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WSOP Main Event Final Table Set

Lee Watkinson Still in the Running

And then there were nine. The field of 6,358 has been whittled down to the final table of nine players, the survivors in poker's greatest war of attrition. These nine men have each played six full days, dodging bad beats, tilt, fatigue, cold cards, intense mental stress, and each other, to try to become the next king of the poker world. Each player is within sight of the ultimate prize, yet still has miles to go to stake his place in history as a World Series of Poker main event champion.

The day started with 36 players, all bringing high hopes and "A" game to make their respective run at the championship. Name pros Alex Kravchenko, Bill Edler, Kenny Tran, Lee Watkinson, Daniel Alaei and former main event winner Scotty Nguyen were all still alive at the beginning of day six, despite the speculation that the field would consist solely of amateurs. It was judgment day for and only, and only two of the six survived to the final table.

Things got off to a blistering start, and within the first hour, five players had been eliminated. In the second hour of play, Daniel Alaei was the first of the names to go when he moved in preflop with A Q. Unfortunately for him, he ran into Jon Kalmer holding A K. The board ran out 7 5 4 5 9, and Alaei was eliminated in 25th place for $333,490. He was joined on the rail by Bill Edler shortly thereafter.

Bill Edler, who won a bracelet in this year's $5,000 sixhanded event, was eliminated in 23rd place. After Raymond Rahme raised preflop, Edler reraised to $1.5 million, Rahme folded, and Alexander Kravchenko called for his last $695,000. Edler said, "Happy Birthday" as he tabled 4 4. Kravchenko showed 10 10, and after the board ran out K Q 7 10 Edler shipped over $2 million of his chips to Kravchenko. A few hands later, Edler pushed all in for his last $1,950,000 from early position. Action folded around to Jerry Yang in the big blind, and he eventually made the call. Edler commended him for the decision and showed 10 9. Yang tabled A K and the flop fell Q 4 2. The turn was the A, and Edler was drawing deal. A meaningless 7 fell on the river and Edler was given a hearty round of applause for his 23rd-place finish, netting him $333,490. The next to go was high-stakes cash player Kenny Tran.

In his final hand, Tran raised to $325,000 from the button and John Kalmar called from the big blind. The flop brought 10 6 3 and Kalmar checked. Tran bet $500,000 and Kalmar called. The turn was the 9 and again Kalmar checked. Tran fired out $1.3 million and Kalmar quickly called. The 2 fell on the river and Kalmar shoved all in. Both players stood up as adrenaline coursed through their veins. Tran stared Kalmar down, and eventually another player called the clock on him. He took off his hat, clearly debating a tough decision. As the tournament director began to count down from ten, Tran was still calculating his options. As the tournament director continued, "8-7-6-5..." Tran emphatically announced "I call!" Kalmar slammed his A 8 onto the table and let forth a primal yell. Tran was covered and eliminated in 16th place. He definitely was disappointed, as he put in an incredible performance in this year's WSOP. He took home $381,302 for his efforts.

The next notable elimination came in the form of the Prince, Scotty Nguyen.

Nguyen, the winner of the 1998 main event, had his amazing run derailed by a series of three hands from the blinds. In the first, PokerStars qualifier Tuan Lam raised from the small blind to $480,000 and Scotty Nguyen reraised to $1,480,000 from the big blind. Lam made the call, and the flop fell K 5 4. Lam checked and Nguyen bet out $700,000. Lam elected to call and the turn was the K. Both players checked and the river brought the J. Lam lead for $1 million and Nguyen promptly raised to $3.5 million. This sent Lam deep into the tank and after almost five minutes he made one of the best calls of this year's WSOP. Nguyen shook his head and showed down 4 3. Lam rolled over 10 10 for a better two pair, shipping him a pot worth $11,460,000.

A short time later, Nguyen raised to $530,000 from the small blind and was called by Philip Hilm from the big blind. The flop came Q 6 5 and Nguyen bet out $600,000. Hilm made the call, and the turn brought the K. Nguyen checked, and Hilm fired out $1.2 million. Nguyen moved all in, and Hilm insta-called for his last $6,845,000 with 5 5. Nguyen tabled A Q and to his dismay, was drawing dead. The river was a meaningless 4, doubling Hilm and leaving Nguyen with just $1,350,000. Just an orbit later, Hilm returned to finish the job.

He raised to $480,000 from under the gun and Nguyen made the call from the big blind. The flop came K 7 3, and Nguyen pushed all in for his remaining chips. Hilm quickly called and turned over K Q for top pair. Nguyen tabled 10 9 for the flush draw, and had two pulls at nine outs to stay alive. The suspense was thick in the air, as the next two cards were to determine the fate of the fan favorite. The turn was no help when it came 2, and Nguyen stood as he waited for the verdict of the final card. The river surfaced the Q, and the spectators let out a combined gasp and cheer as the Prince was eliminated from the tournament. He quickly left the stage, but soon returned to the arena to make an impromptu speech to the crowd. In a surprisingly moving moment, he took time to thank the fans, saying without them there would be no Scotty Nguyen. He thanked them for giving him all the energy he needed to perform and said he would be back next year. He left to a huge ovation, taking $476,926 and a whole lot of poker history to the rail with him.

Nguyen's elimination brought the field down to 10, and they were combined into one table. Floor staff introduced the lavender $100,000 chips into play and the final 10 were:

Seat 1: Raymond Rahme - $12,875,000
Seat 2:- Alex Kravchenko - $2,810,000
Seat 3: Lee Childs - -$18,050,000
Seat 4:- Jerry Yang - $6,130,000
Seat 5:- Lee Watkinson - $11,715,000
Seat 6:- Steven Garfinkle - $4,925,000
Seat 7:- Tuan Lam - $20,100,000
Seat 8: Philip Hilm - $19,310,000
Seat 9: Jon Kalmar - $20,200,000
Seat 10: Hevad "RainKhan" Khan - 11,035,000

One more player needed to fall and it was clear that no one was going down quietly. Play lasted well into the morning, and the final hand of the "day" was dealt at 4:10 a.m. In that final hand, Steven Garfinkle moved all in for his final $3,515,000 from middle position and was called by Raymond Rahme from the small blind. Garfinkle tabled A 3, but Rahme rolled over Q Q. The flop came K Q J, and the remaining crowd erupted at the prospect of their horses advancing to the final table. The turn and river bricked when they came 62 and Garfinkle was eliminated in tenth place. He takes home $476,926 for his great run. Here are the final table players and their chip counts:

Seat 1: Raymond Rahme - $16,320,000
Seat 2: Alex Kravchenko - $6,570,000
Seat 3: Lee Childs - -$13,240,000
Seat 4:- Jerry Yang - $8,450,000
Seat 5: Lee Watkinson - $9,925,000
Seat 6: Tuan Lam - $21,315,000
Seat 7: Philip Hilm - $22,070,000
Seat 8: Jon Kalmar - $20,320,000
Seat 9: Hevad "RainKhan" Khan - $9,205,000

The final table of the 2007 World Series of Poker main event will kick off at noon Tuesday. Stay tuned to for all of your live coverage from the event.


over 14 years ago

I guess Freddy won't have to go "South" with any chips for awhile!!! Just kidding....absolutely awesome FREDDY!!! WTG!!


over 14 years ago

Freddy's the best he don't win any hand for almost 3 or 4 hours and still won. I hope he come out with a book.


over 14 years ago

I imagine that Lee Watkinson has to be the favorite even with a small stack. Purely from his experience.