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Pelton takes over lead at the Festa Al Lago Main Event

19 October 2006

World Poker Tour Champion Joe Pelton rode a wave of good fortune to take a commanding lead in Day Three of the Festa Al Lago Main Event.



Pelton has $1,288,000 in chips, $150,000 more than second-place Christopher Loveland and almost $500,000 more than third-place Loi Phan. Twice, Pelton put his tournament life on the line with a dominated hand and twice he doubled his stack.



Pelton called an all-in bet against Annand "Victor" Ramdin and found himself a huge underdog with T-9 versus Ramdin's A-T. Two Nines on the flop gave Pelton a set and a mountain of chips. Ramdin, who entered the day fifth in chips, finished in 31st place.



Pelton's next bit of fortune came against Nick Shulman. After Pelton raised the pot $26,000 pre-flop, Shulman re-raised $85,000. Pelton moved all-in and Shulman immediately called, setting the stage for the day's most important hand. Pelton was a huge underdog, running against Shulman's pocket Jacks with J-8 of hearts. But a miracle three-heart flop saved Pelton, giving him the tournament-chip lead. Schulman never recovered, finishing 27th.



The day's biggest mover was Michael Mizrachi. Short-stacked to begin the day, Mizrachi turned his $60,000 in chips into $378,000. Mizrachi, a terror on the WPT, will be considered the favorite going into the final two days.



The women, who dominated Day Two, fell on hard times Wednesday.



Amateur Brandi Hawbaker, the massive chip-leader at the start of Day Three, lost nearly all if it in two hands. Holding AK against Loveland's AJ, Hawbaker watched in horror as Loveland flopped a straight. Hawbaker went all-in an hour later with AJ. But she ran into Webber Kang's AK and found no help after the flop. She finished 35th.



Jennifer Harman, despite having a healthy stack at the start of the day, never got things going and finished 37th. Thithi "Mimi" Tran carried the torch for the females well into the night, but ended up just short of the cut, finishing in 20th place.



Other notables remaining in the field are 2001 WSOP Main Event Champion Juan Carlos Mortensen (16th), WSOP bracelet holders Brandon Cantu (4th) and "Captain" Tom Franklin (10th), and WPT Champion Joe Tehan.



First place at the Bellagio pays $1,090,025, while second and third pay a hefty $542,700 and $292,220.








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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.