Only two players stand between the end of Day 7 at the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event and the November Nine, the nine players who will return to the Rio in four months to play down to a world champion. In the last two levels six players have been eliminated, one of them being the last woman standing, Tiffany Michelle.
The first elimination of Level 30 was provided by Peter Eastgate. The 22-year-old Danish poker pro knocked out Michelle when he hit a favorable flop with pocket aces against Michelle's A-J. The flop came out A-10-9, giving Eastgate the nuts and giving Michelle top pair. Michelle checked the flop and third player in the hand, Dennis Phillips, led out with a bet. Eastgate smooth called with the nuts and Michelle deliberated for a minute or so before moving all-in. Phillips folded and Eastgate called, leaving Michelle drawing to a runner-runner straight. Michelle was drawing dead by the turn and left the stage to a standing ovation to collect $334,534 for her 17th place finish. (Click here to see WorldSeriesofPoker.com's interview with Michelle).
The next to go was Anthony Scherer in 16th ($334,534), followed by one of the most experienced tournament players remaining in the Main Event, Owen Crowe. The 25-year-old poker pro was knocked out when his pocket nines lost a race to Russian poker pro Ivan Demidov's A-Q. Crowe earned $463,201 for his 15th place finish.
One of two Danish players left in the field, Gert Anderson, busted in 14th ($463,201) when his A-J failed to overtake Ylon Schwartz's A-K. (Click here to watch WorldSeriesofPoker.com's interview with Anderson). Schwartz had a very profitable first few levels on Day 7 and after eliminating Anderson was sitting second in chips, behind 52-year-old St. Louis resident Dennis Phillips.
Nick Sliwinski was eliminated in 13th after he had a triple barrel bluff go wrong against Phillips. Sliwinski bet a flop of 9-7-3, all hearts, and Phillips called. The turn was the six of spades and Sliwinski fired again. Phillips called again and the river was a nine, pairing the board. Sliwinski moved all-in and Phillips wasted no time calling, turning over K-Q of hearts for a flopped flush. Sliwinski showed the six of hearts and five of diamonds for a turned pair and rivered two pair. (Click here to see WorldSeriesofPoker.com's interview with Sliwinski). The 23-year-old moved to Las Vegas just a few weeks ago planning to become a poker dealer. He collected $463,201 for his finish and said he'll probably take some of that money and try to satellite into big buy-in events, just as he did with the 2008 Main Event. When asked about his plans for the future, Sliwinski said he hasn't really thought about it.
"All I've been thinking about for the last week is this tournament," Sliwinski said. "I need to just go home and sleep."
Phillips picked up a few huge pots during Level 31 and took a commanding chip lead with 24 million, almost 10 million more than his nearest opponent. Chris Klodnicki
, a 23-year-old poker player from New Jersey, was eliminated in a suspenseful pot against Scott Montgomery
. The flop was A-Q-Q with two diamonds and the two got all-in, Montgomery holding Q-J for trip queens and Klodnicki holding J-10 of diamonds for the royal flush draw. The turn was the jack of spades, a terrible card for Klodnicki as it left him with a royal flush as his only salvation. The river was a diamond, but it wasn't the king of diamonds and Klodnicki was eliminated in 12th place ($591,869). Click here
for WorldSeriesofPoker.com's interview with Klodnicki.
As players stop for a 20-minute break between Level 31 and 32, the chip leader by a wide margin is Phillips with more than 23 million. In second place with 14 million is Chino Rheem
, the most familiar face on the tournament circuit of the remaining players. Check out WorldSeriesofPoker.com's live updates
and chip counts
as the 2008 Main Event continues to play down to the final table.