WSOP Final Table

After a three-month break at the behest of TV execs, the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event resumed Sunday at the Rio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The final nine included Peter Eastgate, Kelly Kim, Ivan Demidov, David “Chino” Rheem, Darus Suharto, Scott Montgomery, Ylon Schwartz, Craig Marquis and Dennis Phillips.

Phillips came to the table chip leader with over $26 million in the bag. He was soon busted down to eighth place, however, after Demidov’s all-in push muscled him out on an 8-10-J flop and sent him on a downward spiral.

The action then shifted, seeing Phillips holding tight while Demidov and Schwarz began battling it out for the big stack. Meanwhile, FullTilter Scott Montgomery squeezed fellow Tilter Craig Marquis whose three 7 weren’t enough against a straight.

The next several eliminations fell in furious succession, pausing only for a 7:15 p.m. dinner break that saw the induction of Duane “Dewey” Tomko and Henry Orenstein into the Hall of Fame. Tilter Kelly Kim landed in eighth place compliments of Darus Suharto on hand 53. Then, Danish player Peter Eastgate began trolling for fish, snatching stacks off David Rheem (seventh place), Scott Montgomery (fifth place), and Ylon Schwartz (fourth place). The only lull in the carnage was Montgomery’s own sharking when he knocked out Darus Suharto (sixth place) with a flush on the river.

When the chum settled, the table was three-handed with Eastgate at $64.9 million in chips, Demidov at $52 million and Phillips at a little over $20 million.

Phillips, who had battled back from eighth place, made a brave attempt to chip away at Eastgate’s and Demidov’s stacks. Ultimately, though, Eastgate bulldozed Phillips when he attempted to bluff on a 9-10 to the Dane’s pocket threes. Phillips pushed after a 3-4-J flop unwittingly stumbling into Eastgate’s newly minted set, and clocked out in third place with $4.5 million for his trouble.

“I was down to $16 million left. I had no choice,” Phillips said in a post-elimination interview. “I had to either make a move there or get out of it—and then I’m down to $15 million. So I decided, ‘What the hell? Let’s push in there and hope (Eastgate) doesn’t have a hand.’ Boy, did he have a hand!”

The 300-plus friends and relatives who followed Phillips from Saint Louis sporting matching hats and shirts may be disappointed, but the PokerStars pro remained upbeat, mentioning the Multiple Sclerosis, cancer and Down Syndrome charities he is involved in.

The final table wraps up tonight with Eastgate and Demidov facing off for the tourney’s $9.15 million first-place pot and coveted winner’s bracelet.

WSOP Main Event Current Standings
Place Player Prize Money
3rd Place Dennis Phillips $4.5 million
4th Place Ylon Schwartz $3.78 million
5th Place Scott Montgomery $3.09 million
6th Place Darus Suharto $2.4 million
7th Place David Rheem $1.7 million
8th Place Kelly Kim $1.2 million
9th Place Craig Marquis $900,670

Danish player Peter Eastgate reigns triumphant Tuesday supplanting Phil Hellmuth as the youngest World Series of Poker Main Event champion to date.

The grueling heads-up match lasted 104 hands and saw both finalists gain an edge by turns. Ivan Demidov, who came into the face-off short-stacked with $56.6 million in chips to Eastgate’s $80.3 million, pursued an aggressive strategy beginning with the very first hand. His loose, from-the-hip style seemed to pay off early on as he clocked Eastgate several successive times to pull out the lead in the first four hours.

Lady Luck turned on the Russian, though, rewarding Eastgate with several sweet-spot deliveries when he called Demidov’s bluff on an ace-high and, then, when he drew the Russian in, meanwhile having pulled out a flush on the turn.

With $100 million in chips stacked against Demidov, Eastgate’s win was only a matter of time. In the final hand, the Dane turned a straight on a board of 2-K-3-4 off his hold-up A-5 and drew Demidov in with expert ease. The Russian, who was sitting on a 4-2, called Eastgate’s $1.2 million bet after the flop, then followed him in on the turn. At the river (a 7), Demidov continued to press his luck going all-in on a lo pair that was sunk by Eastgate’s straight.

Eastgate walks away from the tournament with a hefty $9.15 million check and the WSOP XXXIX bracelet. For his second place finish, Demidov will also receive a sizeable slice of the pie to the tune of $5.8 million.