This was the day that the well-known poker professionals came to the tables, the throngs of media hit their reporting stations, and the poker fans hit the rail. Though Event 1 officially kicked off the 2009 World Series of Poker the day before, it was Day 2 and Event 2 that brought it into full swing with a $40,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event to celebrate the 40th annual WSOP.
The day began at noon when WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack welcomed the crowds, tournament director Jack Effel said a few words, and 2008 WSOP main event champion Peter Eastgate calmly asked the staff to “shuffle up and deal.” With that, the action got underway for one of the biggest buy-in events ever seen at a Series.
Much speculation about the final number of registrants for the event finally ended at the conclusion of the first two levels of play, and the anticipated number was 201. The field included many of the biggest and most renowned names in poker - Hellmuth, Harman, Greenstein, Chan, Brunson, Bloch, Juanda, Ivey, Lindgren, Forrest, Laak, Benyamine, Elezra, Raymer, Hachem, Eastgate, and Moneymaker. Each table was stacked, and there were nearly no unrecognizable names or faces in the crowd.
Though most expected few early eliminations, Erik Cajelais surprised everyone by doubling up Tony G soon after play began, then pushing his 3,500 short stack (out of an original 120,000 mound of chips) all-in with against the pocket fives of Chris Moneymaker. The board bricked, and Cajelais became the first casualty of the high stakes event. David Chiu quickly went on to eliminate Jim Bechtel as well, and from there the bustouts came quicker than anyone could have anticipated.
Some of the late arrivals to the event included Hasan Habib, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Jennifer Harman, and unsurprisingly Phil Hellmuth. But as they took their seats, others like Tom Dwan, Per Ummer, Christian Harder, Peter Jetten, and John Juanda left the building.
Meanwhile, the final monetary figures were announced. The 201-player field created a prize pool of $7,718,400, which was to be reserved for the last 27 survivors, the ultimate winner being guaranteed a payout of $1,891,012.
As the day turned into night, the tables had consolidated to hold only 89 players. Steve Billirakis eliminated Scotty Nguyen just before the end of play for Day 1 of the event, and play concluded with only 89 left. At the top of the leaderboard seemed to be Bruno Fitoussi and his 812,500-chip stack, but he was followed closely by Chris Moneymaker and his piles of 805,000 chips. Other players with significant stacks included Michael DeMichele, Brian Townsend, and Justin Bonomo.
Players were set to return on Friday, May 29 at 2pm to play the second of four days in Event 2. It is anticipated that action will slow considerably as the money approaches, as there is a great deal on the line for each and every player remaining. Tune in for a recap of Day 2 of the high stakes NLHE second event of the 2009 WSOP.
Prizepool and Payout Information:
At last, with registration closed we have the numbers you've all been waiting for. 201 players bought in to the $40,000 No-Limit Hold'em event creating a prize pool of $7,718,400. The top 27 players will be paid with first place receiving $1,891,012.
Here's a full look at the payouts:
1 $ 1,891,012
2 $ 1,168,566
3 $ 774,927
4 $ 548,315
5 $ 413,166
6 $ 329,730
7 $ 277,940
8 $ 246,834
9 $ 230,317
10-12 $ 172,120
13-15 $ 128,666
16-18 $ 96,171
19-27 $ 71,858