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Italy Wins! Max Pescatori Captures 2006 WSOP $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Bracelet

Ladies' Night, No More Rebuys, and the 10K Pot-Limit Omaha Event

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What could stop the World Series of Poker? Apparently, other than natural disaster or an act of God, the World Cup can. With the championship game between Italy and France being decided by penalty kicks, tournament officials placed a temporary hold on all WSOP events. The decision allowed players with national pride, or monetary interest, to watch the conclusion of the "beautiful game's" Olympiad tournament.

When Italy defeated France 5-3, WSOP action resumed with the following events: the final table of the $2,500 no-limit hold'em, day 2 of the $1,000 no-limit hold'em rebuy, day 1 of the $1,000 ladies' no-limit hold'em, and the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha.

$2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Final Table

Hold'em final tables generally start with nine players, but today's $2,500 no-limit hold'em table opened with only eight. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori, a professional player originally from Milan, Italy, arrived late after watching his home country win its first World Cup in 24 years. Not an excuse you hear everyday.

With all players accounted for, the chip counts coming into the final table were as follows:

1. Anthony Reategui - $959,000
2. Terrence Chan - $494,000
3. Max Pescatori - $464,000
4. Justin Pechie - $357,000
5. Mike Matusow - $335,000
6. Corey Cheresnick - $249,000
7. Michael Scott - $146,000
8. Tri "Chico" Ma - $117,000
9. Matt Heintschel - $116,000

The action began at 2:20 p.m. PDT with $4,000-$8,000 blinds and $1,000 antes. Matt Heintschel wasted no time in establishing an aggressive tempo for the table. He reraised all in on the first hand but received no callers. Half an hour later he made the same move by pushing all in on an Anthony Reategui hand, only this time, Reategui called. Both players flipped over A-8, Adiamond 8spade for Reategui and Aspade 8club for Heintschel. The hand seemed destined to end in a chopped pot, until the flop came 5diamond4diamond3diamond. The Kdiamond turn gave Reategui the ace-high flush and he eliminated Heintschel in ninth place ($66,758).

After the hand, Reategui, who came into action with a huge stack, held 40 percent of the chips in play. With so much ammunition, Reategui put pressure on the rest of the table and notched up his second victim after he called Terrence Chan's all-in raise. Chan held Aclub Kdiamond but the 10heart 10club 4club 2club 2diamond board made a full house for Reategui's pocket fours, and Chan hit the rail as the eighth-place finisher ($74,175)

Mike "The Mouth" Matusow drew attention after taking down three pots in a row. The hot streak increased his stack by over $100,000. His run came to an end, though, when he tangled with the second-chip boss, Justin Pechie. With a 10club 9diamond 6spade flop, Matusow came over the top of a Pechie raise and moved all in. Pechie immediately made the call and flipped over 10heart 9heart. Matusow showed Jheart 10diamond, and he needed a lot of help to overcome Pechie's two pair. The Kheart turn and Adiamond river failed to improve Matusow's hand, and "The Mouth's" tournament run ended with a seventh-place finish ($89,010).

Reategui, not to be upstaged, made his third elimination of the final table only minutes later. He called Tri "Chico" Ma's preflop all-in raise and took a huge lead with his Adiamond Aclub against Ma's Aheart Qheart. Pocket rockets held up and Ma took a trip to the rail in sixth place ($104,845).

Oh, you thought Reategui was done? The chip boss made another preflop all-in call, this time against Corey Cheresnick, who held the Aheart 8diamond. Reategui started a slight statistical dog with the 7club 6club, but the Jspade 10heart 9club 8spade 2club board made him a jack-high straight and he took Cheresnick out in the five spot ($118,680).

Apparently in a rush to finish the game, Reategui followed up the Cheresnick elimination with a bustout of Michael Scott. Calling another preflop all-in raise, Reategui's Aspade 5heart paired a five on the flop and Scott's Kdiamond Qdiamond never caught up. Scott's elimination in fourth ($148,350) brought the final table to three-handed action in an efficient two hours, 24 minutes.

With a $2,300,00 stack up against Pechie's $630,000 and Pescatori's $295,000, the question circulating along the rails was not if Reategui would win, but how fast. Fans, and even the players, would be surprised by the answer.

Pechie started three-way action by taking a huge pot off of Reategui, then doubled up through the chip boss when his paired kings beat Reategui's paired sevens. But only a few hands later, Reategui crippled Pechie with a better kicker when both players made trip kings.

After being pushed to the periphery on the short stack, Pescatori became a player in three-handed action when he tripled through his opponents. The hand, a boon for Pescatori, further damaged Pechie's chip stack.

Now the short stack, Pechie moved all in preflop. Pescatori called him and took a huge lead when he showed 8heart 8club and Pechie showed 6heart 6club. The Kspade Kheart 8spade 6club gave both players a full house but Pechie was dead to the last six. The 8diamond river, although unnecessary, made Pescatori quad eights, and caused some excitement in the audience.

Five minutes into heads-up play, Pescatori closed the gap after doubling through Reategui with a 10-high flush. Moments later, a second club flush gave Pescatori the lead.

At 7:47 p.m., an hour after heads-up action started, Reategui moved all in on a 10club 7diamond 6heart flop. After Pescatori called, Reategui flipped up the Qdiamond 10diamond and "The Italian Pirate" showed the Jclub 8club. When the Kheart came on the turn, Reategui stood one card away from doubling up, but the 9diamond turn gave Pescatori the improbable jack-high straight.

Pescatori ran to a section of the rail and celebrated with his fans, all whom were clad in Italian World Cup gear.

The quickest final table to date in the 2006 WSOP, also featured one of the biggest comebacks. Reategui, the unlikely runner-up, took home $356,040.

Pescatori received the bracelet and $682,389 for his first-place finish.

So, would "The Italian Pirate" trade his first WSOP bracelet for Italy's World Cup victory? "When the 9 spiked, I'm sure that was the highest point, the joy was incredible," Pescatori told Card Player's Jay Newnum, "so I would have to say winning the bracelet."

Lucky for Pescatori, he doesn't have to choose.

$1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Rebuy Event - Day 2

A returning field of 66 played down to the final nine players on day 2 of the $1,000 no-limit hold'em rebuy tournament. While the day's participants started action already in the money, the event lacked the free-wheeling, home game atmosphere seen during yesterday's rebuy period.

At 12:59 p.m. PDT, Illya Trincher fell to Tom Franklin's ace-high straight. Trincher's tenth-place elimination ($25,497) marked the end of the day and set the lineup for tomorrow's final table.

The chip counts going into the final table are as follows:
1. Tom Franklin - $590,000 (Seat 6)
2. Tim Phan - $551,000 (Seat 3)
3. Steve Wong - $295,000 (Seat 7)
4. John Hoang - $274,000 (Seat 5)
5. Allen Cunningham - $233,000 (Seat 2)
6. David Rheem - $170,00 (Seat 8)
7. Andy Bloch - $163,000 (Seat 9)
8. Alex Jacob - $106,000 (Seat 1)
9. Everett Carlson - $86,000 (Seat 4)

The nine remaining players return at 2 p.m. PDT for a shot at a gold bracelet and $625,830 first-place prize.

$1,000 Ladies' No-Limit Hold'em Event - Day 1

The only WSOP tournament with a gender preference, the $1,000 ladies' no-limit hold'em event, attracted an all-female field of 1,128 and generated a $1,026,480 total prize pool.

Action began at 11:20 a.m. PDT with $25-$25 blinds. The event received some star treatment, with Hollywood actresses Ricki Lake, Mimi Rogers, Mena Suvari, and Shannon Elizabeth among the participants.

The day also saw the elimination of defending champion Jennifer Tilly and an impressive balancing act by Kathy Liebert, who played in the ladies event and the $10,000 Omaha event simultaneously.

The money bubble burst, at 11:03 p.m. PDT, a moment that was met by cheers and much celebration from the remaining 97 players.

Play concludes with the final 18 and resumes tomorrow for final table action.

$10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Event - Day 1

The 2006 WSOP's first five-figure buy-in tournament kicked off today with the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha event. Made up of mostly poker pros and big money players, the field of 214 entered the day's action in pursuit of a gold bracelet and the $655,746 first-place cash prize.

Some players who failed to survive the first heat included Greg Raymer, Gavin Smith, Juan Carlos Mortensen, $5,000 Omaha eight-or-better runner-up Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Jennifer Harman.

The two-day event concludes tomorrow with final table action.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for live updates, chip counts, photos, videos, and for new episodes of "The Circuit" and "The Series."

For more information on bracelet winners and other WSOP news stories please visit http://www.cardplayer.com/tournaments/wsop/2006s.