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Best of Dan Igo
UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- The most lively table Friday might have been table one, which stayed remarkably intact, even as players from other tables busted out left and right.
Much of the liveliness came from Alex Keating, who seemed to be talking a mile a minute, pontificating on topics ranging from poker to the Mighty Ducks movies.
He asked if anyone at the table liked South Park, and when Alan Sternberg said he did, Keating remarked that he "looked like a South Park fan." Keating and David Teppenberg were especially talkative with each other.
On the other end of the table was 2009 WSOP November Nine member James Akenhead. He wasn't doing much chatting, preferring to listen to his iPod. Finally, Akenhead spoke up and said he'd buy Keating a beer.
Keating jumped at the chance, saying it had to be a minimum of two hours, in-person. He said they could talk "about poker, about life stuff, Hitsquad, whatever."
It's not known if Akenhead's gesture was meant to quiet Keating down. If so, it didn't work, because Keating continued his talkative ways long after Akenhead offered to buy him a beer.
Nothing draws a crowd like a couple of stars. And that was certainly true in the case of Phil Ivey and Cliff "Johnnybax" Josephy, who were seated at a table right on the rail with about a dozen onlookers following the action.
While all eyes were on Ivey, Ivey's eyes and attention seemed to be elsewhere -- at least during pots he wasn't involved in. Ivey was zoned in on watching the second round of the Masters, which was being projected onto one of the walls of the tournament floor.
Rumor has it Ivey made a few sizable side bets on Tiger Woods winning the tournament, so it's understandable why his focus wasn't always on the felt.
The table drew even more attention when Vanessa Rousso joined in the fun late in the day. By then, there were more than 20 people at the rail, with more joining in anytime Ivey, Josephy or Rousso were involved in a major pot.
The players were given an hour and 15 minute dinner break at around 7:45 pm. When they got back, a lot of the conversation at the tables surrounded what they had consumed during the break.
David Fox remarked that he had a tofu and lo-mien dish.
"Enjoy your food poisoning sir," said Jonathan Aguiar from across the table.
"It doesn't matter," Fox replied. "There was no way I was eating Johnny Rockets."
Aguiar finished the day with 899,000 chips, which was good enough for tenth place heading into Day 4. Fox busted out in 32nd place and is taking home $16,000.
Elio Fox had a day to remember on Friday. Not only did he finish in the top 24 with 523,000 chips, he was the one who knocked out the mighty Phil Ivey.
The river was an 8C, giving Fox two pair and a story he can surely tell his grandchildren some day.
Knocking a player out of a tournament is fun. Knocking two players out in one hand? That's priceless. And that exactly what Dennis Park, 50, did during the first level of play today. Two players pushed all-in ahead of him, and Park didn't waste much time to call. When all three flipped their cards, Park held pocket kings while his two opponents held pocket nines and A-K off-suit.
"I was hoping to get two calls," he said during the first break. "They both shoved in ahead of me. I knew I had both of them covered but not by much. One of them had ace-king and I was hoping an ace wouldn't come."
No aces or nines showed up on the board, and Park suddenly had a very healthy chip stack. He said during the first break that his strategy would change slightly after that major pot.
"Well I'm going to play a few more hands because I have some more chips to work with," he said.
Park finished in the money with an 85th place finish and took home $8,500 for his efforts.