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Chips tilt toward 'Amazon Triangle' at WSOP Main Event

15 Jul 2010

By Vin Narayanan
LAS VEGAS -- There were dozens of tables in play Wednesday during Day 5 of the World Series of Poker Main Event. But three tables -- ten feet apart -- controlled all the action. In a room filled with baseball hats, t-shirts, sunglasses and Full Tilt and PokerStars patches, two players who were among the biggest stacks in the tournament when play began stood out from the rest -- and formed the first point in the Amazon Triangle. Tony Dunst, who started the day as WSOP Main Event chip leader with 1.546 million in chips, looked like a character from "Mad Men," wearing a suit and skinny tie while sitting in the number-two seat at table 352 in the Amazon Room at the Rio. Matt Affleck, seated directly to Dunst's right, sported a Seattle Mariners jersey to go with his 1.395 million in chips. Neither player wore a patch for an online poker room. Dunst only wore his sunglasses while in a hand. Both players had ready smiles as they talked to each other. "I was playing a Razz tournament for fun last night," Affleck said. "Really?" asked Dunst laughingly. "Hey, the first WSOP event I cashed in was the $2,500 Razz last year," Affleck said. And so it went at table 352, unless they were in a hand. And then it was all business -- and action. And both players saw plenty of action. Early in the day, Affleck seemed to be able to push players out of any hand by betting 100,000. He took down several pots and moved past the two-million chip mark by doing just that. But it was late in the afternoon when he registered his big score and vaulted into the chip lead after taking all of Hugo Franca's chips in a massive pot. With the board reading Kc-6c-4s-Qd-Jd, Franca pushed all in. Affleck thought about his next move for a few minutes and then called. As soon as Affleck called, Franca folded his hand without showing and exited the tournament. The pot pushed Affleck past the three-million chip mark. Affleck ended the day with 2.896 million in chips. Dunst was involved in his fair share of hands, but never really gained any traction. He hovered around the 1.2 million mark for most of the day before stumbling late. He finished with 327,000 in chips. As play continued Wednesday, Bryn Kenney and his 1 million-plus stack joined the Affleck-Dunst table. And a couple of hours later, Kenney made his big move and picked up 1 million chips in two big pots. In the first pot, Kenney flopped a set of nines to eliminate Kelly Johnson. In the second hand, he bet on every street of an Ac-10c-6h-8d-8h board and forced his opponent, Vladislav Varlashin, to fold. The two big pots gave Kenney about 2.2 million in chips, and he finished the day with 2.902 million. Sitting at a table adjacent to Affleck and Dunst was two-time champion Johnny Chan. Chan, the second point in the Amazon Triangle, kept a close eye on what his young competitors were up to. Every 10 to 15 minutes, Chan would wander over to watch Affleck and Dunst play. He'd take in the hand they were on, count their chip stacks and then return to his seat. After Affleck won his big pot from Franca, Chan circled the table to look at Affleck's chip stack from a couple of different angles before returning to his table to play a hand. Chan, who eliminated two players on Day 5 with pocket kings, finished with 2.559 million in chips --and an up-close look at Affleck and Dunst. The table on the third point of the Amazon Triangle featured Theo Jorgensen, Sanghyon (Joseph) Cheong and Jesper Hougaard. Jorgensen, who did a little celebration dance every time he hit a lucky card -- it was a cross between the robot and the running man -- knocked out Donny Mizrachi enroute to building a 3.2 million chip stack. Donny, the youngest of the Mizrachis, moved all in pre-flop for 67,000 with Jd-9d. Jorgensen called with Kc-Qc and the flop came out 6d-9d-10s, giving Mizrachi a pair of nines. "You're going to win this," Hougaard told Jorgensen. "You're the luckiest man in the world." And sure enough, after a deuce missed both players, a jack hit on the river to give Jorgensen a straight. "I told you, you're the luckiest man in the world," said Hougaard. Jorgensen ignored Hougaard, finished his dance and stacked his chips. Meanwhile Ronnie Bardah, who was sitting on Jorgensen's right, tried to strike a deal with Jorgensen on his crazy dancing. "When you get your crazy suckout on me, please don't do that dance," Bardah asked the Dane from Copenhagen. But Jorgensen made no promises and kept stacking his chips. He finished with 3.088 million in chips. And Cheong, who was sitting across the table from him, finished with 3.357 million. Hougaard, who started the day with 871,000, finished with 688,000. While the Amazon Triangle soaked up most of the chips Wednesday, a few other players managed to make a move up the leaderboard, including Jean-Robert Bellande. (Casino City 's Aaron Todd has a complete report on Wednesday's movers and shakers.) Bellande opened the day with 356,000 in chips, and during the first hour of play he had almost doubled up. But he took a little hit to his stack when he tangled with Alper Sar. Sar pushed all in pre-flop for 80,000 and Bellande didn't waste much time in deciding whether to call him. "My Turkish friend, you haven't played a hand all day," Bellande said. "But I call." Bellande flipped over Ac-9c and Sar showed pocket threes. Sar's threes held up and Bellande bemoaned his woes. "I don't do well with coin flips," Bellande said. "I won one earlier in the Series and that filled my quota for this year." Bellande ended the day with 946,000 in chips. Scotty Nguyen, Vitaly Lunkin, Brandon Cantu, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier, Jason Somerville, Evelyn Ng, Sammy Farha and Shannon Shorr were among the top pros who exited the tournament Wednesday. Vince Van Patten and Bruce Buffer were also eliminated Wednesday.

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