The greatest poker player in the world will not win the biggest poker tournament in the world this year.It’s a sentence that has been true for years, a statement that most people never think twice about. But this year, people thought it would be different. Phil Ivey, widely regarded as the best in the game right now, had a chance to cement his spot in poker lore.Of course, the best player isn’t always going to win the game’s biggest tournament, not when thousands enter and variance plays such a major role in who is the victor and who is the victim in any given situation. Phil Ivey, with more wealth than most of us could ever imagine, could hardly be called a victim, of course. But today, the poker gods were not kind to him.After patiently waiting and picking his spots carefully, he lost about a third of his chip stack when he made a daring call with A-8 against an all-in Cada, who had pocket fours. He failed to improve, and the Michigan pro severely damaged Ivey’s chances.But the actual bustout came at the hands of — who else — the true amateur at the table. Ivey pushed all in with about 10 big blinds with A-K, and Moon called with A-Q. While Moon has made some questionable plays today, which you can read about in Card Player’s live updates, it was a standard call against a short-stacked opponent.The flop was anything but standard — a queen in the door gave Moon the huge lead and crushed the spirits of Ivey fans everywhere.Ivey had been munching on one of his trademark apples before the hand began. During his main-event run, it seemed like every time Ivey was on one of ESPN’s WSOP broadcasts, he was chewing on an apple.After the cold queen came out on the flop and most of the Penn and Teller groaned — while Moon’s fans went ballistic — Ivey took what appeared to be another nonchalant bite of his apple. Ivey’s poker face may not have shown pain, it might not have expressed heartbreak, but it’s hard to believe that he didn’t feel it.This was his chance, and now it was over.After Ivey was eliminated, the vast majority of the crowd and the other players at the table stood up to give Ivey a standing ovation. The best player at the final table had been eliminated. No one was disputing that fact.The greatest poker player in the world will not win the biggest the poker tournament in the world this year. That statement holds true once again in 2009.
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