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15/07/2005 No.14
he Guardian Poker Column
Elkan Allan in Las Vegas writes for the Guardian News Group
Thursday July 15 2005
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Nine millionaires left standing

There are no Brits left, but Irishman Andy Black still has a crack at the $7.5m first prize

The final table of the World Championship of Texas Hold'em Poker will enter its climactic stage tonight with just nine players standing. The whole event moved yesterday from the cavernous Rio Suites Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip to its relatively tiny but traditional home, Binion's Horseshoe, downtown. But so overwhelmed are the organisers that they have announced next year it will stay at the Rio all through.

Today's 27 hopefuls - from 6,000 starters - were whittled down to nine after play finally finished past 3am Las Vegas time. Earlier Tiffany Williamson, who won her entry at London's Gutshot Club for a £5 fee, was knocked out. But she walked away with $400,000 for her 15th place.

Still in was Connor Tate from Bury, Lancs., who has been barred from 30 casinos for card-counting in blackjack - a fact he is proud of, as it proves his superior skill at memorising cards. This skill has been holding him in good stead as he has progressed through the vast field here.

Not a bad hand, but it's not a Royal Flush....Also in with a chance is Dublin's Andrew Black. He stayed in the game while last year's winner, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, and the much-fancied young professional whizzkid Phil Ivey were eliminated from his table, giving him a great chance to follow an earlier Irish winner, Noel Furlong, to victory and this year's first prize of $7.5m - easily the biggest purse of any annual sporting event.

The only British player in the semi-finals, London cab driver John McGrane, was knocked out earlier yesterday - but with the substantial compensation of $304,680.

The final table will consist of: Joe Hashem Andy Black Tex Barch Daniel Bergsdorf Mike Matusow Aaron Kanter Brad Koudrachi Steve Dannenmann


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