Around the WSOP: Cinderella finds quads; Phil Ivey a chip leader

4 June 2008

The first feel-good story of the 2008 World Series of Poker has emerged, and his name is Grant Hinkle. Hinkle, 27 (he turns 28 Saturday), earned $831,462 by winning the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event early this morning. He outlasted a field of 3,929 players, including third-place finisher Chris Ferguson (we're not close enough to call him Jesus). And if you weren't expecting him do that, don't worry, neither was he.

"I actually booked my flight to come to Las Vegas last Friday and return on Sunday," Hinkle said shortly after the tournament ended. "I actually had to re-schedule my flight five times during the course of (this tournament). In fact, I have a 6:58 flight that I don't think I'm going to make. So I have to re-schedule again."

Prior to this event, Hinkle had never played in a major poker tournament. He does play in a regular home game with a few friends in the Kansas City area. And he says the buy-ins are usually $40 or $50.

"My goal coming in was just go as deep as I could," Hinkle added. "After Day One, I was top-ten in chips and once I got there I started to think – how much money can I make and how far can I really go? I kept going and winning pots and I eventually got here."

And Hinkle got there in style. On the final hand, and holding a 2 to 1 chip lead, Hinkle pushed all in pre-flop with 10-4. His opponent, James Akenhead, called with A-K. The flop was 10-10-4. And the turn brought another 10, giving Hinkle quads. That's winning with style.

We love those prop bets

With 18 players left, Perry Friedman was discussing his chances of winning the Main Event this year. In the middle of his talk, Ferguson jumped in with a half quip, half prop bet. "If he wins, I'll cut off all my hair and shave my head just like Perry," Ferguson said. Friedman sports a mohawk, so he's automatically jumped to the top of the list of people we're rooting for at the Main Event.

Ivey sitting pretty
Phil Ivey has been taking bets on whether he's going to win a bracelet this year. According to Bluff Media's Gary Wise, the biggest bet placed has been by Eli Elezra, who is putting up $900,000 to win $500,00 from Ivey (1.8-to-1 odds). And Ivey appears focused on winning this bet. As we noted yesterday, he sat down with $100,000 in casino chips at the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with rebuys tournament (Event #5) tournament in case he needed them. And now he's the clear the chipleader in that event with $175,500. Amit Makhija is currently in second with $161,100.


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