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Day Three at the Gulf Coast Poker Championship

Two Chips and a Chair Are All Bill Edler Needs to Make A WPT Final Table

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The third day of play at the inaugural World Poker Tour Gulf Coast Poker Championship featured some entertaining story lines en route to the TV-final table of six players. There were some hometown heroes in the hunt, a collection of unknown amateurs, and, as always, a sampling of the top poker talent on the planet. One of those professionals would make an amazing comeback to survive the day. The final three tables started their quest at 2 p.m. CST and excitement filled the air due to a large number of railbirds present in the room to sweat local business owner Bobby Mahoney. Mary Mahoney's restaurant resides right across the street from the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, and looking around the room, you could tell right away it is a popular place among the locals. It also didn't hurt that Mahoney is a charismatic character in his own right, and he gave the local supporters a show when things were all said and done for the night, despite the fact that he didn't make the final table.

During the first level of play, Gene Coggins, Lee Markholt, Nadim Shabou, Pat Madden, Chad Brown, and Haralabos Voulgaris all fell in succession in places 27 to 22. Brown met a uniquely horrible end when L.D. Williams filled up a gutshot-straight draw against him on the turn to crack pocket aces and send him packing. All six of these early eliminations took home $14,017 as a consolation prize. After the first break, a poker legend was eliminated from the tournament. T.J. Cloutier raised to $27,000 from late position, and was reraised all in by L.D. Williams. Cloutier said, "All right, I'll gamble with ya," and he made the call with K Q. Williams flipped up pocket fours, and the board ran out A 2 2 J 9 to eliminate Cloutier in 21st place ($14,017). Cloutier got up from the table and dejectedly exhaled, "Couldn't even beat a pair of fours." Bob Slezak was sent to the rail next in 20th place ($14,017) by Mahoney, and over half of the rail cheered the local restaurateur's victory in the pot. Larry Kozlove fell in 19th ($14,017), and Sean Morrison busted in 18th place ($18,690).

Two Chips and a Chair

That was when Bill Edler took a large hit to his final table hopes: Edler raised to $24,000 and Bob Cole made the call. Tim Frazin raised all in from the small blind for $223,000 and Edler made the call. Cole mucked and Edler showed A 10. Frazin showed K K and began to bemoan Edler's call, saying that he knew an ace was coming and he would lose. The flop came A J 7 and he said, "I knew it." But the turn was the K and Frazin sat back down. The river was the 9 and Edler was crippled and down to $2,000. As if that wasn't enough, he was the big blind the next hand. On that hand, Edler announced he was all in from the big blind, which got a laugh from the table and the rail. Frazin and David Robbins called the big blind and checked down a board of Q J 9 3 6 but neither player connected. Edler showed down 8 3 to take down the pot and increase his stack to $11,000.

On the next hand, Edler tripled up with a pair of aces and the comeback march was going at full force. Edler had $48,000 after the hand and ran that up to over $300,000 by the time the players got down to a final table of 10. The comeback conjured up very nostalgic similarities with the infamous comeback of Jack "Treetop" Straus. Treetop had come back from owning just one chip to win the 1982 World Series of Poker main event. If Edler wins here in Biloxi, it will become the greatest comeback in World Poker Tour history.

One Hometown Favorite Eliminates Another

On the way to the final table, Bob Cole was eliminated in 17th Place ($18,690), Lyle Vincent was eliminated in 16th place ($18,690), and Bobby Mahoney was eliminated in 15th Place ($18,690). The elimination of Mahoney was the saddest of the day for local fans and players alike. Mahoney became well known during the day for his witty anecdotes and funny jokes. Over half the rail in attendance followed Mahoney out of the room as he made his exit from the tournament. Ironically, it was local professional "Captain" Tom Franklin that busted Mahoney with pocket tens over pocket fours. Franklin is from the sister city of Biloxi, which is Gulfport. Score one for the sister city to the West in local poker bragging rights. Mahoney was all smiles after the hand though, and he was happily serving customers delicious food and hearty helpings of hospitality across the street within hours of his elimination.

The Final Countdown

Tim Hebert was eliminated next, in 14th place ($23,262), by Jonathan Little. This hand gave Little over $1 million in chips and he had collected them in the same quiet nature that befits his personality. Clint Schafer was the next to fall in 13th place ($23,262): Little eliminated Schafer on the hand, but it was Vanessa Rousso who tripled up to $245,000. Her luck ran out quite quickly though, and she hit the rail in 12th place ($28,035) a few hands later. Bernard Lee was the next to fall in 11th place ($28,035).

The final table of 10 was set:

Seat No. 1 - Captain Tom Franklin - 501,000
Seat No. 2 - Bill Edler - 228,000
Seat No. 3 - John Davidson - 651,000
Seat No. 4 - L.D. Williams - 84,000
Seat No. 5 - Fletcher McKinney - 502,000
Seat No. 6 - Surinder Sunar - 271,000
Seat No. 7 - David Robbins - 155,000
Seat No. 8 - Tim Frazin - 492,000
Seat No. 9 - Jonathan Little - 1,300,000
Seat No. 10 - Hank Sitton - 814,000

L.D. Williams was the first to leave the final table in 10th place ($28,035). He was followed by Surinder Sunar in ninth place ($46,726). Fletcher McKinney was eliminated in eighth place ($70,088), and the television-table bubble boy was Little. Little is now in fourth place in the Card Player Player of the Year race due to the 312 points he won for the seventh-place finish. In the 143 hands that took place on the way to the television table, Franklin took control of the chip lead and he ended the day with $1,040,000. Edler ($1,005,000 at the day's end) is still on his quest to accomplish the unthinkable by winning this tournament after getting knocked down to two $1,000 chips earlier in the day. There will be Player of the Year implications at the final table, as well. Edler (currently sixth in the POY race) can gain some ground on David Pham and surpass J.C. Tran to jump into second place if he pulls off the amazing comeback tomorrow night. Edler is currently in third place of the POY race after making the final table tonight. The final table will begin at 4 p.m. CST tomorrow, and here is how things will look:

Seat No. 1 - "Captain" Tom Franklin - $1,040,000
Seat No. 2 - Bill Edler - $1,005,000
Seat No. 3 - John Davidson - $1,011,000
Seat No. 4 - David Robbins - $727,000
Seat No. 5 - Tim Frazin - $499,000
Seat No. 6 - Hank Sitton - $846,000

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com and WorldPokerTour.com for all the final table action.