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WPT: Legends of Poker Day 4 Recap

Final Table Set; Amit Makhija Leads


Amit MakhijaDay 4 of the 2008 Legends of Poker was expected to be a long, drawn-out battle down to the final six players. Just four hours in, however, the final 10 had already been determined. Coming into the day with 27 players, there were no shortage of huge pots, huge suckouts, and huge collapses that whittled the field down at a rapid rate early.

Short stacks Ben “bfineman” Fineman and Adam Weinraub quickly made their exits, and then one of the biggest pots of the tournament went Amit “AMAK316” Makhija’s way after he eliminated Ron Jenkins. Makhija caught Jenkins making a move with a big draw and his top pair held up to catapult him into the chip lead.

After Allen Cunningham and Maria Ho were eliminated, a long string of short stacks ended their days in standard, continuous fashion. The following players all received $21,125 for their efforts.

27. Ben Fineman
26. Adam Weinraub
25. Ron Jenkins
24. Allen Cunningham
23. Maria Ho
22. Tan Le
21. Jim Hof
20. Marco Johnson
19. Kirk Conrad

John PhanTournament directors then redrew for the final two tables, expecting the action to hit the proverbial wall. Of course, the players had other ideas, as Rodeen Talebi, Philip Stark, Samuel Ngai, and Takashi Shiono were sent packing.

Just half an hour later, Gary Najaryan’s day ended when his pocket kings went down to Zachary Clark’s set of fours. Clark was also able to score a huge side-pot on the hand from Layne Flack to put him near the top of the leader board for the first time all day.

Short-stacked Lee Markholt then found himself all in with A-K against John Phan’s pocket fives. Markholt was able to catch up when an ace hit the turn, but a 5 on the river ensured that he would not improve on last year’s ninth-place finish in this event.

Then, just before the break, Jinyun Lin and Sirous Baghchehsaraie were taken out to bring the player count to 10. Normally, the final 10 would then combine to play out the remainder of the tournament, but at the Bicycle Casino, both tables play five-handed until a player is eliminated to create a nine-handed final table. About an hour into hand-for-hand play, Denny Lee’s pocket jacks ran into Trong Nguyen’s pocket kings.

Once the final nine were assembled, play became very cautious, and each person took great care with each decision, making sure to avoid a disastrous blunder for all of their chips. That blunder eventually came when Raymond Voskanian pushed all in with pocket tens on a board with three overcards and three cards to a flush and ran into Matt Keikoan’s diamond flush. Voskanian finished in ninth place and earned $70,415.

Layne Flack It took a while for the next player to go, but when he did, it became perhaps the most important hand of the day. Here's how it went down, according to Card Player's live updates page.

Layne Flack Eliminated in 8th Place ($105,620) John Phan Takes POY Lead

In perhaps the biggest drawout of the tournament, John Phan just eliminated Layne Flack in eighth place.

John Phan raised to 110,000 and Layne Flack reraised to 360,000, leaving just 300,000 behind. After the dealer pulled in the bets, Phan counted out 550,000 from his stack, seeing how much he'd be left with if he put Flack all in and lost.

After a few minutes of thought, Phan asked for the dealer's "all in" button, as he has done all tournament long. Realizing that this could be an angle to see his opponent's reaction, the tournament director informed Phan that the next time he asks for the button, he will be all in.

Phan, thinking he had accidently committed himself, said, "Oh, Layne, they had me scared. I thought I went all in." Flack, realizing the situation, replied, "I know what you were doing. You were trying to scare me, so we're even." After another minute of deliberation, Phan tossed in the button and both players turned over their cards.

Flack: A A
Phan: 7 7

The flop came out 7 6 4 and the crowd gasped as Phan flopped a set. The turn took all hope away from Flack when the 7 peeled off the deck, giving Phan quads. The inconsequential river card was the Q, and Flack was eliminated in eighth place, earning $105,620.

Phan won the pot and chipped up to over 2 million in chips in the process. The elimination is also important to Phan for more than just the chips or the pay increase. With Flack's elimination in eighth place, Phan was guaranteed to surpass Erik Seidel for the lead in the Card Player Player of the Year race.

Zachary ClarkJust a few hands after a break, Matt Keikoan shoved his 10-big-blinds stack from the small blind and was snap-called by Zachary Clark. Keikoan's 7-4 offsuit was in trouble to Clark's A-K, and a king on the flop all but sealed his fate. Keikoan was eliminated on the TV final-table bubble and earned $140,830 for his finish.

Here are the chip counts heading into the final table:

Seat 1: Trong Nguyen — 980,000
Seat 2: Amit Makhija — 3,225,000
Seat 3: Paul Smith — 1,130,000
Seat 4: John Phan — 2,415,000
Seat 5: Zachary Clark — 2,025,000
Seat 6: Kyle Wilson — 1,425,000