Tony G took the points lead into Day 5 of the PartyPoker Premier League, and secured his place at the PPPL final table with another strong showing in his heat. Andy Black kept the pressure on Tony by taking down yet another heat and guaranteed a finals seat of his own, while Phil Hellmuth's woes continued at the event where he has struggled all week.
Heat #9 kicked off with many of the lowest point totals in the series playing each other as Marcel Luske, Phil Hellmuth, Vicky Coren, Eddy Scharf, Ian Frazer and Juha Helppi squared off. Helppi started the day with the lowest point total, at four, but was followed closely by Hellmuth and Luske, who had five points each. All three players desperately needed a win to stay relevant in the competition, but it was not to be for the Poker Brat. Hellmuth was the first to fall after he moved all in over the top of Marcel Luske's preflop raise with . Luske's cards were live with the , and the flop of left him in great shape. The turn and river came down , and Hellmuth was left with zero points and far away from the playoffs.
Eddy Scharf was next to bust the he moved the last of his short stack in preflop with , only to find Juha Helppi waiting with . The board came down , and Helppi's ace kicker played to send Scharf to the rail. Ian Frazer was next to fall when he moved all in on a flop of holding . Juha Helppi called with A-x and spiked an ace on the river to bust Frazer.
Vicky Coren exited in third when she moved all in from the small blind with , only to run into Juha Helppi in the big blind with . The board ran out , and Helppi's queen played to send Coren to the rail. Helppi and Marcel Luske then played a lengthy heads-up match before all the chips finally went in the middle preflop with for Helppi and for Luske. The flop came down an exciting , and Helppi made two pair, but Luske had the spade flush draw. The on the turn gave Luske his flush, and Helppi missed his outs to a full house when the came on the river. Marcel Luske picked up nine points for the win, catapulting him from the bottom of the points tally to relevance once again.
Heat #10 featured many of the current overall leaders, including first-place Tony G second-place Andy Black. Joining them in the match were Roland de Wolfe, Annie Duke, Alex Kravchenko, and Dave 'The Devilfish' Ulliott, who asked for an early start time to Heat #10 so he could make a hot Valentine's date. The players seemed determined to make Ulliott miss his date, as the heat started off very tentative, with over 70 hands passing before the first elimination.
It was Ulliott who sparked the action for the first bustout, moving all in preflop with . De Wolfe called with , pot-committed after posting his big blind. The flop came down , giving de Wolfe three outs to catch up to Ulliott, but the turn wasn't one of them. The on the river didn't help either, and de Wolfe was the first casualty of Heat #10.
Next, Ulliott open-shoved from the small blind with , and Alex Kravchenko helped him make his date on time when he called with . The board ran out , and Ulliott picked up one league point on his way to his rendezvous. Tony G then took out two players with an interesting call, busting both Annie Duke and Alex Kravchenko in one hand. Duke moved all in with , then Kravchenko pushed all in with . Tony G then called the double all-in with , leading Andy Black to remark, "Oh man, that's sick!" when the board ran out , with Duke and Kravchenko both sent to the rail at the same time.
Black and Tony G squared off for a brief but exciting heads-up match, the second such match between the two in this series. In the end it was Black prevailing when he called Tony G's all-in move with . Tony G tabled a dominated , and the board missed both players when it ran out queen-high. Andy Black closed within one point of Tony G with his victory, with both assured of moving on to the finals.
At the end of Day #5, Tony G and Black sat atop the leader board, with Roland de Wolfe, Annie Duke, Eddy Scharf, Alex Kravchenko and Marcel Luske all vying for one of the top four spots and a guaranteed seat at the final table. The overall point standings after ten preliminary heats:
Tony G: 33 pts.
Andy Black: 32 pts.
Roland de Wolfe: 20 pts.
Annie Duke: 18 pts.
Eddy Scharf: 17 pts.
Alex Kravchenko: 17 pts.
Marcel Luske: 16 pts.
Vicky Coren: 14 pts.
Dave Ulliott: 10 pts.
Juha Helppi: 9 pts.
Ian Frazer: 9 pts.
Phil Hellmuth: 5 pts.