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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | WSOP2009 Tournaments

Day 27 Action: Seniors Try to Survive While PLHE and O-8 Players Arrive

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It was back to the busy days at the World Series of Poker, with two final tables running at the same time as two new tournaments and two second day events. Clearly, the few slow days at the midway point were over, and the hustle and bustle of the WSOP was back in full swing.

Pot-limit hold’em players came to the felt at noon with $10K each in their hands and looking for a world championship title, while Omaha-8 players made their late afternoon start to get their hi-low fix. While first days of tournaments are exciting as the players take their seats and notable pros are recognized by the media and the railbirds, it was the second day events that played into the money and on toward the final table. The excitement of seeing the players in the seniors-only tournament find themselves guaranteed a payout overshadowed almost all Day 1 activities.

Unfortunately, the second day of the razz tournament caught everyone’s attention when one of its players collapsed during a hand. “Miami” John Cernuto apparently lost consciousness at the table and in the middle of a hand, causing play to be stopped, the room cleared, and paramedics to be called immediately. He finally began to awaken while sprawled on the floor, but he didn’t seem to be clear-headed until he was hooked to an oxygen mask and loaded onto a gurney to be taken to an ambulance. He seemed more alert at that point, even waving wearily to those still in the room as he was wheeled out. The razz tournament then resumed.

Cernuto told Nolan Dalla later that evening by telephone that he was found to be bleeding internally and would remain hospitalized for at least a day or so while tests were run. All reports of heart attacks and diabetic shock were merely speculation, and Cernuto cleared up the rumors as soon as he was able to make the call. While all tournament activities soon returned to normal at the Rio, most players were sparing at least a few good thoughts for “Miami” John.

Event 43:  $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, Day 2

The seniors-only event brought a record number of 50-and-over players to the tables on Monday, June 22, with a final tally of 2,707 players. The prize pool was $2,463,370, and that would be distributed according to the finishes of the last 270 players. But Day 1 wouldn’t reach that number, as there were 397 still left in the field when the action stopped for the night.

Day 2 started with a few recognizable faces, like Barbara Enright, Berry Johnston, Jim Meehan, and Jack McClelland, but the field soon thinned toward the money bubble. Eventually, hand-for-hand play ensued, at which point two players busted on the bubble. Mark Dolan and Charles Glorioso ended up being able to chop the 270th place prize money, as is custom on multiple bubble eliminations, which gave each of them a bit less than what they used to buy in with but more than the bubble would have awarded.

That left the rest of the field to play down with a guarantee of a payday of some sort and a WSOP cash, which left the crowd quite pleased with their progress as evidenced by a roar of applause when it was announced that they were in the money. Play continued to be a bit cautious, though, especially as the night turned to morning and the final table was not as near as the tournament staff would have liked. The cutoff time of 3:00am still found 28 seniors in their chairs with chips, and they would all have to come back on Wednesday to play down to the final table and through to a victory. Tom Thomas was the chip leader with 917,000 chips, and he was followed by Charles Simon with 626,000. Scott Buller, John Bennett, and Zip Vitullo rounded out the top five.

Event 44:  $2,500 Seven-Card Razz, Day 2

The razz tournament brought a unique crowd of 315 players to the tables on Day 1 - those who love to hate the game, as they say. The subsequent prize pool was $724,500, and the top 32 finishers were set to be paid from it. But Day 1 found that 118 could survive a day and night of razz and return the next day for more.

As previously mentioned, the second day of the tournament was somewhat marred by the medical emergency of “Miami” John Cernuto, and though play resumed after he was taken to the hospital, much of the talk surrounded his health. Interestingly enough, when he called the WSOP Media Relations Director later in the evening to report his status, he asked about the razz hand he was playing at the time, wanting to know if his baby cards won the hand. Unfortunately, he did not win the hand and was later blinded out of the tournament.

The bubble came around late in the evening when John Juanda got involved with Jeff Lisandro that involved Juanda committing all of his chips on fifth street. The final hand for Juanda was (10-6)3-5-9-7(4), but it wasn’t good enough to beat the (2-7)10-5-6-4(7) of Lisandro, which pushed Juanda out on the bubble in 33rd place.

The final 32 players cashed in the tournament, but only 13 survived the day. And none other than two-time 2009 bracelet winner, going for his third, was Lisandro with a stack of 438,000 chips. Steve Diano was in second with 302,000, followed by Don Zewin, Kenna James, and Warwick Mirzikinian. Also still in the field were Nikolay Evdakov, Ville Wahlbeck, and Michael Craig, and the group of 13 would return on Wednesday to play down to the final table and the bracelet.

Event 45:  $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em World Championship, Day 1

Play began for the world championship event a bit later than scheduled, as the tournament staff seemed to expect more players than showed up at noon to begin. Once the cards were in the air and the first two levels were over, there were 285 players in the crowd, which made for a $2,585,000 prize pool. While only the top 27 players would receive any of those funds, the ultimate winner would take home $633,335 to go with the championship title.

The action was rather quick for a first day, and there were only 85 players left standing when play came to a stop at the end of the night. Michiel Brummelhuis was in the chip lead with a stack of 330,200 chips, and Toto Leonidas followed with 241,100. The rest of the top five on the leaderboard included Kirill Gerasimov, Darryll Fish, and Masaaki Kagawa. And notably, David Pham was in sixth place.

Event 46:  $2,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Day 1

The late-starting tournament of the day saw Omaha enthusiasts trickle in to the Brasilia Room at the Rio at 5pm, and when registration closed two hours later, the number of players stood at 424. The prize pool resulting from that crowd was $975,200, which would be reserved for the top 45 finishers in the tournament, though first place was set to receive $229,192.

When play ended for the night, there were 196 competitors remaining in the field, and Joshua Schlein was in the chip lead with 60,700. Omaha specialist Thang Luu was in second place with 56,200 chips, and the remainder of the top five included Scott Bohlman, Eddie Im, and Jeff Tunkel. There were many recognizable faces still in the crowd as well, and they were all set to return on Day 2 to play through the money bubble and attempt to play down to the final table.

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