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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic

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Bellagio's Five Diamond Classic culminated in the $15k Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic, one of the premier events in the WPT season. The field of 583 players started with 30k in chips and was divided into two Day 1's, giving players plenty of play for their investment in the best tournament environment in the world.

Anyone and everyone was in the field, and the first two days were littered with brand name players who hit the rail, their $15k entry contributing to the $8.4mil prize pool.

Day 1A saw Jennifer Harman, Sam Farha, David Williams, Todd Brunson, Brad Booth, Vanessa Rousseau, Alex Jacob, and Eric Froelich, Nam Le, Joe Sebok, Phil Hellmuth, and Phil Ivey leave Bellagio. FullTilt's Clonie Gowen was the hot player of Day 1A as she knocked out Tuan Le and Patrik Antonius on successive hands to take the chip lead by the afternoon. Gowen's 2006 had largely been one to forget with two WSOP cashes totaling less than $6k. She finished 25th at WPT Foxwoods in November, and so she hoped to end the year on a high note.

Day 1B saw more top names failing to make it through this tough starting field. Notable exits included Gus Hansen, Layne Flack, Kyle Bowker, Erick Lindgren, Sean Sheikhan, David Plastik, Peter "Nordberg" Feldman, and Men "The Master" Nguyen. When the chip counts were completed from Day 1B, and intriguing group of players were at the top. Roy Thung was the chip leader (181k) followed closely by Clonie Gowen was in 2nd (180k) and Freddy Deeb in 3rd only a few hundred chips behind. David Benyamine (11th, 132k) plays the biggest cash games online and at the Bellagio. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi was in 12th (127k), followed closely by Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo was in 13th (119k), continuing a very strong run at the Five Diamond Classic where he'd previously made three final tables. It's been a year now since Bonomo moved from an emerging online player to the poster boy of collusion, as a friend of his reported him to PartyPoker after he'd used two accounts in an MTT that he won. He's rehabilitated his image and proven that his game has not suffered in the least. Others in the top twenty to start Day 2 included James Worth, Cyndy Violette, and Kristy Gazes.

344 players started Day 2 with the top 100 cashing, and this was a day with big chip moves. Almost two thirds of the players were eliminated on Day 2, and the evening ended with 136 players left and still without the cash bubble bursting. During Day 2, Dutch Boyd's bizarre behavior was the buzz of the Fontana Lounge. It included a twenty minute penalty for acting out of turn on multiple occasions, as well as appearing in various videos filmed during the day, all with erratic behavior on his part. He joined JC Tran, Kathy Liebert, Young Phan, Allen Cunningham, Harry Demetriou, JJ Liu, TJ Cloutier, Victor Ramdin, Eric "Eric123" Sagstrom, John Gale, Mimi Tran, and Liz Lieu leaving the event. Day 2 also saw tournament host Doyle Brunson knocked out. Daniel Negreanu doubled through Kevin O'Donnell late in Day 2, building his stack comfortably to 203k and into the top twenty-five.

The chip leaders at the end of Day 2 were a mix of those who maintained their strong stacks and those who made big moves. Keith Lehr held the chip lead with 425k, and second place Scott Fischman had made a huge move, building his 39k starting stack up to 387k. Mads Anderson from Denmark was a strong 3rd (360k), and others in the Top Twenty included Clonie Gowen (346k, 4th), Michael Mizrachi (343k, 5th), and Justin Bonomo (317k, 10th). WSOP Main Event Final Tablist Michael Binger (20th), Joseph Hachem (40th), Chau Giang (48th), and Cyndy Violette (55th) were all in good shape at the end of the evening.

Day 3 brought 135 players back to make the top 100 and cash as well as position themselves for a run to make the final table. Isabelle Mercier and David "Devilfish" Ulliott fell short of the money, and players finishing 50th-100th and taking $25,370 included Dan Harrington, Thomas Walroos, David Benyamine, Evelyn Ng, Tony Ma, and Chau Giang. By late afternoon Haralabos Voulgaris held the chip lead at 715k followed by Daniel Negreanu with 660k. Mike Matusow moved up to the top fifteen for the first time with 400k, trailing Mizrachi (430k) and Bonomo (525k). Matusow eventually left in 48th ($33,830) after raising pre-flop, getting two callers, then Mack Lee moving all-in. Matusow called with 10-10 only to see Lee's pocket aces. Lee spiked an ace on the flop and Matusow was out.

Voulgaris steadily increased his chip lead into the evening reaching 1.6M at one point until Bonomo doubled through him. With a flop of {K-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}{5-Spades}, Bonomo and Voulgaris bet and raised until all the chips were in the pot. Bonomo showed {K-Clubs}{10-Clubs} to Voulgaris' {Q-Clubs}- {J-Clubs}. Rags completed the board, moving Bonomo to 987k and 3rd in chips. Those ready to start Day 4 Monday:

  • Lee Markholt 1.48mil
  • Mads Anderson 1.03mil
  • Justin Bonomo 987k
  • Joe Hachem 915k
  • Haralabos Voulgaris 838k
  • Michael Binger 827k
  • Scott Lindell 819k
  • Scott Fischman 751k
  • Cliff Josephy 716k
  • Ed Jordan 695k
  • Steve Sung 668k
  • Ray Faltinsky 611k
  • Keith Lehr 604k
  • Peter Rho 555k
  • Mack Lee 551k
  • Rolgues Rodriguez 541k
  • John Hoang 460k
  • Cindy Violette 457k
  • Frank Hernandez 442k
  • Mats Rhamn 381k
  • Jim Routus 367k
  • Marco Johnson 310k
  • Jesse Jones 303k
  • Brent Sheirbon 298k
  • Chip Reese 277k
  • David Redlin 270k
  • Fred Goldberg 263k
  • Laura Fink 239k
  • Michael Mizrachi 233k
  • Grant Lang 175k
  • Daniel Negreanu 174k
  • David Oppenheim 136k
  • Jim Hanna 125k

It is a minefield of great players, with the short stacks particularly dangerous in David Oppenheim, Daniel Negreanu, Michael Mizrachi, and Chip Reese. It will be some shootout Monday as these thirty-three players seek the top prize of $2.18mil. Tune into PokerWorks as these great men and women fight it out Monday.

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