Phil received his giant cardboard check for $500,000 and his small but attractive trophy. When asked how he felt, Phil said, "The money's great, but it's about the title, baby." He picked up the trophy. "I'd rather have this," he said, holding the trophy, "than this," and he pointed to the giant check.
It was obvious from the start of this tournament that nobody wanted the title more than Phil. His most telling comment came later, after the champagne had been poured and everyone present joined him in a toast. He was standing with Chris Ferguson, and he said, "We're back -- I think everyone had forgotten about us." A fan pointed out that they were two of the best known poker players in the game. "I don't mean the public," said Phil. "I'm referring to the poker world."
This victory is definitely huge for Phil Hellmuth, who said he is often asked by friends and fans why he hasn't won any major tournaments lately. The implication is that he is just riding the coattails of his own early success. But this victory, against this field of top players, to be aired on a major network during May Sweeps, definitely puts him back on the map in a big way.
Thank God that NBC was recording everything, because this was definitely Must-See TV. Mark your calendars for May 1, when this tournament will begin airing on NBC. It will be broadcast on four consecutive Sundays, and the final table will air on Sunday, May 22. But don't worry if you miss it -- I suspect that NBC might just find an excuse to air it more than once.
The flop comes J-10-6 , improving Chris Ferguson to a pair, and that leaves him with five outs (three kings and two sixes) to avoid elimination. He's already hit a 4-outer and a 2-outer against Phil, so having five outs to root for must seem like a luxury to Ferguson.
The turn card is a 10, so it all comes down to the last card -- again. And the river card is a ... wait ... could it be ... it looks like a ... but it isn't ... it's ... a ... 4.
Phil jumps up triumphantly and raises his fists straight up over his head. He turns to the crowd, and turns around in a complete circle, as if he wants to share the victory with everyone in the room. It doesn't take him long to remember Chris Ferguson, who had a fantastic tournament that involved far more than some lucky river cards. He went over and shook Chris's hand and accepted his congratulations, but then returned to his personal celebration.
The reaction was immediate, and it was intense. The audience exploded into a cheering frenzy, Phil was cursing the poker gods, and cameras were swarming everywhere. In the middle of it all, Chris Ferguson was rather composed and relaxed (with a healthy helping of relief). He knew there was still a lot of poker to be played, and he was still behind in the chip count. But Phil Hellmuth has now had victory ripped from his fingers twice, and he must be thinking that he's not just playing against Chris Ferguson, but he's also battling against fate, which seems to be rooting against him.
The crowd is somewhat quiet after the hand, so Phil rouses to applause by raising his hands. He asks them, "You don't want to go home yet, do you?" Amid a chorus of no's, one spectator said, "But we do want to go home soon!"
Chris Ferguson now has $794,000, while Phil Hellmuth has $486,000.
One of his friends implies that Phil has given up, but he says he is still in this to win it. He does admit that he's still reeling from "the hand," and his chatty behavior is probably his attempt to clear his mind and relax.
Shortly after that exchange, Phil wins a hand against Ferguson with an all-in raise, and Ferguson folds. He shows his hand to Gus Hansen on the sidelines (I believe it was A-K), and said he's trying to play like Gus. Just as Phil settled in, Gus replied, "You're learning," which drew a big laugh from the crowd.
Chris Ferguson is cool and collected during all of this, relaxed and ready to continue playing his "A" game.
Once again, the blinds begin at $4,000-$8,000, and the two players start with $640,000 each. Shuffle up and deal!
|Jump to||Page 1 of 6||Next|
|1||Unibet Open: Troia Event|
|2||Episode 34: Taylor Caby|
|3||Road to the WSOP, Part 1: The Farm|
|4||You Don't Have to Be A Detective, But It Helps|
|5||Episode 32: Jared Tendler|
|Career Winnings||Bracelets||Cashes||Final Tables|