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$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Quantum $500K GTD

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Jordan Cristos Chips Up

On a flop of QQ6, one player was all-in holding pocket tens and quickly called by Jordan Cristos and his KQ for trips. The turn and river fell 48 and Cristos scooped the pot to ...


A Perfect 10! Hellmuth Wins 10th WSOP Bracelet

Hellmuth Ties History With $1K No-Limit Hold'em Bracelet; $1.5K Limit Shootout and $1K Stud Eight-or-Better Reach Final Table; $1.5K NLH and $5K Deuce-to-Seven Begin

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"I'm going to keep this very simple. Johnny Chan. Doyle Brunson. Phil Hellmuth" - WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack

Five events meant that the Amazon Room was packed with poker players, but for the third time in the 2006 World Series of Poker the focus was on one man - Phil Hellmuth Jr. Playing at the $1,000 no-limit hold'em with rebuys final table, Hellmuth again stood eight eliminations away from tying Doyle Brunson's and Johnny Chan's records of 10 WSOP gold bracelets.

Between Hellmuth and his run at history was a final table loaded with accomplished pros, including 2006 bracelet winner Ralph Perry, 2006 WSOP Circuit-Caesars champ John Spadavecchia, 20-time WSOP money finisher David Plastik, 2005 European Poker Championship winner Antanas "Tony G" Guoga, and 2005 Grand Prix de Paris runner-up Juha Helppi.

The four other events that played out in Amazon Room were day two of the $1,500 no-limit hold'em shootout and $1,000 seven-card stud eight-or-better plus day one of the $5,000 no-limit deuce-to-seven draw lowball with rebuys and the $1,500 pot-limit hold'em.

$1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with Rebuys (Event #34) Final Table

They say "the third time's a charm," but at a 2006 WSOP final table, convention often takes a back seat to cards and card players. Phil Hellmuth Jr. knows this better than anyone.

"Do it right the first time" turned into an epic heads-up loss to 22-year-old unknown Jeff Cabanillas in the $5,000 no-limit hold'em event, and "everyone deserves a second chance" landed Hellmuth a sixth-place finish at the $3,000 Omaha eight-or-better final table.

So would the third time really be a charm? Not likely after looking at the field.

The players and chip counts going into the final table were as follows:

1. Phil Hellmuth Jr. - $768,000 (seat 8)
2. Daryn Firicano - $450,000 (seat 9)
3. Juha Helppi - $436,000 (seat 7)
4. Ralph Perry - $235,000 (seat 1)
5. Terris Preston - $164,000 (seat 2)
6. John Spadavecchia - $122,00 (seat 4)
7. David Plastik - $121,000 (seat 6)
8. Elio Cabrera - $95,000 (seat 5)
9. Antanas "Tony G" Guoga - $77,000 (seat 3)

The first cards hit the air at 2:20 p.m. PDT with $4,000-$8,000 blinds and $1,000 antes. Juha Helppi started the action off by raking a pot from Hellmuth and closing the gap between first and second place to less than $80,000 in chips.

Antanas "Tony G" Guoga entered play behind the big blind and needed to make a move in order to survive. He pushed all in for $66,000 from the cutoff and received a call from Elio Cabrera. Tony G's Qspade 2club looked even less attractive when Cabrera showed Aheart 10diamond. The Jclub 7spade 6club 5spade 4diamond offered Tony G no help, and he exited the tournament in ninth place ($46,805).

A battle of pocket pairs decided the next elimination when Ralph Perry called an all in preflop reraise by Hellmuth. His 9club 9heart made him an instant dog to Hellmuth's Jspade Jdiamond. Hellmuth hit a set on the flop, and sent Perry home as the eighth place finisher ($70,207).

Hellmuth followed the Perry elimination by again using a dominant pocket pair to take an opponent out. This time David Plastik, all in preflop, held pocket jacks (Jheart Jspade) only to have Hellmuth call with Adiamond Aspade. The pocket rockets stayed true, which meant a seventh-place finish for Plastik ($93,610) and one more dangerous obstacle out of the way for Hellmuth.

If Hellmuth cleared a bit more of the path by busting Plastik, he stepped into a trap with the next elimination. After a Kheart Qdiamond 9heart flop, Hellmuth called an all-in reraise by Cabrera. Holding the Jspade 10diamond, Cabrera appeared in perfect position to double up through Hellmuth and his Kdiamond 5diamond. The 2diamond turn and 7diamond river made Hellmuth jump out of his seat and collapse to the floor. The runner-runner diamond flush bested Cabrera's straight and he hit the rails as the sixth place finisher ($117,012).

After the hand, Hellmuth took the tournament director's microphone and made an announcement that Cabrera outplayed him and deserved to win the pot.

Veteran pro John Spadavecchia ended Hellmuth's streak of knockouts by making Terris Preston the final table's fifth-place finisher ($140,414). Spadavecchia called Preston's all-in raise on the Qdiamond 5heart 4diamond flop, and his Qspade 7diamond top pair held up against Preston's Kdiamond Jdiamond flush draw.

Four-handed play lasted three hours with the smaller stacks trading potshots and Hellmuth maintaining his $1 million chip lead.

Spadavecchia took some hits and moved all in for his remaining $73,000 from the button. Hellmuth reentered the bustout business when his Adiamond 10club put him ahead of Spadavecchia's Qheart 8spade. The Aclub Aheart 9heart 6diamond 4diamond board gave Hellmuth trip aces and Spadavecchia exited in the No. 4 spot ($163,817).

If Hellmuth's elimination of Spadavecchia brought him one step closer to history, Helppi and Firicano made sure further forward progress would not be easy. Firicano doubled up through Hellmuth, and Helppi won enough pots to snatch the chip lead.

The Finnish poker pro separated farther from Hellmuth by eliminating Firicano in third place ($187,219). Helppi's Aspade 8club and Firicano's Kdiamond Qheart both missed the Jclub 8diamond 7heart 4diamond 3diamond board, and the lone ace proved to be enough to send the final table into heads-up action.

The chip counts for the two players were as follows:

1. Juha Helppi - $1,650,000
2. Phil Hellmuth - $850,000

NBA legend Magic Johnson said that all great players excel during "winning time," when one's actions ultimately decide victory or defeat.

With his opponent approaching $2 million in chips, Hellmuth pushed all in with 5heart 5spade. After several minutes of thought, Helppi called and showed Aheart 6diamond. The Kdiamond Jdiamond 5diamond flop gave Hellmuth a set of fives. The Qdiamond turn made Helppi's diamond flush and silenced the crowd chanting, "Ten! Ten! Ten!" Knowing the player on the other side of the table was dead to a paired board or the case 5, Helppi stood back and prepared to celebrate. Instead, he clutched the chair to keep from falling when the Qheart spiked on the river. Hellmuth briefly walked off the stage with his fists in the air, now only down by $100,000 in chips.

Hellmuth followed up the miracle full house by doubling up when his pocket kings (Kheart Kspade) held up against Helppi's Aheart 10diamond.

Down to his last $300,000 in chips, Helppi hit back after his Aclub Qclub paired an ace on the board and defeated Hellmuth's Kspade 4diamond.

On the next hand, Helppi pushed all in again preflop. His Adiamond 9heart and Hellmuth's call with the Aspade Jheart sent the crowd into another frenzy of "Ten! Ten! Ten!" chants. At his third final table, his third shot at history, a Kspade Qspade 8spade 6club 2club board gave Hellmuth the victory and his record-tying 10th WSOP gold bracelet.

Hellmuth's wife, parents, friends, and fans rushed the stage.

"[It feels] unbelievable," Hellmuth said after the celebration ended and WSOP commissioner Jeffery Pollack presented him with his bracelet.

An emotionally drained Helppi related the loss to another close defeat. "This feels so much like Paris where I was second," Helppi said after the match, "I just hate being second, man."

Helppi's runner-up finish netted him $331,144 in prize money.

Hellmuth admitted to having doubts about winning his 10th, saying that he felt exhausted after a month of tournament action. But with a big smile, and a $631,863 check waiting, Hellmuth told Card Player's Ryan Lucchesi, "You just have to fight, fight, fight, fight."

As for his fans, they shouted a different word as Hellmuth walked off the final table stage, "Eleven, eleven, eleven!"

$1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout (Event #36) - Day 2

For the second day, the Amazon Room hosted sit-and-go mania as 54 players battled for a seat at the $1,500 limit hold'em shootout final table. The participants entered action already in the money, with $7,153 being the least any one player could earn.

The nine-handed six-table action began at 2:36 p.m. PDT with $200-$300 blinds and $300-$600 stakes.

At 6 p.m. PDT, Victoriano Perches's victory over Hung Ha made him the first player to move to the shootout's final table. 2005 World Poker Challenge champion Arnold Spee also found a spot with the final six when his pocket aces held up against Pedro "Pete" Rios's A-7 in heads-up action.

Tom Schneider's three-outer, a spiked queen, defeated Chris McCormack's Aclub 10club on a Kclub 10heart 3heart 2club board. The miracle river gave Schneider the win, and the last remaining seat.

The players featured at the final table include:

1. Ralph "Rep" Porter - $150,000
2. Anders Henriksson - $150,000
3. Mariano Garcia - $150,000
4. Victoriano Perches - $150,000
5. Arnold Spee - $150,000
6. Tom Schneider - $150,000

Play begins today at 2 p.m. PDT.

$1,000 Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better (Event #35) - Day 2

Day two of the $1,000 seven-card stud eight-or-better event began with 98 players expecting to play down to the bracelet winner. But due to the larger-than-expected turn out, tournament officials added an extra day to the event, meaning the action would conclude when a final table was determined.

Play began at 4:14 p.m. PDT with $150 antes, $300 bring-ins, and $800-$1,600 limits.

At 5:47 p.m., Bill Edler burst the money bubble by eliminating the tournament's 73rd player. Four other participants hit the rails during round-for-round play and they shared the bottom two payouts of $1,793.

Ten hours later, Dan Heimiller became the ninth and final elimination of the day when he failed to make the low against Greg Dinkin's pair of aces.

The elimination also meant that 21-year-old two-time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen would be making his fourth final table of the 2006 World Series.

The chip counts for Madsen and the other players are as follows:

1. Greg Dinkin - $259,000 (Seat 4)
2. Rod Pardey - $210,000 (Seat 7)
3. William "Bill" Edler - $191,000 (Seat 1)
4. Mark Bershad - $110,000 (Seat 8)
5. Patrick Poels - $109,000 (Seat 2)
6. Hoyt Verner - $103,000 (Seat 6)
7. Leo Fasen - $102,000 (Seat 5)
8. Jeff Madsen - $99,000 (Seat 3)

Players return at 4 p.m. PDT for the final table.

$1,500 No-Limit Hold'em (Event #37) - Day 1

A field of 2,803 players turned out for day one of the $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament. The action kicked off at noon PDT with $25-$25 blinds.

With 400 bustouts in the first hour-and-half alone, one WSOP official jokingly asked the participants to "play a little tighter." The reason - the quantity and consistency of eliminations allowed every alternate, 40 tables in all, to enter tournament play.

In the end, all the entrants generated a $3,826,095 total prize pool with $765,226 set aside for first place.

At 11:55 p.m. the money bubble burst and David Benesh made $2,296 for his 270th place finish.

Day one concluded with the field whittled down to 154 players.

Action resumes tomorrow at 2 p.m. PDT and the participants will play down to the final table.

$5,000 No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball with Rebuys (Event #38) - Day 1

The $5,000 no-limit deuce-to-seven draw lowball with rebuys - winner of the "2006 WSOP event with the longest name" award - drew a starting field of 81 players (three participants bought in two hours into play), and with 159 rebuys, generated a $1,164,048 total prize pool.

Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, Minh Ly, Todd Brunson, and Erik Seidel were only a few of the stars on hand when action kicked off at 4:23 p.m. PDT with $50-$100 blinds and $25 antes.

The rebuy period ended at the three-hour mark, and "Texas Dolly" Doyle Brunson became the first big name player to make a permanent exit from tournament action.

Some other notables eliminated during the first heat included Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Shahram "Sean" Sheikhan, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.

Play resumes at 3 p.m. PDT with 21 remaining players and will conclude with a bracelet winner.

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

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