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WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic 2009, Day 6
CEO "Rocket Boy" 12.19.2009


From Six to Two
The starting stacks ranged from barely over 1 million to more than 5 million, but just like yesterday, the chip leader at the start of play failed to win. Steve O'Dwyer began TV table play as the short stack and although he managed to win pots and chip up in the early going, he was first out when his A6 ran into Scotty Nguyen's JJ. Scotty flopped a set, Steve was drawing nearly dead, and that was it.

Steve O'Dwyer finished in 6th place

Next out was one of the crowd favorites, and an icon of poker. Yes, Scotty Nguyen busted in fourth despite starting play with the second biggest stack. He lost a few key pots, doubled up Josh Arieh, then fell victim to a pair vs. pair domination. His 99 failed to suck out against Faraz Jaka's KK, and Scotty departed to applause.

Scotty Nguyen was eliminated in 5th

The man, the legend: Doyle Brunson

Jaka and Arieh played a mystifying hand for a huge 7+ million pot. Neither showed their hole cards, and I can't wait to see their hole cards on the WPT broadcast of this event. Jaka bet big preflop, Arieh raised to 1.1 million, and Jaka called. On the flop, Jaka check-called 1.6 million. This brought the pot to 6+ million already.

Then Jaka hit the brakes, betting just 550K on the turn and just one big bet (160K at the time) on the river. It almost seemed like Jaka could be holding a monster and trying to induce a bluff by betting small. Arieh called the turn but raised Jaka's min-bet to about 10 BB on the river. The board read Kc 9h 3c Kh 7d. So what did Jaka do? He folded. Must have had air, thinking he could float Arieh then push him off later. Didn't work.

Another crowd favorite, with quite a large Canadian posse, was the next to bust out. Shawn Buchanan played well but just never had the chance to win a really big pot. He was first to act, shoved with K8, and Alaei called with AK. Nobody improved, and Buchanan was out in 4th.

Shawn Buchanan before the start of play

Jaka had started the day as chip leader but now found himself trailing, with about 13 big blinds. Alaei had doubled on the hand before he busted Buchanan, and he now had more chips than Jaka but still half of chip leader Arieh's stack. Jaka shoved with A6 when first to act on the button, and Alaei called with KK. A king on the flop put Jaka in jail, and the blank turn sealed his fate.

Faraz Jaka lost a large part of his stack on a mysterious hand, and later busted in 4th

Ahhhhh.... hotties with money!

From Two to One
Heads-up play started with Arieh leading Alaei by about 2:1 (13 million vs. 6.8 million.) We in the audience settled in for a grueling match. Alaei doubled with QQ through Arieh with AK in the classic race. Later, Arieh doubled with A7 through Alaei with AQ when a 7 came out on the turn. They were nearly dead even in chips after that hand, and we were all feared the spectre of another 12+ hour marathon.

But a mere 3 hands later it was all over. There was a raise and a call preflop, the flop came 10 5 2, Arieh check-raised all-in, and Alaei called. Alaei showed 10 8 for top pair and Arieh showed 77. The turn was a 6, river was an 8, and that was it.

Josh Arieh congratulates winner Daniel Alaei moments after the last hand

The heads-up match was nearly silent (except for the crowd) and showed the class and skill of both Arieh and Alaei. I'm glad to have been able to see this WPT event in person, and I'm looking forward to attending more next year.

Daniel Alaei with the spoils of victory

Congratulations to Daniel Alaei on the win, and to all the WPT players, Bellagio and WPT crew, and poker media for putting on such a great show!

Next time: Random Vegas pix & observations...

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