After battling their way through the 338 player field that started the event last Saturday, the final ten players are set to take to the felt this afternoon at the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
When play began on Wednesday, 62 players still remained in the tournament, although twelve of those players would walk away with nothing for their efforts. Some of the casualties of those twelve included Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Dutch Boyd, Kathy Liebert and Sam Farha. Once the money bubble burst, action picked up and, by the end of Wednesday night, there were only 24 players remaining, with poker notables Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Barny Boatman, Phil Ivey and tennis champion Boris Becker being eliminated but earning some payback for their time.
Thursday looked to be a short day as, with the WPT Championship television final table set for Saturday, the goal was to work down to a ten handed final table and play down to the final six on Friday. Of the players at the tables on Thursday, defending WSOP H.O.R.S.E. champion Scotty Nguyen was one of the most active. He took care of eliminating Nick Binger in 24th place and seemed to pick up steam from there.
Former WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen fell at the hands of Justin Young, who seemed to be trying to keep pace with Nguyen. After Young eliminated Madsen with pocket sevens against A-Q, he then quickly dismissed Owen Crowe and Ross Boatman in 17th and 15th place, respectively. After Freddy Deeb left the Bellagio in twelfth place, the final table bubble was ready to burst.
The final victim of Thursday was noted pro Jennifer Harman. Facing an all in bet from Yevgeniy Timoshenko who held only a suited 10-2, the diminutive Harman was pleased to look down at pocket Aces and made the call. Her elation turned into a crushing defeat, however, as the flop brought a deuce and the turned spiked a ten, giving Timoshenko two pair to crack Harman’s Aces. For finishing on the final table bubble, Harman received a parting gift of $81,710.
It should be another short day of action on Friday as only four players need to be eliminated to set the stage for the television final table. The remaining players vying to be called the WPT champion include:
1. Scotty Nguyen – 5,880,000
2. Yevgeniy Timoshenko – 5,105,000
3. Christian Harder – 4,650,000
4. Justin Young – 4,220,000
5. Shannon Shorr – 3,155,000
6. Brian Rast – 3,025,000
7. Eugene Katchalov – 2,385,000
8. Bertrand Grospellier – 1,965,000
9. Ran Azor – 1,810,000
10. Bruno Fitoussi – 1,615,000
Of the final ten players, a surprising seven of them have an extensive online background, demonstrating the value of playing on the internet. Grospellier also is in position to capture another of the WPT’s most valued prizes in the WPT Player of the Year award. While it will be difficult to catch Nguyen, the battle should be entertaining as the WPT Championships determines its champion on Saturday.

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