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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | The Works

More From Day Five Of The WSOP Main Event

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7:30 p.m.

A lot going on and even from behind the ropes I am able to catch some of the action.

First, there is the madness that is Brandon Cantu. He put in a third raise with 8-5 off against Brandon Becker and was snap called by Becker who had A-K. Cantu flopped two pair to take out the disappointed Becker and win a pot worth over two million in chips. Cantu was over three million after the hand. It's nice to run good.

I ate dinner and while I was eating dinner, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was walking down the Rio hallway. He was stopped by one fan to take a picture, which lead to about ten photos. Ferguson, as is usually the case with him (he always takes time for poker fans), stood there with a smile on his face the entire time. Humberto Brenes and a group of his friends sat one table behind me and this older lady came shuffling over when she saw him. She asked him if she could have a photo and he obliged. Of course, this started a chain reaction as four to five more patrons of the restaurant joined in on the opportunity. Brenes, like Ferguson, was very gracious in handling the attention.

Allen Cunningham's stack had deteriorated throughout the course of the day and he ended up shoving for a quarter million with Q-J. He had the misfortune to run into aces and finished in 117th place.

Jamal Kunbuz got the best of Shawn Sheikhan when Sheiky for some unexplicable reason decided to put all 1.5 million of his chips in the middle after Kunbuz had re-raised him. Kunbuz had been playing a very tight, solid game all day and snap called Sheikhan with aces. Sheikhan only had jacks and was left with under 100K after losing the hand. Kunbuz, in the meantime, doubled up to over three million in chips to become one of the chip leaders. Kunbuz doesn't speak English but a reporter from the Poker News Spanish site was there and he was able to translate for me when I asked Kunbuz if he know how to say raise. Kunbuz laughed and said raise in Spanish.

Paul Snead got it all in with top two pair against Vito Branciforte thinking he was sure to double up with his Q-10 on the Q-10-5 board. Vito, however, had other ideas as he had pocket fives. “Queen or a ten,” Paul begged the dealer. The turn was a jack putting three clubs on the board. Paul had the queen of clubs. “Hold up, hold up,” Snead said. “OK, queen, ten, OR a club,” Paul asked. The river... was a club and Snead clapped his hands together excitedly. His good friend, Steve Dannenmann, came over and gave him some high fives as Snead survived. A few hands later Branciforte would get it all in pre-flop with A-7 against A-K. The flop came K-K-10 and Branciforte was drawing almost dead. Inexplicably, the turn came a jack and the river a queen and Branciforte split the pot with the ace high straight. I'm telling you, live poker is rigged. Branciforte's day would end a few minutes later.

Scotty Nguyen came by the Rio. Obviously in need of some attention and camera time, he headed over to the one table where he knew there would be cameras... Hellmuth's table. Predictably, the cameras were all over that and Nguyen got his additional thirty seconds of glory (as if he needed it after winning the 50K H.O.R.S.E.). Hellmuth has been quiet for the most part today and hasn't won any monster pots other than one double up he had earlier on. He's done an effective job of increasing his stack size, however, as he is over the one million mark.

In what might be one of the bigger stories of the WSOP Main Event, PokerNews.com's own Tiffany Michelle is among the chip leaders with over three million in chips. The other woman remaining in the field, Lisa Parsons, just doubled up to 1.2 million against Mark Vos when her aces bested Vos's jacks.

8:00 p.m.

Players are on dinner break now and they will play one more level when they return. There are 93 players left, the blinds will be at 12,000/24,000 and the average stack is 1.47 million.

9:30 p.m.

They let the fans in and they go sprinting towards the featured table area to get the prime seats. Poker junkies, gotta love it.

12:00 p.m.


The end of the night was a whirlwind. Hellmuth was at a table with Mark Ketteringham who had just won a monster pot to increase his stack to over five million in chips. Hellmuth said out loud, “Please don't bust this table” as he eyed Ketteringham's stack. He then told Ketteringham, “You can make those moves on me, just don't suck out on me.” Unfortunately for Hellmuth, the table would be the next one to be broke and he would move to the feature table. There was a bit of doubt and suspicion about the random table draw and Hellmuth getting moved to the ESPN table with Matusow. I'll discuss that in more depth tomorrow.

Before the table broke though, I could hear chants of “Mikey, Mikey, Mikey” coming from the feature table. It was apparent that Matusow had won a big pot, and he had.

I walk over to where the early chip leader Jeremy Joseph is playing and his girlfriend is on the rail sweating him. She was telling me that the two of them were good friends with a player who just happened to be at the same table as Jeremy. She joked that “he's already married with kids, he doesn't need any money. We do, we're just starting.” Their friend laughed as he heard that and said, “If you only knew.”

The Hellmuth-Matusow feature table was uneventful until the 2nd to last hand of action for the night. Christian Dragomir opened the pot to 80K and Hellmuth re-raised to 255K from the small blind. Dragomir made the call and the flop came 10-9-7 with two clubs. Hellmuth checked, Dragomir bet 300K, and Hellmuth flipped over A-K while letting out a very annoyed sigh. Matusow and the crowd begged for Dragomir to show a bluff, knowing it would set Hellmuth off. Dragomir showed that he wasn't bluffing but his hand was enough to do the deed anyway as he had 10-4 suited. The crowd and the table roared its approval. Hellmuth started yelling at his opponent calling him an idiot and the worst player in history. He continued on to the point that Dragomir asked the floor why they weren't doing anything about it. The floor asked for a tournament supervisor who came by and determined that Hellmuth would be given a one round penalty for his behavior.

Hellmuth started complaining to the tournament director. “But ESPN wants me here. They want me to show my emotions.” The tournament director nodded his head but told Phil that no special exceptions were going to be made and that the penalty would be enforced when play started on day 6. Quite the ending to day 5... who knows what will be in store for tomorrow. Tiffany Michelle is 3rd in chips with 3.8 million in chips. Go Tiff! 79 players remain.

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