2008 World Series: First hour in the books

The money has been bigger. The star-power has been brighter. But never has the final table of the World Series of Poker looked like this, had this many people watching, or had such fanfare as its foundation. Though we've already mentioned it, the atmosphere in this room is such a far cry from the old days of the World Series of Poker, it's impossible to ignore. More than 1,000 people are in this room cheering for their favorite players.

It's the type of thing that would make a guy want to stick around for a while. As such, the early action here has been measured. Flop seems like a dirty word. Raise is a magic phrase players can use to put a few more chips in their stack. It's simple, really.

It took more than an hour to see the first board cards. It brought a cheer from the crowd bigger than most bust-out hands. That, however is something we have yet to see here, as well. All of the November 9 remain, including the PokerStars 6, Dennis "FordMan1954" Phillips, Darus "Dennis_TO" Sahurto, Ivan "hasuling" Demidov, Ylon "TenthPlanet" Schwartz, David "Chino" Rheem and Peter "Isser" Eastgate. .


Among those with giant smiles is PokerStars qualifier Darus Suharto. He recently sat down with our video blogging team for an extensive interview. Here's Part 1.

Watch WSOP Final Table: Darus Suharto Player Profile on PokerStars.tv

There comes a time, however, at which we must set aside the pomp (not to mention the circumstance) and focus on what's brought us here. The early predictions that Kelly Kim would be out before the first level was finished have proven false. He survived an opening hour that was cagey, to say the least. Twelve hands passed (an orbit and a half) before we saw our first flop. When we did, Ivan Demidov raied pre-flop and Scott Mongomery called from the big blind. The flop came 9d-Qs-Ad and Montgomery fired 1,100,000, which was good enough.

But then it all went ballistic, with Ylon Schwartz finding the groove. Schwartz raised from the button and Montgomery bumped it up another 1,600,000 from the small blind. It was folded to Schwartz, who announced all in. Montgomery folded. About two hands after that, Dennis Phillips opened for 900,000 and Schwartz called. They were heads up on a flop of 4s-2s-7c and Phillips fired out the continuation bet of 2,350,000. Schwartz, emotionless, announced he was raising another 6 million and forced the chip leader out of it. Schwartz added about 3 million to his stack in two hands.

Phillips is the only player not to win a pot so far, but his stack can handle it. Schwartz, meanwhile, has rocketed upwards. Check out our chip counts page for the latest stack sizes.

Stop press: Right as we were hitting the publish button on this post, another huge pot brewed, this time between Dennis Phillips and Ivan Demidov. Phillips made a standard pre-flop raise, Demidov re-raised, and after a long think, Phillips called. When the flop came out 8d-10c-Js, Phillips pondered his move, counted out his checks slowly, stared at Ivan's stack then puts out 4.5 million. Demidov re-checked his cards and sats with his mouth hanging slightly open. Phillips meanwhile rested his cheek on two clasped hands and didn't release his stare. Until...until Demidov suddenly announced all in. Phillips face flushed and he looked sick. It was 9,395,000 more. After three minutes, he folded in disgust.

Players have just taken their first 15 minute break. Phillips looks like he needs it.


Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker