It was another relatively slow day at the 2009 World Series of Poker. With only one final table and one tournament in its second day, it was the two starting events that garnered most people’s attention. But some of the media took it easy, knowing that it would only be a matter of time before the six-event days would be back, as well as major upcoming events like the $50K H.O.R.S.E. and $10K main event that were looming on the horizon.
Without any ado, let’s move directly into the three ongoing preliminary events of Thursday, June 18.
Event 35: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha, Day 2
The tournament began on Wednesday with a rather sizable buy-in for those craving the action of PLO. After the 363 registrants were accounted for, it was determined that the prize pool came to $1,706,100 to be reserved for the final 36 players, with a special $409,484 prize set aside for the eventual winner. The first day of play brought the field down to 64 players, which was impressive but not enough to hit the money.
Day 2 was going to be interesting, especially with so many recognizable faces still in the field. Action was predictably slow as the money spots neared, but the moment eventually came when Tex Barch pushed all-in on a board. Richard Austin was the caller with , and Barch showed . When the river showed a , Barch was unable to beat the straight flush and exited on the bubble.
That left the cashier window open, and Justin Smith was the first to head to it, taking home $11,345 for his 36th place finish. As the evening progressed, there were notions that the final table might be determined by the end of the night, but after Evan Sofer was eliminated in 13th place, play slowed tremendously, to the point that the media was penning tales of exactly how nothing was happening.
Finally, Richard Tatalovich was ousted by Rifat Palevic in 12th place, which was worth $32,330, but play eventually had to be stopped at the obligatory 3am cutoff time with 11 players still in their seats. Those 11 would return on Friday to play down to the final table and go for the win with the following players and chip counts:
Sorel Mizzi 969,000
Rifat Palevi 949,000
Cliff Josephy 805,000
Richard Austin 537,000
Van Marcus 482,000
Peter Jetten 370,000
Dan Hindin 342,000
Felipe Ramos 323,000
Jeppe Nielsen 242,000
Samuel Ngai 207,000
Isaac Baron 170,000
Event 36: $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 1
What would a day at the WSOP be like without a no-limit hold’em event in action? Two days before the weekend, another one got underway, this with a $2,000 buy-in - a little bigger than the $1.5K tournaments that draw thousands of people but small enough to still attract big crowds. This one brought 1,695 players to the tables, which created an attractive prize pool of $3,084,900. Only the top 171 finishers would receive any of it, though, and the first place finisher would get $586,212. Not a bad return for a $2,000 buy-in.
When the day was done, only a small portion of the original tables remained with 213 players bagging chips at them. Those final tallies determined that Corwin Cole was the chipleader with 185,700, and Balazs Botond holding down second place with 160,000. The rest of the top five included Guillame de la Gorce, Dustin Dirksen, and Philip Sparta. The majority of the field was comprised of relative unknowns, but they would all be returning for Day 2 to decide who would make names for themselves at the final table of the event.
Event 37: $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better World Championship, Day 1
Another world championship event was sure to bring out the best stud players in the world, but the $10K buy-in would limit the field to those who could afford to display their skills in the WSOP venue. There were 164 of them in total, and the prize pool was $1,541,600 because of it. The ultimate winner would take home $431,656, and only the top 16 finishers would take home anything at all for their troubles. But such is the nature of tournament poker.
The late afternoon start of the event and high stakes prevented the field from thinning much through the night, and when the day was done, there were still 110 players vying for the prize money and title. Tuan Le was the chip leader with a stack of 234,000 chips, and Frank Mariani was second with 111,300. That put Tuan at a distinct advantage for the second day with such a lead over the field, but his penchant for the gamble could put a dent in that edge. Others in the top five included Lyle Berman, Jeff Lisandro , and Richard Sklar, but the entire rest of the field boasted of recognizable players, guaranteeing an exciting Day 2.