It took nine full levels of play today to reduce the field of 88 players down to our final nine. It was a day with some wild pots, but in the second half of the day the story was Inwook Choi. He built his stack, and built it, and built it some more. After winning a huge pot from J.C. Tran with just a pair of deuces, Choi will take the chip lead to tomorrow's final table.
With David Steicke relentlessly pounding on his poor tablemates with a near 10 to 1 chip advantage over his closest opponent, when Steicke folded from under the gun, it was someone's chance to make a move.
Kentaro Araki grabbed the opportunity by moving all in for his last 60,000 or so, with Chris Chau deciding to make a gambling call in the big blind.
The board fell and Chau spikes a pair of tens to take the pot. Our final table is set! Araki is eliminated in 10th place for $16,966 in prize money.
J.C. Tran has quickly recovered his lost chips. We didn't catch the action but arrived at the table to see Tran's raking in the pot on a board of . His opponent was Michael Woo who we believe might have been on a straight draw with as he slips to around 120,000. Tran is now back to 360,000.
Kentaro Araki check-called bets of 46,000, 66,000 and 66,000 from his lone opponent, David Steick, on a board the developed . He was very reluctant to make the last call but made it anyway.
"You're not going to like this," said Steicke as he turned over for the runner-runner nuts. Araki did indeed react in disgust as he mucked his hand. He has slipped below 100,000 chips as a result of the hand.
Kristoffer Myhre told a friend who left the tournament area that he didn't think he'd be far behind. He was right. Myhre got his stack into the middle with pocket sevens and was called by Adrien Allaine, with . Allaine hit an ace on the flop and never looked back to send Myhre to the rail in 11th place.
The action folded to Simon Craig in the small blind who raised it up to 24,000. Kentaro Araki was in the big blind and he announced that he was all in, with Craig making a quick call for his tournament life.
Craig tabled big slick but Araki had live cards that came good on a board of . Araki's pair of sevens take it down to eliminate Craig in 12th place for a collect of $16,966.
The biggest pot of the tournament so far just took place on Table 1. With 130,000 already in the pot, Inwook Choi bet 85,000 on a board of . His lone opponent was J.C. Tran, who thought things over and then called.
A crowd of on-lookers pressed closer to the table to see the hit the river. Choi still had to act first. He cut out two stacks of orange (5,000) chips and pushed them over the betting line, a total bet of 200,000. Tran took thirty seconds and then wordlessly did the same thing.
Choi didn't immediately open his hand, perhaps not believing that Tran had called him. Then he disgustedly turned over , a busted flush draw that was nothing more than a pair of deuces. Tran looked at Choi's hand, asked, "Pair of deuces?", then nodded and mucked his hand! It appeared that Tran had put Choi on the right type of hand -- a busted flush draw -- but wasn't counting on Choi also having a pair of deuces to go along with it.
Choi is now the far and away chip leader of the tournament.