Poker Coverage:

2007 L.A. Poker Classic Day Four

J.C. Tran Takes Chip Lead Into WPT Event's Penultimate Day; Kristy Gazes, Chau Giang, Jason Strasser, Paul Wasicka Among Players To Advance

The money bubble come and gone, day four of the 2007 L.A. Poker Classic centered on one goal - turning a field of 54 into 18. In a near-deserted tournament area, with all but six tables packed away until next year's LAPC, and with rows of chairs set up along the rail for fans, the remaining field returned to move one day closer to the WPT televised final table and $2.4 million first-place cash prize.

Play started at 3:30 p.m. PST with $4,000-$8,000 blinds and $1,000 antes. Ten minutes into action, Daniel Woodward busted, and became the first player to earn a paycheck at the 2007 LAPC ($22,780).

The expected post-money-bubble elimination boom provided a succession of eliminations with Nick Binger ($22,780), Steve Yoon ($22,780), Stan Jablonski ($22,780), Peter Jetten ($22,780), Ari "BodogAri" Engel ($22,780), Daniel Hermetz ($22,780), Nhut Minh Tran ($22,780), Jeff Anderson ($22,780), and Richard Tatalovich ($28,855) all dropping in the tournament's first hour.

Following a table break, two high-profile matchups helped contribute to the day's end goal. Nam Le and Ed Moncada clashed in a series of preflop raises that culminated with Le moving all in with K K, and Moncada calling with J J. The K 8 7 J Q board gave both players sets, but Le dragged the pot and eliminated Moncada ($28,855), with three kings.

Minutes later, Kristy Gazes made Greg "FBT" Mueller ($28,855) the second consecutive big-name elimination when her pocket aces held against Mueller's A-K.

The busts continued, and, at the two-hour mark, officials broke the second table of the day.

A line at the payout counter soon started to build as eight players fell in sixty minutes. The list of departed players included Mike Carson ($35,690), Joe Awada ($35,690), Sean McCabe ($35,690), Ted Lawson ($35,690), and Lee Markholt ($35,690), who busted on the final hand prior to the 7 p.m. dinner break.

Moments before WSOP bracelet winner, and Commerce regular, Jeff Cabanillas bowed out in 26th ($45,560), Isaac Haxton and Bill Edler tangled on one of the biggest hands of the day.

The action started when Haxton called an Edler $50,000 raise. Haxton then bet $75,000 on the Q 9 5 flop. After an Elder call, and Q turn, Haxton fired $200,000 into the pot. Edler thought for a moment, called, then pushed his remaining $326,000 when Haxton moved all in on the 7 river. Haxton showed K Q, for trips, but Elder doubled up courtesy of his 9 9 full house.

The win put Edler over the $1 million mark, and crippled Haxton, who exited the tournament minutes later ($45,560).

Second in chips coming into play, Jason Strasser added to his stack in a hand against the newly rich Edler. Strasser netted over $600,000 after Edler mucked his hand to Strasser's 8 5 on the 9 8 7 8 4 board.

The 2007 campaigns for two of the LAPC's more notable players ended late on day four. Nick "The Takeover" Schulman (23rd place - $45,560) exited play when his all in reraise with pocket treys fell to Paul Wasicka's A-K flopped two pair.

Nam Le soon joined Schulman at the payout counter. The 2006 Bay 101 Shooting Stars champ took the LAPC's 22nd-place spot ($45,560) after his pocket queens collided with David Bach's pocket kings.

As late night slipped into early morning, and the field continued to dwindle, J.C. Tran again emerged as the 2007 LAPC's most talked-about player.

The day two chip leader, Tran became one of the first participants to cross the $1 million mark. Tran, enjoying a $700,000 cushion over his closest competition, added to his lead, and brought day four one elimination closer to completion, when he called Hans Lund's all in reraise on a K 8 7 8 board. Tran showed J 8, and Lund (A K) walked off the tournament floor when the A came on the river (20th place - $45,560).

At midnight, Bach made Can Kim Hua the day's final elimination. Hua pushed on the J 7 4 flop with the K J, only to have Bach call with the A J. The Q turn and 6 river brought Hua no help, and he finished the tournament in 19th place ($45,560).

The top five chips counts going into day five are as follows:

1. J.C. Tran - $3,461,000
2. Jacobo Fernandez - $1,334,000
3. Jason Strasser - $1,196,000
4. Bill Edler - $1,160,000
5. Tad Jurgens - $1,059,000

For a complete list of eliminations and chip counts, please click here.

Play resumes at 3:30 p.m. PST and will conclude when the remaining field plays down to the six seats of the WPT televised final table.

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