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  • 2008 WSOP – Day 4

    By Anthony Holden

    Seen one Cirque du Soleil, they say (at the more discriminating, i.e. less Vegas, end of the market), seen ’em all. Well, last night I saw my first – the Beatles extravaganza, ‘Love’, at the Mirage – and I, yes, lurved it.

    OK, it’s been on for three summers, but I haven’t had time to get to a show in Vegas since I took my under-age sons to Siegfried and Roy (poker’s nickname for Q-Q – think about it) in this same theatre 20 years ago, while writing Big Deal. I don’t really have the time on this trip; I’m too busy writing these blogs (as well, OK, as playing poker). But I’ve had comps for ‘Love’ before, and let them ride; this time, I was determined to make it. And so I did, just five minutes before the show began rather than the prescribed half-hour, but my whole row stood up and made way for me respectfully, almost saluted, when I announced: ‘I’m from Liverpool!’

    Ninety minutes later, the 2,000-seat theatre gave a standing ovation to the dynamic 65-strong cast who had treated us to an exhilarating show featuring seamless versions of some 30 Beatles songs, plus previously unheard Abbey Road archive tapes edited by George Martin (whose knighthood is attached to his name for the Vegas faithful). The trademark Cirque acrobatics, ballet and special effects, both aerial and stagebound, wowed the packed house. There was some spectacular roller-blading to ‘Help!’, and some sleek choreography to that serene Harrison song, ‘While my guitar gently weeps’. I found myself taking notes, out of sheer force of habit, among which is one declaring this ingenious show far more imaginative and inventive than most of the opera productions I earn (the edge of) my crust reviewing for the Observer.

    By the time I emerged, WSOP main event Day 4 was reaching its climax, which saw 189 players remaining out of the day’s 474 starters. Among the big names eliminated was Johnny Chan, leaving Phil Hellmuth the only former title-holder with a chance to repeat. Lesser-known names like Jeremy Joseph of Buffalo, NY, and Jeremiah Smith of Vegas continue to rule the roost. The day unfolded something like this.

    Day 4 began an hour later than usual, at 1pm, after the excitements leading to last night’s late finish. But several European favourites were among the first to be eliminated: Chris Bjorin, Dave Colclough, Steve Davis and Iwan Jones – all to brutal beats, from Shawn Sheikhan, Hevad ‘Rain’ Khan, Hoyt Corkins and Keoni Schwartz respectively. Also out were Chan and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, followed by Hasan Habib,

    In the first three and a half hours of play (including breaks) 180 players bit the dust, which amounts to a shade more than one per minute. When the survivors were down to 288, the pay-rate jumped from $32,166 to $35,383. After 225, it rose to $38,600 – the last level reached today. At the end of the second level, 280 players were still alive. The next wave of departees included Aylesbury’s John Paul Kelly, Hevad Khan and Evelyn Ng.

    Remember the name of Brandon Cantu. Soon after the dinner break, the Vancouver, Washington pro complained to a floorman that he had too many chips. My kind of player. Cantu’s stack was so big, including so many yellow 1,000 chips, that he had no room on the table to play his cards. Within a few minutes an official returned with later some orange (5,000) and green (25,000) chips to clear some felt for Cantu.

    He was in danger, after all, of breaching the newly-framed ‘Mark Vos Rule’. Over the last few days the young South African-born, Aussie pro has been unnerving the authorities by stacking his chips in ‘unstable’ piles, which could cause ‘confusion’ (at the least) if they were to topple over. By the end of today’s play, Vos could barely see over his million-plus stack. Unlike Cantu, he is in danger of breaking the Mark Vos rule.

    Oh, for the opportunity! When play was suspended at 11.15pm, the 189 remaining players all had a record 12-plus hours off – for celebration, sleep, whatever – before the tournament resumes at noon Saturday. They have all won a minimum of $38,600. Some will be winning a great deal more. Tomorrow we shall begin to know who those players might be.

    Chip leader with 2,187,000 (down on the 3 million he had a while back, after a monster reversal late in the day) is Jeremy Joseph. Among the other 188 still alive are the aforementioned Brandon Cantu on 1.98m, Irishman James (‘NOT the writer’) McManus on 1.76 million, Shawn Sheikhan 1.5m, Mark Vos 1.37m, Gus Hansen 1.36m, Victor Ramdin 1.32m, Allen Cunningham 1.14m, Jeremiah Smith 955,000, Jeff Kimber 987,000, Tiffany Michelle 909,000, Jeff Madsen 690,000, Phil Hellmuth 581,000, Mike Matusow 458,000, Britain’s Keith Hawkins 406,000, Chip Jett 386,000, Hoyt Corkins 305,000, Thomas Keller 251,000, Kara Scott 247,000, Ben Roberts 214,000. Propping up the list is Adam York with 95,000. 

    Current chip counts are available here


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    Comment from Richard Whitehouse
    Time: July 12, 2008, 12:22 pm

    There we all were thinking you are from Southport. Nevertheless I think the Gruadian would be well advised to institute the Vegas Revue page immediately with you as features writer. One trip per month I suggest!

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