Phil Hellmuth Still in Contention for $10,000 Poker Players’ Championship

Phil HellmuthVietnamese-American pro Minh Ly leads the nine final-table participants at the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) following a very late night – or early morning, depending how you look at it – in Las Vegas.

The chip stacks were not totalled until 5.40am local time in the Amazon Room of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, meaning players won’t get too much sleep before returning to action later today.

There is also the small matter of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship main event, which starts this evening, to think about, although it is likely that any of these final nine entered will see their chip stacks blinded away – at least to some extent – before taking their seats at the WSOP-closing event.

Phil Hellmuth will certainly want this event to reach a swift conclusion tonight as he chases down a record-setting 12th WSOP bracelet. The Poker Brat sits in fifth place on 2,245,000 chips, behind Minh Ly, Vegas-based Brian Rast (2,655,000), Pennsylvania’s Matt Glantz (2,535,000) and George Lind (2,315,000), of Arizona.

The 44-year-old Ly – who lives in Temple City, California – will be hoping to go one better than his best WSOP cash when he finished as runner-up to poker legend Doyle Brunson in the $5,000 Short-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event in 2005 for $203,715.

But he will definitely face tough competition from his eight rivals, although he does hold 5,215,000 in chips to be 2,560,000 ahead of second-placed Rast.

A total of 128 players started event #55, creating a prize pool of $6,144,000 for the tournament that comprises rounds of Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Seven-Card Razz, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball.

But that has now been reduced to our final table of nine, with even that placing being guaranteed $168,529, although every survivor will surely be eyeing up the gold bracelet and $1,720,328 that goes with the event victory.

Russian Vladimir Shchemelev – whose best WSOP finish was a second in last year’s staging of this event for $963,375 – was the unfortunate final-table bubble boy when he was eliminated in 10th place by Hellmuth during a round of Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better.

Hellmuth held (X)(X)/K♣ 6♣ 4 3/(X), while St Petersburg’s Shchemelev – who owns and operates a bank in the city – showed (X)(X)/K♠ 2 J♦ 8s/(X).

Hellmuth completed, only for Shchemelev to raise. Hellmuth made the call and led out on fourth street, with Shchemelev now calling.

Shchemelev made the best board on fifth to lead out. But Hellmuth then raised, only for Shchemelev to re-raise all-in. Hellmuth called to show K 7♠, while Shchemelev revealed K 6.

Sixth street made no difference to either player, and the Russian businessman then turned over the 9h on seventh. Hellmuth showed the A, giving the American a better pair of kings.

As neither player had found a low, Hellmuth took the pot to send Shchemelev to the rail in 10th for $168,529.

Hellmuth, meanwhile, had stood up, clapped his hands with enjoyment, and given a vigorous fist pump.

The final table participants and chip counts for the WSOP 2011 $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship:

1. Minh Ly (Vietnam) – 5,215,000

2. Brian Rast (USA) – 2,655,000

3. Matt Glantz (USA) – 2,535,000

4. George Lind (USA) – 2,315,000

5. Phil Hellmuth (USA) – 2,245,000

6. Owais Ahmed (USA) – 1,425,000

7. Ben Lamb (USA) – 1,180,000

8. Jason Lester (USA) – 970,000

9. Scott Seiver (USA) – 725,000