WSOP Main Event: No back to back for Peter Eastgate


It seemed like an impossible dream but one that deep down some hoped would become a reality. The chances of Peter Eastgate, the reigning world champion, making it back-to-back wins were always alive while he was playing, regardless of the size of his stack, but now that dream has gone - Eastgate busting in the last level of play tonight.

The view from the feature gallery was a stifled one. The standing area was beginning to smell of four and a half levels but socks-and-sandal tourists had waited long and hard for a chance to catch the World Champion in action and were unwilling to give an inch on the rail. This was tough table featuring Joe Sebok, watched by his father Barry Greenstein, veteran Englishman Jeff Duvall and Dennis Phillips, who himself is on a second great main event campaign. Few watching were unaware of the significance of both the Team Pro's achievements so far.

As if the hand needed added drama the Dane's last hand had a touch of the "almost" to it.

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Eastgate moved in for 340,000 from the small blind. When Billy Kopp called the crowd new they're were now in for something, especially when Phillips paused as the action reached him. Eastgate waited, blinking as Phillips looked into the eyes of his old foe. Phillips slid in the call and waited for fireworks. "One time!" said someone on the rail but was unclear for whom. It was a three-way all in. Eastgate began to smile.

Main Event_Day 6_IJG_8385_IMPDI.jpgPhillips looks on at Eastgate

The board ran out 6♦A♥4♥J♥3♥ with Kopp and Phillips checking all the way. The crowd had seen the flush possibilities as quickly as the players, knowing that a single heart would be good enough. "Got a heart?" Eastgate asked Kopp, perhaps imploring his opponent to say no and keep him alive. That changed to something beginning with "shhh" when Phillips muched and Kopp showed that he did, tabling 8♥8♠ and reducing the field by one. Eastgate had come close, turning over A♦J♠ for two pair which had been good until the river. Eastgate the champion was out.

Main Event_Day 6_IJG_8406_IMPDI.jpgNo heart for Eastgate

The crowd applauded, the room applauded and Dennis Phillips wrapped his arm round the man whose record is wrapped around his own.

That he'd lasted this long was an incredible feat. If you add it up over the last two years Eastgate had outlasted 13,260 people, 6,416 of them this year, making for 63 levels free of elimination. Had he lasted another 77 places it would have been the performance of a generation. In reality it wasn't far off.

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"Just for your information players if you all decide to chop it's $813,000 each." - Tournament official Steve Frazer.

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Number of Phillips clones on the feature table rail: 5

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Tom Schneider had come to the rail to talk to his friend and his wife, Julie. After a quick peck from Julie, he launched into a poker-buddy style conversation with his friend that began: "I coulda got more out of him. He had a straight flush draw, and..." at which point Julie intervened. "Err, do you want to go look at your cards? We can talk to you all night." That sent Schneider back to his seat just in time for...

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Schneider raised pre-flop and got one caller, to his immediate left. The flop came [10s]5♦2♣ and Schneider bet 250,000, but was then faced with a reraise to 600,000. He went into the tank but emerged with the call, which got them to the turn. It was the 4♦. Both players checked and the river came 6♥, which they also both checked. Schneider tabled pocket queens and it was good. Which led to...

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"My baby had queens! Woo!" said Julie. "That's what you do!" There was something vaguely musical about the following jingle: "Stack 'em, stack 'em, stack 'em til the top!"

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