WSOP Main Event: Can you spare a dollar, buddy

wsop2009_thn.gifIt may seem counter-intuitive, but as the defending World Series of Poker Main Event champion, the pressure is off Peter Eastgate. Not since Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem, in 2005 and 2006, has a returning champion made a significant charge the following year in the Main Event, and even they were considered anomalies. The media pack surrounds whoever is wearing the platinum bracelet on their first day back in the Amazon Room, and they fully expect to report on the champion's elimination. It's just the way things go.

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Peter Eastgate

Disappointment, then, has followed Eastgate through this tournament so far. Not only is he still in, he is still playing exceptionally well and is still managing to dodge all the bullets being fired at him from those seeking the most prized scalp. At the end of day one, he bagged up slightly fewer than his starting stack. Towards the end of day two, he was down to only 8,000 chips. But he doubled, then tripled, then double again and after a relatively comfortable day yesterday, he bagged up 292,500, which is close to ten times his starting stack.

Comfortable, nervy, comfortable, happy.

Today's random table draw pitched Eastgate against his esteemed predecessor and Team PokerStars Pro colleague Hachem. The television types had a very simple decision to make their table one of the two featured tables. Two world champions around the same slab of felt -- it doesn't happen too often, especially not so close to the money bubble in the Main Event.

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Joe Hachem

It's fortunate too for Hachem that he has a friend and colleague on the table. Just recently, the 2006 champion wanted a bottle of water but didn't have any dollar bills. Eastgate said he had one, and so the television viewers will be treated to the sight of one multi-millionaire tossing a single across the table to another multi-millionaire. I hope he pays him back.

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Peter Eastgate and Joe Hachem

This, obviously, is a table we're going to be watching very closely for the rest of the day. In his own words, Hachem has had five hours sleep last night, for the first time in weeks, and is feeling good. No word on how long Eastgate slept, but he's looking as cool as ever and heading for another great run.

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The Team PokerStars Pros from Latin America, Maria "maridu" Mayrinck and JC Alvarado have both perished. No details on Mayrinck's departure, but Alvarado got it all in pre-flop with jacks but lost a race to ace-queen. Better news from ElkY, which my colleague Brad Willis will fill you in on in a moment.

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The PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™. Aah, the PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™. How we have missed thee. But fear not, because the folk in the Amazon Room have just witnessed one of the finest deployments of the PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ in World Series history.

It came from the PokerStars qualifier Denise Molloy, who just doubled up her overnight starting stack in the most dramatic fashion. But before we tell you how, take another look at the PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ in all its glory, and click through to the story to re-familiarize yourself with its function.


Molloy came back today with 60,500 in chips and knew she would have to make a move. In the first minutes of the first level, she found pocket tens and knew that it was good enough for a shove, even after John Monnette had put in an early position raise. Molloy duly shoved, but was in bad shape when Monnette flipped his pocket aces. The flop made things even worse. Although is contained a ten, giving Molloy a set, it also featured an ace, giving Monnette a bigger set. There were no straight or flush draws out there, and Molloy was drawing to the final ten.

"One time!" the entire table bellowed, egging the dealer on to burn and turn the one-outer. "One time! We were all calling for the ten," Molloy explained later. The turn, however, was a blank. But then, as though Charley tearing back the wrapper on a Triple-Scrumptious Fudge Delight to find the last Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, the dealer deposited the [10c] on the river.

"Oh. My. Lord!" shouted Molloy, before bounding off across the Amazon Room in what was only fitting celebration. "Unvelievable. Oh. My. Lord."

"You've used up all your one-times now," said Jerry Maher from the four seat, showing excellent knowledge of the correct terms and conditions of PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ usage.

"Wow," added all others around the table. "I think that's gonna make the show," said Molloy to the ESPN directors who were busy shaking her hand.

"Grinding it out on day three," she said.

"Day four, honey," said the dealer.

"Oh. My. Lord," said Molloy again. "Keep the faith. One time!"

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"PLO is really like pot-limit river." - Art, the dealer.

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Lou Diamond Phillips and JC Tran got their chips in together, tens for Phillips and Queens for Tran. A tense moment as the cameras zeroed in. With all the delays of TV the dealer dealt the board 4♣K♦K♥3♠9♠ and the chips went to Tran.

"I saw a lot of spots there!" said Phillips referring to the nine on the end. "How come I keep giving you chips dude? I feel like an ambassador, I'm just spreading love around the world."

"We're still friends though, right Lou?" reply Tran.

"Oh hell yeah."

Phillips down on the day on 220,000.