How much hold’em can one tournament series handle? As years past have determined, more than anyone would have thought a few decades ago. But it has become the staple of the World Series of Poker, and while stud tournaments garner a few hundred participants, hold’em tournaments bring them in by the thousands. The numbers support the continuance of numerous hold’em events, and this was one of the days that proves that point.
The issue with more players in each event, however, is that the WSOP plan to play down to the final table on the second day of each tournament is not happening. The rule in the books that calls for play to end at 3:00am each Day 2, no matter if the final table is set or not, has been in play in almost each tournament since the start of the 2009 Series. While this may have some impact on the next year’s scheduling remains to be seen, but again on Day 11, there were two tournaments that had to be stopped before the final table players could be known.
With that point addressed briefly, let’s get to the day’s action.
Event 13: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 2
The weekend technically began on Friday for those interested in this event, and there were 1,088 of them who turned out for it. The prize pool soared to $2,502,400 for the last 117 players standing to share. But that first day did not see anyone cash in the event, as 175 players remained coming into Day 2.
Play started on the second day with action at a reasonable pace, at least until the money bubble neared. It was slow going during hand-for-hand action, especially after Beth Shak was ousted in 119th place. Finally, though, two players were eliminated at the same time on separate tables. Brandon Schaefer’s A-Q of hearts was defeated by his opponent’s A-Q of clubs when three clubs came on the board, and Christian Dillon’s ace-high hand wasn’t enough to stand up to Alan Keating’s pair of fours. Schaefer and Dillon then split 117th place money, as is custom, and both players took home $2,464.50 for their bubble play.
Action sped up somewhat after the bubble, but in the wee hours of the morning, it was clear that the final table would not be found before the 3:00am cut-off time. When play stopped, there were 20 players remaining, all of whom would return on Day 3 to play to the final nine and ultimately the winner. Angel Guillen will take the chip lead into the last day of play with 860,000 chips, but Bahador Ahmadi will be in close pursuit with 800K. Notables remaining in the field include Kirill Gerasimov, Roland de Wolfe, and Phil Ivey as the extreme short stack.
Event 14: $2,500 Limit Hold’em, Six-handed, Day 2
The short-handed event of the day boasted of a limit hold’em format, which attracted 367 players on the first day, though only 98 would make it through to Day 2. All of them were fighting to reach the top 36 spots, which is where they would be able to cash in on some of the $844,100 prize pool.
Day 2 found the bubble ready to burst in the evening hours, and it happened when Craig Neilan pushed with against the of Eugene Katchalov. The board brought a ten on the flop, and the rest was history as Neilan left in 37th place with only a memory.
The remainder of the field played down and nearly reached the final table, but 3:00am hit first with 11 players still standing. Five more will have to be eliminated on Day 3 prior to the official final table being recorded, and it looked as if Tommie Horkko would be the player to beat with his big stack of 509,000 chips. However, there would be one well-known player on his heels by the name of Daniel Negreanu, who would go in with his 470K-stack with every intention of taking down his fifth WSOP bracelet. Notably, Barry Shulman and Shawn Buchanan were still in the field as well.
Event 15: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 1
The event began with 655 players looking for a little higher limit no-limit hold’em action than normally offered. The $5,000 buy-in combined with the total number of registrants took the prize pool to $3,078,500.
Despite the serious buy-in, players were eliminated at quite the quick rate of speed, and only 164 remained when the day came to a close. Brazilian player Calixto Clemenceau was the chip leader when play stopped for the night, and he sat with 186,300 chips. Alexander Turyansky was in second with 179,900, and Faraz Jaka was in a close third. Many big names remained in the field, however, and would all return on Day 2 to play through the money bubble so the final 63 players can be paid and attempt to play down to the final table.
Event 16: $1,500 Seven-Card Stud, Day 1
It was the one non-hold’em event in its first or second day on Saturday, and the variety attracted 359 players to the felt. The traditional poker-loving crowd created a prize pool of $490,035, though only the top 40 players would cash in on any of it.
When the day was done, there were 97 remaining, and long-time pro David Levi was in the chip lead with 49,600 chips. Following Levi was a list of highly recognizable names and faces, as the rest of the top five included Dutch Boyd, Eric Afriat, Jeff Lisandro, and Rep Porter. The top ten boasted of names like Jason Mercier, Thor Hansen, and Eli Elezra.
Day 2 looks to be a railbird favorite and could be exciting for media coverage as well.