2006 WSOP Final Table is Set

9 August 2006

The final table for the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is set and considering the chip counts, it may be as good as Gold's.

Jamie Gold, who has amassed a mountain of chips, including row after row of the coveted mint chocolate chip Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino $100,000 markers, sits comfortably in first place with $28,650,000.

For a player who told ESPN poker reporter Steve Rosenbloom that he might tank the final table because he doesn't want to be famous, he sure is playing like a champion. Having never surrendered the lead since Day 2, Gold continues to use his big stack as a club, scaring away opponents with large timely bets.

Gold came into this year's players as a relative unknown, playing mostly smaller tournaments and cash games in the California casinos. A native of Malibu, Gold is a former talent agent and has handled such big stars as James Gandolfini (Sopranos), Lucy Liu (Kill Bill), and Jimmy Fallon (A bunch of bad movies). His nickname is now "Ari," coming from his supposed likeness to the character on HBO's Entourage.

He has seen what fame can do to a person's life and he's told more than a few media members here at the World Series that fame is not something he desires. Competition is what he craves and the Main Event provides the greatest competition in the world. Whether he'll continue to drive towards a bracelet has yet to be seen.

Besides the Rail Birds who have been following his every move since he grabbed the tournament lead almost a week ago, there are a few others who are interested in Gold's progress and success.

Johnny Chan, two-time Main Event Champion, the last back-to-back Main Event Champion, and the holder of ten WSOP gold bracelets supposedly taught Gold how to play after being introduced to him in Los Angeles.

"He's got a great shot and he's playing well," Chan said while passing through the Rio last night.

Whether it's true or not, there was a gentleman at the satellite tables yesterday who claims to have a five percent piece of Gold. As of 5 p.m. PST on Tuesday, the gentleman was already counting on his five percent of $12 million ($600,000).

Not lost in all the hype surrounding Gold is the play of four-time gold bracelet winner Allen Cunningham, who at one point in the Main Event was forced to go all-in three times for his tournament life.

Now, the crowd favorite is in excellent position to challenge for his first Main Event title, sitting in second place with $17,770,000, still far behind Gold, but well in front of third place Richard Lee ($11,820,000) and the rest of the table.

Paying homage to last year's final, the crowd began cheering "Oy,Oy,Oy…Allen, Allen, Allen." The tournament announcer put a quick stop to that by telling the crowd "I had to put up with that all last year."

A quick survey of the crowd at the final table proved that Cunningham is most people's pick to win. Of the ten people I asked, seven picked Cunningham, two were supporters of Richard Lee (4th place, $9,605,000 chips) and one said "he didn't know any of these guys, but this is where everyone seems to be."

Cunningham easily has the most experience. As one of only four players to win four bracelets before the age of 30, Cunningham has played in most of the world's largest events, winning his fair share of them.

As far as WSOP events, Cunningham has four bracelets (including one this year), 14 final tables, and 28 cashes in his career. Of the remaining nine, only Cunningham is a former bracelet winner and none of the players have ever made a Main Event final table.

Eighth-place Mike Binger (3,140,000) is the only player besides Cunningham who has made a WSOP final table, doing so this year in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event. Paul Wasicka (Fifth Place - $7,970,000) has two cashes in the 2006 WSOP, just missing the final table both times with finishes of 14th and 12th. Doug Kim also has a WSOP cash, finishing in 10th place in a 2002 No-Limit Hold'em event.

The loudest cheer of the night came around 6:30 p.m. PST when William Thorsson was eliminated. After received a large ovation from the audience, the announcer declared that everyone remaining was a millionaire. Thorsson didn't fare too badly, taking home $907,128 for his efforts. The next three to go were John Magill, Leif Force, and Fred Goldberg in that order.

Play at the Main Event Final Table will begin Thursday at 12 p.m. PST. The event is available for people who want to watch it on Pay-Per-View and as always, Casino City will provide full news and feature coverage.

Here is a full listing of the final table chip counts:

Jamie Gold – 28,650,000

Allen Cunningham - $17,770,000

Richard Lee - $11,820,000

Erik Friberg - $9,605,000

Paul Wasicka – $7,970,000

Doug Kim - $6,770,000

Rhett Butler - $4,815,000

Mike Binger - $3,140,000

Dan Nassif - $2,600,000

Here is a listing of the remaining pay-out schedule:

1 - $12,000,000

2 - $6,102,499

3 - $4,123,310

4 - $3,628,513

5 - $3,216,182

6 - $2,803,851

7 - $2,391,520

8 - $1,979,189

9 - $1,566,858


Related Links
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Details
Nevada Gambling
Ranked Online Poker Rooms

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