Going into the sixth and final preliminary heat of the Party Poker Premier League IV at the M Casino in Las Vegas, we knew a few things for sure. We knew that both Phil Laak and David Benyamine had already clinched two of the six seats at the $900,000 final table. We also knew that Team Party member Ian Frazer, in fourth place at the start of Wednesday, had at least guaranteed himself a spot in the heads-up playoff. Most importantly, though, the ten players not named Laak or Benyamine were all still in contention for the other four spots at the final table.
On the sideline, already finished with their heats, were Party Poker online qualifier Giovanni Safina, Frazer, defending champ JC Tran, and Yevgeniy Timoshenko.
Let’s take a look at the standings before play started on Wednesday:
1. Phil Laak – 48 points
2. David Benyamine — 35 points
3. Giovanni Safina — 29 points
4. Ian Frazer – 26 points
5. Luke Schwartz – 23 points
6. JC Tran – 20 points
7. Yevgeniy Timoshenko – 16 points
8. Roland De Wolfe – 14 points
9. Vanessa Rousso – 12 points
10. Daniel Negreanu – 10 points
11. Tony G – 9 points
12. Phil Hellmuth — 8 points
Laak, who had won his first three heats, played extremely loose, as he really had nothing to lose. Because of this, he was the first one out in Heat 6. While he earned no points and no extra money, the only way he would not be the chip leader heading into the final table would be if Benyamine won the heat. What his elimination did, though, was cause Timoshenko to start sweating, as Roland De Wolfe would now finish no worse than tied with him and those below De Wolfe were one step closer to knocking Timoshenko out of the top eight.
It took a long time for the next player to be eliminated, as most of the competitors were concerned more about surviving than winning. Eventually someone had to go out in seventh place, and that person was Team Party pro Antanas “Tony G” Guoga. The two points Tony G earned for his finish were not enough to move him into the top eight, therefore eliminating him from the rest of the competition. Now De Wolfe was ahead of Timoshenko with at least 18 total points and Vanessa Rousso had pulled into a tie with him on the fringe of the top eight. Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz had also at this point passed Frazer, knocking him out of the top four and forcing him into the heads-up playoff round.
Just after Tony G was gone, so was Benyamine. The points he earned for sixth were inconsequential for him, as he stayed in second place overall, but his elimination was important for the bottom of the leader board.
Next out was Rousso, who ended up with 16 points total, tied with Timoshenko. Interestingly, this now meant that Daniel Negreanu was guaranteed to finish with at least 16 points as well.
Out in fourth was Schwartz, putting him in a third place tie with Safina. More importantly to the rest of the field, however, was that his ouster also meant that both Timoshenko and Rousso were mathematically eliminated from a chance at the final table. Because the remaining three players would now earn at least eight points, De Wolfe would finish with no fewer than 22 total and Negreanu could not finish with fewer than 18. These scores are both better than the 16 that Timoshenko and Rousso finished with, forcing them out of the top eight for good.
The third place finisher turned out to be Roland De Wolfe, who therefore finished with 22 points on the leader board. This total locked him into the heads-up playoff on Thursday. It also guaranteed the same for Negreanu and clinched final table spots for Safina and Schwartz. Going into the heads-up competition, the only unknown was whether Hellmuth or JC Tran would make Thursday’s playoff. If Hellmuth won Heat 6, he’d be in. If he lost, JC Tran would be in and Hellmuth would be mathematically eliminated.
Negreanu started heads-up play with almost a 3-to-1 chip lead, but Hellmuth quickly took command and became the big stack. But Negreanu came back and eventually eliminated Hellmuth with A-A versus K-9. Hellmuth out, Tran in.
The final point totals are as follows:
1. Phil Laak – 48 points
2. David Benyamine — 38 points
3. Giovanni Safina — 29 points
4. Luke Schwartz – 29 points
5. Daniel Negreanu – 26 points
6. Ian Frazer – 26 points
7. Roland De Wolfe – 22 points
8. JC Tran – 20 points
9. Phil Hellmuth — 19 points
10. Yevgeniy Timoshenko – 16 points
11. Vanessa Rousso – 16 points
12. Tony G – 11 points
Laak, Benyamine, Safina, and Schwartz have all made the final table. On Thursday, Negreanu will face Tran in a best-of-three heads-up match to determine the fifth final table spot and Frazer will square off against De Wolfe for the sixth spot. Negreanu held the tie breaker over Frazer, which is why Negreanu was seeded fifth and Frazer sixth.
The heads-up matches and the final table will all take place on Thursday beginning at 11:30am Pacific time.

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.