Garry Gates’s rail here at the Rio has been swelling all week, and the 15 or so folk who are now three deep around the main feature table stage just erupted in jubilation. Gates was all in with pocket kings against the A♥K♥ of Hossein Ensan and the kings held.

Huge double for PokerStars’ own

Donnie Peters, who seems to seen through his plan to abandon his media pass should Gates go very deep, put it best: “JFJFBDJSHZBXBXBXBXBXBXBXBXBXBXBXBXBBXBBXX XBSJAKWKXBBXX”

Something pretty crazy is going on here, especially for long-standing friends of Gates. In truth, whether or not you’re a friend of Gates depends only on whether you’ve met him. There’s not a bad word to be heard said about him — even from people he sends to the rail.

Ensan, whose main table chip lead was barely dented by the skirmish against Gates, grinned along. And even Mihai Manole, whose Main Event ended at Gates’s hands in fairly grim circumstances, considers Gates to be a friend.

Gates, left, ends Manole’s Main Event

That has something to do with the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC), for which Gates was the principal company point man for Platinum Pass winners. Manole won the very first Platinum Pass (in amusing circumstances) and so Gates had been looking after him for longer than anyone. The VIP treatment ended, of course, when Gates’s A♠10♦ beat Manole’s A♦J♣ and sent Manole out in 18th.

That was the second significant outdraw that has fired Gates’s run this week, with another Platinum Pass winner, Robert Heidorn, involved in the first. In a hand late yesterday, Gates’s A♥K♦ rivered an ace against Heidorn’s K♣K♥ to score a massive double up. Heidorn remains in the tournament now, so it wasn’t terminal for him, but it was considerably better for Gates.

In this instance, it was down to Mike McDonald to speak for everyone.

Chris Moneymaker also made his thoughts well known:

The kings vs. ace-king coup from today was obviously a repeat of yesterday’s match-up, but Gates quickly highlighted the principal difference. “It feels good to have the kings this time,” he said.

Gates added, “It’s just a lucky spot that he had the ace king. They’re two hands that play themselves.”


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With that, Gates settles back down behind a 52.4 million chip stack to continue what everyone hopes will be a rush to the final table. Is this for real?

WSOP photography by PokerPhotoArchive

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