Alex Gomez will start the final day of the Harrah's WSOP Circuit championship event at Harrah's Atlantic City a tremendous favorite with 1,051,000 of the 2,370,000 chips in play. He amassed his huge total with 11 players left when he doubled through with pocket kings against Brian Stahl's pocket 9s. He later knocked Stahl out in 10th place to set the final nine who will return at 2 p.m. on Tuesday with 19 minutes left at level 14, with blinds of 6,000-12,000.

Chip Count

Alex Gomez         1,051,000
John Racener         224,000
Ray Lin                      98,000
Tam Ly                      97,000
Rick Rossetti          181,000 
Feming Chan          179,000
Michael Bernstein  130,000
Drew Gliem            108,000
Ken Goldin             101,000

Day two of the championship event started at noon Monday with frenzied action. We started with 66 players and 50 were left after one hour. Louise Francouer, the last woman, was among the casualties. By the next break, 29 remained, and play was hand-for-hand until the in-the-money final 27.

At this point the last "name" player standing (or seated) was veteran Mickey Appleman, who has over 30 cashes in the WSOP, including three bracelets.

We got down to the money in spectacular fashion. Brian Stahl raised, and an unidentified player re-raised all in with pocket queens. "I have a hand that can't be beat," Drew Gliem warned him. "Do you have aces?" the all-in player asked. Gliem recalls he nodded, though other players say he said yes. "Go for it," the all-in player advised, and Gliem called. Stahl asked for a ruling. Tournament director Jack Effel ruled that Gliem's hand was still live, but if he really had aces he would get a 10-minute penalty for improper disclosure. Stahl folded, and Gliem turned up rockets. He won, everyone was in the money, and Gliem got a penalty.

"I was very excited, I apologize," Gliem told the table. Appleman comforted him by saying the other player had no business asking what his hand was. Effel later confirmed that if the all-in player had survived, he too would have gotten a penalty.

After reseating, play resumed at 5 p.m. As the level before dinner break neared an end, Wencheng Huang, the Chinese brain surgeon who won event four, was dissected out in 26th place. He had earlier lost chips to quad queens and departed when he missed a royal flush draw and was beaten by a full house.

By dinner break, 22 were left. Hoa Nguyen and Feming Chan led, both with close to a quarter million. Not long after blinds went to 3,000-6,000, Appleman busted out, and 16 were left. As the next level was ending, with 15 left, two more players broke. Nguyen was eliminated with Ac6c against A-K after a king flopped, and soon after, Boris Kravets departed, losing to Ray Lin's pocket queens.  

Now 12 were left, playing with 6,000-12,000 blinds. At 12:40, 35 minutes into the round, an all-in V.R. Martin went broke when his A-K ran into Alex Gomez's pocket queens, which turned into a full house. Roman Ulises  Was left with 5,000 when his pocket 9s were beaten by pocket queens. He hung on for a couple of hands, losing when his Q-2 lost to an ace-high. The 10 finalists now redrew and relocated at one table. Gomez led with 935,000. Five minutes later, at 1:30, we got to the final nine when Stahl re-raised all in with Q-J. He was in tough shape against Gomez's K-J, and was done when a king hit the board.

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Max Shapiro -- WSOP Media Director at (323) 356-3303
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World Series of Poker Commissioner – Jeffrey Pollack
Director of Poker Operations for Harrah’s Entertainment – Jack Effel
Harrah’s Atlantic City  Poker Room Manager – John Arthur