2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table I
by Randy Saylor  
This is the dream of countless poker players. Everyone who’s ever deposited on Party Poker and played .50/1 or a freeroll has thought about the possibilities. Watching the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour on television, you might have yelled at your television for a player to make a certain move. “Call!” “Fold!”

Sure, it’s easy for you. You are in the comfort of your own house; you can see the hole cards. The pot equity is displayed on the screen. How hard can it be?

How about sitting in an uncomfortable chair, with hundreds of eyes on you, not to mention a dozen television cameras? You’ve got eight players staring you down, who would be just as happy if you dropped unconscious right there. The blitz lights of the ESPN crew are blinding you. You’ve done this already for incredibly long hours over seven days of play.

No, it’s far from easy, and the nine remaining players have survived the long hours and incredible odds to reach this point. They face the pressure of possibly making million-dollar mistakes on every single hand. It’s tough, but the monetary rewards certainly provide ample consideration for their efforts today. Winning the bracelet wouldn’t hurt.

Shuffle Up and Deal

Tournament Director Jack Effel makes the long awaited announcement at 2:10 pm EDT. Joe Hachem, 2005 winner, bids them bon chance and gives them some encouragement. There will be no “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oy, Oy! Oy!” chants today, like last year’s cheers for Australian Joe Hachem. Swede Erik Friberg is the only player not from the United States.

Blinds are 80,000/160,000 with 20,000 antes. It is Level 32. That means each player pays a minimum of 420,000 chips to play each round. Short stacked Dan Nassif has only enough for 6 rounds of play, while leader Jamie Gold has ten times as much. The average stack has 23 (the final table of online poker tournaments usually ranges from 10-15 rounds for the average stack, depending on the site). This will be big bet poker.

Doug Kim makes two aggressive raises early in the action. Both times he gets re-raised by a big stack, and both times he mucks his cards. He must be careful, or he’ll get bullied after this point.

It is only five hands in when Jamie Gold raises, gets re-raised by Dan Nassif, and flat calls. Nassif pushes all-in on the flop of 532 with AK, and Gold insta-calls with a flopped set of twos. An ace on the turn means Nassif can only catch a four for a split pot. The river is a ten, and Nassif is out, but $1.57 Million richer.

Allen Cunningham lost a big pot on a flop of 998. Big bets ensued, and when the dust settled, Jamie Gold took a pot of 12 Million when he showed T9, which out-kicked 97. Cunningham certainly cannot be faulted for value betting his trip nines, but it will be interesting to see how the tournament would have turned out had he not gotten into such a tough situation.

The players take their first break of the day. Jamie Gold’s lead has increased, and Richard Lee has moved into second. Level 33 increases the blinds to 100,000 and 200,000. The antes are now 30,000. The average stack is now just 21 times the starting pot.

A few hands into Level 33, Erik Friberg gets tangled up with Jamie Gold in a raise-fest preflop. When Friberg is finally all-in, his JJ is in trouble versus QQ. No help for the jacks, and Gold spikes a queen on the river for good measure. Erik Friberg is sent to the rail in eighth place, good for $1.98 Million.

Short stack Michael Binger caught some luck when he semi-bluffed all-in on a QJ8 flop. His AT gave him a double gutshot straight draw, where a nine or king would fill it. Allen Cunningham’s top pair, top kicker was good enough to call. Binger caught the king on the turn and doubled through. Bad luck continues for Cunningham, professional endorser of Full Tilt Poker.

Binger almost caught fire an hour later when he moved all-in with KK preflop. He got a call from Jamie Gold who had…KK. They chopped the pot.

Right before the second break, Doug Kim moved over the top all-in on a 443 flop with 99. Paul Wasicka’s QQ busted Kim in seventh place for $2.4 Million. Kim said in an interview that he normally plays $3/6 limit at Poker Stars. He might move up a little.


Continue Reading:
2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Day 2 and 3 Report
2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Day 4 and 5 Report
2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Day 6 Report
2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Day 7i Report
2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Day 7ii Report

2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Report 1
2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Report 2

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