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Day Four Action at the North American Poker Championship

Jonathan Little Heads into a Strong Final Table with the Chip Lead

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After an off day on Halloween the remaining 18 players in the 2007 World Poker Tour North American Poker Championship took their seats at noon today and they were all business. Gone was the overwhelming sound of hundreds of chips riffling and players chatting away amongst a large field. The final two tables of the tournament were islands unto themselves, and the silent focus at the tables spread across the room. The players said little and focused on their cards, the final prize was close and each and every player in the room could feel its presence.

Narinder Khasria and Ryan Aiken were the first two to exit when they fell to pocket pairs held by two of the most well-known players remaining in the field. Khasria was eliminated in 18th place when he ran into the pocket queens of Scott Clements. While the pocket eights held by Barry Greenstein were too much for Aiken to overcome, and he made his exit in 17th place.

Deleon on the play-dow dayTiming is everything in poker tournaments, aces become a wasted opportunity if everyone at the table folds, but they are golden when players behind you wake up with a hand. That was what happened early in the day here in Niagara, when two players were eliminated by the aces of Cheryl Deleon: Weikai Chang moved all in preflop and Deleon moved all in over the top of him. Dan Shak moved all in as well and the three players turned up their cards: Chang had pocket queens and Shak had A K, but Deleon had them both beat when she turned up aces. The board rolled out J 7 6 9 J Chang was eliminated in 16th place and Shak busted in 15th place because he had more chips. This hand also put Deleon close to the 1-million-chip benchmark with 920,000.

Arun Jamasi was the next to hit the rail in 14th place when his pocket queens ran into the pocket kings held by Jonathan Little. In addition to these large pots, where player's lives hung on the balance of a coin flip, a lot of pots were raised and reraised between players to gain information and feel each other out. One such hand occurred when Adam Levy raised 27,000 from the button and Little reraised to 105,000 from the small blind. Levy reraised all in for 449,000 and Little mucked his hand.

The steady stream of eliminations continued as the field approached the final table, and the unlucky 13th-place finisher made his exit in one of the biggest hands of the tournament thus far:

Harry Tsoukalos raised to 45,000 and Kofi Farkye announced a raise to 160,000 behind him. Tsoukalos made the call and the flop came Q 8 2. Farkye bet 180,000 and Tsoukalos wasted no time raising it to 650,000. Farkye asked how much Tsoukalos had left and the answer was roughly 250,000 more. Farkye decided to just call, and the turn was the 10. Farkye led out for 100,000 and Tsoukalos quickly called. The river was the 10 and Farkye moved Tsoukalos all in for his last 125,000. Tsoukalos made the call and Farkye turned over two black queens. Tsoukalos slowly got up and walked away from the table. Farkye was now the chip leader with 2,210,000.

Barry Greenstein on the play-down dayLittle continued to be a force at his table and he sent another opponent to the rail when he rivered a flush against Giuseppe Galluzzo. Galluzzo finished in 12th place. It was then Greenstein's turn to send another player to the rail, and he did so by dominating the A-2 of William Hames with A-Q. Greenstein made two pair on the board and that sent Hames home in 11th place. Play continued on a hand-for-hand basis at the two final tables at this point and the action was fivehanded. One more player had to be eliminated before things would combine at a final table of nine. Scott Clements found an opportune time to hold aces when Steve Silverman shoved all in after he smooth called a preflop raise from Little. Little got out of the way and Silverman discovered the bad news of Clement's pocket rockets after he flipped up A-10. No help came on the board and the final table was set. Silverman was eliminated in 10th place and he took home $63,233 CAD (This is the same amount that every player who busted out on the play-down day had received up to this point).

There was a short break and players drew for new seats at the final table. Here is how things looked when they got started:

Seat No. 1: Kofi Farkye - 1,421,000
Seat No. 2: Jonathan Little - 2,149,000
Seat No. 3: Cheryl Lynn Deleon - 1,321,000
Seat No. 4: "Action Jeff" Garza - 469,000
Seat No. 5: Adam Levy - 379,000
Seat No. 6: David Cloutier - 1,563,000
Seat No. 7: Barry Greenstein - 1,226,000
Seat No. 8: Dale Pinchot - 374,000
Seat No. 9: Scott Clements - 1,095,000

When the final table began three of the players sat on short stacks, while the other six had the good fortune to be above 1 million in chips. The short stacks now had to bide their time and wait to get all their money in the middle with the best hand, in hopes that they could become a contender for the title after doubling up. Jeff Garza was the first to accomplish this feat when he raised to 40,000, Greenstein called, and Farkye raised to 110,000. Garza moved all in for an additional 525,000. Greenstein folded and Farkye went into the tank. He finally elected to call with A J, but he was dominated by Garza's A K. The board ran out 10 8 7 6 2, doubling up Garza. The all-in move did not go as well for Levy, when he moved all in from the small blind 40 hands into the final table. David Cloutier called in the big blind and he showed down A 10. Levy was dominated with J 10. The board ran out A 10 5 9 3 and Levy was eliminated in ninth place. He took home $77,813 CAD.

Eight remained at this point and it was Dale Pinchot who was the low man on the totem pole. On his final hand of the evening (hand 53 of the final table) action was folded to Pinchot (during which Garza exposed A 8 when he mucked). Pinchot raised to 48,000, Deleon moved all in from the big blind, and Pinchot made the call for his last 140,000. Deleon tabled A Q and Pinchot showed pocket eights. The board rolled out K Q 9 7 4 and Pinchot was eliminated in 8th place for a $97,266 CAD payday.

Scott Clements on the play-down dayIt was at this point of the tournament that Clements pulled off the best bluff of the tournament. Deleon raised to 45,000 and Clements made the call from the small blind. The flop came Q 9 4, Deleon bet 80,000, and Clements raised to 175,000. Deleon called and the turn fell 9. Clements bet 300,000, and Deleon thought for about a minute before calling. The river was the K and Clements immediately announced all in. Deleon asked if he had her covered and got her answer. Clements had 1,200,000 left and she had fewer than 1 million. She went into the tank for five minutes, repeatedly going over every hand that could beat her. She finally mucked and Clements turned over a heartbreaking 8 6. She angrily slammed the table and shouted an expletive. As Deleon went on tilt, Clements collected the huge pot, and increased his stack to more than 2.2 million. After this hand Clements jumped into the chip lead and play continued a little bit longer until a one-hour dinner break was taken at 5:35 p.m.

Affter the dinner break, on hand 75 of the final table, things only got worse for Deleon: Farkye raised to 60,000 and Deleon reraised to 100,000. Farkye said, "I guess this is where I go home," and then he moved all in for his last 650,000. Deleon took a couple of minutes and made the call with A Q. Farkye turned up pocket nines and they were racing. The board came 9 8 6 J K and Farkye doubled up to 1,650,000, while Deleon was down to 310,000. The end was near for Deleon and she moved all in from the small blind 29 hands later. Garza immediately called and showed down pocket jacks. Deleon sheepishly turned over 10 5 and the board fell K 7 2 8 9 to eliminate her in seventh place. She was the unfortunate television bubble girl, but she did take home $121,583 CAD in prize money. After Deleon busted, play ended for the night, and the players bagged up their chips. Here is how things will look when they return for the final table tomorrow:

Seat No. 1: Kofi Farkye - 1,504,000
Seat No. 2: Jonathan Little - 2,616,000
Seat No. 3: Jeff "ActionJeff" Garza - 1,320,000
Seat No. 4: David Cloutier - 1,614,000
Seat No. 5: Barry Greenstein - 447,000
Seat No. 6: Scott "BigRiskky" Clements - 2,483,000

Little comes into the final table with the chip lead, and he is currently in fifth place in the Card Player Player of the Year race. We will see if he can make up some ground on the current leader, David "The Dragon" Pham, tomorrow. Tune in to CardPlayer.com tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST to catch all the action in live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos.