Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ivey’s to Lose?

Ivey's in chargeDidja happen to see who has made that final table at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic (set to start at 5:00 p.m., Pacific time)? The most famous and accomplished of the Phils -- Ivey and Hellmuth -- are first and third, respectively. Nam Le is there as well as the short-stack in sixth.

Ivey, of course, has never won a WPT event, though he’s made a whopping seven final tables. His highest-ever finish was second at the Jack Binion World Poker Open back in ’03. Hellmuth hasn’t won one either. He’s made two final tables, his best showing having been a 3rd place finish at Foxwoods, also in ’03. Heading into tonight’s final table, Ivey’s stack of 4.1 million means he has nearly a third of the chips in play. Scott Montgomery is in second with 2.68 million, followed closely by Hellmuth with 2.38 million.

A couple of items worth noting. First, CardPlayer has the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (with a 10K ante) when play ended yesterday. Not sure if they’ll pick things back up there, or perhaps roll back to the previous level (30,000/60,000+10K), which is what the WPT site seems to be indicating. Regardless, Ivey’s stack puts him in fine shape here. And if this tourney follows the form of other WPT events this season, there should be a fairly gradual progression as they move through the levels. In other words, unlike in past seasons where the final tables were marked by rapidly ballooning blinds and antes, Ivey may well find it less necessary to gamble at this final table.

Another point of interest: If CardPlayer has accurately reported tonight’s seating assignments, at the final table Hellmuth will sit in Seat 3 and Ivey in Seat 4. Meaning Ivey will have the advantage of acting after Hellmuth every single hand other than when Hellmuth has the button. And Nam Le is in Seat 2, so Ivey will also often be able to act after Le as well.

Looks as though the stars might be aligning in Ivey’s favor here. Will be interesting to see if the cards -- and that other Phil -- cooperate as well. I know I’ll be checking in on the hand-by-hand reports over on the WPT site.

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