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Pelton headlines Festa Al Lago final table

20 October 2006

Joe Pelton is the runaway chip-leader going into the televised-final table of the Festa Al Lago Main Event thanks to aggressive play and large amounts of good fortune.

During late third-day action, Pelton caught a runner-runner flush to beat Nick Schulman and give him a tournament chip lead he seems destined to retain.

Thursday (Day Four), he did it again, catching a runner-runner full house to send the dangerous Brandon Cantu to the rail.

Staring at a board of 10d-7d-2h just 14 minutes into day-four action, Pelton tried to make a move with a 9c-7c and was stuck by the hefty-stacked Cantu. Cantu had a set of sevens, but was knocked from the tournament after Pelton caught running nines to beat 28-to-1 odds and win the hand.

His amazing string of luck, coupled with his obvious talent, has given Pelton a massive chip stack of $2.9 million, nearly twice the stack of second place David Baker who has $1.6 million.

Here are the chip stacks for the final six.

Joe Pelton - 2,923,000

David Baker - 1,652,000

Andreas Walnum - 1,374,000

Christopher Loveland - 1,059,000

Steve Wong - 886,000

Can Kim Hua - 765,000

Pelton, who won the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker in August, already earned a $1 million prize this year and is the favorite so far to take home the $1 million earmarked for the winner of the Bellagio's Festa Al Lago Event.

Pelton is the only remaining competitor with WPT final table experience.

But the most experienced tournament player left is Can Kim Hua. A regular on the tournament circuit for more than two decades, Hua has $2.1 million in recorded earnings, including a handful of World Series of Poker final tables. Two of those final tables came at this summer's WSOP.

Wong is enjoying the best year of his career. Also a two-time 2006 WSOP final table player, Wong won the Festa Al Lago Event #5, a No-Limit Hold'em tournament worth $199,105.

Rounding out the group are WPT first-timers Baker, Loveland, and Walnum.

Baker cashed five times at this year's WSOP, followed by Loveland who cashed twice. Loveland also won a 2004 Foxwoods World Poker Finals event worth $50,000. Walnum has the least tournament experience, but enough chips to be a factor.


Mucking McLane
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Best of Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane

Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.
Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.