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November 24, 2014

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World Series of Poker:

Down to the final two

Demidov, Eastgate play heads up Monday for more than $9 million

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Tiffany Brown

Friends and family of Peter Eastgate cheer for the 22-year-old from Denmark during the main event of the World Series of Poker’s final table live from the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas, on Sunday night, Nov. 9, 2008.

Updated Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008 | 1:30 a.m.

WSOP Final Table

A look at the scene of the final table of the World Series of Poker's main event being held inside the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas, on Sunday night, Nov. 9, 2008. Launch slideshow »

World Series of Poker

Alex, Jeff Haney and Andy Samuelson set the stage for 2008's final table.

Monday's Schedule

  • 9:30 p.m.: Doors open at the Penn & Teller Theater for the general public (first come, first served).
  • 9:55 p.m.: Player of the year ceremony for Erick Lindgren.
  • 10 p.m.: Welcoming ceremony.
  • 10:01 p.m.: Michael Buffer to announce "Shuffle up and deal!"
  • 10:04 p.m.: Cards in the air.

Prize money awarded

  • Third place: Dennis Phillips, age 53, St. Louis, $4,517,773
  • Fourth place: Ylon Schwartz, 38, Brooklyn, N.Y., $3,774,974
  • Fifth place: Scott Montgomery, 26, Perth, Ontario, Canada, $3,096,768
  • Sixth place: Darus Suharto, 39, Toronto, $2,418,562
  • Seventh place: David "Chino" Rheem, 28, Los Angeles, $1,772,650
  • Eighth place: Kelly Kim, 31, Whittier, Calif., $1,288,217
  • Ninth place: 9. Craig Marquis, 23, Arlington, Texas, $900,670

And then there were two.

Ivan Demidov, a 27-year-old Russian, and Peter Eastgate, a 22-year-old from Denmark, will play heads-up for the 2008 World Series of Poker main event championship Monday night at the Rio.

They were the last two standing from the 6,844 players who started the tournament when it began in July, and from the nine who reconvened Sunday for the final table after a 117-day break.

First-place prize money of $9.1 million is at stake, as well as a coveted world championship bracelet, with the runner-up to receive $5.8 million.

The third- and fourth-place finishers were both eliminated early Monday when they were caught bluffing.

During three-handed action, Dennis Phillips, who had the fewest chips at the table, went all-in holding just a 9 and a 10 after the flop came jack-3-4. It was an ill-timed bluff for Phillips because Eastgate was holding pocket 3s for a "set," or three of a kind.

Phillips, an account manager for a commercial trucking company in St. Louis, earned $4.5 million for finishing third.

"I came in here telling you I was going to have fun, and I guarantee you, I had fun," Phillips said.

The thinking behind the bluff was solid, even if Phillips' timing was off.

"I figured unless he had a jack, he'd have to fold it if I pushed in," he said. "Of course, he had a set. So anyhow, it was a bad move."

Ylon Schwartz of Brooklyn, N.Y., went out in fourth place when Eastgate called his all-in bluff with a full house on fifth street. Schwartz was making a move with a hand of only ace high.

A confirmed free spirit, Schwartz said his $3.7 million fourth-place prize money would be enough to allow him to disappear somewhere for a while -- maybe a deserted island, maybe up on some high cold mountain range -- but not forever. So he'll be back playing poker at some point.

The pairing of Demidov and Eastgate ensures the World Series main event winner will come from outside of the U.S. for the second consecutive year and the third time in four years. Jerry Yang, last year's champion, is a native of Laos. Joe Hachem, the 2005 winner, was born in Lebanon.

Eastgate, who has $79.5 million in tournament chips to Demidov's $57.7 million, would be the youngest main event winner if he hangs on. With a victory he would beat the record held by Phil Hellmuth, who was 24 when he won in 1989. (Annette Obrestad won the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe main event at age 18.)

One-outer sinks Montgomery; Suharto finishes sixth (10:20 p.m.):

A heartbreaking 1-in-43 shot on the final card of the hand eliminated Scott Montgomery from the World Series of Poker main event in fifth place, shortly after fellow Canadian Darus Suharto took sixth, leaving four men to compete for poker's richest and most venerable prize.

Montgomery was all-in holding the ace-3 of diamonds against Peter Eastgate's pocket 6s with the board reading ace-4-queen-ace and one card to come. Dennis Phillips had folded a 6, leaving Eastgate one out ... but the case 6, a diamond, came on the river to KO Montgomery. Phillips fished his 6 out of the muck afterward to prove it was a true one-outer.

Montgomery, whose hurt feelings were soothed by the $3.09 million he earned for fifth place, pointed out he was actually an underdog when all the chips went in.

"I saw it coming," he said.

World Series of Poker officials could not have asked for a more compelling hand for their TV broadcast of the main event final table scheduled for Tuesday on ESPN.

"People might think this stuff is scripted for TV, but it's just turning out beautifully," World Series commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said.

Suharto, who was short-stacked, exited in a much more routine manner when his ace-8 failed to improve against Montgomery's ace-queen.

An accountant from Toronto, Suharto planned to return to work next week after earning $2.4 million for his sixth-place finish.

He relied on a strategy that attempted to combine good cards with good card sense in the World Series.

"If I had a hand, I was going to go for it," Suharto said. "If somebody raised and I thought they were weak, I'd pop it."

Ivan Demidov holds the chip lead in the final four with $49.1 million in tournament chips, followed by Peter Eastgate ($47.6 million), Ylon Schwartz ($22.1 million) and Dennis Phillips ($17.3 million).

Two inducted to Poker Hall of Fame (7:20 p.m.):

Before play resumes after the dinner break at the World Series of Poker final table, the Poker Hall of Fame will honor its two 2008 inductees, Dewey Tomko and Henry Orenstein.

Tomko has won three World Series of Poker championship bracelets and twice finished second in the World Series main event. He has played in the main event for a record 35 consecutive years.

Orenstein, a Holocaust survivor who won the 1996 World Series 7-card stud championship and made the final table in the 1995 main event, holds more than 100 patents -- including U.S. Patent 5,451,054 for what is popularly known as the "hole-card camera," which revolutionized the game by allowing TV productions to detect and display players' hole cards in poker. Among his other patents are those covering Sesame Street toys and Transformers toys.

The Poker Hall of Fame, virtual in nature, was established in 1979 and acquired by Harrah's Entertainment along with the World Series in 2004. Tomko and Orenstein become the 36th and 37th members.

L.A. poker pro ‘Chino’ Rheem third man knocked out (6:50 p.m.):

Six of the nine finalists in the World Series of Poker advanced to the dinner break Sunday evening, with David "Chino" Rheem, a 28-year-old poker pro from Los Angeles, going out in seventh place.

Rheem was down to his final $3.5 million in chips when he went all-in preflop holding ace-king. He was called by Peter Eastgate of Denmark, who was holding ace-queen. A queen appeared on the flop and the rest of the board showed rags to knock out Rheem, who earned more than $1.7 million for seventh.

"I'm trying to stay positive and think about next year, but I know how high the odds are against making the final table two years in a row at the World Series of Poker," said Rheem, a bit shaken by losing a hand in which he had his opponent dominated before the flop.

Here's how the chip stacks stack up for the final six players, who will resume the tournament after dinner:

1. Ivan Demidov, $30.7 million in tournament chips.

2. Peter Eastgate, $27.1 million.

3. Dennis Phillips, $26.9 million.

4. Ylon Schwartz, $20.4 million.

5. Scott Montgomery, $20.3 million.

6. Darus Suharto, $10.6 million.

And the prizes awarded so far to players who have been eliminated:

7. David "Chino" Rheem, $1,772,650 in prize money.

8. Kelly Kim, $1,288, 217.

9. Craig Marquis, $900,670.

Seven players remain at final table (4:45 p.m.):

Craig Marquis, a 23-year-old college student from Arlington, Texas, became the first player eliminated from the final table of the World Series of Poker main event Sunday afternoon at the Rio.

He was followed shortly afterward by Kelly Kim, who went out in eighth place.

Marquis went all-in preflop with a pair of sevens for his last $4.9 million in chips and was called by Scott Montgomery, who had ace-queen.

The flop came 7-ace-10, giving Marquis a huge lead with a set of 7s against Montgomery's inside straight draw.

A jack fell on the turn, meaning Marquis would win the hand unless one of the four unseen kings hit the river.

The king of spades fell, devastating Marquis and making an ace-high straight for Montgomery, a 26-year-old from Perth, Ontario, Canada.

Marquis took the hit with remarkably good humor, pointing out that while he might have been a tremendous favorite heading into the final card, he was only a slight favorite when all the money went into the middle of the table.

"That's the way a poker player has to look at it," said Marquis, who won $900,670 in prize money. "It wasn't really that bad of a beat."

Marquis said his strategy entailed shooting for the top prize of $9.1 million rather than trying to sneak up a couple of spots in the final standings. Kim collected $1.28 million for eighth place.

"I was going for the whole $9 million, not just the extra $300,000," Marquis said. "I was playing to win. I wasn't playing not to lose."

Kim was severely short-stacked when his final bet drew three callers, including two who saw the hand to the river. Kim tossed his cards into the muck when he couldn't beat Darus Suharto's pair of nines.

Chip leader Ivan Demidov of Moscow, Russia, looks like the most dangerous of the remaining seven players, Kim said afterward.

Marquis also predicted Demidov would make a strong run the rest of the way in the tournament, which will be played down to its final two players Sunday night.

"Ivan is definitely a sicko," Marquis said, paying the chip leader one of modern-day poker's highest compliments.

All nine remain at afternoon break (2:45 p.m.):

The nine finalists in the World Series of Poker main event remained alive by mid-afternoon, though two risked all their chips in separate hands just before the players took a short break.

Kelly Kim, who started the day with the smallest stack of chips, went all-in with ace-king before the flop against David "Chino" Reem of Los Angeles, who also had a king with the ace of hearts.

When three hearts came on the flop — an 8, a 10 and a jack — Kim was in danger of elimination.

The turn brought the queen of clubs, and the river the queen of diamonds. Kim celebrated the split pot, his tournament life intact ... for now.

In the final hand before the break, Dennis Phillips, who started the day as the chip leader, went all-in with a pair of queens and was called by Rheem, who had a pair of jacks. Phillips' queens held up as the board showed a king and three small cards.

Ylon Schwartz, a 38-year-old New Yorker, holds the lead with about $40 million in tournament chips. Kim remains the low man with a little under $2 million.

The next level requires a $50,000 ante and blinds of $200,000 and $400,000.

The ninth-place finisher will earn $900,670 in prize money.

Each of the nine finalists were paid their ninth-place money on July 15 before the tournament took its 117-day hiatus.

The rest of the prize pool ($24,527,416) was placed in an interest-bearing account, the Fidelity Institutional Money Market Fund Treasury Only Portfolio, where it accrued $98,179 in interest. That money was added to the prize payouts for the first-place through eighth-place finishers.

Phillips falls back with the pack (1:30 p.m.):

With poker's richest and most prestigious prize at stake, the nine finalists in the 2008 World Series of Poker main event began competing for the no-limit Texas hold 'em world championship Sunday morning at the Rio.

The tournament, which drew 6,844 entrants and costs $10,000 to enter, carries a first-place payout of $9.1 million and a total prize pool of $64.4 million. The final nine players are vying for a total of $32.7 million.

The final table started after a 117-break in the tournament, a first in the 39-year history of the World Series of Poker. The hiatus was designed to generate an extra level of excitement around the tournament and ESPN's television coverage of the event.

The final table field of nine will be played down to two by Sunday night. The final two players will square off at 10 p.m. Monday. ESPN (Cox cable channel 30) will air its final-table broadcast at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack began Sunday's opening ceremony by welcoming an enthusiastic overflow crowd of spectators to the Penn & Teller Theater and presenting the finalists as "your November Nine."

Jerry Yang, the 2007 World Series main event winner, gave the traditional "Shuffle up and deal!" announcement before play commenced at 11:14 a.m.

Kelly Kim of Whittier, Calif., who entered play with the shortest chip stack at the final table, won the first hand when he raised on the button and no one challenged him.

The most dramatic hand in the early going came when the two chip leaders heading into the final table mixed it up. Dennis Phillips of St. Louis re-raised Ivan Demidov of Russia before the flop and Demidov responded with another re-raise. Phillips called, then came out firing on a flop of 8-10-jack, only to fold when Demidov went all-in.

The hand made Demidov the tournament's chip leader with more than $35 million in tournament chips. Phillips, who started the day with $26.2 million in chips, fell to eighth place with a little less than $9 million.

Five American players are among the nine finalists, with two from Canada and one each from Denmark and Russia.

Phillips brought a cheering section of about 300 friends and family members to Las Vegas, promising to throw "one hell of a party" if he wins.

Ylon Schwartz of Brooklyn, N.Y., two seats to Phillips' left at the final

table, has an entirely different plan for his prize money if he wins.

Schwartz, a former chess hustler, vowed to take his $9.1 million and just "disappear" for a while ... and really, who can blame him?

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