2008 World Series: The PokerStars Six
In the Rio Amazon Room, there is no Monday. There is no July. Time and date are irrelevant. There is no news from around the world, lamentations about the economy, or even the usual banal discussion of the weather. It took rain in the desert to get anyone to notice the sky. In the thunderdome that is the World Series of Poker, all that matters is life and death at the World Series of Poker table. Once the fallen are carried out and given their due seconds of respect, all that remains is hope for the living.
This has been the case during the days that are defined by number instead of name. Through four day ones, two day twos, and the subsequent days three, four, five and six, even numerologists were stymied. Here, the calendar read Day 7 and that meant only 27 people remained with their life-blood chips. Everyone knew that two-thirds of that number would walk away with at least a quarter million bucks, but a lifetime of what-ifs about what could've been. Nobody could predict or control who would be here at the end of the night. All we knew is that nine people would be able to walk out of this room tonight with their chins up and their eyes set on a $9 million prize.
From here on out, they will be known as the November Nine--the final nine of 6,844 runners who started the 2008 World Series Main Event and emerged tonight with the right to come back in four months and fight for the championship bracelet. Among those players are the PokerStars Six, a tough combination of PokerStars players and qualifiers who will be part of history in November.
In all, PokerStars players have already cashed for more than $9 million combined in the Main Event. The PokerStars Six will have their chance at a total of another $32.6 million that's up for grabs in November.
Here is a look at the PokerStars players who will return to compete for poker's biggest prize.
Dennis Phillips (26,295,000)--Dennis Phillips is an accountant from St. Louis, Missouri who has done his home town proud. His has not yet been seen without an autographed St. Louis Cardinals cap and speaks fondly of his Show-Me State roots. Phillips is a regular at Harrahs St. Louis and plays live there as often as he can. It cost him $200 to get into this Main Event. He plans to leave Vegas and go back to his job for the four months between now and the final table in November. That, and he said, "play a lot of poker." Not a bad plan for the World Series chip leader.
Ivan Demidov (24,400,000) -- Ivan Demidov is from Moscow Russia. "We're having a good year," he says of himself and his countrymen. This year, he placed 11th in the $1,000 rebuy event. Both a tournament and cash game player, Demidov is a 27-year-old online semi-pro. A friend and backer helped him raise the $10,000 to get into the event. The 2008 World Series is his first major live tournament. Demidov has a degree in math and is looking to bring home the big numbers for mother Russia.
Peter Eastgate -- (18,375,000) -- Peter Eastgate is a 22-year-old PokerStars player. He is known as a fearless but volatile player, among the top five online pros in Denmark. He mainly plays high-stakes cash games - $200-400 short-handed or heads-up. Jacob Rasmussen, who came 5th at EPT4 Dortmund, was asked if Peter Eastgate was the next Gus Hansen. He said, "Not really. It's more like Gus Hansen is the first Peter Eastgate." Eastgate has said all along he won't think about the final table until he makes it. Now, he has.
Ylon Schwartz -- (12,525,000) -- A native New Yorker -- born in Manhattan and now living in Brooklyn -- Ylon Schwartz is a chess whizz and a poker player with 11 previous cashes in World Series events dating back to 2005. He's equally at home playing chess in the super-competitive games in New York's Washington Square Park, idling the time in Golden Nugget low limit ring games or tearing up the major poker tournaments in the east coast casinos of Atlantic City and Foxwoods. You can find him playing as TenthPlanet on PokerStars.
Darus Suharto -- (12,520,000) -- Darus Suharto is from Toronto, Canada. He is an accountant who loves his job so much, he would find it hard to quit, even if he won the World Series Main Event. He would like to find more time to play poker, but because he spends so much time working, most of his tournament poker experience comes from playing online. He qualified for his seat on PokerStars and has already forgotten about his modest cash from the World Series in 2006.
David “Chino” Rheem -- (10,230,000)-- David “Chino” Rheem has had a great year, taking 5th place in the $5k NL tournament in June for $93,624. The 28-year-old from Miami, Florida has enjoyed a string of tournament successes recently including five WSOP cashes in the last three years. This includes $327,981 in the 2006 $1,000 NLHE event. In the main event David was among the chip leaders each day, and rallied superbly when a series of bad hands almost eliminated him in the latter stages but bounced back to make the November Nine.
More than a thousand PokerStars qualifiers competed in this year's 39th World Series Main Event, including 45 who had paid nothing at all to get to Vegas after winning their seats in PokerStars Frequent Player Point (FPP) tournaments. The highest FPP finisher was American Doug Ashmore who turned his 4,000 FPPs into $41,816 with a 124th place finish. Other notable qualifiers included Tim Loecke, from Illinois, who made it to 24th place for $257,334. He won his seat in a $63 satellite and was playing in his first-ever live poker tournament. Online pros Chris "SLOPPYKLOD" Klodnicki came 12th for $591,869 and Owen "ocrowe" Crowe, made it to 15th place and a $463,201 payout. Both spent just $215 to win their WSOP seats via PokerStars satellite tournaments.
Team PokerStars Pros were also out in force at this year's WSOP, including former world champions Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem, as well as poker legends Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein. Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin lasted longest with a 64th place finish for $96,500. Three other Team PokerStars Pros also cashed - Hevad Khan (240th) for $35,383; Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (370th) for $28,950 and Vanessa Rousso (625th) for $21,230.
Kara Scott, presenter of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour, was sponsored into the main event by PokerStars and was thrilled - in her first ever WSOP - to make 104th place for $41,816. Kirill Gerasimov from Russia and Jan Heitmann from Germany, also both backed by PokerStars, both cashed in 439th and 585th place respectively. PokerStars also sponsored celebrities such as Jason Alexander from "Seinfeld", Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, "ER" actor Mekhi Phifer, MMA fighter Chuck Liddell, MLB greats David Wells and Orel Hershiser and Indy stock car racer Gualter Salles.
As well as their $10,000 buy-in to the main event, spending money and luxury hotel accommodation at the Palms hotel, PokerStars qualifiers also enjoyed the spectacular PokerStars WSOP party at Rain nightclub, featuring scores of celebrities, star poker players and the burlesque artist Dita Von Teese.
This feels at the same time a conclusion and delayed satisfaction. We will all leave this giant convention center tonight with a feeling that we are finished. Yet, we all know that in four short months the real contest will begin with the biggest money and fame on the line.
To close out our coverage, here's the final wrap, for now, from the PokerStars video blog team...
Watch WSOP 08: JULY 14th Update on PokerStars.tv
So, at this hour we cannnot say goodbye. We can only say goodnight and see you later. It's been yet another astounding World Series for PokerStars and the PokerStars Blog. Over the course of the next several months you can expect to see a lot more on the PokerStars Six. Until then, thanks for reading and congratulations to all the PokerStars players for their performance here at the 2008 World Series.
Here's a look back at all the coverage from Day 7.
Sleep when you're dead
TV time at table Table 3
Flying the PokerStars flag
Slowdown delays showdown
The four minute frenzy
The Denmark Syndicate
At the feature table or not...
The Last Supper
Klodnikci just misses final table
You wait a while and then
For coverage from all the previous days, we've posted summaries below.
Those of us here at the PokerStars Blog--Brad Willis, Howard Swains, and Stephen Bartley--would like to take this last chance to publicly thank everyone who put in countless hours of work on covering the PokerStars players here at the World Series. We couldn't have done any of it without the help of Mad Harper, our statistician and all-around utility writer/researcher; Joe Giron and the entire team at Image Masters; Hass, Rury, and Jamie, the video blog team; Klaus, Robin and Alex from the PokerStars German Blog; Lina from the PokerStars Swedish Blog; Maria from the PokerStars Brazilian Blog; and Nolan Dalla from the World Series of Poker. Thanks to all of you for your dedication to the job and your efforts to champion the players from the world's number one online poker site.