05/31/09 11:03:21 AM PDT
The ESPN crew is currently setting up to film today's final table for broadcast later this summer. The players have yet to arrive, and their chips remain in their bags at the table, so we're likely looking at a bit of a wait before proceedings get underway. Stay tuned!
05/31/09 10:21:25 AM PDT
Russian Vitaly Lunkin has earned over $750,000 in tournament winnings since making his first small cashes in tournaments in his native Moscow earlier this decade. Lunkin has since made several final tables at other events in Europe. In the World Series of Poker, Lunkin cashed in the Main Event in 2006, earning $14,597 for his 829th place finish. Then last year Lunkin broke through and won his first WSOP bracelet, taking one of the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tourneys (Event No. 27). In that one, Lunkin was the last one standing of the whopping 2,706 entrants, thereby earning himself a $628,417 payday.
05/31/09 10:21:08 AM PDT
This tournament marks online star Dani “Ansky” Stern’s second World Series of Poker cash after having made it to the round of 32 in last summer’s $10,000 World Championship Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Event, his first year playing at the WSOP. Stern also cashed at the European Poker Tour Barcelona event in 2007. Stern can regularly be found playing in the short-handed high-stakes NLHE games online, including Full Tilt Poker’s $500/$1,000 “Rail Heaven” games.
05/31/09 10:20:50 AM PDT
Originally from the Netherlands, Lex “RaSZi” Veldhuis is another of those former Starcraft players (like Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier) who eventually made the transition to poker, starting at the penny tables at the end of 2003 before moving his way up in stakes. Today Veldhuis is a fixture at the higher-stakes online games where he has achieved numerous big tourney scores while also succeeding at the cash tables.
He has over $100,000 in live tournament earnings, including four cashes during the last two WSOPs in various hold’em events. We anticipate an appearance in the stands today by RaSZi fan Evelyn Ng, whom Veldhuis is currently dating.
05/31/09 10:20:11 AM PDT
In less than three years since turning 21, Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo has amassed over $1.8 million in tournament winnings. Bonomo has cashed seven times at World Poker Tour events, and has five WSOP cashes in the two years he has played. More recently, Bonomo won the $5,000 WSOP-Circuit Championship Event at Caesars Place in April, earning $227,692 for doing so.
This is Bonomo’s third WSOP, and already he has had a couple of near-misses in his quest to earn his first WSOP gold bracelet. In 2007, Bonomo finished fourth in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em Event eventually won by William Durkee, earning $156,040. And last summer at the 2008 WSOP, Bonomo came even closer, finishing runner-up to Erick Lindgren in the $5,000 buy-in Mixed Hold’em (No-Limit/Limit) Event, winning $230,159 for doing so.
Bonomo regularly shares his poker knowledge with the world in articles for Bluff Magazine and on his podcast, All Strategy, which he co-hosts with Daniel Negreanu and Scott Huff.
05/31/09 10:19:28 AM PDT
A man who hardly needs an introduction, Greg Raymer is the 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion and heads into today's final table fourth in chips. Since being crowned world champion, Raymer has made four WSOP final tables in a variety of poker disciplines including no-limit deuce-to-seven draw, seven-card stud, stud 8 or better, and no-limit hold'em. Raymer's most recent WSOP cash came last summer when he finished in 11th place in the $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw event. A proud member of Team PokerStars Pro, Raymer has over $6 million in career tournament earnings.
05/31/09 10:19:12 AM PDT
Isaac Haxton arrives at the final table today as the dominant chip leader after making a huge run last night when the tournament was down to ten players. Haxton's first major live tournament score was a doozy, finishing second at the 2007 PokerStars Carribean Adventure for $861,789. Haxton already has eight WSOP cashes to his credit including a ninth place finish in the 2008 $5,000 Mixed Hold'em event and a 13th place finish in the £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP-Europe. Most recently, Haxton finished sixth at the £20,000 High Roller Event at the EPT London, banking £103,000 for his finish.
05/31/09 10:18:37 AM PDT
Alec Torelli enjoyed quite a successful first WSOP last summer, cashing the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with Rebuys event and finishing second in the $10,000 World Championship Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em event for which he banked a hefty $336,896. He followed that finish up with not one, but two first-place finishes at the Bellagio's Festa Al Lago Classic in October 2008, winning the $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em event for $84,100 and two days later, taking down the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em event for $120,715. Also a feared online player, Torelli regularly crushes high-stakes cash games under the screen name "traheho."
05/31/09 10:17:58 AM PDT
Playing as "4UHaters," Noah Schwartz developed into a top online pro before making the transition to live play. Schwartz has two WSOP cashes on his resume, going deep in the 2007 Main Event and finishing 45th in last summer's $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em event. Schwartz's largest live score came from his fourth place finish at the WPT Borgata Winter Open where he banked nearly $332,000 and he most recently made two cash finishes at the 2009 Aussie Millions, placing second in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event and coming in 42nd in the $10,000 Main Event.
05/31/09 10:17:43 AM PDT
Five-time bracelet winner Ted Forrest arrives at this final table as the short stack. He won three of those bracelets at the 1993 WSOP in Razz, Omaha 8 or better, and seven-card stud, and then another two in 2003 in stud and no-limit hold'em. A regular in the highest-stakes cash games in the world, Forrest has over $5.5 million in career tournament earnings, earned a WPT title at Bay 101 in 2007, and won the NBC National Heads-Up Championship in 2006.
05/31/09 10:01:54 AM PDT
Seat 1 - Ted Forrest (560,000)
Seat 2 - Noah Schwartz (660,000)
Seat 3 - Alec Torelli (2,340,000)
Seat 4 - Isaac Haxton (5,955,000)
Seat 5 - Greg Raymer (3,345,000)
Seat 6 - Justin Bonomo (1,685,000)
Seat 7 - Lex Veldhuis (3,805,000)
Seat 8 - Dani Stern (1,300,000)
Seat 9 - Vitaly Lunkin (4,565,000)