The first stud tournament of the World Series brought a crowd of proven pros to the tables, all after a coveted bracelet. Stud is played with a maximum of eight players at a table, providing more comfort to watch their chips disappear. Big hands were the order of the day, with Greg Raymer’s quad queens taking out Allen Kessler’s quad 5’s - a highlight of Day 1. David Williams surged through the day, taking out Clonie Gowen and early chip leader Todd Brunson within minutes of each other. David Sklansky won a big pot with quad kings vs. quad 5’s and a set of queens. Josh Arieh lost a monster pot late in the day, the villain taking down the pot with quad fives. He left just out of the money a few hands later, a brutally long day for naught. Play ended in the money around 3:30AM, the latest night of the World Series excluding the Tournament of Champions.
Day 2 was a welcome short day for those surviving, as forty players became a final eight. David Williams picked up where he left off, catching winners and moving his chips to put pressure on the table. He made it through to the final table, his second WSOP final table, chasing his first bracelet.
Humberto Brenes made it deep into the day, but the Costa Rican could do no better than 18th ($5,220). “Miami” John Cernuto was on the felt, but he tripled up then caught a couple more hands. He will be after his fourth WSOP bracelet, starting in 5th chip position.
The short stack that everyone will be watching is none other than Johnny Chan. A day after watching Phil Hellmuth come up short in his attempt to join Chan and Doyle Brunson with 10 bracelets, Chan will look to move into the lead with an eleventh. He will have to start right from the start, as his $26.5k in chips puts him immediately at risk. He won’t be focused on chip leader John Hoang’s $170k in chips; he’ll hope to catch a bit of luck to grab enough chips to bring his experience to bear. His 10 bracelets came in 24 final tables, a remarkable closing rate. His eleventh will be earned, as some tough competitors, with chips, will be out to remove him from the table. It will be another electric evening in store at the ESPN Final Table.