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$50k Players Championship Day 4
05 July 2011

Down to the Final Table

The gradual 100 minute blind schedule with limit and high/low games makes for infrequent bustouts. The plan on day 4 was to play down to the final table of 9, then eliminate one more player and call it a day. The 8 remaining players would then come back for the final TV table at 3pm to play down to the winner.

But things don't always go according to plan, and they certainly didn't go according to the day 4 plan. The short stacks, all at one of the two remaining tables, were nearly bust-proof. With the average stack size somewhere near 1 million chips, George Lind seemed certain to bust. He was the extreme micro-stack with barely 17k left. Less than the ante, let alone the small or big blind. He doubled, doubled again, and kept on doubling up until he had over a million. And so it went for the other short stacks.

Matt Glantz and Minh Ly chat with another player

Meanwhile, at the big-stack table, players took turns having mini-rushes. One player would get hot, win big pots, then another would shut him down and play his own mini-rush. Until another player shut him down, etc. The short stacks doubled up and the big stacks traded chips for roughly 7 hours without a bustout.

Minh Ly makes a point

Josh Arieh, Matt Glantz, Brian Rast, Minh Ly, Ben Lamb, Yan Chen, Scott Seiver

Stand By Your Man

Meanwhile, Mrs. Arieh and Mrs. Hellmuth sat patiently and watched their husbands do battle on the felt. Who knows how many grueling tournaments they've sweated.

The radiant Angela Arieh

Long Play, Short Tempers

Players chopped pots, split high and low, got quartered, and the short stacks chipped up. Everyone was getting tired and a little testy. Scott Seiver said "Minh, you slow-roll us like it's your job." Then Miny Ly went off on a brief and rather loud rant, tired of people making fun of his English skills.

It needs to be said that it simply wouldn't be right for Phil Hellmuth to not offer his words of wisdom and insightful commentary on others' play. He wasn't shy about explaining himself, but to his credit he never cursed or berated the other players. Although at one point he did say these exact words: "The only way I make any money is when they try to bluff me."

Phil Hellmuth explains the finer points

Jeff Lisandro registers a complaint with the floor

Vladimir Shchemelev in a pensive moment

Brian Rast sweats an all-in by Ben Lamb. Lamb, of course, doubled up.

The Clock Runs Out

Finally, Jeff Lisandro went out in 11th and Vladimir Shchemelev busted in 10th place, and the players were combined into the final table of 9. And then play continued for hours more.

The tournament directors were forced to stop play at 5:45am. It could take hours more to play down to the TV 8. But the ESPN taping schedule is set in stone and taping was to begin at 3pm no matter what. And more long hours of play would give the players too little time to get rested up.

So the remaining 9 players were told to bag their chips and grab some sleep. 8-game mixed play would resume at the TV table, on schedule, until the 9th place finisher busted. Then they would switch to pure no-limit Hold'em and play down to the winner.

We think it's unfortunate that the 8-game mix goes away for the TV cameras, but that is apparently the only way the $50k event will get on TV at all. It's disapponiting for such a fascinating mix of games to devolve into yet another NLH event at the end. Oh well. All for the greater good.

Next: 50k Final Table...

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