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Full Tilt $25K Heads-up World Championship, Day 1: Down to the Final Four

Full Tilt Poker

Some of the biggest names in poker came to the virtual tables as the Full Tilt $25K Heads-up World Championship kicked off on Saturday afternoon, and as the day came to a close only four players were left standing: David Benefield, Jim "WinnerFish" Kilarjian, Ashton "theASHMAN103" Griffin, and Blair "yogiblair" Anderson.

The event began in dramatic fashion, as Team Full Tilt member Phil Ivey and Full Tilt Pro Gavin Smith were the first two players eliminated. However, eight of the 63 runners made the money and all had their eyes on the first-place prize of $551,250. After the starting field was whittled down to the Elite Eight, the next round of match-ups looked like this (players began with 5,000 in chips):

Jim “WinnerFish” Kilarjian vs. Rob “Vaga_Lion” Akery
David Benefield vs. IvanLendL
Blair “yogiblair” Anderson vs. Alex “Kadabra” Keating
Past vs. Ashton “theASHMAN103” Griffin

Jim “WinnerFish” Kilarjian Defeats Rob “Vaga_Lion” Akery

Kilarjian notched his victory at the 15/30 level. He had the button and raised to 75, only to see Rob “Vaga_Lion” Akery reraise to 255. Kilarjian called and the two players saw the flop fall {5-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds}. Akery led out for 300 and Kilarjian popped it up to 780. After a few moments, Akery reraised to 1,290 and Kilarjian came along. When the {A-Spades} hit the turn, Akery bet 2,190, sending Kilarjian into the tank for over five minutes. As his time was running out, Kilarjian shoved with the bigger stack and Akery called all in. It was {K-Hearts}{7-Diamonds} for Kilarjian, leading Akery’s {10-Spades}{9-Spades}. Needing to fade a spade or a queen on the river, Kilarjian did just that as the {4-Diamonds} landed. Rob “Vaga_Lion” Akery finished in eighth place for $94,500.

David Benefield Defeats IvanLendL

Benefield took it down at the 25/50 level. Having steadily chipped his man down to the short stack, Benefield got it in with {A-Diamonds}{4-Clubs} against IvanLendL’s {K-Spades}{K-Clubs} and was looking to spike an ace to close out the match. The board ran out {6-Spades}{9-Spades}{2-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{A-Hearts} as Benefield found one of his three outs on the river, sending IvanLendL to the rail in seventh place for $94,500.

Blair “yogiblair” Anderson Defeats Alex “Kadabra” Keating

Anderson worked his way up to just over a 5-to-1 chip lead before finally taking down the match at 30/60. On the final hand, Anderson found himself way behind with {A-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} up against Keating’s {A-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}, as Keating looked primed to double up. However, the board fell {J-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{J-Hearts}{K-Clubs}{10-Clubs} giving Anderson the winning flush to bust Alex “Kadabra” Keating in sixth place for $94,500.

Ashton “theASHMAN103” Griffin Defeats Past

In the final match of the day, Griffin was able to get by Past at 40/80. The final hand was a classic coinflip, as Griffin’s {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades} faced off against Past’s {A-Spades}{K-Spades}. The board rolled out {9-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{10-Spades}{8-Diamonds} as the pocket pair held up for Griffin. Past finished in fifth place for $94,500.

Play resumes at 4:00 ET on Sunday, with David Benefield pitted against Jim “WinnerFish” Kilarjian, and Ashton “theASHMAN103” Griffin against Blair “yogiblair” Anderson.

Road to the Final Four:

David Benefield victories: Rafe Furst, DarkHorse19, DjAdi, IvanLendL

Jim “WinnerFish” Kilarjian victories: PureCash25, Steven “stevesbets” Jacobs, Mirttinur, Rob “Vaga_Lion” Akery

Ashton “theASHMAN103” Griffin victories: GrindMode, Isaac “luvtheWNBA” Haxton, David Singer, Past

Blair “yogiblair” Anderson victories: Negrodamus2, Scott Montgomery, dingepling, Alex “Kadabra” Keating

1st - $551,250
2nd - $315,000
3rd - $165,375
4th - $165,375
5. Past - $94,500
6. Alex “Kadabra” Keating - $94,500
7. IvanLendL - $94,500
8. Rob “Vaga_Lion” Akery – $94,500

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