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Big buy-ins and bigger stars highlight this poker tourney.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


Chris Rose & Michael Konik
EP: Henry Orenstein
Packager: HSOR for Fox Sports
Origin: Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa; Cabazon, CA
Airs: Sundays at 8p ET on FSN

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July 17, 2005

This week is a HUGE week for the bottom two thirds of the line-up as we hit Elimination Match #20. With only one person in the group truly safe, there will be a lot of jockeying for position as these people are playing their penultimate match.

Johnny Chan - He's the safe one. at 30 points, he can coast, but a win would have him tied for overall first place.

Freddie Deeb - Only a pair of 6th place finishes will stop him from making the playoffs. There's no way he's going to do that, is there?

Mimi Tran - She has a win and 18 points. She has some work to do to make the play-offs, but only a little work to do.

Chau Giang - Now we start getting into dangerous territory. Giang, 3 points under the cut-off, can't afford any early exits.

Huck Seed - He's a bad seed with only 11 points. If he doesn't average a third place showing in his last 2 matches, he'll have no seed, because he won't be in the playoffs.

Antonio Esfandiari - Unless the Magician comes in at least second in both of his last 2 matches, his shot at the post-season will disappear.

Hand #1 - Seed calls with a 8 ? 3 ?? Esfandiari raises with a 5 ? 3 ?? Well, there's a reason why they are both on the outside looking in. Seed lays the rags down and Esfandiari collects the first pot.

Hand #2 - Deeb has an A ? J ?. Tran has a K/Q ? and calls. We see the first flop of the evening with a 9 ? 4 ? J ? and Deeb pairs the Jacks, though Tran, with a 10, would have a gutshot straight draw. They both check and see the turn of a 5 ?. Tran still has a gutshot straight draw and bets $60,000. Deeb goes all-in. Tran doesn't want to risk her whole match on a draw and folds to Deeb.

Hand #3 - Tran decides to risk her whole Match instead with a Q/10 ?, and Seed calls it with a pair of 9's (? and ?). The Flop is...9 ? 10 ? K ? and Seed now has Trip 9's. A Q ? shows up on the Turn and Mimi needs a Queen for trips of her own or a Jack for a straight. The River - a 2 ? and Mimi is out in 6th. This is her second straight goose egg, and even though she could afford it, she can't afford any more, and she certainly can't afford it in her last match.

Hand #4 - GIang limps in with a 10 ? 9 ?, while Seed calls it with a 9 ? 5 ?. The Flop is a Q ? 2 ? 4 ?, which helps no one. The turn is a Q ?, which also helps no one. Giang bets $40,000 to try to steal the pot, but Seed goes all-in. GIang, who needs the points, can't take the chance that Seed actually has anything and folds it.

Hand #5 - Chan calls it with a 10 ? 9 ?. Whats up with the 10/9 combos? Esfandiari has a K ? Q ? and goes all-in. Chan doesn't feel like calling and Esfandiari wind the pot.

Hand #6 - Deeb raises it with an A ? 3 ?. Esfandiari calls it from the Big Blind with a Q ? J ?. We see a Flop of A ? K ? 8 ? and Deeb has paired his aces. Esfandiari has a straight draw, and they both check. The turn is a 4 ? and they both check again. The river is a 3 ? and Deeb has 2 pair. He puts in a little $75,000 bet, and Esfandiari, who has nothing, has no choice but to fold.

Hand #7 - Esfandiari has a K/6 ?, and being short stacked, limps in...right into Deeb's A/8 ?, who just calls. It's a big problem on the Flop - a K ? A ? 6 ? gives Esfandiari Kings and 6's, but Deeb has a pair of Aces and a flush draw. After a raise and a re-raise, Esfandiari goes all-in and Deeb calls. The 8 ? and Deeb is now in the lead with Aces and Eights. That is a deadman's hand, and with the 5 ? out on the river, Esfandiari is a dead man, as are his chances of getting to the playoffs. With 1 match left, the Magician is just going to go out and have a good time. It's cool, because a good time is the only thing he's going to have.

Hand #8 - Deeb (8 ? 5 ?) and Chan (8/3 ?) both limp in. The Flop, with a 3 ? 9 ? Q ?, gives Chan a pair of threes and he moves all-in. Deeb has squat and lays it down. Despite the loss, Deeb is still the chip leader...

Hand #9 - ... and Chan, who is still short stacked, goes all-in with a K ? 8 ?. Giang, who's also short-stacked, has an A/7 ? and calls. The Flop is a 10 ? 10 ? 5 ? and Giang is in good shape. He's in better shape when a 5 ? is on the turn and in the best shape when a 6 ? is on the river. Giang doubles up and Can is really short.

Hand #10 - Deeb goes all-in with a A/8 ? and Chan calls with a A ? 4 ?. Chan's looking for diamonds, but a K ? 10 ? 2 ? is none of that. A Q ? is on the turn sets up a split pot with the straight, and Chan calls for a Jack of Spades. He GETS IT - a J ? is on the river. That gives both people a straight and we have a split pot. How did Chan do that?

Hand #11 - Chan goes all-in again with a A ? 3 ?. Seed will call that with a J/5 ?. The Flop - a Q ? 4 ? 9 ? gives Seed a flush draw. A 10 ? is on the turn, which gives Seed more outs...but a 7 ? on the river is none of those and Chan moves into second place, thanks to his double up of Seed. The problem is that Deeb is well into first place - and has more than double Chan's second placed stash.

Hand #12 - Seed goes all-in with a 8 ? 4 ?, and Deeb, with an A/10 ? catches Seed's hand in the cookie jar. The Flop is a 7 ? Q ? 2 ?, the Turn has a K ? and the River is a 7 ?. None of that is good for Seed, so he leaves in 4th place and is forced to come in first or second in his last match.

Hand #13 - They are still chatting over Chan's call of the Jack of Spades. While doing that, everyone folds to Chan, who wins the blinds.

Hand #14 - Chan goes all-in with a Q ? 7 ?. Deeb calls it with a A ? 10 ?. The flop has a 7 ? 8 ? 9 ?. This helps both people - Chan has 7's, but Deeb has a straight t draw. a Q ? comes up on the turn and a Q h comes up on the river. Chan doubles up, much to the chagrin of Giang, who would have loved to edge into second with 7 points.

Hand #15 - The blinds go up and Giang, who clearly wants to see Chan eliminated, doesn't play again. Deeb doesn't want it either and Chan wins again. The win of the blinds now moves him up to second place.

Hand #16 - They all fold to Chan again, who has Pocket Rockets. OUCH!

Hand #17 - Deeb decides to play with a Q ? 10 ?. Everyone else bails and Deeb wins.

Hand #18 - Chan raises to $150,000 with a Q ? 9 ?. Deeb has a K ? J ? and decides to go all-in. Chan now gets to fold and Deeb wins the pot and has over 952,000, compared to 384,000 for Chan and 164,000 for Giang.

Hand #19 - Deeb limps in with a 8/6 ? and Chan (K/4 ?) gets to see a free flop. We see a Q ? 9 ? 3 ? and Chan has a flush. Chan bets $60,000 and Deeb wants none of that. Chan is getting great hands, but no buyers.

Hand #20 - Deeb has cowboys and goes all-in. Giang calls with an A ? J ? and he knows he's in trouble. The Flop has a A ? K ? 5 ?. The Turn is a... 8 ? and Giang has a FLUSH! But hold on, if the board pairs, then Deeb can get a boat. The River is....a 5 ? and Deeb has a FULL HOUSE! That's a back and forth hand for you and Giang is all-out in third place. The win gives Deeb a huge 1,100,000 to 396,000 advantage over Chan.

Hand #21 - Chan has an A ? J ? and goes all-in. Deeb calls with a A ? 3 ? and is a severe underdog. Deeb wants a suckout - and gets it with a 10 ? 3 ? 4;? . A q ? comes out on the turn and a K ? comes out on the river. No flush for Deeb, but a pair of threes is good enough to win the match.

This match was huge for Deeb, who is now guaranteed post-season play, and Giang, who is now in the driver's seat for getting into the play-offs. Let's see who is sitting pretty and who desperately needs an Extreme Makeover -

*40 - IN - Kathy Liebert
*40 - IN - Carlos Mortenson
*37 - IN - Johnny Chan
*35 - IN - David Sklansky
*32 - IN - Freddie Deeb
*30 - IN - David Grey
*30 - IN - Ted Forrest
*26 - Todd Brunson
*23 - Cyndy Violette
*22 - Eli Elezra
*21 - Scotty Nguyen
*21 - Dewey Tomko
*19 - Chau Giang
*18 - Mimi Tran
*18 - Doyle Brunson
*18 - Mike Sexton
*17 - Barry Greenstein
*16 - Mike Caro
*14 - Huck Seed
*12 - Bobby Hoff
*12 - Tommy Wang
*7 - OUT - John Myung
*7 - OUT - Antonio Esfandiari
*5 - OUT - Chris Moneymaker

* - Have played in 5 matches

Next week - We will get to add more to the 'IN' list - and unfortunately, we could be adding more to the 'OUT' list. Join us in 7 days to find out who goes where.

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