And on the fifth day of the 2007 WPT Championship
, the poker gods said, "Let there be six." While some argue that the deities do play a role, the fates of the 27 returning participants ultimately came down to those six with enough skill, and luck, to reach the World Poker Tour
televised final table.
The penultimate stage of the WPT Championship
began at Bellagio at noon with $10,000-$20,000 blinds and $3,000 antes.
Following Robert Wazelle's 27th-place finish ($92,820), Tim Phan provided the first big-name elimination with his bustout of Roland De Wolfe. The third-place finisher in last year's WPT Championship
, De Wolfe exited the 2007 version (26th place - $92,820), when, as a relatively short stack, he moved all in preflop with A
, and Phan, holding A
Paul Wasicka also made a second consecutive deep run in the WPT Championship
, but, like De Wolfe, fell short of his previous year's finish. Taking 14th in 2006, Wasicka dropped below the $200,000 mark courtesy of a Phil Hellmuth full house, then busted in 24th place ($92,820) when Kirk Morrison paired a king (K
) to top Wasicka's A
Along with the eliminations of De Wolfe and Wasicka, the opening rounds also featured two hands with dramatic river card finishes. First, Thomas Wahlroos called an all-in reraise by Sorel Mizzi on a 10
flop. His 9
put Wahlroos behind Mizzi's 9
, but the Finnish pro doubled up when the J
landed on the river. The second river finish saw Kirk Morrison, holding A-K, spike an ace to crack Ben Johnson's pocket kings (20th place - $123,760).
At 2:33 p.m., Guy Laliberte's flopped trip sevens bested Loi Phan's top pair (19th place - $123,760) and the remaining field redrew to two tables.
A burgeoning rivalry between Wahlroos and Hellmuth reached a climax during the first elimination in two-table play. Following a series of raises, Wahlroos called an all-in move by Hellmuth on an 8
flop. Hellmuth showed J
, only to have Wahlroos flip over A
. Busted in 18th place ($123,760), Hellmuth grumbled about his opponent's previous play, while Wahlroos, smiling, raked the pot.
One hour later, and following the eliminations of Richard Anthony (17th place - $123,760), James Worth (16th place - $123,760), Sorel Mizzi (15th place - $154,705), Jared Minter (14th place - $154,705), David Levi (13th place - $154,705), C.K. Hua (12th place - $154,705), and Grant Lang ($154,705), 10 players consolidated to the 2007 WPT Championship
The chip counts and seating were as follows:
1. Paul Lee - $8,994,000 (seat No. 8)
2. Thomas Wahlroos - $7,186,000 (seat No. 3)
3. Guy Laliberte - $3,400,000 (seat No. 4)
4. Carlos Mortensen - $3,394,000 (seat No. 5)
5. Tim Phan - $2,356,000 (seat No. 10)
6. Kirk Morrison - $1,783,000 (seat No. 1)
7. Mike Wattel - $1,434,000 (seat No. 6)
8. Jimmy Tran - $1,270,000 (seat No. 2)
9. Scott Fischman - $1,265,000 (seat No. 7)
10. Tommy Vu - $1,085,000 (seat No. 9)
In front of a star-studded rail that included Joe Hachem, Jim Bechtel, Minh Ly, Isabelle Mercier, Cyndy Violette, Nam Le, and Marcel Luske, Jimmy Tran became the first player eliminated in 10-handed play when Lee flopped a set of fives to crack Tran's pocket queens (10th place - $185,645).
After doubling up with pocket aces against Wahlroos's flush draw, Mortensen precipitated the tournament's ninth-place elimination ($216,585). The 2001 WSOP
champ busted former infomercial star, Tommy Vu, when his A
stayed ahead of Vu's K
A short stack coming into the final table, Scott Fischman managed to build his stack and outlast several opponents. The two-time WSOP
bracelet winner then appeared to be on the verge of notching a crucial elimination when, holding A
, he called Wahlroos's all-in reraise on Q
. But the 8
board gave Wahlroos the flush, and Fischman dropped down the leader board.
Using his last $1 million to come over the top of a Kirk Morrison raise, Fischman finished in eighth place ($247,552) when his 7
failed to improve against Morrison's 5
Twenty minutes later, Wahlroos moved all in against a Mike Wattel raise. While Wattel folded, Lee called. His A
gave him the lead over Wahlroos's A
. The J
flop gave Wahlroos the flush draw, but the 2
turn and 5
river made Wahlroos the final elimination of the day (7th place - $278,465).
The chip counts at the end of play were as follows:
1. Paul Lee - $11,828,000
2. Carlos Mortensen - $6,501,000
3. Guy Laliberte - $4,690,000
4. Kirk Morrison - $4,194,000
5. Mike Wattel - $2,887,000
6. Tim Phan - $2,162,000
For a complete list of eliminations, please click here
The final six players will gather on the WPT
televised set at 5 p.m. and battle for the $3.9 million first-place cash prize.
Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com
for live updates, chip counts, videos, photos, and daily recaps.
Quote of the Day
: "I've never been so happy busting anyone in my entire life." - Thomas Wahlroos on eliminating Phil Hellmuth from the 2007 WPT Championship