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Best of Vin Narayanan

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WSOP Main Event down to 22 players

19 July 2011

LAS VEGAS -- And then there were 22. The World Series of Poker Main Event played itself down from 57 players to 22 Monday, and Anton Makiievskyi emerged as the chip leader with 21.045 million.

The final 22 will attempt to play their way into November's final table Tuesday. The Main Event champion wins $8,711,956.

Eoghan O'Dea is second in chips with 19.05 million. Khoa Nguyen is third in chips with 16.435 million. Ben Lamb, who started the day second in chips with 9.98 million, is fifth with 14.69 million.

Makiievskyi grabbed the chip lead when he tangled with Chris Moore for a 20-million-chip pot.

With a board reading Ks-Jc-Jh, Moore pushed all-in for 11.5 million and Makiievskyi insta-called for less with 9.575 million.

Erick Lindgren busted out of the World Series of Poker Main Event Monday. He has never won the Main Event.

Erick Lindgren busted out of the World Series of Poker Main Event Monday. He has never won the Main Event. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Moore showed Ah-Jd for trip jacks while Makiievskyi showed Kd-Js for a full house. The massive pot gave Makiievskyi 20.37 million with 20 minutes of play left in the day (there were 10 hours of play Monday).

Makiievskyi took a victory lap around the table after doubling up.

Moore survived the day with 3.4 million in chips.

Erick Lindgren's chase for his first WSOP Main Event title ended with 30 minutes left in the second level of play Monday. He finished in 43rd place and won $196,174.

At one point in the tournament, Lindgren had just 3,700 in chips. But he kept grinding away and finding ways to build his chip stack back up. But despite his best efforts, he always seemed to have one of the shorter stacks this tournament (he began today with 2.195 million), and was matter of fact about his performance.

"This is the Main Event," Lindgren said. "You never give up."

And even though Lindgren managed to ride a shorter stack to a top-50 finish, he wasn't pleased with the result.

"You don't play for 43rd place," Lindgren said. "I don't know if I'm even for the World Series," he added.

David Bach, who won the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament in 2009, finished 45th to win $196,174.

Bach said Monday that card skills run in his family.

"I used to play for pennies at the kitchen table," Bach said. "My grandmother was the best player."

Bach entered play Monday with just under 2 million in chips. He wasn't terribly active at the table until he played the hand that sent him packing.

Bach opened the action with a raise to 180,000. Ryan Lenaghan reraised to 330,000 and John Hewitt pushed all-in for 1.945 million. Bach called for his remaining chips, Lenaghan folded, and it was off to the races, with Bach's pocket queens against Hewitt's Ax-Kx. Hewitt flopped a full house when the board came out Ax-Kx-Kx, and Bach was out of the tournament.

Things might have turned out better for Bach if he'd had his usual massage therapist at the table (she worked on him for eight hours yesterday). But unfortunately for Bach, therapists are not allowed to work at the featured table.

Hilton Laborda briefly assumed the chip lead after Bach's elimination before running into a pair of tough beats that forced him out of the tournament.

Laborda took the chip lead when he called an all-in bet of 2.95 million from Stephane Albertini pre-flop. Laborda had pocket queens, and they turned into a full house when a pair of tens hit on the flop and a queen came on the river. Albertini's Ah-Kc couldn't compete, and Laborda had the chip lead with 11.835 million.

But Laborda's chip stack disappeared when he tangled with Matt Giannetti. On two different hands, Giannetti rivered a full house to beat Laborda's flush. And as a result, Giannetti assumed the chip lead at the dinner break with 14.36 million and Laborda exited the tournament with $242,636 for finishing in 36th place.

Erika Moutinho was the last woman standing at the WSOP Main Event. She finished in 29th place.

Erika Moutinho was the last woman standing at the WSOP Main Event. She finished in 29th place. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

The feel-good story of the Main Event came to an end Monday night as well. David Sands and Erika Moutinho met six years ago while studying abroad in Australia. Two years later, Moutinho and Sands, an accomplished online poker pro, began dating. And this year, both played in the Main Event. Moutinho has had more chips than Sands for most of the tournament, although entering today's action, Sands had a slight chip lead on her. Sands had 2.765 million to begin the day, while Moutinho had 2.075 million.

The two began play on separate tables, with Sands on the featured TV table and Moutinho on an outer table. But when Bach was eliminated from the Main Event, Moutinho was moved to the TV table and seated right next to her boyfriend.

When Moutinho took her seat at the table, Sands greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. Moutinho had 2.6 million when she sat down at the featured table. Sands had 2 million. When Sands and Moutinho weren't in hands, the two looked like they were lost in their own universe, talking quietly to each other.

But when it appeared Moutinho had whispered what she had just folded to Sands (Sands was not in the hand), tournament officials stepped in and warned the two players to be very careful about what they communicated and how.

Tournament officials told Casino City afterward that due to the unique and high-profile nature of the situation, they had to make extra sure there was not even the appearance of wrongdoing at the table.

Moutinho, the last woman left in the Main Event, had trouble getting traction at the featured table and dropped down to about 1.7 million by the dinner break. And Sands had dropped down to about 1.9 million at the dinner break (after six hours of play).

But 20 minutes after the dinner break ended, Moutinho pushed all-in for 1.75 million with pocket jacks. Martin Staszko, who opened the action with a 260,000 raise, thought about his decision for a few minutes before calling with pocket sevens.

Moutinho looked calm and composed at the table as she awaited her fate, but Sands was a nervous wreck. He pulled his hoodie tight over his head and could barely look at the cards as they came out.

The flop of Ac-2h-8h hit the board, and Sands looked even more nervous. The turn and river missed both players and Moutinho doubled up to about 3.8 million.

Sands gave Moutinho a fist bump after the hand.

"That's the hardest I've ever sweated an all-in in my life," said Sands. "No question."

"Now you know how it feels," said another player at the table.

"Yeah, really," added Erika. "That's how I feel at his final tables."

The next hand, Staszko and Moutinho tangled again, and Moutinho gave back 685,000 of the chips she had won.

Staszko wasn't done with poker's new "It" couple. On the next hand, Sands reraised all-in from the small blind and Staszko called. Both players tabled pocket sevens and chopped the pot when no flush draw appeared on the board.

The very next hand, Staszko raised again and Sands pushed all-in over the top. Staszko folded the hand.

A few hands later, another player asked if Sands and Moutinho had a last longer bet.

"No, but we could," answered Sands. "But I want her to win the damn tournament," Sands added.

Sands was eventually eliminated when his J-10 was dominated by Hewitt's A-J. Sands didn't receive any help from the board and was eliminated in 30th place.

After Sands busted out, he walked around the table shaking each player's hand. After circling the table, he returned to Moutinho and received a hug and a kiss. Then it was off to the rail to cheer on his girlfriend.

Sands's exit looked like it was bittersweet for Moutinho as well. She cracked a wan smile as she awaited the arrival of a new player to the table, but looked a bit sad otherwise.

A few hands later, the new player at the table eliminated Moutinho.

Andrew Hinrichsen, who began the day with 4.025 million, knocked Moutinho out of the Main Event. Moutinho's demise came when she pushed all-in with Qc-10c. Hinrichsen reraised all-in to 6.085 million to force another player out of the hand, and then tabled As-Qh. Hinrichsen had Moutinho dominated, and the board didn't rescue Moutinho either. She finished in 29th place, one spot better than her boyfriend.

Moutinho and Sands each won $242,636. Hinrichsen finished 23rd and won $302,005.

Other notable players eliminated on Monday include: Tony Hachem ($196,174), JP Kelly ($302,005), Sebastian Ruthenberg ($130,997), Mario Silvestri ($196,174) and Guillaume Darcourt ($242,636).
WSOP Main Event down to 22 players 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.