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WPT Bellagio Cup VI
CEO "Rocket Boy" 15 July 2010

Jack McClelland chats with Mori Eskandani before the start of play

The World Poker Tour has made many changes since Tournament Director par excellence Matt Savage has come on board as Executive Tour Director. There are more international and domestic WPT events, Kimberly Lansing has returned in an expanded "anchor" role, and the Royal Flush Girls will grace each WPT main event from start to finish. All positive changes, and an indication that the WPT's new owners are interested in improving the series as both poker event for the players and as entertainment for TV viewers. (Not to mention adding hugely to the enjoyment of the event for us railbirds!)

The players get ready for battle. We got some pretty bad seats, right behind the money podium, but hey, admission is free.

The four hottest women in the room: The Royal Flush Girls.

Kimberly Lansing interviews Phil Ivey after his 3rd place demise

Moritz Kranich and Justin Smith being congratulated by Tournament Director John Nieznanski

Moritz gives a double fist-pump to his small but vocal group of German fans

We had our hopes pinned on Phil Ivey, but he started the day's play 5th in chips. And the short stack, Eric Afriat, somehow avoided busting. Phil did gain the chip lead temporarily, but Moritz out-kicked him on a big pot to cost him the lead. He was forced to shove with Q4 just two hands later, was called by Justin Smith with K8, an 8 flopped, and that was it for Phil.

Justin Smith, one of the most impressive young players in the poker world, had several good chances to win, but Moritz out-lucked him. On several key hands, Moritz got it all in bad then spiked a card to win. Justin also got lucky at least once to survive. At one point, he was all-in with A3 vs. Moritz' A5. He told Mike Matusow that "I feel like my hand is a little bit luckier." And sure enough, a 3 came on he flop and he doubled through. But overall, Moritz was the luckbox of the night, and he took it all down.

Next: WSOP Main Event Day 7: down to 27 players...

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