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Don Nguyen Leads $50K Poker Players' Championship Final Table; Benyamine, Duhamel Alive

Don Nguyen

Day 4 of the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship started with 26 players. By the end of play on Wednesday, only eight remained. Don Nguyen leads the way with 5,068,000 in chips, nearly twice as much as his closest competitor. The final eight will return on Thursday to play the final table and determine the next winner of the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy.


1Don Nguyen5,068,000
2Matthew Ashton2,996,000
3George Danzer2,868,000
4David Benyamine2,709,000
5Minh Ly2,307,000
6Jonahan Duhamel1,627,000
7John Hennigan1,412,000
8Mike Wattel810,000

On Sunday, a star-studded field of 132 players turned out for this event, arguably the most prestigious in all of poker. It attracts some of the biggest names in the game, and even the list of players who were eliminated prior to Day 4 reads like a list of some of the game’s greatest: Barry Greenstein, Jennifer Harman, Bill Chen, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Brian Rast, Jason Mercier, Andy Bloch, Daniel Alaei, Phil Galfond, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, and the legendary Doyle Brunson, just to name a few.

This tournament only pays the top 16 finishers, so 10 players who made Day 4 left empty-handed. Among those who survived Day 3 but failed to make the money were five-time bracelet winner John Juanda, 2005 Main Event winner Joe Hachem, and David Bach, who won the Chip Reese Trophy in 2009.

After two full levels of play, the money bubble burst, and the remaining players were all guaranteed a minimum payout of $111,893. There were actually two bubble boys, as Joe Cassidy and Gary Benson were eliminated at the same time but on separate tables during hand-for-hand play.

Joe Cassidy (left) and Gary Benson (right)
Joe Cassidy (left) and Gary Benson (right)

The first player eliminated after the bubble burst was Troy Burkholder. He busted in a limit hold’em hand with two pair on the board. Burkholder had an ace kicker, but David Benyamine connected with the board to make a full house, sending Burkholder to the rail in 15th place. Kevin Song followed him soon after. He got into a raising war on the flop against Michael Glick, who held pocket nines. Song had overcards and an inside-straight draw, but missed all his outs and busted in 14th place.

It took almost an hour and a half before the next elimination. Tommy Hang was crippled in a Razz hand against Don Nguyen, then busted out on the following hand. Bryn Kenney was the next to go. Playing no-limit hold’em, Kenney shoved from under the gun with {10-Spades}{6-Spades}, and John Hennigan looked him up with pocket sevens. It was a promising flop for Kenney, bringing two spades, and he picked up an inside straight draw on the turn. But the river was a brick, and “Johnny World” won the pot with his sevens. Kenney was eliminated in 12th place.

Huck Seed busted out soon after Kenney. Seed had gotten short-stacked, and he pushed all in with {a-Spades}{j-Hearts} while playing no-limit hold’em. Unfortunately for Seed, he ran into Matthew Ashton’s {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}. The board didn’t connect with either player, and Seed’s day was over. A few hands later, Michael Glick made a stand in an Omaha hi-low hand with an eight-six-five low, but Minh Ly had an eight-six-four low and pair of eights for high, both of which help up. Glick was eliminated in 10th place, and the remaining nine players redrew seats for the unofficial final table.

The last elimination of the night was Mike Gorodinsky. He got the last of his chips in the middle with a wrap in a pot-limit Omaha hand. He missed, and Ly’s two pair won the pot.

With Gorodinsky’s elimination, the remaining eight players made the official final table. They’ll return on Thursday at 2 p.m. PDT for the fifth and final day of competition. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be bring you all the action on the way to determining a new $50,000 Poker Players' champion.

Be sure to follow our Live Reporting page for continuing coverage of every event at the 2013 World Series of Poker, and follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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