World Series 2008: Thrills, spills and brainaches

Craig Marquis eliminated in sickest fashion

With less than five million chips and an M of less than 5, Craig Marquis just open-shoved for 4,925,000. His 7h-7d looked pretty good against Scott Montgomery's Ad-Qs. It looked much, much better on the 7c-Ah-Td flop. The tournament director went through the long recitation of ways Montgomery could suck out.

"He could catch running aces. He could catch running queens," etc, etc.

He failed to mention the possibility of running jack-king.

He should've mentioned that.

Sure enough, the Jd on the turn and Ks on the river and Craig Marquis went from overwhelming favorite to the ninth place finisher in the 2008 World Series of Poker.

It was like magic. Black magic.

The stage of the Penn and Teller theater at the Rio most commonly hosts, you guessed it, Penn and Teller, a daredevil comedy/magic show whose finale involves the shorter, quieter of the duo (Teller) catching a bullet in his teeth. The drama is no less death-defying here today, where these guys are playing for that $9 million first prize, and during the last level we saw something very similar: bullets were flying but ultimately they too were caught and nobody perished.

Kelly Kim, still the short-stack, has been all in for his tournament life twice but doubled up only once. In another hand to the one reported below (K-10 v K-K), both he and Chino Rheem got it in with the same hand A-K off-suit. But Kim was soon staring down the barrel of Rheem's gun when three hearts flopped and only Chino had one in his hand. Another and Kim was a goner.

But it never came through turn and river, meaning Kim took his seat again and left Dennis Phillips to play for his continued participation. But, again as reported below, his queens held up against Rheem's jacks.

That left Rheem with a huge dent in his own stack, but knowing Rheem he's unlikely to stay quiet and there could be further fluctuations in front of the Californian Million Dollar Man very soon.

This is what Phillps had to say about Rheem in our recent interview with him.

Watch WSOP Final Table: Dennis on Chino on

During the break, it was a brave man who ventured into the lobby of the theater here as the place remains abuzz. But Ivan Demidov is such a player and he was seen moving among the supporters lining up to buy drinks, souvenirs and grab a slice of the action. At least one of the railbirds noticed the quiet Russian sauntering among them and chased him down for an autograph.

Ever since Dennis Phillips began gathering autographs on his now-famous red baseball cap, it seems the fashion among poker spectators is to gather as many scribbles on head-gear as possible. So it was that Demidov found a felt pen in one hand and a hat in the other, and he duly added his own signature. Then with a smile he was back to the table.

After a raucous opening among the crowd, where excitement bubbled over into some poorly-timed shouts from spectators while players were making tough decisions, the atmosphere is now cathedral quiet as players make up their minds whether to call hefty bets. Phillips' supporters have brought a truck horn along, which they sound in support of the account manager at, yes, a trucking company.

It's poker mixed with showbiz mixed with a truck rally. And it's as tense, thrilling and boisterous as you'd imagine from all those things.

As you might imagine by the lack of action in this entry (apart from Marquis' elimination), there hasn't been a ton of big play in the past hour. In the second biggest hand of the past 60 minutes, Ivan Demidov came in for a raise and got a call from Ylon Schwartz in the blinds. The flop came out 5h-7h-Jh and both players checked. On the 9h turn, Schwartz led for more than 1 million. Demidov countered with a raise to 1.6 million more. Schwartz called and saw the 5s on the river. Schwartz checked and Demidov put out 4,325,000. Schwartz tanked, closing his eyes and rubbing them with his fingers. He spent all of five minutes thinking before grimacing and folding.

Here's a look at the chip counts form Level 34.

Watch WSOP Final Table: Chip Count Lvl. 35 (14:25) on

Howard Swains
@howardswains in World Series of Poker