WSOP Main Event: A Round on the Feature Table

wsop2009_thn.gif***STOP PRESS***
Moments after all of the below occurred, Joe Hachem was eliminated from the Main Event in 103rd place. Scroll to bottom for details of his exit.

As we were:

Once the table was set featuring Peter Eastgate, Joe Hachem, Dennis Phillips and JC Tran, few could have doubted that they would be moved to the feature table. Few too could have doubted that a patented "A Round With..." post was on its way and not to disappoint, here it is.

Before we get stuck in, here's a word of caution: there are very few fireworks described herein. This, though, is what makes this "A Round With..." posts all the more valuable. The action below was all filmed for ESPN, and took about 40 minutes to complete, close to the entire duration of a broadcast. And yet my guess is that no more than one hand of the 13 described will make an edit. This really is the poker tournament nitty gritty. You really don't see this stuff on TV.

Without further ado, here's what happened. This is the first round back after the second break of the day. The blinds and antes are 12,000-24,000 (3,000) and the line-up is as follows (note: chip stacks are approximate):

Seat one - Thai Tran - 3 million
Seat two - Billy Kopp - 4 million
Seat three - Dennis Phillips - 1.5 million
Seat four - Daniel Neilson - 1 million
Seat five - JC Tran - 250,000
Seat six - Joe Hachem - 600,000
Seat seven - Peter Eastgate - 900,000
Seat eight - Clayton Newman - 1.2 million
Seat nine - Frank Rusnak - 900,000

Hand one - Button with Eastgate in seat seven
It's folded to JC Tran and he raises to 58,000. That wins the pot.

Hand two - Button with Newman in seat eight
Billy Kopp raises to 65,000 under-the-gun and Joe Hachem is the lone caller. The flop comes Q♦K♦2♥ and both players check. The turn is the 7♣ and after Kopp checks, Hachem bets 100,000. Kopp folds and shows 8♦8♥. Hachem taps the table and shows two tens.

Hand three - Button with Rusnak in seat nine
It's folded to Clayton Newman, who raises to 64,000. Thai Tran calls in the small blind and two players see the flop. It comes K♣[10c]3♥ and both players check. They also check the A♥ turn and the river is 6♦. Tran checks, Newman bets 80,000 and Tran calls. Newman shows A♦7♥ and it's good.

Hand four - Button with Tran in seat one
Peter Eastgate raises to 61,000 from mid-position and Billy Kopp calls from the small blind, as does Dennis Phillips to his left. The flop comes 2♠[10h]A♣ and Kopps leads 160,000 at it, which gets his two opponents to fold.

Hand five - Button with Kopp in seat two
Clayton Newman raises to 64,000 and wins the pot.

Hand six - Button with Dennis Phillips in seat three
Thai Tran raises to 63,000 from two off the button and Billy Kopp reraises to 230,000 from his left. Tran calls. The flop comes J♥K♦7♠ and Tran bets 330,000, which is good when Kopp folds pocket nines face up.

Hand seven - Button with Daniel Neilson in seat four
It's folded to Thai Tran, who makes it 63,000. That's good.

Hand eight - Button with JC Tran in seat five
Daniel Neilson raises from the cut off to 58,000 and takes the blinds and antes.

Hand nine - Button with Joe Hachem in seat six
Billy Kopp raises to 60,000 and takes the blinds and antes.

Hand ten - Button with Peter Eastgate in seat seven
Daniel Neilson raises to 58,000 and Joe Hachem is the only caller. The flop comes 7♠3♣K♥ and Neilson checks. Hachem bets 42,000 and Neilson calls. The turn is the Q♣ and both players check.

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Joe Hachem

The river is the Q♦ and Neilson's bet of 170,000 sends Hachem into the tank for an age. Eventually he lets it go and is shown a bare king from his countryman.

Hand 11 - Button with Clayton Newman in seat eight
A walk for Thai Tran in the big blind.

Hand 12 - Button with Frank Rusnak in seat nine
Peter Eastgate opens this one, with a raise to 62,000. It wins.

Hand 13 - Button with Thai Tran in seat one
JC Tran opens the pot from early position, raising 60,000. Thai Tran, on the button, reraises to 180,000 and this snaps Dennis Phillips into gear. From the small blind, he makes it 280,000 more and both adversaries fold.

Addendum: A few hands after this took place, Dennis Phillips knocked out JC Tran. Not literally, but in a poker sense. You know.

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The 2005 WSOP Champion Joe Hachem was short on chips and to the point he had to push with any two. The two he picked up ending up being J♣9♣. He got called by the small blind's 4♣4♠. Hachem, though he didn't flop the pair, he came out of the first three cards as a favorite to win.

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Curtains for Joe Hachem

The K♣7♠7♣ board was enough to give Hachem some hope. From there, it didn't get any better. The A♥ and 3♥ spelled Hachem's end.

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A "Hawaiian Flower" chip, worth 100,000.

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TJ Cloutier on a mobility scooter, unofficially clocked at about 9 mph.

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The guy how just threw himself in front of TJ's scooter to get an autograph.

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Current number of picnics taking place on the rail: 1

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The "Fabrice Soullier" position - chair backwards, head forwards and a massage therapist tickling your scalp.

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The arrival to the feature table of the Travelocity Gnome (a common or garden garden gnome to anyone but the Travelocity marketing people), who sat in an empty chair for a while, then posed next to the championship bracelet for photos.

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The one whose job it is to guard the championship bracelet from, well, gnomes.


"Aqualung" -- playing over Rio PA hallway PA system