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2005 Mirage Poker Showdown

Submitted by: Ozone

The 4th season of the wildly successful World Poker Tour got underway at the Mirage in Las Vegas this week. The Mirage held 14 poker events spanning over the course of two weeks, the last of which was the $10,000 buy-in WPT Championship event. Throughout the series, Paul Darden was dominant winning two tournaments, and Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi added another notch to his belt by taking down the $15,000 buy-in heads-up tournament. None of these can top the extraordinary accomplishment by Gavin Smith who not only won the 10k championship, but also won a 2k No Limit event earlier in the festival.

The most well recognizable name at the final table was poker legend Ted Forrest. Forrest carried the chip lead for a great deal of the thrilling 3 handed play, but ultimately Gavin Smith was able to knock out Christopher Bell in 3rd ($289,693) to take an overwhelming advantage over Forrest going into heads-up play. Thang Pham, who started the day with the chip lead, finished 4th earning $182,964. Mark Ellerbe earned $106,729 for 6th place, and Gene Todd pulled in $137,223 for 5th.

Only 4 hands were played heads up between Ted Forrest and Gavin Smith. Ted, making his 3rd World Poker Tour final table, earned $579,386 for 2nd. Champion Gavin Smith had his bankroll increased by a whopping $1,128,278 after the win. The WPT episode for this event is expected to air sometime in March of 2006. This was the last World Poker Tour event before the highly anticipated 2005 World Series of Poker.

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