2008 World Series: The moment everyone dreads

It's never a great time for a poker player. In fact, there's probably no worse time than moments after the bust out, especially in a tournament of this magnitude, with this much attention focused on one table, with this much money at stake. And it was a bitterly disappointed David "Chino" Rheem who just walked away from the final table, busted in seventh place.

"This is the one to win," Rheem said, speaking candidly in his post-game interview. "This one meant a lot. I really wanted to win this, not just for me but for all my friends and family."


Rheem had been many commentators' pick to take this down. He was the only player with World Series final table experience, and had been making all the right moves and the right plays for those highly-charged days in July. And there were two hands that broke him here: one a mandatory call with jacks against the then short-stacked Dennis Phillips' queens ("I would have folded jacks if he'd have had more chips," Rheem admitted), and then he got his last couple of million in with A-K against Peter Eastgate's A-Q. The queen flopped and Chino was done.

"I would have changed the last hand," Rheem offered, when asked if he would have done anything different. "One hand I got unlucky and that cost me my bracelet. But that's poker."

That, of course, is poker, and now Rheem returns to the cash games and tournament circuit with a reputation only enhanced by this World Series experience. "I'll try to stay positive and say there's always next year," he said. "But the odds, you know..."

Meanwhile, Phillips has just won a massive hand against Ivan Demidov. Phillips raised to 1.3 million and Demidov called out of the big blind. The flop came down K-3-3. Demidov checked and Phillips bet out 2.5 million. Demidov has a trance-like look he takes on when thinking. He fell into thought. When he emerged, he called. Phillips nodded silently and watched the 7c fall on the turn. This time, both players checked.

When the Ks fell on the river, the crowd oooohed and ahhhhed. When Demidov checked, Phillips bet 5 million. The crowd hummed as Demidov's lips pursed tught. It was clear he was having a hard time believing Phillips, but couldn't convince himself he had a winner in front of him. He nodded his head, then shook it side to side. He mouthed several words no one could decipher.Finally, he made the call.

Phillips turned over KhQs for kings full. His face had been stuck on one position for so long, he seemed like he wasn't happy about the massive 17 million pot. Finally, his mouth cracked into a smile, he pumped both fists, and raked in his pot.


Players are now on a 75- minute dinner break.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in World Series of Poker