Hold’em was the game of the day. Two new events began that featured hold’em - one limit and the other no-limit - and another no-limit progressed through Day 2. But the attraction of the day for media and railbirds alike was the playdown of the $10K World Championship Mixed Event. Eight games and some of the biggest and brightest names in poker were on display, and it became the biggest draw since the $40K NLHE during the first week of action.
As the day progressed, the cash games and satellites grew. It was Friday, and a weekend in Las Vegas brings the dreamers and casual players, those who cannot buy directly in to a tournament but hope to translate their home-game skills into extra cash or enough for the chance at a WSOP bracelet in one of the weekend events. No matter the reasons, they came and filled the tables, and the sounds of chips riffling through the air continued through all hours.
But the primary focus was rightly on the tournaments that would eventually result in one player from each becoming a new WSOP champion. Bracelets were waiting, and the day’s events played out as recapped here.
Event 11: $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 2
On the first day of action, the original 1,646 starting players lost enough to end the day with 232 remaining. But it was Day 2 that would find the top 171 in-the-money finishers, all of whom would take some portion of the $2,995,720 prize pool.
The field moved toward the money, and only several levels into the day, hand-for-hand play was set into motion, and the floor staff carefully navigated the hands that would cause the bubble to burst, where someone would go home with nothing and everyone else would be guaranteed at least $3,894. At 172 players, tensions rose as the process became a bit tedious, but eventually, it was Mandy Baker pushing all-in for her last 3,700 chips with pocket nines against the of Cody Shedd. The board was innocent enough with a flop and turn, but it was the on the river that ended the tournament for Baker on the bubble.
With that, the last 171 players began to cash in the tournament, one of whom was Phil Hellmuth, who cashed in the 70th WSOP event of his career. But as the day moved forward, the field had only thinned to 25 by the 3:00am cut-off time. Those players were sent home for the night and would have to return on Saturday, June 6 to play down to the final table. Whether the actual final table would play on that day remained to be seen per the speed of the players’ action.
The list of remaining players found Mike Carlson with 858,000 chips and the top spot on the leaderboard, followed closely by Chris Taylor and his 842,000-chip stack. Recognizable names left on the list included Jose Rosenkrantz and Jim Geary.
Event 12: $10,000 World Championship Mixed, Day 2
One of the most anticipated tournaments of the first few weeks was the mixed game world championship event, as it promised to draw a star-studded crowd. With eight games in rotation - limit hold’em, Omaha hi-low split-8 or better, seven-card razz, seven-card stud, seven-card stud hi-low split-8 or better, no-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, and Deuce to 7 triple-draw lowball - it did in fact draw 194 of the best known players in the business. That created a prize pool of $1,823,600 for the final 24 players.
By the end of the first day, there were still 126 contenders, and it looked to be a long day for those looking to secure a spot at the final table, though the rail was filled with happy fans and poker enthusiasts. As the day progressed, they saw players like Eli Elezra, Andy Bloch, Gavin Griffin, Andy Black, and Steve Zolotow eliminated early in the day. But it wasn’t until the late evening hours that the money bubble finally burst. It happened when Peter Gelenscer chose to risk the last of his chips with against the pocket queens of Joe Serock. The board came J-J-4-10-2 to eliminate Gelenscer on the bubble and guarantee the remaining 24 players a minimum payout of $16,649.
Max Pescatori was the first to cash in on that payout, and Brian Mizok, Harris Pavlou, and 2009 bracelet winner Vitaly Lunkin. With Lunkin out in 21st, the action slowed, and when 3:00am arrived, the tournament was called for the evening with 20 players remaining. Huck Seed sat in top chip position with 645,500, and Joe Serock came up in second with 584,500. Adam Friedman posted a 525,500 count, and none of the other players even broke the 400K mark. But notables left in the field included Todd Brunson, Mike Wattel, Doyle Brunson, John Cernuto, David Chiu, James Van Alstyne, Michael Binger, Eric Froehlich, Soheil Shamseddin, and Mark Gregorich.
The 20 players in the fan-friendly field would return on Saturday to play down to the final table and possibly go for the gold.
Event 13: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 1
So as not to disappoint players in Las Vegas for a long weekend looking for some straight up no-limit hold’em action, a $2,500 NLHE tournament was on the schedule, and there were 1,088 takers. Rap star Nelly was among the many tables of players, and their buy-ins combined to make a prize pool of $2,502,400. It was determined that the last 117 players standing would be paid.
As the day played on, it became apparent that the money bubble would not burst on Day 1. When play was called in the late night hours, there were 175 competitors remaining in the field, and Jochen Dickinger was the chip leader with 176,400 in chips. Marcel Janicke was in second place with 171,900, and those who rounded out the top five were Philip Sousa, Eric Mutrie, and Yven Portinga. Notably, Nikolay Evdakov, who accumulated the most cashes in the 2008 WSOP, sat in the tenth place spot on the leaderboard.
Play was set to resume on Saturday, June 6, to play down through the money bubble and to the final table, with any luck.
Event 14: $2,500 Limit Hold’em, Six-handed, Day 1
The late-starting tournament of the day didn’t require players to take their seats until 5:00pm, and the limit hold’em nature of the game guaranteed a fairly slow night. But that didn’t deter 367 players from buying in and taking their chances to win a bracelet. The size of the field created a $844,100 prize pool, which would be reserved for the final 36 players to be left standing in the tournament.
And action was faster than most expected. By the end of the late night, there were only 98 players still in their rightful seats. Jordan Cairns claimed the top spot on the leaderboard with a stack of 76,600 chips, and Von Altizer pulled up in second place with 66,400. Franklin Kline, Alex Veldhuis, and Lennart Khost rounded out the top five.
Play would resume in this tournament on Saturday as well.