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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | WSOP 2008 Tournaments

WSOP Day 32 – Last $1500 NLHE Signals Main Event Excitement

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The 2008 WSOP main event is in sight, and today signaled that the lead-up to it has finally arrived. The opportunity for players to try their luck at the last $1500 no-limit hold’em event – cheap compared to the $10K price tag on the main event – was met with excitement and a bit of desperation, as players hoped to parlay this event’s buy-in into a nice payday that would catapult them into the main event, or a main event satellite at the very least. It’s almost game time.

Other bracelet events were playing their second days as the NLHE got underway. The $10K pot-limit Omaha world championship tournament was attempting to play down to the final tablists, as was the $1500 HORSE event. Both would prove to be challenging, as Day 2’s always are, and it wouldn’t be until late in the day that the names would be known in the battle for two more WSOP bracelets.

It was a busy day at the Rio in Las Vegas, despite the fact that only one event began. The weariness of the players and the exhaustion of the staff and media are beginning to wane in light of the upcoming main event, as the end is in sight, not to mention the opportunity of a lifetime for the player who can win it all.

For now, let’s concentrate on the three events of the day:

12noon – Event #52 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (Day 1)

Most of the $1500 NLHE events at the 2008 WSOP have had to be capped due to space restrictions, but this one came just short of that. With 2,693 players registered, it fell just below the 2,700 cap that has been implemented for most of these events. Even so, it is a stellar turnout on the 32nd day of the 2008 WSOP when many players are exhausted and wanting a few days off before the main event.

On par for this type of event, the field dwindled quickly. Official live updates reporters calculated that the first half of the day consisted of six and a half players being eliminated per minute. By the dinner break, less than 700 players remained, which was considerably more than half the field, and it continued toward the end of Day 1 play. Some of the notable early eliminations included Beth Shak, Marco Traniello, Antonio Esfandiari, J.C. Alvarado, Alex Kravchenko, and Isaac Haxton. And late-night bust-outs included David Pham and Lee Markholt.

As the money bubble approached in the middle of the tenth level of play, the final 272 players went hand-for-hand until a player who tried to make her last three chips last her into the money was forced in and became the bubble girl. With the remaining 270 players in the money, they cheered and proceeded to bust out like they had somewhere else to go. When it was all said and done, only about 225 players remained to return for Day 2, with a player named Keith Carberry a mile out in front of his competitors.

2pm – Event #50 - $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha (Day 2)

A total of 381 players turned out for this pro-favorite tournament. PLO has become a serious alternative to hold’em for many professional players, and the opportunity to win the $10K world championship event brought the best and brightest in the game. Even two of the players, Barry Greenstein and Erick Lindgren, who were playing the final table of the $50K HORSE event on the same day as Day 1 of this event, entered this event for the chance to build a sizable stack before attempting to crush the HORSE tournament.

Lindgren and Greenstein didn’t succeed in their quests, but 86 others survived the first day of the championship to see what they could do on Day 2. Josh Arieh arrived on the new day with a massive chip lead over the others, though the ability to make that last to the final table would be a feat that most could not achieve. But no one could tell that to Arieh. By the dinner break, he was up to 861,000 with no other player even having hit the 500K mark at that point.

Mid-evening, the bubble burst courtesy of John D’Agostino, and the remaining 36 players were in the money, but it was the final table seats that they were after. And that process led into the early morning hours. Finally around 5am, David Benefield went out in 10th place at the hands of Michael Mizrachi. The final ten who were set to return ten hours later for the final table of this world championship event were as follows:

Seat 1: Kido Pham 1,080,000
Seat 2: Brandon Moran 1,286,000
Seat 3: Peter Jetten 492,000
Seat 4: Michael Mizrachi 1,767,000
Seat 5: Billy Argyros 729,000
Seat 6: Greg Hurst 637,000
Seat 7: Tom Hanlon 192,000
Seat 8: Marty Smyth 1,068,000
Seat 9: Richard Harroch 372,000

3pm – Event #51 - $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. (Day 2)

On the heels of the $50K HORSE event that was playing out when this event began, everyone who couldn’t afford or had busted out of the bigger game came to play this one…in droves. The final tally was 803 players, which made it by far one of the largest mixed game tournaments ever held. The excitement for the event was palpable, but that didn’t stop players from busting out of it at a reasonably fast pace.

The pros were determined to be in control of this tournament, and one pro in particular came out on top when the final 179 chip counts were recorded. Phil Hellmuth sat atop the leader board with 46,400 in chips, while others like Joe Hachem and Chad Brown were not far behind. Hellmuth lost his lead as the day progressed and struggled for much of the day.

At approximately 7pm, hand-for-hand play began as the money bubble of 80 players approached. And unfortunately, it was Thor Hansen who took the honors and left the remaining players in the money. Play continued for quite some time, and after 3am, it became obvious that it would be too draining to play down to the final tablists. With the elimination of Chad Brown in 22nd, place, play wrapped with 21 players to return on Day 3 to compete for the bracelet. Phil Hellmuth had the chip lead, as he had at the end of Day 1, and other names with him in the field included Esther Rossi, Victor Ramdin, Randy Holland, and Keith Sexton.

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