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WSOP Main Event: Day 5 notebook

15 Jul 2010

By Aaron Todd
The World Series of Poker's Main Event has completed five of the eight days it will take to determine this year's November Nine, and 205 players will come back tomorrow to vie for a spot at the world's most prestigious final table. Casino City will be here until the final table is determined to provide all the latest news and notes from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino's Amazon Room.


Hasan Habib, who started the day with 875,000 chips, won a pot early in the day and was up over 1 million. A few minutes later, he could be seen scrolling through the live update pages on to see if someone had recorded his winning hand.

While he was scrolling, he got a small gift from a player in the small blind. With blinds at 3,000/6,000, Habib raised to 16,000 in middle position. It was folded around to the small blind, who hadn't seen the raise and put 3,000 out to call the big blind when the dealer informed him that the bet was 16,000.

"I guess that (3,000) is in there, huh?" he said before folding. The big blind also folded, and Habib picked up the blinds and antes, plus a bonus 3,000 from the small blind.

Habib's fortunes turned, however, as he ended the day with just 280,000 chips.


There's always a bit of a battle of the patches at the ESPN feature tables, with PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and other online poker sites looking to get some publicity from players who will be appearing on TV.

At the start of Day 5, PokerStars and Full Tilt tied, with each sporting three players at both the main feature table and the secondary feature table. Doyle's Room also had a representative at each table, while had a player at the secondary feature table. Team PokerStars pro Vanessa Selbst started the day at the secondary feature table, but busted early in the day to cash for $27,519.


Patrick Hartnett can be forgiven for thinking a five was a deuce.

Patrick Hartnett can be forgiven for thinking a five was a deuce. (photo by Aaron Todd)

Patrick Hartnett can be excused for misreading the river card in what was almost a million-chip pot. With a set of fours and facing an opponent with pocket queens, Hartnett was looking for anything but a queen on the river to double up.

"Deuce! Deuce!" he begged, just before the dealer peeled off a five.

"Deuce!" he exclaimed and jumped out of his chair.

"Actually, it's a five," said Jason Somerville, somewhat perplexed.

Regardless, the river hadn't changed anything, and Hartnett raked in a monster pot.

According to live updates on, Hartnett played a few pots blind and had positive results. He finished the day with 850,000.


With some players building multi-million chip stacks, the floor started to color up the yellow 1,000 chips in exchange for green 25,000 chips during level 18, the second level of the day.

Most players were happy to make the trade and reclaim some extra space on the table (Johnny Chan traded 200 yellow chips for eight green ones), but two of the chip leaders were reticent to do so.

"I guess some people aren't as insecure about their stack size as we are," said Tony Dunst.

"Bigger is better," Matt Affleck said while looking directly at the ESPN cameras.

Affleck finished the day with 2.9 million chips, while Dunst lost some monster pots and has just 327,000.


Vince Van Patten saw his tournament end early on Day 5.

Vince Van Patten saw his tournament end early on Day 5. (photo by Aaron Todd)

Vince Van Patten showed up for Day 5 action sporting a new patch. Unfortunately for Van Patten (and for PartyPoker), he ran about as good as Tuff_Fish, and he was eliminated in 481st place to win $27,519.


As the field was consolidated into fewer and fewer tables, there was less and less space for players, media and tournament staff to roam. There was a lot more incidental contact, with people bumping into each other just trying to get table-to-table to watch the action. And at least one player got knocked in the head with the back end of a boom mic as an ESPN crew rushed to a different table to tape an all-in hand.


It was all over, baby, for Scotty Nguyen late on Day 5.

It was all over, baby, for Scotty Nguyen late on Day 5. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Scotty Nguyen, sitting at ESPN's secondary feature table, was happy to dish out some poker wisdom after a big laydown.

"It's like that song says," Nguyen explained, asking spectators for help on the lyrics of Kenny Rogers's iconic song "The Gambler."

"There's no such thing as pot committed," Nguyen continued. "When you know you're beat, lay it down."

Nguyen's ran out of solid reads, however, when he ran his ace-jack into pocket kings at the very end of the day, as he finished in 209th place.


There was a slow, steady line of players streaming to collect payouts on Day 5, as 369 players were eliminated. Each time a player is eliminated, a dealer not working at a table accompanies the player to meet with tournament officials. Most of the players walk in a daze, having trouble believing what just happened, and while on the walk, many send the inevitable "I'm out" text.


Steve Billirakis moved up the leaderboard early on Wednesday, winning a huge pot by eliminating three players in one hand. Billirakis held pocket jacks and had already called Bernard Lee's all-in bet when two other players moved all in behind him, one of whom had about 300,000 more chips.

After mulling it over for several minutes, Billirakis called and showed pocket jacks. Lee held ace-four and the other two players had pocket 10s and ace-king. The flop brought the case aces, but also a jack to give Billirakis jacks full. He dodged the remaining fours and kings to take out three players and rise above the 1 million chip mark.

His fortunes turned, however, when he went all in with two pair only to be called by a set, and he finished the tournament in 257th place for $41,967.


Padraig Parkinson got a visit from Marcel Luske, who was busy on the rails during the afternoon of Day 5.

"You're about to double up six times," said Luske.

"Once would be nice," the Irishman responded. "I'm not greedy; I'm just happy to be involved."

Unfortunately, Parkinson isn't involved anymore; he busted in 267th, cashing in for $41,967.
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