Phil Ivey will take his seat at a record-setting ninth World Poker Tour (WPT) final table on Thursday, when the Bellagio Cup VI wraps up from Las Vegas. A top prize of $875,000 is up for grabs and Ivey, despite registering at the last possible moment for the $10,000 buy-in event, owns the fifth largest stack entering the final table.
Zach Hyman was eliminated in seventh place, becoming the final table bubble boy. Hyman, who is engaged to WPT host Kimberly Lansing, called all-in pre-flop with A-Q offsuit, which did not hold up against the meager 5-3 of Rob Akery. The flop gave Akery a pair of threes and no ace or queen came on the turn or river. Hyman picked up $85,000 for his efforts, which can probably purchase an entire garden of flowers for the wedding next April in Santa Barbara.
Full Tilt Poker pro Justin “Boosted J” Smith is making his second straight final table at the Bellagio Cup. Last year, he finished third and tore his ACL in the process while celebrating a critical double up. This time around, he’ll enter the six-handed televised finale in third place with a stack of 2.10 million, less than half of chip leader John Caridad’s 5.12 million. Smith Twittered to his loyal minions on Thursday morning, “2,100,000 going into WPT TV final table… 6 people left… back to back years at this WPT final table… gonna try to win it this time.” Good strategy.
Ivey took down three straight pots late in the day on Wednesday to stamp his ticket to the final table, although he’ll be one of the short stacks at 27 big blinds. Counting the Bellagio Cup, Ivey has a dozen WPT cashes to his name; amazingly, nine are for final tables. He has one title to his credit, a win in the Season 6 L.A. Poker Classic for $1.6 million. The Bellagio Cup marks Ivey’s first trip to a WPT final table since his win two years ago.
Ivey also owns eight World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, the most recent of which came in a $3,000 HORSE tournament this year in which he defeated a final table that included Bill Chen, John Juanda, 2009 WSOP Player of the Year Jeffrey Lisandro, and PokerStars pro Chad Brown.
Former “Amazing Race” contestant and World Team Poker Team China member Maria Ho was bumped in 10th place after losing a race with pocket tens against Caridad’s A-J of clubs. Caridad flopped the nuts and no help came for Ho on the turn or river. Ho recorded just her third in the money finish ever at a WPT event and turned in her first top 10 cash. In case you missed it, our own Sean Gibson caught up with Ho at the 2010 WSOP to discuss her cash game prowess.
Also falling by the wayside on Wednesday were former WPT champion Vadim Trincher, 2005 WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem, online poker whiz Cory “UGOTPZD” Carroll, Ravi “govshark2” Raghavan, and Lisandro. Here are the chip stacks of the six players left in the WPT Bellagio Cup:
1. John Caridad – 5,120,000
2. Moritz Kranich – 2,750,000
3. Justin “Boosted J” Smith – 2,100,000
4. Robert Akery – 1,980,000
5. Phil Ivey – 1,595,000
6. Eric Afriat – 620,000
The cash prizes up for grabs for the six final table players are as follows:
1st Place: $875,150
2nd Place: $594,755
3rd Place: $363,650
4th Place: $237,902
5th Place: $169,930
6th Place: $118,950
The action picks back up today at 4:00pm PT. Keep it tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest WPT coverage of the Bellagio Cup.