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Poker News: August 2, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 The Canadian Press

HEADLINE: Chris (Jesus) Ferguson works miracles at World Series of Poker

Chris (Jesus) Ferguson put his tournament on the line twice Tuesday, both times catching miracle cards at the World Series of Poker and turning a below-average stack into more than enough chips to remain a contender in the main event.

In a feisty exchange, the poker pro raised and re-raised his way into a massive pot holding pocket kings, with the board showing a harmless-looking queen, five and four. Opponent Robert Ozeran, a 21-year-old student from the University of Southern California, held a queen and five, giving him the dominant two pair. When the betting was done, Ferguson's 40,000 in chips were all-in.

A jack fell, then a four, pairing the board and giving Ferguson the unlikely best hand of kings and fours.

Ozeran, whose stack had been cut to nearly nothing, had a meltdown.

"At least I can say Jesus Ferguson sucked me out," Ozeran said.

"Get in line," Ferguson joked, having doubled up to about 84,000 chips. Earlier, Ferguson also doubled up to about 40,000 as he paired his ace on a river card to beat a lower pair.

After about three hours of play on Day 5 of the world's largest poker tournament, 1,085 of the 1,637 players who played Tuesday remained in the hunt for a top prize of more than $11.5 million US.

On Wednesday, a second group of 1,736 was to play down. The survivors from Tuesday and Wednesday will be combined into single field Friday. The final table gets under way Aug. 10.

"I've been all-in with the worst hand and won both times," said Ferguson, who won the World Series main event in 2000. "I'm willing to get my money in on a coin flip." Both times, he acknowledged, his odds were worse than 50-50.

The chip leader by the afternoon was James Crowshaw with 231,000. Other names on the leader board were Ken Jacobs, son of poker pro Tom Jacobs, with 186,000, Daniel Alaei with 110,000 and Allen Cunningham with 107,000.

Pros Men "The Master" Nguyen, Eric Froehlich, Barry Greenstein, John Juanda, Andrew Black and David Williams were knocked out.

Michael Pino, a retired 59-year-old from New York, clung to hope and 21,000 in chips after knocking Greenstein out by calling Greenstein's all-in bet for 1,175 in chips with a king and nine. Pino held an ace and a 10, which created a pair when an ace appeared on the flop.

As is his practice, Greenstein signed a copy of his book and wrote down the hand that beat him before giving it to Pino and walking out.

"It's nice that I won the hand," Pino said. "As far as knocking him out personally, he's a gentleman and a very nice guy. I sort of feel bad about it, to be honest."

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