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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009

ESPN’s WSOP Coverage Review- 9-29-09

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With the bursting of the money bubble during last week’s telecast, it was time to start playing some serious poker.  Tonight’s coverage took us to Day 5, and with many past champions and other top professionals still left in the field, would the focus still be on a select few famous names, or would we begin to see the other members of the upcoming November Nine besides Phil Ivey?  Here’s how tonight’s action went down…..

Another of the November Nine, Card Player publisher Jeff Shulman, was seated at the featured table, along with Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier and Andy Black.  The tone for Andy Black’s day was set early when he called an all-in re-rase with A-J offsuit, after he had raised to 24,000 and Scott Buller pushed for 143,000 more.  Buller had A-K, and when the board fired blanks, Black handed over almost half his stack.

Grospellier ran into bad luck early on with pocket aces.  After Tim Kahlmeyer raised to 21,000 with a pair of fours, Buller re-raised it to 76,000 with kings.  Elky popped it once more, to 177,000, with his aces, Kahlmeyer got out of the way, and Buller pushed.  Elky called.  After a flop of Q-10-3, Buller called for the king of clubs on the turn, and got it!  Grospellier took a big hit to his huge starting stack, starting a slide that eventually had his tournament life on the line.

Phil Ivey looked less-than-superhuman for the first time in the tournament, as he lost two very sizable pots to Elad Magidov.  For once, we didn’t see much of Ivey, and his stack dwindled for most of Day 5.

The telecast tonight featured two very interesting player profiles.  The first was on Adam Bilzerian, one of a pair of brothers who wound up sitting next to each other at the same table tonight.  What made the feature fascinating was that it didn’t deal with poker at all, but with Bilzerian’s decision to give up his U.S. citizenship, and need to get a visa to be able to visit his family, and then come play the World Series so he could spend some time with his brother.  The other feature focused on Jeff Shulman, the most controversial of the November Nine, who has stated publicly that he will throw the bracelet in the trash should he win it.  While Shulman has gotten savaged in the poker press for his stand, he came across as a pretty nice guy in the feature, talking about how fortunate he has been to meet and befriend many top players who have become celebrities, and how lucky he is to have learned much of his poker from them.

Meanwhile, back at the tables, we saw pocket aces cracked again, this time those of Vitaly Lunkin, who enjoyed a spectacular World Series.  After Lunkin raised to 22,000 with the aces, Carter Swidler picked the “wrong” time to make a play by re-raising to 67,000 with 5-2 offsuit!  The flop of the 9-2-5 of hearts saw Lunkin add the nut flush draw to his rockets, but gave Swidler two pair.  Lunkin checked, and Sweidler bet 55,000.  Lunkin raised to 120,000 and Swidler went all-in, which Lunkin called.  The turn and river blanked out, and Lunkin was crippled, and soon eliminated.

Andy Black finished what he called “another spectacular blow-up” when he raised to 23,000 with pocket fours, which Shulman called with pocket eights in the big blind.  The flop of 10-8-5 gave Shulman a set, and both players checked.  When a deuce came on the turn, Shulman bet 40,000 into 59,000.  Despite the fact that Shulman had played a very tight style up to this point, Black chose to call, and when another 5 fell on the river, Shulman put Black all-in, and the Irishman inexplicably called, and was eliminated.

The second hour saw Antonio Esfandiari moved to table 2, along with actor Lou Diamond Phillips.  Esfandiari livened up the table talk by promising to wash the dealer’s car if he brought him a flush to win a hand.  When the flush fell on the turn, Esfandiari wrote out a contract, telling the dealer he would either wash his car within 6 months or pay him 10,000 dollars.  Esfandiari also revealed that he had hired a life coach to work with him, as he realized his partying had interfered with his poker game, and he needed to get serious about poker again.  A similar story was told by Joe Sebok, although it wasn’t partying that had cramped his style, but the amount of time required to run Poker Road, the online business he started with, among others, his father Barry Greenstein.  Sebok was almost eliminated when his opponent hit a pair with Q-7 against Joe’s A-K, but he rivered a king to stay alive.  He then pushed his stack up over 800,000 when his pocket jacks were better than the tens of his opponent on a flop with two queens.

Day 5 saw the elimination of two great champions.  Bobby Baldwin got knocked out when his pocket jacks were outflopped by another player who caught a third ten to go with his pocket pair.  And Dan Harrington, after being caught in a huge river bluff on a board filled with two aces and a king, by a call from a player with pocket queens, was eliminated when his nut flush draw refused to come in against the top pair of his opponent.

On the final hand of the night, Elky, who had endured a very difficult night, giving up about two-thirds of his chips, raised to 25,000 with pocket aces.  Patrick Hanoteau then re-raised to 64,000 with A-Q, and a third player made it 175,000 with pocket tens.  Elky then pushed all-in, and the pocket tens called, making a 1.342 million chip pot.  The board blanked out, and Grospellier wound up making back all the chips he had lost during the day in one fell swoop.

Next week, the final 200+ players continue in the quest to reach the final table.  See you next time!

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