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WSOP final table down to Demidov-Eastgate

10 November 2008

LAS VEGAS -- Ivan Demidov and Peter Eastgate are at the top of the poker universe.

After waiting 117 days to begin table action at the World Series of Poker Main Event, Ivan Demidov and Peter Eastgate outlasted and outplayed the rest of the November 9 Sunday and will play heads-up for the WSOP Main Event bracelet and $9.1 million on Monday night. Eastgate has 79,500,000 chips and Demidov has 57,725,000 chips.

In the final hand of the night, Dennis Phillips went all in after a flop Jc 4d 3s. Eastgate called without hesitation and Sunday night's last showdown was underway. Phillips revealed a 9h 10c for a straight draw. Eastgate showed pocket threes for a set. An ace landed on the turn, ending the Main Event dream for truck account manager from St. Louis.

peter_eastgate

Ivan Demidov and David "Chino" Rheem were among the most feared players at the final table Sunday night. Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City

After the final hand, a fatigued Demidov said he didn't expect Phillips' last push. "There were lots of very important hands against Dennis," Demidov said. "But his last push surprised me."

"I wasn't nervous," Demidov added. "But I was tired."

Eastgate shared in Demidov's fatigue.

"I have no idea right now," said Eastgate when asked what heads-up play might be like. "It should be interesting. I just want to get some sleep right now. I think most importantly I need to be fully rested for tomorrow night."

When the World Series of Poker Main Event final table resumed play at shortly after 11 a.m. in the Penn & Teller Auditorium at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Dennis Phillips was the chip leader with over 26 million in chips. Just 18 hands later, Phillips was the second-shortest stack at the table with 8.88 million chips. And after making a late surge, Phillips busted out in third place.

peter_eastgate

Peter Eastgate will play Ivan Demidov heads-up for the Main Event bracelet.

Phillips lost the bulk of his chips in two huge pots early Sunday. After folding on the first 15 hands, Phillips raised the pot pre-flop to 900,000. Ylon Schwartz, who played more aggressively than any other player early in the day, called Phillips' bet. After a 4s 2s 7c flop, Phillips bet 2.35 million. Schwartz raised the pot to 6 million and Phillips folded.

Two hands later, Phillips found himself involved in another big pot. Prior to the flop, Ivan Demidov and Phillips raised and re-raised their way to an 8.225-million pot. After a flop of 8d 10c Js, Phillips bet 4.5 million. Demidov went all in and Phillips folded, disappointing the 300-strong group of friends and family who had come out to support them.

"I came in there with the idea that I was going to try and win this thing," Phillips said. "I got a little nuts at the beginning ... but then I had to tightened up and play solid. And I think I outplayed a few people to climb back in there."

peter_eastgate

Demidov and Eastgate will be playing for $9.1 million and the WSOP bracelet Monday night. Photo by Gary Trask, Casino City

While Dennis Phillips, who took home $4.51 million for his third-place finish, looked like he had the largest contingent of players supporting him, Kelly Kim easily had the most boisterous rooting section.

Running low on chips, Kim moved all in with pocket Kings and was called by Demidov, who held Ks 10d. Kim's kings held up, and his fans responded with roar, and then spelled his name out for the world to hear.

Three hands later, Kim went all in again with Ad Ks. David "Chino" Rheem, sporting a Barack Obama button on his grey hooded sweatshirt, called with Ah Kc. When three hearts hit on the flop to give Rheem a flush draw, the Kim contingent began chanting "Black, Black, Black," hoping their good vibes would deliver black cards and keep Kim in the tournament. The turn brought a queen of clubs, and the river was a queen a diamonds and Kim survived, much to the delight of his fans.

The first player eliminated Sunday was Craig Marquis -- and it came on a brutal beat. Near the bottom of the leader board after four hours of play, Marquis pushed all in with pocket sevens (7d 7h). Scott Montgomery called with Ad Qh. The flop came out 10s Ah 7c, giving Marquis three sevens. A jack came on the turn and a king on the river giving Montgomery a runner-runner straight to knock Marquis out of the tournament.

"It was the best hand I had all day," said Marquis after his elimination. "I had ace-king once, ace-queen once, ace-jack once and sixes once," Marquis added. Marquis, who has already bought a Audi S5 for himself and a Chevy Colorado for his mother with his ninth-place winnings (all players were paid $900,670 in July for finishing in at least ninth) said he wasn't terribly disappointed by the bad beat. "I was only a 55% favorite) before the flop," said the gracious ninth-place finisher.

peter_eastgate

The final nine players enjoy a laugh backstage before play begins. Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City

Kelly Kim, the short stack entering, was the next to exit the tournament. With 600,000 chips and the blinds at 400,000 and antes at 50,000, Kim pushed all-in just one hand after Marquis was eliminated. Darus Suharto and Demidov joined him in the hand, with Suharto winning it with a pair of nines.

"I know that I have one shot at this in this lifetime, realistically, and I just wanted to try and wait and wait as long as I could," Kim said moments after his elimination. "I know every hand you wait and survive, there's a better chance for you to squeak up. Obviously I wanted to win this thing. You know you have to double of first and accumulate chips before you can do that."

"I wish I could have made an epic run like a fairy tale and chipped up," Kim added.

David "Chino" Rheem, the most experienced and decorated player at final table, bowed out in seventh place. Rheem's chip stack took a hit when his pocket jacks couldn't crack Phillips' pocket queens. And he was eliminated when he went all-in pre-flop with is ace-king. Peter Eastgate called with ace-queen and hit a queen on the flop to eliminate Rheem.

"I'm heartbroken," said an emotional Rheem after his elimination. "I've always told the media that I play for the money, but this (bracelet) was something special...something I wanted."

Rheem also thanked his vocal cheering section for support. "I felt like an athlete," said Rheem in describing what the support meant to him.

The first Canadian to fall at the Main Event final table was Darus Suharto. Suharto, who told Casino City last month he had no plans of quitting job as associate director of the internal audit department at York University, didn't sound quite so sure Sunday night after he finished in sixth place. "$2.4 million isn't enough money to retire," said Suharto. While Suharto said he planned on going back to work next week, what happens after that is a bit up in the air.

"I don't know what I'm going to do to be honest," Suharto said. "When I make a commitment, I try to stick with it. I promised my boss that I'm going to go back to work. If I'm going to quit, I want to make sure he's going to be ok and the office going to be ok and he has someone to replace me."

And if Suharto does quit, it won't necessarily be to play poker full time. "I love poker. I don't know if I'm going play full time. I might play for fun. I'll probably try to play more."

peter_eastgate

Scott Montgomery suffered an epic beat Sunday night. Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City

The second Canadian in the final nine fell 14 hands after Suharto's elimination. Montgomery, who had worked to near the chip lead, first got caught in a bluff against Demidov and was then handed an epic beat by Eastgate.

Against Demidov, Montgomery moved all in pre-flop with ace-nine suited (diamonds) in an attempt to push Demidov out of the hand. Instead, Demidov insta-called with pocket kings and Montgomery buried his face in his hat. Demdiov's kings turned into two pair and Montgomery was crippled. The pot also gave Demdiov the chip lead with just over 50 million chips.

Five hands later, Montgomery pushed all in with Ad 3d and Eastgate called with a pair of sixes. Montgomery picked up an ace on the flop, and one more on the turn to take a commanding lead in the hand with three aces. But Eastgate hit the case six on the river to get the full house to eliminate Montgomery and provoke a raucous "ooba ooba" cheer from his fans.

The clearly stunned Montgomery refused to go the Phil Hellmuth rout when discussing his elimination. "I was behind when I put the money in, so I don't consider that a suckout," said the fifth-place finisher, who will take home $3,096,768.

Montgomery said he changed his strategy for the final table, and it was working until he reverted back to his old ways for one hand.

"I told myself, to play tight, to play against my image, and I did except for one big bluff, and that one big bluff got immediately called," Montgomery said.

Schwartz was the next player to make dramatic exit from the tournament, and the drama had nothing to with the hand that forced him out of the tournament.

With about 20.25 million left and the blinds at 300,000-600,000 with 75,000 antes, Schwartz tried to bluff Peter Eastgate on the river with a pair a kings on the board and an ace kicker in the hole. Eastgate turned over his full house and Schwartz was eliminated. After his elimination, Schwartz attempted to escape the assembled press, and when Casino City caught up with as he was exiting the Penn & Teller Auditorium, the normally reclusive Schwartz smiled and said the worst part of the final table experience was having to open up and deal with the press.

WSOP final table down to Demidov-Eastgate is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.