The Final Table at Grand Tunica:
SEAT 1: Andi "the Eliminator" Chang
HOMETOWN:Fort Myers, FL
Andi Chang is a 22-year-old poker player. He says he has no job. He won't need one, if he wins today. Andi's poker nickname is "the Eliminator," and he has done his fair share of eliminating in this tournament. He was the chip leader after Day One. Andi cashed twice at last year's World Series of poker - 15th in a pot-limit event and 29th in a no-limit event. He says he gets inspiration from his brother, who has passed away.
SEAT 2:Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi
Michael Mizrachi is a 26-year-old professional poker player. He grew up initially wanting to be a medical doctor, but he had so much success in his early years as a touring pro, that he decided to play poker for a living. If money is the true measure of success, then "the Grinder" clearly made the right decision. After all, medical doctors only make 400 to 500 thousand dollars a year, on average. And there's no way "the Grinder" could live on that. He has made six million dollars in tournament poker alone during the last four years. He has 59 cashes, nine major tournament wins, yet to this day - incredibly - he has no WSOP-related victories on his impressive resume. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that "the Grinder" is one of the top poker players in the world today.
SEAT 3:Elvin Simpson
HOMETOWN:Downers Grove, IL
Elvin Simpson is a 26-year-old poker professional. In October 2006 he placed 5th in the Heartland Poker Tour championship, held in Gary, IN. He also has four tournament victories at the Majestic Star Casino, just within the last six months. Elvin says that he is blessed with a wonderful family and has made it this far only by the good grace of God. Today, we shall see if a new poker star is born as Elvin will be competing for what is potentially his biggest payday ever.
SEAT 4:Dennis "Ironman" Perry
The chip leader at today's final table is 56-year-old Dennis Perry. Dennis worked for 32 years as an ironworker in and around Cincinnati which earned him his nickname at the poker table - "ironman." He has certainly demonstrated nerves of steel in this tournament. Ironman has 16 cashes in major poker tournaments during his career. Yet for all his success, he has yet to win a major event to this date. He has six final table appearances alone at WSOP-related events, including a fourth-place finish a few years ago in Las Vegas, where he cashed for $195,000. With such a large number of chips coming into today's finale, the stage is now set. Ironman may be a lead-pipe cinch to win his first major, or else he's likely to suffer a major meltdown.
SEAT 5:Gioi Luong
Gioi Luong is a well-respected poker pro who has won over $1.5 million in tournaments over the past three years. He has an astounding 86 cashes since 2003, perhaps one of the highest rate of cashes for any tournament player over that period. That's the equivalent of cashing about once every 12 days. His four wins include victories at the National Championship of Poker and Legends of Poker, both held in Los Angeles. However, Gioi has a major challenge to overcome today, as he arrives ninth of nine players in the chip count.
SEAT 6:Matt Dean
HOMET SEAT:The Woodlands, TX
Matt Dean is a 27-year-old professional poker player from The Woodlands, TX just outside Houston. He is perhaps best known for his seventh-place finish in the World Series of Poker main event in 2004, the year Greg Raymer won. He earned $753,000 for that cash. Proving it was no fluke, Matt cashed the following year in the WSOP main event, as well - and that included a field of over 5,600 players. When is not making big money in tournaments, Matt says he enjoys playing and participating in fantasy baseball. We'll see if he strikes out or hits a home run here today, as
Matt strives for his first major tournament victory.
SEAT 7:Larry Vance
Larry Vance is retired. He would not tell us his age, but he says he's "young at heart." He's certainly played great poker the last few days and arrives third in the chip count at this final table. Larry has 32 cashes on his poker resume, including two tournament wins. He won the fourth annual East Coast Poker Championship at the Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York in November 2006.
SEAT 8:Peter Martin
CHIP COUNT:Washington, DC
Peter Martin is a 30-year-old marketing professional from the nation's capital. If there was an award for the Best All-Around player at this tournament is would undoubtedly go to Peter. He has entered three events here in Tunica - and made it into the money in all three. He cashed for 16th in the first one, finished in 6th place in the second one (out of 750 players) and now he has made it all the way to the final table in this event. Peter is playing phenomenal poker at the moment and is certainly a player to watch in this very talented lineup.
SEAT 9:Lance Allred
Lance Allred is a 37-year-old poker pro. He is the reigning California State Poker Champion. He won the main event there last year (taking the title away from actor Ben Afleck who won it the year before). Indeed, Lance had a great year in 2006 - with three tournaments won and 11 finals tables made. He's starting out 2007 with a bang, as well. When asked what's the most interesting thing about him away from the poker table, Lance replies, "Leave that for the girls to decide."
Prize Money Payouts:
In The Money Finishers:
||Ft. Myers, FL
||Toronto ON (Canada)
||Bossier City, LA
||College Station, TX
||New York, NY
||Loves Park, IL
||Chapel Hill, NC
||Merritt Island, FL
||Gulf Shores, AL
||Baxter Spring, KS
by Nolan Dalla
Note: All content in this report may be re-printed by media.
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Tournament Director - Janis Sexton
Grand Tunica Poker Room Manager - Karen Kaegin