In the six-month crackdown, police seized 2.33bn yuan (£165m) in gambling capital, it said. - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Pokers top players and unknowns were in a high-stakes showdown, each looking to make the nine-person final table at the World Series of Pokers main event and grab a piece of gambling glory. But not all will be playing Friday after round six of the no-limit Texas Hold em tournament moved to the legendary Binions Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, where the World Series began 36 years ago.

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Only 12 of the 27 players who started Thursday remained Thursday night. Last years champ, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, pro Phil Ivey and Tiffany Williamson, the only woman left, were among those out of the game.

Raymer held the fifth spot with $3.8 million when the day began. But he suffered some crippling losses, leaving him in serious trouble with about $415,000 late in the afternoon.

Raymer lost about $2 million when he called Aaron Kanter, who had gone all-in. Raymers two kings fell short when Kanter hit a flush on the river, or final card.

Minutes later, Raymer went all-in with an ace-nine and lost to pocket 5s, sending him home without another title.

"If you make it this deep and dont win, youre disappointed," said Raymer, who finished 25th.

Ivey and Kanter went all-in before the flop. Ivey had pocket jacks against Kanters pocket kings. Kanter made three kings on the flop and Ivey couldnt catch up.

"I guess Ill just have to wait until next year," Ivey said moments after busting out of the World Series.

Late in the round, Kanter led with $9.6 million, followed by Joseph Hachem with $6.8 million and Andrew Blacks $6.6 million. Mike "The Mouth" Matusow was in seventh place with $4.9 million.

Steve Dannenmann, Tex Barch and Daniel Bergsdorf were still alive.

Williamson, an American attorney living in London, was the last woman from an overall field of 5,619 players who began play at the Rio hotel-casino. The amateur lasted about five hours before bowing out, finishing 15th.

Williamsons night essentially ended when she went all-in with ace-three against law student Brad Kondrackis ace-king. The flop brought a king, nine and two. The turn revealed another nine and the river was meaningless. Kondracki won the pot with aces and 9s.

She was left with about $300,000, doubled up later but was knocked out after going all-in against Barch, who plays professionally.

She was composed walking away from the table but soon began sobbing.

"I wanted the final table so bad," Williamson said. "It has been a great run."

With her departure, it stands that no woman has ever won pokers richest and largest event, and only one has made it to the final table.

Late Wednesday, Matusow said he didnt expect to crack with a prize of $7.5 million awaiting the winner.

"For five days, Ive kept my head together," Matusow said. "I just need to keep it together for two more. Ive stayed phenomenally patient and picked my spots."

If Matusow wins, it should lessen the pain of a loss he suffered in the 2004 World Series, when his ace-king lost to an ace-queen when the river turned up to be a queen. The outcome had Matusow in tears, and he ended up in 87th place.

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