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CityCenter’s Baldwin advances to Day 4 at WSOP

CityCenter Chief Executive Officer Bobby Baldwin
Photo by Craig L. Moran.

CityCenter Chief Executive Officer Bobby Baldwin, who won the World Series of Poker in 1978, is poised for his best showing in the game’s signature tournament in 15 years.

Baldwin, who is overseeing development of the $8.5 billion Strip project for MGM Mirage, survived day three of the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em world championship event at the Rio Friday.

He began play on Saturday in 424th place with 193,500 in tournament chips. He ended the day in 319th place and will continue to play on Sunday.

The main event began last week with 6,494 players. The field was reduced to 789 players entering Saturday’s fourth round. Players will begin cashing out at 648th place. The final table of nine will be determined sometime late Wednesday.

The last time Baldwin cashed in a World Series of Poker event was in 1994, when he placed 24th in the main event and won $16,800.

When he won the championship in 1978, Baldwin, known as “The Owl” for his quiet and studious nature at the poker table, beat a field of 42 players and earned $210,000.

Despite his corporate gaming duties, first with Mirage Resorts and now with MGM Mirage, Baldwin plays annually in the World Series of Poker’s main event.

With MGM Mirage, Baldwin earned $2.9 million in salary and other compensation in 2008, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. However, Baldwin earned $8.4 million in salary and compensation from the company in 2007 and $10.1 million in 2006.

Baldwin wasn’t the only former World Series of Poker champion to survive the third day.

Defending champion Peter Eastgate of Denmark remains very much alive in 263rd place. Two of Eastgate’s final table competitors from a year ago, Dennis Phillips and Kelly Kim, are still playing.

Other former champions still playing include Phil Hellmuth (1989), Dan Harrington (1995), Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2000) and Joe Hachem (2005). Hellmuth began Saturday in the best position of any of the former champions, sitting in 89th place.

Greg Raymer, the 2004 champion, was the only ex-title holder eliminated Friday.

As far as celebrities go, actor Lou Diamond Phillips is perhaps the best-known celebrity still alive in event.  Phillips, who portrayed rocker Ritchie Valens in movie “La Bamba,” ended Friday in 171st place.

Also on Friday, four-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro, who won three of his individual event crowns this year, locked up the 2009 “Player of the Year” title.

Lisandro was eliminated from the main event late Friday.

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