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Best of Vin Narayanan
Johnny Chan eliminated from WSOP Main Event16 July 2010
About 30 minutes after play began, tournament officials broke up Chan's Orange 322 table in the Amazon Room at the Rio to move players to tables where seats had opened up thanks to a flurry of early bust outs.
While tournament officials were determining who would be headed to which table, Chan posed for a picture with a fan and autographed another spectator's magazine. Then, by the luck of the draw, Chan drew the Red 347 table, and walked over to his new seat.
And as soon as Chan sat down, the fireworks began. On Chan's very first hand at the table, he received pocket kings. Chan re-raised Robert Pisano's bet. Pisano four-bet. Chan raised again.
Pisano went all in for 2.19 million and Chan called.
Pisano turned over pocket aces, and Chan was in trouble. The flop of 4d-10d-5s was no help for Chan. Chan didn't get any help on the turn or river either, and in the span of 45 seconds, Chan went from being in position to reach the Main Event final table to fighting to stay in the tournament.
It was the first time in this tournament we'd seen Chan lose with kings. But it was also the first time we had seen him without his familiar red shirt with silver skull on it.
Almost an hour later, Chan went all in with his remaining chips and turned over pocket jacks. This time, Jonathan Driscoll called with pocket aces. Chan watched as the dealer ran out the board, but his miracle jack never came, and Chan was done.
After his elimination, Chan got up, shook the hand of each player at his table and received a warm round of applause from the spectators.
"Of course I wanted to go further," said a clearly disappointed Chan. "But this is the furthest I've been in 20 years. Maybe next year I can improve on that."
Chan won $57,102 for finishing in 156th.
More than 120 players were eliminated along with Chan Thursday, leaving 78 players remaining from the original Main Event field of 7,319. When action began Thursday, 205 players were alive.
Theo Jorgensen ended the day as the chip leader with 8.45 million in chips. Michael Mizrachi (7.725 million), John Racener (7.25 million) and Alexander Kostritsyn (6.96 million) are his closest competitors.
Phil (OMGClayAiken) Galfond, Robert Mizrachi, Juha Helppi, Jesper Hougaard and Alexander Dovzhenko were among the notable players eliminated Thursday.
Dovzhenko, who originally hails from Kiev, Ukraine, told Casino City over dinner earlier this week he prefers Stud Hi-Lo.
"That's my favorite game, the game I grew up playing," said Dovzhenko, who finished in 198th place. "Now all the younger people play Hold'em, so I play too."
Dovzhenko won $48,847 for his finish in this year's Main Event. He also cashed in other Series events in 2010. He finished 16th in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better (bad beat vs. Barry Greenstein, says Dovzhenko), for $9,433, 39th in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud tournament for $2,985 and 37th in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em event for $3,992.
It was a bad beat that sent Dovzhenko home again from the Main Event. His aces were cracked when Chris George's pocket jacks turned into a jack-high straight.
While Dovzhenko exited the tournament early on Thursday, Jean-Robert Bellande rode his usual roller coaster into Friday's play.
Bellande started the day with 946,000 in chips, and dropped down to 700,000 when he laid down A-K against Jesper Hougaard's likely flush. Then he climbed up to 2.15 million when his aces held up against David Peters's K-Q.
Then he slipped back down to 870,000 when he folded a big hand against Juha Helppi. Bellande ended the day with 625,000 in chips. But he was at his entertaining best when Jose Nadal exited the tournament.
Nadal enjoyed the support of a vocal cheering section throughout the day. And whenever Nadal pushed all in they would rush the rail and scream "Ojala!" -- Spanish for "Let's hope" or "God willing" -- in support of their Mexican comrade. When Nadal won a pot, his fans would shout "Vamos" -- Spanish for "Let's go!"
On Nadal's final hand, he pushed all in pre-flop with ace-queen and his crew voiced its full-throated support. Matthew Jarvis called with ace-king, and a king hit on the flop. Nadal couldn't catch up to Jarvis's kings and was eliminated from the tournament.
"You were the last Mexican standing," Bellande told Nadal.
"I swapped 5 percent of me with another Mexican," Bellande told Nadal.
Then Bellande turned around to face Nadal's supporters.
"I swapped 5 percent of me with a Mexican named Arturo. Do you guys know him?"
After getting no response from the rail, Bellande turned around and addressed the table again.
"I think that guy is really happy right now."
Nadal won $57,102 for finishing in 114th place.
Yesterday, Matt Affleck and Tony Dunst were not wearing any patches advertising online poker rooms. Today was a different story. Dunst wore a Full Tilt patch on his signature "Mad Men" suit. And Affleck was wearing a PokerStars patch.
John Racener, who was among the chip leaders throughout the day, started Thursday wearing Full Tilt gear. But midway through the day, the Full Tilt patches were gone and he was "patchless."
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi went from just an outdoor-furnishings patch to wearing Full Tilt gear midway through play Thursday. And the transformation was impressive. He started the day in a brown shirt and red hat. And he ended the day in a black Full Tilt shirt and black hat.
Best of Vin Narayanan