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Mirage Poker Showdown Heads-Up Day Two Recap

Field Plays Down From Sweet Sixteen to Final Four

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Eight matches started the day in the portion of the Mirage Sports Book that has been transformed into tournament poker territory during the Mirage Poker Showdown. Here were the matchups:

Pool A

David Pham vs. Amir Nasseri
Gavin Smith vs. Hilton Herrera

Pool B

Jonathan Little vs. Nenad Medic
Ryan Hughes vs. Steven Jacobs

Pool C

Anthony Newman vs. Erick Lindgren
Nam Le vs. Eric Froehlich

Pool D

Kathy Liebert vs. Aaron Been
Steve Sung vs. Dustin Woolf

Ryan Hughes was the first player to advance to the Elite Eight after beating Steven Jacobs in just 45 minutes. This came as a surprise to many due to the fact that Jacobs has quite a reputation online as a heads-up specialist. Jacobs was shutout by Hughes 2-0. Another early win was recorded by Jonathan Little, who also defeated Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi during day one. Little was impressive throughout day two and his shutout of Nenad Medic took just over an hour.

There were many intriguing pairs, but none more so than the match between Eric Froehlich and Nam Le. Their first game had attracted a number of railbirds in JC Tran, Shannon Shorr, and David Williams. These professionals joked around, and told stories to keep the atmosphere loose, which was in stark contrast to the intense focus the competitors brought to the table. "He came out playing really good small ball," said Froehlich. Le took the first game in the match, but Froehlich hung tough to take the second game. "I had my back against the wall and changed gears rather dramatically for the next game," said Froehlich. The third game was a very close match. Froehlich was short-stacked after his pocket queens ran into the pocket aces of Le, but he held pocket fours when Le shoved all in for 13 big blinds with pocket twos. Froehlich had emerged victorious; the Elite Eight matches were ready to begin.


Elite Eight

Here were the Elite Eight matchups:

Pool A

David Pham vs. Hilton Herrera

Pool B

Jonathan Little vs. Ryan Hughes

Pool C

Erick Lindgren vs. Eric Froehlich

Pool D

Aaron Been vs. Steve Sung

"How lucky," was the humble response from Little after he steamrolled Hughes 2-0 in their Elite Eight match. Little continued his speed-driven performance, and disposed of Hughes in just over a half hour. In fact, Little had his seat in the Final Four before half the field secured their seats in the Elite Eight. He easily has the most momentum heading into the final day of this event.

Little will face David "The Dragon" Pham in the Final Four. Pham made relatively quick work of Hilton Herrera; he jumped out to early chip leads in each of their games and poured on the aggression with a large chip stack. On the last hand Hilton Herrera moved all in with Q 7 and Pham called with K 9. The roller-coaster board was dealt K Q 8 7 9 giving both players two pair, but Pham advanced when the 9 fell on the river.

Aaron Been pulled off a come from behind victory for the second time of the day to defeat Steve Sung in their Elite Eight match. Been got into an early hole after losing the first game to Sung, but as he did against Kathy Liebert in the Sweet Sixteen, he kept his cool and played solid poker to advance. "I tried to think about each hand in terms of how to make the most profit on that hand, and didn't really worry about the long term," said Been.

Three spots had been filled and two lone players continued play into the evening. Erick Lindgren and Froehlich tested each other in the first game with timely raises and reraises. Lindgren took down game one and then Froehlich evened things up on an entertaining hand. Froehlich bet on the button and Lindgren moved all in preflop. Froehlich immediately called with pocket kings. Lindgren flipped over A 7 and the board was dealt 7 6 3 A K. "I was ready to start back over from ground zero. It would have been about dead even at that point, but a little bit of justice on the river was kind of nice," said Froehlich. The rubber match between these two was much like the first game, a battle of raises, and reraises in the early going. About 50 minutes into game three, Lindgren pushed all-in for his last $8,000, holding K Q. Froehlich called and showed A 5. The board was dealt 8 7 6 9 4 and day two came to a close with Froehlich's victory.

Froehlich was also the true class act of the day. The former University of Virginia student donned the hat of his rival school Virginia Tech in support of the recent tragedy. "I know a lot of people who were affected by it, including myself … [It's] just something in remembrance, it's important to me."

Final Four

Eric Froehlich vs. Aaron Been

David Pham vs. Jonathan Little

The Final Four players will return tomorrow at 1 p.m. PST to play for the tournament title. For all the live updates and tournament photos, tune into CardPlayer.com.