Oh my! It was near chaos at the World Series on Wednesday, June 3. Besides the three final tables taking place on or near the ESPN stage, there were two Day 2’s of tournaments that began the day before and two new events bringing new players to the remainder of the tables.
It was also a day of many games. The final tables consisted of no-limit hold’em, seven-card stud, and pot-limit Omaha. The Day 2 tournaments were no-limit hold’em and 2-7 draw lowball, and the new events beginning consisted of a short-handed no-limit hold’em and a mix of pot-limit hold’em and Omaha. As the WSOP often claims, but is rarely able to realistically produce in a single day, there is something for everyone.
With things so hectic around here, let’s try to break it all down, with the exceptions of the final tables, which will be recapped in their own individual pieces to give them the attention they each deserve.
Event 6: $10,000 World Championship Seven-Card Stud, Day 3
The event began on June 1 with a relatively small field of 142 players, though it was a stacked field of mostly recognizable pros anxious to play the world championship event. And the quality of the field mixed with the structure made for a slow Day 2 that started with 101 players and only made it down to 11 when the action was finally called when the clock ticked past 3:00am.
When the 11 came back to the felt on Day 3, they were looking for their final tablists. It didn’t take long for them to achieve that goal, as Ray Denkharghani was rather quickly eliminated in 11th place, courtesy of Max Pescatori, for which he received $29,152. And soon after Tim Phan doubled through Daniel Negreanu, the latter then lost many more chips to Eric Drache. Finally, Negreanu’s last 29,000 chips went all-in versus John Phan, but Negreanu’s pair of tens was beaten by Phan’s trip kings. Negreanu took home $36,267 for the tenth place finish.
With that, the final table was set to take place only moments after with the following starting chip counts:
Seat 1: Freddie Ellis 569,000
Seat 2: Eric Drache 847,000
Seat 3: Jeff Lisandro 392,000
Seat 4: Hasan Habib 593,000
Seat 5: Ivan Schertzer 337,000
Seat 6: Max Pescatori 536,000
Seat 7: Greg Mueller 222,000
Seat 8: Ville Wahlbeck 613,000
Seat 9: Tim Phan 167,000
Event 7: $1,500 NLHE, Day 2
It was the first $1,500 no-limit hold’em event of the 2009 Series, which typically garners a capped field of 3,000 players or more. But this year, with the $1,000 NLHE event starting things off with its 6,000-plus field, many who had been waiting all year to throw their money at Harrah’s to play in a coveted WSOP event did it over the weekend. Even so, there were 2,791 players for Event 7, which pushed the prize pool to $3,809,715.
The first day of action saw the field thinned to 337, which meant that the money bubble would burst on Day 2. With only 297 to be paid, the tournament staff had quite the job on their hands to handle hand-for-hand action carefully. It took some extra time, but no exit was overlooked. Finally, in the afternoon hours, three players were eliminated on the same hand, prompting the first to go home with nothing and the other two to split the 297th place money of $2,742.
Play then sped through the day but ended with the eliminations of Christian Choi in 35th place and Jason Newburger in 34th, both players garnering $15,429 for their deep runs. The 33 remaining players were set to return on Thursday, June 4 to play down to the final table and ultimately the victor who will win $666,853. Craig McConville leads the day as the only player over 1 million chips.
Event 8: $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball, Day 2
This was another event reserved for the poker player with some variety to his or her game. Though there were some faces in the crowd of 147 who were not recognizable pros, the majority of the field was made up of pro players. With a $338,100 prize pool on the line for the last 21 players, it wasn’t going to be about the money but the gold WSOP bracelet.
The first day of action found the field reduced to 35, meaning that Day 2 would pop the money bubble and play down to the final table. Farzad Bonyadi led the day’s eliminations, but when the money spots neared, play slowed more than usual for this type of elite field. Ultimately, short-stacked Daniel Alaei pushed all-in with 10-9-6-5-2, but Michael Kamran called with 10-8-6-4-2, and Alaei was busted just outside the money.
Archie Karas was the first to cash, taking home $4,094 for 21st place, and Erick Lindgren followed. The rest of the in-the-money finishers included, in order of elimination, Erle Mankin, Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Rousso, Michael Kamran, Mark Weitzman, Torstein Iversen, Chris Bjorin, Freddy Deeb, David Grey, Xavier Laszcz, and Tony G. To end the night, Layne Flack was eliminated by Ralph Zimmerman with 10-8-7-6-5 over the 10-8-3-2-A of Flack, giving Flack $8,453 for eighth place.
The final table was then set for the following day with these chip counts:
Seat 1: Raphael Zimmerman 238,000
Seat 2: Eric Kesselman 119,400
Seat 3: John Monnette 259,000
Seat 4: Rodeen Talebi 94,500
Seat 5: Yan Chen 159,000
Seat 6: Elia Ahmadian 136,900
Seat 7: Phil Ivey 106,300
Event 9: $1,500 NLHE 6-Handed, Day 1
The first short-handed event of the year had many poker players salivating at the chance to play the six-handed game for a mere $1,500. When the final registration numbers were calculated, it was determined that 1,459 players bought in to the event, which made for a prize pool of $1,991,535.
The last 144 players standing were to finish in the money, and that moment came late into the night when Jason Dreibelbis pushed his stack all-in with pocket jacks versus the pocket eights of an opponent, but the did it on the river and send Dreibelbis out in 145th place with nothing but a poker memory.
Play sped up as the night pushed forward and ended with only 105 players remaining in the field. The chip leader during most of the last level, Doug Lee, slipped to seventh place when all was said and done, and it was David Fox with the top stack of 186,600. Richard Freire held the second spot on the leaderboard, followed by David Squires, Robert Lipkin, and Ken Aldridge. Action will resume on Day 2 to play down to the final table of six.
Event 10: $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha, Day 1
The first mixed game of the series combined the ever-popular hold’em and the relatively new phenomenon of Omaha in a pot-limit event with a $2,500 buy-in. Starting late in the afternoon, the tournament attracted 453 players and set the prize pool at $1,041,900.
Only the top 45 players would receive any portion of that prize money, but those names won’t be found until Day 2, as the first day of action ended with 99 players still standing. In the lead when the chips were counted was Jamie Rosen with 110,200 chips, and he was followed by Bjorn Verbakel. Tony Cousineau sat in third position, followed by Daniel Makowsky and Alfredo Vega rounding out the top five. Notably, Michael Mizrachi was in tenth place and Alex Kravchenko in 11th when the action stopped. Day 2 will find players in the money and aim for the final table to be set.