against two players. He held AK and flopped a king to win and triple up.

10:34pm--Blinds are now up to 1000/2000/900, putting 3900 in each pot before the cards are dealt.

10:31pm--David, running very short on chips, jammed pre-flop with KQ suited in clubs. Phillip thought for about two minutes before calling with 66. The drama was over quickly as the flop came out AK7. Phillip's couldn't find a six and David doubled up.

10:27pm--A huge hand just developed between Steve and Quillan. Quillan came in for a raise and got one call before Steve jammed. Quillan thought for a moment and mumbled something. Steve said, "You feel lucky?" Quillan shrugged cand called. Steve showed queens to Quillan's KK. The flop came down 247 with two hearts. The turn was another heart, giving Steve a heart draw to go with his queen-draw. The river, though, blanked and Quillan doubled through Steve.

10:25pm--While we're waiting for the first final table bust-out, here's a little more on the guys' time in the Presidential Suite:

In the Presidential Suite before the final table, Jerry Watterson III got his makeup done by a professional. He told me, "I asked her if she could make me as pretty as she is." His wife, Lisa, stood behind him giving him a massage. Back in August, Jerry was finishing school and working for his family's business. He started going deep in a lot of tournaments, and he decided it was time to take a shot. He told his school teacher wife he wanted to play poker for a living. She told me as long as he's making as much money as she is (or more), she can't complain. Now, that's a poker wife!

Quillan Nagel also brought his wife. They left their 3 month old at home. They're hoping Audrey doesn't do anything new while they're gone, but her grandmother says she's sleeping better than she does when her parents are home. Quillan says he's having no trouble with the physical aspects of a tournament like this. He used to be a professional ballet dancer, before he had to retire because of injuries. The cool thing about him is that he is guaranteed to win at least $32,000 here at Atlantis. He has $30,000 in student loans to pay off. Thank you PokerStars, bills paid. Funny thing is, no matter what happens to Quillan here, he can't stick around and enjoy it for long. He has to get back on a plane and go defend his Masters. His degree will be in International Affairs from Carleton-Norman Patterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa.

Richard Colin turned 21 on August 10. He learned to play poker from his friends in Calgary. He's been coughing since his plane ride here, and he's still suffering. You'd never know by looking at him, and I haven't heard him cough once. He brought a buddy along with him. He hasn't thought about what he will do with the money. He says he has no expectations for the final table. Everything from here is gravy. His parents Roy and Shirley are reading the blog back home. As is his old coach Greig Thomas. We'll try to keep you updated guys.

Steve Bazzo has quite a crew here and quite a story. When we were in the Presidential Suite, his grandmother was getting all the guys at the final table to sign her shirt. His mom and aunt were also there, and boy are they proud. Steve also has three buddies here with him. His family could be partially responsible for his poker success. They have Texas Hold 'em tournaments every Christmas. This year, Steve's baby brother won. His mom watched him qualify for the finals online, and she plans to host a watch-party when this event is televised.

10:15pm--Six minutes into the final table and Phillip Sears is all in. He's holding KJ to to Boomer's A5. Tournament Director Lee Jones announced the flop: JJ5, "hitting Phillip square in the head." The turn is a five, opening up the one-outer for Boomer. It doesn't come and Phillip doubles up.

10:10pm--With a wish of good luck from Chris Moneymaker, the players are back in action at the 800/1600 level. There are about 23 more minutes level.

9:54pm--The final table players just started filing into the room. We should be underway soon. By the way, there are six Canadians and three Americans at the final table. Talk about a border battle.

9:41pm--I just spent the past hour in the Presidential Suite with nine really excited guys and their family and friends. They were getting ready for their appearance at the Moneymaker Millionaire final table. No matter what happens from here on out, these guys will go home with at least $32,000 each. The atmosphere in that room was nothing short of electric. These guys are having a blast. Sure, they all want to go home with $850,000 and an Aston Martin, but they are all getting along like old college buddies right now. Most of them are now wearing makeup for the first time. If you didn't know, everyone on TV wears makeup. That might be a trade secret I'm revealing, so sue me. These guys are about to be pretty famous, so they need TV makeup, right?

Here are some tidbits from that room:

Phillip Sears says this is the first time he's ever been in a casino! Not a bad first showing. He's been playing poker for a little over a year online. He brought his girfriend with him, and she's just excited to be on this trip, not to mention that he's made the final table! He plays regular poker with his buddies at a pool hall called Dooly's. He said those guys might be following along from home, so keep reading, guys!

Bobby Skanes is totally pumped. He's a New England Patriots fan, and he knocked out another. Richard DiLonardo said if he had to get knocked out, he's glad it was by a Pats fan!

9:17pm--Here are the finalists!

Seat 1: Richard Colin 18,000

Seat 2: Quillan Nagel 23.1K

Seat 3: John Haefele 36.7K

Seat 4: Steven Bazzo 30.7K

Seat 5: Bobby Skanes 44K

Seat 6: David Carthy 15,2K

Seat 7: Boomer Lawrence 72.8K

Seat 8: Phillip Sears 8K

Jerry Watterson 21.7K

8:20pm--We're down to final table! Rich DiLonardo just got eliminated. He moves all-in for 13.200 and gets called by Robert Skanes. Rich shows AK and Robert has 88. The flop comes J-T-7, Rich needs a A,K or a Q to improve. The turn is a king. Now Robert needs a 8 or a 9 to take down the pot. The river is a 8 which eliminates Rich from the tournament. We're down to final 9 players. The players will have a 1 hour break where they can sit down and eat. We will join them and make interwies and take photos and chipcounts. See you in an hour!

Richard DiLonardo says tournament play is hours of boredom followed by moments of terror. He got all of his chips in with AK. He says there were six cards that could beat him, and one of those fell. He went out in 10th place. He told me after he busted out, "We're all just winners to be here." He says he plans to watch the Patriots tomorrow. A fellow Patriots fan, Bobby Skanes, knocked him out. DiLonardo says if he had to be knocked out, he was glad it was by a Pats fan! Oh, if you recognize Richard's name, it's because he's been on TV before. He made $16,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He topped that here today with a $20,000 cash.

8:06pm--There were some mistakes in the prize structure before, we've made the changes and now it is correct.

8:02pm--Action at both tables...all-in at the same time. John moves all-in with 77 and gets called by Bobby who showes AQ. No ace or queen on the table doubles John up. At the same time Earl Cason gets eliminated by Boomer. Boomer raises from the button and Earl who is shortstacked calles from big blind with 66, Boomer shows JT. The flop cam 7-3-3, turn A and a jack on the river sends Earl out of the tournament.

Update: Earl Cason just finished his first live tournament. He's played live poker only two times before. He learned online about two years ago. He's taking home $20,000. That should help him finish his Masters in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He says the tournament was a lot of fun. He's disappointed in his finish, but he says he can't complain. He said his first call would be to his mom back home in New Mexico.

7:56pm--Anthony Cassano just got eliminated in 12th place after moving all-in with AT. He got called by Boomer who had kings. The flop came Q-J-8, turn 6, river 5.

Update: As I was doing Anthony's post-tournament interview, he told his girlfriend that he was just tired of playing, and he just took a chance when he went all-in. He's been playing for one year online, and today he left with $20,000. Believe it or not, this was Anthony's first live tournament.

7:53pm--Last hand on this level. The blinds are going up to 800-1,600 with ante 100.

7:45pm--Chris Moneymaker has just taken the mic in the Moneymaker Millionaire.

7:37pm--Don Hill says he and his wife are going to have a party now. I would to if I were in his place. He just bought a computer 14 months ago, and now he's $20,000 richer. He's only been playing online, mostly on PokerStars because he says the play there is tougher. Don says he's going to pay some bills with his winnings, and he'll probably buy in to a game tomorrow. I saw him earlier tonight when he was all-in. He got up out of his chair, and gave his wife, Yvonne Pitchenese a fist pump for good luck. He survived that hand. I asked him if he thought he lost this go-'round because he didn't fist pump with his wife. He says he didn't think he needed to that time, because he didn't expect to run into Aces. That's poker, folks.

7:28pm--Don Hill just got eliminated in 14th place earning $20K. Don who was shortstacked moved all-in with AJ and got called by a guy with AA. Aces held all the way and Don was eliminated from the tournament.

7:23pm--14 more to go after Brent Richardson got eliminated by John Haefele. Brent moved all -in on 8-7-6 flop with A8. John instantly called with 66. The turn was a five which gives Brent eight outs for tied pot. A blank card on the river eliminated him from the tournament in 15th place.

7:15pm--Another all-in hand. Richard Colin and Phillip Sears in the pot. Sears goes all in with AA. Phillip Sears puts his head down as Richard Colin thinks for what seems like an eternity to Sears. Richard folds. From the rail, someone yells, "Nice laydown, RC!" Turns out, that cheer came from Richard's hockey buddy from home. He's a small cheering section, but a good one nonetheless. Greg Raymer is now calling the cards. He's making his usual witty jokes and doing his best to pump up the players. Laughter erupts from the crowd as Greg announces the arrival of a dog who wandered into the room. Tournament Director Lee Jones dubs him the UNDERDOG. He'll be here all night, folks.

7:11pm-- Players have just sat down after a quick break. Blinds are up to 600-1200 with ante 100. One more to go and the players will be guaranteed $20 grand.

7:00pm--Big hand just went down here at Atlantis. On a flop of 3-4-T, Bob Skanes went all-in with 5-6, an open-ended straight draw. It seemed to be bad timing. Brent Richardson had flopped a set of threes. On the turn, however, Skanes got there. A seven fell to give him his straight. Brent needed the board to pair on the river, but it didn't happen and Bob doubled up.

6:57pm--"Middlebubble", the 15th place finisher will get $10K after that the players will be insured at least $20K. The winner tonight will walk away with a one million price package including $850,000 and an Aston Martin.

6:47pm--Our 16th place finisher was Tim Eagle from St. Louis, Missouri. He had a lot of support from some good friends from home. They're on their way to get a beer right now. It's a well-deserved one. Tim says he suffered a terrible beat before the break, and he just couldn't recover. He predicts Boomer Lawrence will win the Moneymaker Millionaire. Anyone want to bet?

6:45pm--David Juhart has just finished the first television interview of his life. The horse trainer from Slovenia says it feels pretty weird. He's leaving Atlantis with $10,000. David says you have to take action when you have cards, and that's exactly what he did. He plans to watch the rest of this tournament and have a great time on his Bahamian vacation.

6:39pm--A favorite is gone! All-in action pre-flop between Tim Eagle and Boomer Lawrence. Tim showed Ac-2c and Boomer showed K-K. Flop camed 5c-2d-7s, with another king on the turn Tim had no outs and were eliminated from the tournament on the 16th place earning $10K. There's a lot of action on the two tables right now. 15 players left.

6:26pm--A lot of action on the two tables! All-in pre-flop on table no.1 Paul Phillipss and Richard Colin, both shows AK. After a blank on the turn they tie the pot. All-in action pre-flop the minute after on the other table. David Juhart moved all-in with KQ and got called by Brent Richardson with AK. The flop came J98 which gave him four more outs. A blank card on the turn and another blank on the river eliminated him from the tournament on 17th place. Phillips earns 10 grand and a free trip to Bahamas. Congratulations!

6:21pm--Blinds are going up to 400-800, blinds will increase for 45 minutes.

6:15pm--Bobby Skanes just got a little lucky and doubled through John. On a AJx flop, all the money went in. It looked like Bobby was done for until another jack fell on the turn. A meaningless six on the river doubled Bobby up.

6:05pm--Patrik Kohl is a tall man. Probably the tallest in the room. He could intimidate just about anyone standing, so the other players were lucky they were sitting next to him. Patrik says he is very happy with his play here in the Bahamas. He said he did his very best, and that's all he could do. He will likely enjoy a few days at Atlantis with a very good friend. His wife had to stay behind at home with their 12 month old baby. In his real life, Kohl's an alternative doctor. He does accupuncture and chiropractic work. He has also done work in economics and education. Kohl got a great education today. He's only been playing poker for about 18 months. Nice work, Mr. Kohl.

6:02pm--Germany is out. Patrik Kohl from Germany just lost with 55 against KQ. Patrik was quite shortstacked when he moved all-in and got called by David Juhart from Slovenia. The flop came A-A-K and Patrik needed a five to improve. The turn was a six and Patrik only had two outs. River was a deuce and Patrik were eliminated in 18th place earning $10K.

5:53pm--Just before Daniel Graham departed, I talked to our 20th place finisher, Paul Phillips. Paul's probably tracking down his 11 year old son, who has been hanging out at the kids' club here at Atlantis. Paul said he was disappointed to go out so early, but he wasn't catching any cards. Paul has been playing a little live poker at casinos in Oklahoma, but this was his first big live tournament. He plans to play in the $500 tomorrow. He'll be rooting for David Juhart from Slovenia. They qualified for the Moneymaker Millionaire online together.

5:45pm--Another bust-out to report. This is the last $5,000 winner. The next person eliminated will take home $10,000. Daniel Graham just went all-in with AK of hearts. He was up against KQ. Flop comes A-10-2. Turn was a five of diamonds. River five of clubs. Daniel goes home with $5,000. This was his first live poker game EVER. He says the lights and the TV cameras didn't bother him, but it was intimidating to be playing other folks face-to-face. He says live play is totally different than internet play. Turns out, we're lucky Daniel was able to join us at all. Two days before his arrival here, he was at the hospital with bronchitis.

5:35pm--Donald Craig is probably talking to his parents right now. He said that would be his first phone call after busting out in 21st place. He said he doesn't regret anything about his play today. He thought about laying down his final hand, but decided since he had a short stack, he had to go for it. He said he gambled early on in order to build up his stack. This was not his first big live tournament. He actually played in the World Series Main Event this summer. He qualified for that seat on PokerStars.

5:26pm--Paul Phillips just got eliminated in 20th place. Paul limped in from SB with A8. John Haefele had limped under the gun. The flop came K-K-8. Paul checked, the other guy checked and John bet 1800. Paul moved all-in for 2500 and got called by John. John showed 77. The turn was a 7 and the river a five which eliminated Paul out of the tournament. There are now 19 players left.

5:15pm-- Shuffle up n deal! The game just begun after the break. Donald Craig got eliminated the first hand after the break against Roy Whiteaker. The board was T-7-7-4 when Donald moved all-in and got called by Roy. Roy had A7 and Donald QT. Donald needed a ten on the river to stay in the tournament. The last card was a six and it eliminated Donald from the tournament in 21st place.

4:13pm-- Steven Bazzo just raked a huge pot after drawing out Tim Eagle. The flop came J-T-7. Steven checked, Tim bet and Steven called. Another ten on the turn and Steven goes all-in and Tim calls. Steven shows AT and Tim QQ. A 3 on the river and Steven Bazzo won a big pot. Players are now on dinnerbreak for one hour. Play will resume at 5:15.

4:05pm--Mike Young was down to $3,000 in chips. He felt the blinds creeping up, so he went all-in with A5. Brent Richardson called with QQ. Flop came JJ7. Turn 6. River 4. Mike Young goes out 22nd. He says he feels it was a good start for him in poker. He says if he keeps playing poker, he hopes to qualify again next year. He learned to play poker with his buddies in college at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. He's a junior majoring in computer science. Congratulations, Mike.

3:51pm-- Mike Halprin eliminated. All-in action pre-flop between Mike Halprin and Boomer Lawrence. Mike showed AQ and Boomer TT. T-high flop and Boomer get trips. Mike now need runner KJ to make a straight. With a blank card on the turn Mike was eliminated in 23rd place.

3:51pm--Whew! Team Blog just had a crazy few minutes! We just lost another player, Gallenin Nanchev. He leaves the Moneymaker Millionaire in 24th place. David Hegg left in 25th. David says he's extremely upset about busting out, but he had a great experience. This is his first big live tournament. Now, he and his wife, Jill, are going to go enjoy the Atlantis. Gallentin Nanchev says it was a good experience, but he was simply not lucky. He says he played for two hours and just couldn't get any cards. He started playing poker about a year ago, so that's not a bad finish, Mr. Nanchev. He says he's now going to go relax and have a nice vacation with his daughter.

3:48pm-- A lot of action right now. We try to cover it all...all-in and call at the three tables at the same time. We just lost David Hegg from table one. Two-way action pre-flop. The flop came 9-8-6 and the players moves all in. Tim Eagle showed TT and David A9. 4 on the turn and Q on the river.

3:38pm--Anthony Cassano just doubled up through Mike Halprin. Mike raised pre-flop to 1200, Anthony reraised to 3000 and Mike moved all-in. Anthony instantly called and showed QQ. Mike had AKs. Flop came 8-4-3, turn Js which gave Mike a flushdraw, river was the 6h and Anthony doubled up.

3:20pm--Here are some great photos taken by Eric Harkins...


3:09pm--Lee Jones just announced the last hand of this level, but before that, there was another big hand. Earl Cason went all-in with AK, Mike Halprin called with AQ. The flop came A44. No help on the turn or river. Earl doubles through.

3:05pm--There's a very nervous dad on the rail right now. He is the father of Mike Young from Springfield, Pennsylvania. Mike's having quite a year. He just turned 21, and now he's playing for a million bucks. Bob Young says his wife didn't want their son to come to the Bahamas, but, together, they convinced her. Bob says his son has been playing mostly online. All of his family came together during Christmas break to give him some live practice. With a proud smile, his dad told me his son beat them all.

3:01pm--Brent Richardson doubles up through Patrick Kohl. The flop came 9s-7c-2s. Brent moves all-in and Patric calls with JJ. Brent shows A8s for a flushdraw. Blank turn and river and Brent have doubled up.

2:43pm--Lee Jones just announced to the players that there will be a one-hour dinner break after level four. So, folks following along at home, that will be your chance to give your favorite player a pep-talk or a pep-email or a pep-text message. However you're doing it.

2:31pm--Tim Eagle from St. Louis, Missouri has quite a posse backing him at the Moneymaker Millionaire. He brought along four buddies, who've known each other for quite some time. Several of them have some large and colorful tats. They're really proud of their friend, who is no stranger to live play. His buddies say he's been in at least 10 live tournaments. Back home, he's a 26 year old salesman. Here, he's one of the 25 people with hopes of winning the Moneymaker Millionaire.

2:23pm--Rich DiLondardo from Warwick, Rhode Island just won a big pot at Table 3. It was AK versus AQ, and a king came on the flop. DiLonardo just upped his stack by a good bit.

2:11pm--Blinds increase to 125-250. Cards are once again on the table. We have 25 players left. Lee Jones pointed out that no one will go home with less than $5,000. Cheers from the crowd.

2:07pm--During the break, I talked to David Carthy himself. He was in serious need of a smoke after the way he's been playing. He tells me he's been all-in pre-flop four times so far during the finals. He and his friend say Carthy's motto is that he's ready to die on every hand. He says he told the other players this at the beg inning of the finals, but he doesn't think they believed him. He's wearing a zip-up shirt that says, "I love Tokyo" on it. He says that's in honor of his screen name.

2:01pm--Players are on a five minute break.

1:54pm--Mike Hubbard is the best friend of David Carthy at Table 3. Earlier, I wasn't sure which David at Table 3 knocked out the first player of the Finals. David Carthy had tens and knocked out John Whitlock. Carthy's best friend tells me tens are one of Carthy's least favorite hands, because he tends to have bad luck with them. His luck held out this time, and the University of Florida Political Science major is still alive in the Moneymaker Millionaire. Carthy and his bestfriend began playing poker together about four or five years ago, and the two friends are still playing together. Carthy brought his buddy, Mike Hubbard along for the ride. Who knows, maybe he'll get to see his friend win his first million.

1:49pm--I just talked to Eric Stern who went out in 26th place at the Moneymaker Millionaire Finals. He says he feels good about his showing here at Atlantis, but he's naturally a little disappointed. However, as he said, there's nothing to be disappointed about a trip to the Bahamas and $5,000. Eric qualified in a free-roll on his first try. This was Eric's first big live tourney. He played two tournaments in Atlantic City as practice for the Moneymaker Millionaire. In his real life, he's a golf course superintendent. He learned to play poker online about three years ago. He says he loves any game, but especially the game of poker, and he would love to have this experience again.

1:41pm-- Eric Stern eliminated by Boomer Lawrence. Boomer raised pre-flop and Eric called. The flop came K-high and Eric bet out 600 and Boomer reraised to 1500. Eric moved all-in for 3000 and Boomer instantly called. Eric showed AK and Boomer KK. With a blank card on the turn Eric had no outs and was eliminated from the tournament.

1:35pm-- Phillip Sears triples up after moving all-in on Qh-9h-6d flop. Two players call, turn is 3s, river 3c. Philip shows two black nines and the others muck their hands.

--Chip update for you. It appears John Haefele at Table 3 and Boomer Lawrence at Table 2 are the chip leaders.

1:14pm--Just before the first player was knocked out, there was another all-in hand. This one was at Table 2. Mike Halprin won the hand. He seems to be in pretty good shape. Lee Jones warns the players to watch their nervous hand motions. He tells them to watch moving their hands up and down, since that motion could be interpretted as a check. Greg Raymer explains that sometimes those calls don't go your way, so watch your hands, guys.

1:11pm--I talked to John Whitlock after he busted out. He said he was kind of shaken up right now, but he has had a great time. He wants to thank PokerStars for putting on a great event. Whitlock goes home $5,000 richer and a major tournament under his belt. Way to go, John.

1:06pm-First bust out. Pocket tens against John Whitlock with Ace-King of Clubs. The tens held up, and the first player is knocked out. John Whitlock leaves the Moneymaker Millionaire in 27th place.

1:00pm--I talked to Boomer Lawrence and his fiance during the break. They said they have some family back in Canada and some family in Miami following along on the blog. Hello to you, Boomer's family. Boomer's fiance says he looks very relaxed to her. She says his most nervous time is before the game begins. She says once the cards are dealt, he is in his element. Josie Vella says this is Boomer's first big tournament. Boomer came over when they broke, and gave her a hug. Great thing is he won his all-in hand with his favorite hand, 4-4. Turns out, that is his favorite because it was his old hockey number. He played until he blew his knee out and couldn't play anymore. Now he's a poker player, and his screen name on PokerStars is Malibu44. That number is serving him well. He now thinks he's the chip leader with about $17,500 in chips.

12:59pm--Cards back in the air. Play has resumed. All 27 players are still in the game.

12:54pm--Table 3 was still playing after the other two had gone on break. John Haefele in Seat 5 went all in with pocket Jacks. Paul Phillips in Seat 1 was also in the hand. Haefele flopped a set of Jacks. Phillips folded. Haefele won about a an $8,400 pot. I asked him how he feels. He replied, "Better now" with a smile of relief on his face.

12:52pm-- We've just finished the first level. Players are on a short break. When they come back the blinds will be 75-150.

12:42pm--I heard a sigh of relief from the rail after that last all-in by Boomer Lawrence. I waited to find out who it was, because I wanted to get the first major hand posted on the blog. I have now found out the source of the sigh. It's Josie Vella, Boomer's fiance. I asked her how she felt when her man went all-in. She said her heart jumped a beat, and she thought she was going to pass out. As she wrung her hands nervously, she told me she was very excited. A chance for her man to become a millionaire? Yeah. I'd say she's excited. Oh, and don't forget the Aston Martin. She'd look great in the passenger seat of that car. Or the driver's seat, depending on their relationship. If he wins, I'll find out who'll drive that baby.

12:38pm--First major hand of the Moneymaker Millionaire Finals. Boomer Lawrence in Seat 5 goes all in. He ended up with a set of fours. Eric Stern in Seat 7 was also in the hand. He folded and didn't show his cards.

12:22pm--Greg Raymer is now calling cards at Table 1. His mere presense has changed the tone in the room. People are definitely getting more excited and more mouthy. Greg razzed the guy wearing a Phil Hellmuth hat. The guy razzed back.

12:15pm Lee Jones just introduced 2004 World Series of Poker winner and Team PokerStars member, Greg Raymer. He is now doing some card calling at the featured table, Table 2.

12:09pm The first beers just arrived in the room. They were delivered to Table 3. We'll just let you guess who ordered them.

12:00pm-- The 27 players have started. Every player starts with 10,000 in chips. The blinds start at 50-100 and increases every hour.

Blind levels
1: 50-100 (60 min)
2: 75-150 (60 min)
3: 125-150 (60 min)
4: 200-400 (60 min)
5: 300-600 (60 min)
6: 400-800 (45 min)
7: 600-1,200, ante 100 (45 min)
8: 800-1,600, ante 100 (45 min)
9: 1,000-2,000, ante 100 (45 min)
10: 1,500-3,000, ante 200 (45 min)
11: 2,000-4,000, ante 200 (45 min)
12: 2,500-5,000, ante 300 (45 min)
13: 3,000-6,000, ante 300 (45 min)
14: 5,000-10,000, ante 500 (45 min)
15: 7,500-15,000, ante 500 (45 min)
16: 10,000-20,000, ante 1000 (45 min)
17: 15,000-30,000, ante 1500 (45 min)
18: 20,000-40,000, ante 2000 (45 min)
19: 30,000-60,000, ante 3000 (45 min)

Payout structure
1: $1,000,000
2: $300,000
3: $170,000
4: $118,000
5: $86,000
6: $72,000
7: $58,000
8: $44,000
9: $32,000
10-14: $20,000
15-18: $10,000
19-27: $5,000

11:51am--PokerStars staff just brought me a list of the seat assignments. Here's how your Moneymaker Millionaire players are seated:

Table 1
Seat 1: Quillan "Quillan" Nagel (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Seat 2: Richard Colin, "overriperc99," Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada
Seat 3: Steven Bazzo, "zeemer1," Riverview, Michigan, United States
Seat 4: Brent Richardson, "KidRichard," Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Seat 5: Pat Kohl, "JoeDark," St. Ingbert, Germany
Seat 6: Tim Eagle, "ironwine79," Barnhart, Missouri, United States
Seat 7: David Hegg, "The pokerpug," Middleton, Wisconsin
Seat 8: Phillip Sears, "GOLDBRICK56," Westcock, New Brunswick, Canada
Seat 9: Mike Young, "live4yng," Springfield, Pennsylvania, United States

Table 2
Seat 1: Donald Craig
Seat 2: Mike Halprin
Seat 3: Roy Whiteaker
Seat 4: Anthony Cassano
Seat 5: Boomer Lawrence
Seat 6: Gerry Watterson
Seat 7: Eric Stern
Seat 8: Earl Cason
Seat 9: Gallentin Nenchev

Table 3
Seat 1: Paul Phillips
Seat 2: David Juhart
Seat 3: David Carthy
Seat 4: John Whitlock
Seat 5: John Haefele
Seat 6: Robert Skanes
Seat 7: Rich DiLonardo
Seat 8: Don Hill
Seat 9 Daniel Graham

11:49am--Lee Jones starts play with the usual, "shuffle up and deal!"

11:45am--Family and friends pour into the room for the beginning of the Moneymaker Millionaire finals. The volume just rose by a couple of notches. The rail birds look almost more excited than the players.

11:43am--Chris Moneymaker makes the opening speech. He wishes the players luck and tells the dealers to get the cards in the air.

11:39am--Daniel Graham "snailham" from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada drew for position first. He got the 9 of clubs, and he took his seat.

11:35am--Player meeting ends and players get ready to draw for table position.

11:22am--Lee Jones is now meeting with the players to discuss tournament protocol. Everyone is listening intently, and every few minutes you can hear nervous laughter bellow through the crowd. For most of these 27 players, this is likely their first experience in front of television lights and cameras. Most of these finalists are regular guys, and they are not used to cameras and boom mics following them around. We imagine that once play begins, they'll forget the cameras are there and get into the game. Besides, if these regular folks are going to become poker champions, they'd better get used to the attention. Just ask Chris Moneymaker.

10:30am--The 27 Moneymaker Millionaire finalists are currently in the middle of a nice breakfast as PokerStars introduces them to the press. While the players nourish themselves, the television production company is putting the final touches on the newly constructed studio. In just a bit, the players will make their way to the tables. There, they'll draw their seats, have a meeting with tournament director Lee Jones. Then cards will go in the air. We'll be here until someone is crowned a champion.

The Moneymaker Millionaire Finals live blog will be reported in full by bloggers Brad Willis, Lina Olofsson, and Michelle Willis.