Day 34 of the World Series of Poker featured the last two final tables before the 2008 Main Event kicks off on Thursday. One final table featured a “Survivor” attempting to beat a field of eight other competitors to claim his first WSOP bracelet. The other final table on the ESPN Main Stage had two former bracelet winner’s battling it out to see who was the last man standing among a field of nearly 2,700. The Brasilia Room today featured the fan favourite “Ante Up For Africa” celebrity poker tournament. Fans jammed the rails to see 84 of their favourite movie stars, athletes, poker pros and regular joes who all dished out $5,000 to participate in this poker spectacle.
$5,000 Ante Up For Africa
The second annual Ante Up For Africa celebrity poker tournament filled every square inch of the Brasilia Room to the gills as fans hugged the rail in an effort to see their favorite celebrity do battle on the felt. Hosted by poker professional Annie Duke and actor Don Cheadle, the tournament is part of an effort to raise both money and awareness for the tragic situation currently happening in the Darfur region of Sudan. Some of the celebrities who participated in the event this year include Matt Damon, Adam Sandler, Ben & Casey Affleck, Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Charles Barkley, Montell Williams, Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains). Joining them were a handful of professional poker players including Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Phil Laak, Phil Ivey and providing the play-by-play, Phil Hellmuth.
Event #53 ($1,500 Limit Hold ‘em Shooutout)
Day 2 action began at 2 p.m. with 72 players seeking to capture one of the nine spots at the last final table before the 2008 Main Event. It took more than eight hours for a player to triumph at every table and the final nine didn't get underway until after 10 p.m.. The table featured Danny Wong, online pro Matt "mattg1983" Graham, Event #6 runner-up Spencer Lawrence and former “Survivor: China” star Jean-Robert Ballande. The first elimination didn't take place until Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m. but despite some of the players' requests to call it a night and return later in the day, they could not reach a unanimous agreement and play continued. The final hand didn't happen until after 7 a.m. when Graham finally beat Bellande after making a huge heads-up comeback.
For more on the final table of Event #53 check out Graham Outwits, Outplays, Outlasts.
Event #52 ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘em)
The final No Limit Hold ‘em final table before the Main Event featured two former bracelet winners facing off against seven gentlemen hungry for the opportunity to have their moment in the spotlight. The mood of the ESPN Main Stage was a stark contrast to that of yesterday’s final table. Gone was the fun loving party atmosphere and in its place was tight and nervous play among the group of mostly amateur players. Large crowds of national backers were replaced by smaller groups of friends and family cheering on their respective favorite. Day 2 chip leader, Corwin Cole from San Diego, could only muster a fifth place finish, as a few ill-timed aggressive all-in pushes made his chips more endangered than the seals in La Jolla Cove. Taking advantage of those moves were fellow Californian David Daneshgar and Scott Sitron of Milwaukee, who today wanted to prove that he was in fact Milwaukee’s Best as he carried a 2-1 chip advantage into heads-up play. Unfortunately for Sitron, Daneshgar was able to pick away at Sitron’s lead and 50 hands into heads-up got Sitron into an all-in situation which would send the Wisconsinite back home, but with enough money to buy plenty of Milwaukee’s Best Light. Daneshgar for his efforts, picks up his first bracelet, momentum heading into the Main Event and $625,443.
For a full recap of the final table check out Better Late Than Never.