Friday was a packed day for the cash games in the Amazon Room. With the $2k PLH starting and players busting from Day 2 of the $1.5k NLH, pros were grabbing seats in the stakes area while those with dreams of Final Tables packed the nineteen $2/5 NLH games. Across the room, forty-eight others ponied up $2,250 for their chance at the HORSE satellite.
The center four tables were filled with two $10/25 NLH games, a $50/100 NLH, and a $10/25 PLO game. It was a potpourri of young guns and a couple of old farts thrown in. The tables bordering the barrier were where the pros convened.
One Chinese Poker game was going at $150 a point, and another at $50 a point was just launching. Chinese has been one of the most popular games at the Rio, with anywhere from two to five games going at one time.
TOTO LEONIDAS sat in the 4s with JAMES VAN ALSTYNE in the 2s of the $75/150 Omaha Hi/Lo. Van Alstyne had a great start to 2007 with cashes of $106k, $188k, and $250k in the first three months of the year. He's still looking for his deep run at the WSOP with only one small cash so far this year.
O'NEILL LONGSON looked like he was somewhere between a daze and comatose as he sat at the $100/200 LHE table. Longson can be a bit cantankerous at times, and he was first on the list for everything from 75/150 Omaha H/L to Stud. After an hour, he moved to $25/25 PLO.
JOE TEHAN busted from the $2k NLH event, and he wound down by sitting with CK HUA in the $200/400 Badugi/Triple Draw. "I started with 50k in chips today," Joe said, "and I got it up to 100k. Then I had pocket jacks and ran it into queens on a ten-high pot. That got me down a lot, then I went out later in 98th." Joe is getting close to going deep. It was a chasing table, with six limping and drawing two-three cards. The 7s drew one at the end and bet it, with a sweet .
Halfway across the room, six tables were going in the $2,250 HORSE satellite. RAFE FURST, DEWEY TOMKO, DAVIDSON MATTHEWS, THOMAS WAHLROOS, and LINDA JOHNSON were some of those players who joined ANDY BLOCH in the satellite.
This looked to be the biggest HORSE satellite yet, as many have had minimal fields of a dozen players or so. Bloch's battle with Chip Reese last year was the highlight of the 2006 WSOP , and he hopes to reach the Final Table next week.
With Sunday's highly anticipated tournament $50k HORSE event expected to shatter last year's 143 players, these players hope it will only cost them a couple grand to have a shot at a multi-million dollar payday. Due to the flatter payout structure, no event this year has awarded a $1,000,000 top prize. Expect at least two millionaires from this year's event.