Top Pros Make Their Move in the WSOP - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

As the field of players was whittled to a few final tables in the World Series of Poker, some of the games top pros asserted themselves after days of playing patient, smart poker.

Two of the biggest names, Phil Ivey and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, held the top two spots on the leaderboard after the fifth round finished Wednesday night.

The tournament opened with 5,619 players, but only 27 were left after five rounds.

Tim Phan lost his grip on first place after Matusow ripped several players, including making a brave bet with a bottom pair against Farzad Bonyadi. After the flop and turn, Matusow moved all-in. Bonyadi then folded, and Matusow revealed a pair of 2s, one of which he caught on the flop.


After the bold move, Matusow screamed: "Kneel."

Bonyadi, who started Wednesday in third place, busted out along with John Juanda.

Matusow later ran his total to $5.1 million, giving him a tenuous hold on first place. Not far behind was Ivey, with $4.6 million after quietly dominating a table.

Defending champion Greg Raymer, who fell out of the top 30 after leading early Tuesday, charged back into contention, taking the fifth spot.

On one dramatic hand, he doubled through Tiffany Williamson, the lone woman left in the event.

Raymer pushed all-in before the flop and Williamson called unwisely in what was the most intense moment of the night. Raymer, facing elimination, showed pocket kings and Williamson turned over ace-jack. The flop, turn and river didnt help Williamson, and she lost more than $1 million to the unflappable Raymer.

Raymer increased his chip total to $3.8 million in his bid to reach the final table Friday at Binions Gambling Hall & Hotel.

"Tuesday was crazy and lot of things didnt go my way," Raymer said after play ended. "Wednesday, things went my way."

The emerging story after six days of grueling play was the dominance of the pros and their ability to build large stacks and outlast thousands of other gamblers.

"If they play true to form, they will continue to try to avoid confrontations with other big stacks and look for opportunities to attack smaller stacks," said John Vorhaus, author of the "Killer Poker" book series and an analyst with

Most of the topflight pros have played wisely, not taking foolish risks or going on tilt after a nasty beat or loss of a big stack.

Ivey, for instance, has taken his lumps throughout this no-limit Texas Hold em main event that boasts a first prize of $7.5 million. But the card shark known as the Tiger Woods of poker has never let on that his status in the World Series might be in jeopardy.

Ivey never seems to provide other opponents with a tell, or sign that his hand is weak or strong. His face always carries a quizzical look thats occasionally distorted by a yawn.

He whispers and isnt known for trash talking like the gregarious and occasionally obnoxious Matusow, who found himself on his first day of play in the penalty, or sitting out hands, after uttering a few expletives.

Williamson had been in seventh place with nearly $2 million when the round began, hoping to become the first woman to win the prestigious event. She had about $1.1 million and held the 19th spot.

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