2008 World Series: Slowdown delays showdown

Every session since the end of the tightly scheduled day ones, someone in media row has said, "It's got to slow down today." This was usually prompted by a discussion of the previous day's breakneck pace of eliminations, carnage that has resulted at least twice in a relatively early night for the players and press pack alike.


But today is different. Today those backing a long day -- lasting, quite probably, until tomorrow morning -- are finally seeing their bets come good. Five players have departed today but most were in possession of the overnight short stacks, and recently there was more than 80 minutes between departures. They're here for the long haul.

One player surging up the leaderboard, taking advantage of a couple of decent hands and a general reluctance to get involved without the goods, is Ylon Schwartz, PokerStars player from Brooklyn, New York. Schwartz is on the secondary feature table, in the very same seat he occupied for long periods of yesterday evening, and similarly the chips in that spot are growing. Starting with 3,655,000, he doubled up in a yo-yo hand with Scott Montgomery, where his A-K was ahead of Montgomery's A-J pre-flop, outdrawn on the K-J-J flop, but back ahead on the K turn. There it stayed, and Schwartz was in contention.

PokerStars player Ylon Schwartz

With chips, Schwartz has become a far more dangerous opponent than during the previous few levels, where he had to sit out a dry spell with characteristic patience. An hour or so after his double up, Schwartz flat-called a Craig Marquis early position raise, only to see Tiffany Michelle slide in a tower of green chips -- about 900,000 -- from the button. Marquis got out of the way, but Schwartz tanked and called.

The flop was all clubs, queen high, and Schwartz announced that he was all in. Michelle didn't want to dance and ducked out.

No more than about an orbit after that, Schwartz became the man to end Tim Loecke's participation in the main event. Three players -- Loecke, Montgomery and Schwartz -- saw a flop with Loecke's final 525,000 in the middle. He must have feared the worst when Schwarz bet into a dry side pot on the 3h turn, and he'd have been right. Schwartz's pocket threes had improved to a set and Loecke was gone.

PokerStars qualifier Tim Loecke

Stephen Bartley caught up with Loecke after his elimination, but found him to be far from downbeat.

“It was phenomenal," he said of his World Series. Loecke had managed to turn a meagre satellite entry fee into a $257,000 payday. Short-stacked overnight, he only had one real game plan today and put it into action.

"Finally I had to do it," he said. "Pocket sixes. I saw a raise ahead of me and as soon as I saw the ace on the flop I knew I’d lost. But then when he hit the set..." Then Loecke tailed off, the realisation of what he had achieved gradually sinking in.

Well played, Tim.