Tonight's players ae Jarek Markowiak, Three-Card Poker Champion Alice Walker, George Mandilaras, Jeff Swenson and Marlin Horseman. The two big winners tonight, along with the lucky winner of the blind draw, will join Rick Fortin and Kristine Johnson in next week's $500,000 Championship Game.
After Swenson busted while making a $25,000 bet, he fell to last place wth $50,500. On the next hand, he bet $50,000, virtually going all in. At that point, Walker had the lead after making two Blackjacks, although she pushed in one case because the dealer also had made a Blackjack (at one point, the dealer acheived an extremely rare feat by pulling two Blackjacks in a row). Here's Swenson's first two cards:
Dealer's opening card...Queen of Diamonds, and the dealer makes a BLACKJACK, so Swenson's done tonight and he only adds $1,000 to his total. But he might get lucky with next week's blind draw. The dealer went on to make *4* Blackjacks in the first 12 hands, and hasn't busted once at that point.
Shortly after the dealer busted for the first time tonight, here are the scores:
On the next hand, here are the bets:
Alice: (9C)(10C) = 19
Jarek: (10C)(QC) = 20
Dealer's opening card...5 of Clubs. Horseman takes a hit...and gets a Queen, so he busts. Walker and Markowiak freeze. Mandilaras hit and got a King of Spades to freeze at 18. Final hand for the dealer...
(5C)(2D)(QC) = 17
...a 17, so those not named Horseman win, and for Madilaras, it's a big one as he takes the lead with $112,000. Walker is back to her 100 grand base stack, Markowiak has $88,500 and Horseman is last with $72,500. Next hand's bets:
Marlin: (7H)(JD) = 17
Dealer's opener...5 of Clubs, again. Walker splits her sevens. On her first split hand, she gets a 3 of Diamonds to add to her first 7, and decided to Double Down on that split hand. On her other split hand, she got a 4 of Hearts to add to her other 7 and decided to Double Down there, as well.
After his first hit yielded him a Deuce of Clubs to go to 11, Mandilaras hit again...and got a 7 of Spades to freeze at 18. Markowiak decides to Double Down. Here's the dealer's final hand:
(5C)(4D)(2S)(5C)(8C) = BUSTED!!!
That means that Walker jumps to $160,000, while Madilaras has $142,000. Horseman has $108,000 and Markowiak has $93,500. On the next hand, Mandilaras is still addicted to betting $30,000 and Walker bets half that. Base hands for both:
Dealer's base card...Queen of Hearts. Mandilaras surrenders and goes back to $127,000. Walker hit...and gets an 8 of Diamonds to get 21! Final dealer hand...
(QD)(5D)(7C) = BUST BY ONE!
...and thanks to Mandilaras' surrender, Walker has a bigger lead with $175,000 to Mandilaras' $127,000. Next bets from everyone:
Jarek: (AS)(JH) = BLACKJACK!
Dealer's base card...4 of Clubs. Horseman decides to be a bit risky by Doubling Down, and Walker follows suit. After Mandilaras freezes at 15, here's the final dealer hand...
(4C)(QH)(JH) = BUSTED!
...and after hearing another big scream of delight from Walker, she now leads with $215,000. The other three are close to each other, as Mandilaras has $139,000, Horseman has $138,000 and Markowiak has $133,000. But when we get to the KO Hand, the game's gotten tighter again between everyone.
Dealer's base card...Jack of Spades. Mandilaras surrenders to go back to $138,000. Markowiak does the same and goes back to $144,500, and Mandilaras realizes that he goofed by surrendering. Horseman hits and gets a 3 of Hearts. Another hit later...he busts. Walker got up to 14 with her first hit, but busted with her second hit via a Queen. The dealer had a base hand of 16, and Mandilaras's surrendering mistake has cost him big time, as he's been eliminated with $2,000 tonight. But, there's always the blind draw.
Alice Walker and Marlin Horseman went on to the finals after Markowiak's late big betting costed him dearly. Walker won the $25,000 tonight.