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Vin Narayanan

Vin  Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

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Phil Ivey still alive as WSOP Main Event waves good bye to Lou Diamond Phillips

13 Jul 2009

By Vin Narayanan

LAS VEGAS -- It's amazing how much the mood of a tournament can shift in one day. On Saturday, tension, drama and finally relief filled the Amazon Room as 648 players finally made the money at the World Series of Poker Main Event. On Sunday, the Amazon Room was filled with pure joy.

Now that they were in the money, the pressure was off most of the 407 players remaining in the tournament -- and it showed. Players were laughing and joking around as they played on a reconfigured tournament floor. Tables had become talkative again. The Amazon Room, which had been filled to brim with poker tables and players, now had just over 40 tables spread out over the entire tournament space.

Dennis Phillips

Dennis Phillips is still alive the 2009 WSOP Main Event. And he's added some more signatures to the hat he's going to auction off for charity. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

The result was wide open spaces between tables, allowing plenty of room for ESPN cameras to move around, and fans to line up along the rail.

Every time player moved all in, fans crowded the rail, hoping to get a better view. And camera crews raced over to the table, hoping to catch a dramatic showdown.

And for the first time at the Series, the fans at the featured tables were emotionally in it as well, gasping in shock at bad beats and cheering big wins.

By the end of the day, 185 of players remained. Among the notable players bounced from the tournament were Dan Harrington, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kara Scott, Vitaly Lunkin, Thor Hansen and Sorel Mizzi.

The chip leader after Day 5 action ended was Warren Zackey, who had 4,872,00 in chips. Tom Schneider (3,168,000), Matt Affleck (2,882,000), James Akenhead (2,692,000), Phil Ivey (1,380,000), Dennis Phillips (1,009,000), Antonio Esfandiari (1,227,000), Peter Eastgate (927,000), Joe Hachem (540,000) and J.C. Tran (720,000) are still alive in the tournament as well.

Zackey won his Main Event seat in a tournament held at the Piggs Peak Casino in Swaziland, which neighbors South Africa. Zackey cites Raymond Rahme third-place finish in the 2007 WSOP as his inspiration to start playing tournament poker.

"Rahme made many players start playing in poker tournaments in South Africa," said Zackey. "He was excellent for the country."

The most bizarre happening of the day took place when Kasper Cordes won a monster pot of more than 2.6 million in chips. As Cordes was raking in his chips, several reporters asked his name, which he declined to give. The ESPN producers knew he was a "Kasper," but were unsure of his last name. Defending Main Event champ Peter Eastgate came by to check on his friend's progress, but he refused to give up his name to WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla. Finaly, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel walked up to "Kasper" and asked for his name. Initially, Kasper declined.

"I'm the tournament director," Effel told Kasper. "You have to tell me your name." Finally, the player told Effel is name was Kasper Cordes. Cordes finished the day second in chips with 4,295,000.

Here's a pictorial look at the day that was.

Kara Scott

Kara Scott wasn't the last woman standing at the World Series of Poker Main Event (two women are still left in the tournament). But this is second-straight year she has cashed in the tournament. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips busted out on the last hand of the day Sunday. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari ponders a decision at the WSOP Main Event. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey struggled early. But he rebounded to finish with 1,380,000 in chips. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)


ESPN kept their cameras trained on Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier at the featured table. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

James Akenhead

If you're wondering what 3 million chips look like, check out James Akenhead's stack. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Kasper Cordes

Kasper Kordes shows us how to stack 2.6 million in chips after winning a monster pot. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Amazon Room

Here's what the Amazon Room in the Rio looked like Sunday without the players. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)


Some of the poker fans dressed to impress. Maybe she didn't know Lou Diamond Phillips was married. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Dream Team Poker

In the nearby Brasilia Room, Lacey Jones and Men "The Master" Nguyen play in the Dream Team Poker tournament. (Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

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