Around the WSOP: Revenge of the stars

5 June 2008

After watching people nobody has ever heard of invade their neighborhood for a few years, it looks like the stars of the game have had enough. They're starting ready to defend their turf. And they're setting off fireworks at the World Series of Poker.

Last night, David Singer won a nearly five-hours heads up battle to capture Event #3, a $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em tournament. And Erick Lindgren stared down a final table that included Justin Bonomo, Roland de Wolfe, David Rheem, Howard Lederer, David Williams and Isaac Haxton to win the presitigous $5,000 Mixed Hold'em tournament (Event #4).

Another top po, Nenad Medic, won Event #1, the $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit tournament (Event #1). And he had to beat Andy Bloch, Kathy Liebert, Mike Sexton, Patrik Antonius and Phil Laak at the final table.

And moving forward, Michael Binger has reached the final table of Event #5 ($1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with rebuys) and Tom Schneider and Gus Hansen are the chipleaders in the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event (Event #8). Also in the top-30 at event are Johnny Chan, Jeff Madsen, Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Mark Vos, Marcel Luske, Amnon Filippi, Mike Sexton, Michael Mizrachi, Gavin Griffin and Doyle Brunson. Wow.

In previous years, we were lucky if we could recognize even a few names among the leaders. Now, the top pros are everywhere, reminding fans fellow players alike that this is their game, and their Series.

Give that man a bracelet
For Lindgren and Singer, two of poker's most accomplished players, last night's victories were their first at a WSOP event. But their first bracelets almost eluded them -- albeit for different reasons.

Singer's fiancé is pregnant with their first child, and the baby was due yesterday. And Singer had already decided that being there for the birth was more important than winning a bracelet. "The moment she goes into labor, I am quitting the tournament," Singer said before final-table action begain. "I don't care even if I am playing heads-up for the (gold bracelet)."

Lindgren almost didn't win for far more conventional reasons. According to Bluff Media, Lindgren had on 8,400 in chips at the start of Day 2. The average chip stack at that point was 35,400.

Even after reaching heads-up play against Bonomo, Lindgren wasn't sure he was going to win. "Until the final card turned, I was just panicked and worried that (Bonomo) might come back and I would blow another one," Lindgren said. "I was just so happy and so lucky that it finished early."

"I woke up my father at 1:30 am to tell him I had won," Lindgren added. "He had not been up at 1:30 in the morning in a long time. It was a good call to make. It was really special. I can't wait to send him the bracelet."

Rebuys
In case you were wondering, Daniel Negreanu had nine rebuys in Event #5 ($1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with rebuys). He ended up cashing in the event and finished in 22nd place. Phil Ivey, who was the chip leader entering yesterday's play, failed to cash.


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