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Day Four from the Mirage Poker Showdown

Impressive Final Table Comes Together With Phil Ivey in the Chip Lead

Two key points during the course of a poker tournament determine and affect the pace of play more than any other. The first of these is at the money bubble, at which point players who have their hearts set on making a profit let any possibility they have at making a championship run slip through their fingers. The second is tenth place. Something about every remaining player in a tournament finally being placed at the same table makes certain people tighten up more than a rusted bolt on a piece of ancient, neglected machinery. It's like the poker gods have decided to pull the emergency brake on the pace of play as the overbearing visions of television fame dance through the heads of many. Both these moments in a tournament present tremendous opportunities for a player willing to pounce on them, and that's exactly what happened during day four at the Mirage Poker Showdown.

The day started with 18 players and the pace was quick early. Cuong Nguyen was eliminated on the first hand of the day, when he moved all in under the gun with A Q. John D'Agostino held pocket kings though, and the board of Q J 6 9 9 was no help to Nguyen, who was eliminated in 18th place. Davidson Matthew moved all in a number of times with his short stack during the first stages of play. He was eventually called by Cory Carroll 40 minutes into the day, who held pocket queens. Matthew held pocket fives, which were no match for the ladies when the board provided no help. Matthew finished in 16th place. The first level proved to be a minefield for numerous familiar faces. During one stretch, D'Agostino, Nam Le, Shannon Shorr, and David "The Dragon" Pham were eliminated in succession.

When the second level of the day began, the final table had been reached. Ten players were left, and only six of them would make the WPT television table. Remember, the "TV effect" is another point in the tournament at which extenuating circumstance cause poker players to do some interesting things. These circumstances had no effect on Darrel Dicken, who started the day as the chip leader. Dicken built his stack to $1.4 million, but during the course of level 15 he was tested. First, when Amnon Filippi picked up $288,000 of him with A-Q when an ace hit the board. Second, when David Peat doubled up with A J, which made two pair against Dicken's pocket tens. Dicken was down to $830,000 after the mayhem, but he wasn't out. "Gigabet" put together a nice run to end the day, aided by the same pocket tens that had forsaken him earlier, and finished with $1,203,000.

"Timing is everything, especially in poker tournaments. It comes down to when you get the hands," said Phil Ivey. Timing would come into play for Ivey in a very big way during level 15. Ivey bet out $450,000 and Filippi raised $200,000 more, which was enough to put Ivey all in. Ivey calmly made the call and showed the table A A. Filippi turned over K K. The board (Q 7 3 5 9) improved neither player and Ivey doubled up to $530,000. "If the cards were reversed, I'm out. That's why timing is so important" said Ivey.

Ivey then shifted into fifth gear and poured on the aggression to end the day. He picked up $300,000 off Cory Carroll a few hands after he doubled up, and another $255,000 off Jonathan Little near the end of the day to grow his stack to an impressive $1,370,000. While Ivey and Dicken continued to march forward, the rest of the field played slowly. Randy Holland was eliminated in ninth place, Jon Friedberg was eliminated in eighth place, and finally David Peat was eliminated in seventh place after moving all in for his final $7,000. Peat had been crippled during the previous hand by Richard Kirsch.

After Peat's bustout, the players bagged their chips and will return tomorrow to battle for the $1,066,295 first-place prize, and a $25,000 buy in for the WPT Championship. Here is a preview of how things will look when the players take their seats tomorrow:

Seat 1: Richard Kirsch - $810,000
Seat 2: Jonathan Little - $956,000
Seat 3: Cory Carroll - $1,235,000
Seat 4: Phil Ivey - $1,395,000
Seat 5: Darrell Dicken - $1,203,000
Seat 6: Amnon Filippi - $571,000

Six players will enter, and one champion will emerge. Most eyes will be on Ivey, who has made six final tables on the World Poker Tour, but never won a WPT title. "I'm the chip leader, so, I plan on winning this tournament. I think I'm going to have to be very unlucky not to win this tournament," said a calm and confident Ivey. Only a player who has the kind of respect from the poker community and the supreme confidence in his abilities that Ivey possesses could say something like that without coming across as cocky or brash.

Tune in tomorrow at 5 p.m. PDT to catch all the final table action. Live updates following the action hand for hand, as well as chip counts, photos, and videos will all be on the menu at


almost 14 years ago

Phil Ivey is a great player and I hope he wins. It seems to me he tries to intimidate players too much and gets caught making a bad play which might happen in this tourney.