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Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 2

Kevin Song Wins the $1,500 No Limit Holdem Event

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Fontana Lounge at the 5 Diamond WPCThe first of 13 preliminary events kicked off the World Poker Tour's 2006 Bellagio Five Diamond WorldNam Le and JC Tran on the Rail Poker Classic in Las Vegas on Friday. Day 1 of the $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament boasted 540 entrants, a nearly 50 percent increase over last year. Both the Fontana Lounge and the main poker room of the Bellagio were used to house participants, and it was nearly 6 p.m. when the competition whittled its way down to 115 players, finally settling into one arena.

With December marking the countdown for players aiming to earn Card Player Player of the Year points, the fifth-annual WPC is the last major event of the year. The race is far from over. Michael Mizrachi is in the lead with 5,989 points, but four other contenders are practically deadlocked in Final Table of the 1,500 NLH Eventsecond position. Shannon Shorr, Nam Le, J.C. Tran, and John Hoang didn't waste any time in taking their first stab at closing the gap with Mizrachi. With less than 300 points separating them, Le, Tran, Hoang, and Shorr could shake up the current standings by the end of the month.

"I came here to do one thing," said Shorr during a short break. "I really want toSebastian Skuja collect some POY points. Otherwise I'll have to hit the circuit again."

Shorr was facing some stiff competition, as Le, Tran, and Hoang were also out to leverage the POY points needed to tap out Mizrachi. Other notable players were Mark Gregorich, Dapo Fadeyi, Craig Hartman, Paul Darden, Erik Seidel, Melissa Shannon ShorrHayden, Chris McCormick, Renee Angelil, Bryan Devonshire, Anthony Reategui, Allen Cunningham, John Juanda, Chris Bigler, David Williams, Men Nguyen, John Phan, Mark Muchnik, Dan Fleyshman, James Van Alstyne, Thor Hansen, James Riley, David Plastik, Kevin Song, Brandon Cantu, Gavin Griffin, Sebastian Skuja, and Thanh Tran.

All were battling it out over a prize pool worth more than $750,000, with 50 players who would cash.

Play started at noon, didn't finish until 3 a.m., and the "final 14" had 12 hours to regroup before returning at 3 p.m. Nam Le, J.C. Tran, Mizrachi, and Hoang will have to tackle future events in order to rack up POY points. Shorr bubbled just before the money.Final Table

The shortest stacks going into day 2 were the first to hit the rail, with Brett Richey, Adam Tarbania, and Chris McCormack exiting before the end of the round. Robert Doyle and Larry Tull were nearly tied going into day 2, but Doyle bubbled, sending 10 players to the feature table.

Gavin GriffinDay 2's chip leaders Kevin Song and James Van Alstyne were seated in the 8 and 10 seats, respectively. The rest of the table looked like this:

Seat 1. San Yi
Seat 2. Gavin Griffin
Seat 3. Larry Tull
Seat 4. Brandon Cantu
Seat 5. Sebastian Skuja
Seat 6. Nick Moeller
Seat 7. Thanh Tran
Seat 9. Man GurianJames VanAlstyne

Man Gurian was the first to go home, in 10th place, when his pocket sevens ran into Cantu's kings in the hole. Gurian took home $9,120.

James Van Alstyne ran into a few land mines and was finally knocked out by Griffen. Griffen Brandon Cantuwas dealt another pair of kings and VanAlstyne's queens maintained their inferior value going in and out of the hand. Van Alstyne went home in ninth place with $10,645.

Sang Yi and Thanh Tran went all in after the flop, each with a pair of aces. But Yi had the bigger kicker, sending Tran home in eighth place with $12,165.

Two hands later, Yi followed Tran to the rail when Skuja knocked him out with a high card. Yi finished seventh with $15,205.

Larry Tull made the most of his short stack, but the blinds and antes finally caught up with him. Tull went out sixth with $21,285.
Kevin Song Wins Bellagio Five Diamond WPT WPC
Nick Moeller soon followed, cashing out $30,410. Griffen went home in fourth place with $41,855, and Skuja went all in with A-7 suited against Cantu with pocket fives and lost. Skuja left the action heads up between Cantu and Song, taking home $72,220.

David WilliamsSong and Cantu scrimmaged for nearly two levels. Each traded chip leads, but evened the score several times. Then, shortly after the break, Cantu moved all in after a flop of Aclub-Jclub-8diamond. Song called and both players showed their hands. Cantu had two pair with J-8 offsuit, but Song was still in the game with Kclub-8club - the nut flush draw with two cards to come. When another club fell on the turn, Cantu was facing elimination unless he could spike a jack or an eight. The river brought the 5diamond, sealing the win for Song.

Runner-up Brandon Cantu took home $136,835.

Kevin Song won the bracelet, $253,560, and a seat into the April 2007 $25,000 World Poker Tour Finals.
Scotty Nguyen
Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for Sunday's coverage of events, with live updates and photos. Day 1 of the $2,500 no-limit hold'em starts at noon, while players of day 2's $2,000 event return at 3 p.m.

DevilfishDavid Williams and David "Devilfish" Ulliott were the chip leaders of the $2,000 event going into the dinner break. The next day's action should be interesting, with a number of big names headed to the finish line.

Notable players who made it to the last six tables were Allen Kessler, Ryan Lamkin, Mo Fathipour, Carl Pollard, Tony Cousineau, Noah Boekin, David Williams, Vinnie Vinh, Scotty Nguyen, Alex Jacob, and Brad Booth. First place will take home $266,160, with 27 players making the money.