The 2009 World Series of Poker crossed the two-week mark with a day of exciting events. While the rail wasn’t exactly full of spectators for the PLHE tournament, it played down to its final table, unlike the H.O.R.S.E. event that had its share of railbirds but a slow playdown. It seems to be difficult to please everyone, especially the media.
But it was the two starting events that garnered the most attention, as the shootout saw 90 percent of the field leave in one round of action, and the nearly 100 players who showed up for the lowball championship were a poker fan’s dream. Even the reporters had a tough time keeping their admiration for the deuce-to-seven field in check, as the action was intense and the competitors were excited to be there.
All in all, it was another interesting day at the WSOP, and the action is reduced to several paragraphs here.
Event 20: $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em, Day 2
The event began on Tuesday, June 9, with 633 players, and the field was reduced to only 61 by the first day, which allowed all of the survivors to come back for Day 2 with the assurance of a minimum of $2,851 in cash. As the entire prize pool offered $864,045 for the taking, the ultimate goal was the lion’s share of it available at the final table.
Action slowed toward the end of Day 2, when the money jumps became more prominent and the final table was in sight. After Alexey Popov was finally eliminated in 12th place and David Sands in 11th, the final ten players were seated together to push forward for one more bustout before the night ended. It didn’t take long before Phil Collins moved all-in preflop with , but Erik Seidel was able to call with . The board ran out to end Collins’ run, for which he was awarded $13,332 for the tenth place finish.
That left the final table set as follows for Day 3:
Seat 1: Marc Tschirch 268,000
Seat 2: Erik Seidel 337,000
Seat 3: Jason Dewitt 476,000
Seat 4: Kyle Carlston 320,000
Seat 5: Andrew Radel 250,000
Seat 6: John-Paul Kelly 627,000
Seat 7: Ravi Raghavan 145,000
Seat 8: Kirk Steward 231,000
Seat 9: Aaron Virchis 191,000
Event 21: $3,000 H.O.R.S.E., Day 2
What would end up being one of the slowest tournaments of the Series thus far, the original field of 452 H.O.R.S.E. players were playing for their shares of the $1,247,520 prize pool. Only the last 48 players standing would be able to take advantage of that, and it wasn’t close to happening on Day 1 when there were still 197 players in the event at the end of the day.
Day 2 found that field thin to a manageable level, and it ran into the evening hours when the bubble neared. After Michael Binger was shown the exit, hand-for-hand play led to Al Barbieri all-in on third street during a razz hand against Stewart Yancik. Ultimately, Barbieri showed , while Yancik had . Barbieri didn’t take it well but took 49th place, and the rest of the field was guaranteed at least a $5,277 payout.
When play finally ended for the day, far from a final table, there were 21 players left, and Timothy Finne held the chip lead with 411,000. Yancik looked to be in second with 284,000, and notables still in the tournament included Ylon Schwartz and Gavin Smith. The third day would look to find the competitors going for their seats at the final table and, if there is time, a gold bracelet.
Event 22: $1,500 NLHE Shootout, Day 1
This tournament was capped at 1,000 players to allow for an easy tally of the tables in the shootout format. And the first day was set up to see exactly one round of play. In the sit-n-go format, all 100 tables played to find the single winner at each 10-handed table, and those 100 players would make it into the money and the second day. The 1,000 competitors set out to do just that.
Faster than most anticipated, players took to the rail, and some notables like Chad Brown and Chino Rheem were among them. Soon after, Allen Kessler and Matt Keikoan joined them. It took some time, but eventually, the first table ended its action with Marc Sander beating his nine opponents to guarantee himself some cash and a Day 2 return. Tyson Marks was the next to advance, and Dutch Boyd and J.C. Alvarado followed.
By the end of the day, which was technically nearly nine hours after the event began, there were 100 players moving on, all of whom would start Day 2 with 45,000 in chips and a guarantee of $5,236 in prize money.
Event 23: $10,000 NL Deuce-7 Draw Lowball World Championship, Day 1
Deuce to 7 lowball is a favorite for many veteran poker players, as it is a unique game not played in many casinos or offered in many tournament settings. The World Series of Poker offers it, and this year it brings with it a $10K buy-in as compared to only $5K last year. There is also another twist to this game; though players are entitled to 30,000 chips, they only began with 10,000 and two rebuy options. During the first three levels, players can opt to take their extra chips in 10,000 increments if they so choose to take them at all.
With that, the tournament got off and running with a heavy rail due to the heavy recognizable-pro contingent at the tables. Each was stacked with famous faces for a total of 96 players in the field, and the prize pool sat at $902,400. By the time the day came to an end, there were only 57 players remaining. Day 2 would see them return to play toward the money, which only 14 players would enjoy.
Out of the 57 remaining, Roland de Wolfe was the chip leader with 180,300 chips, and the closest competitor was Stanislov Alekhin with his stack of 121,000. The rest of the top five included Vince Musso, John Juanda, and Tim Phan. Play would resume on Day 2 to attempt to play down to the final table.