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

Day 35 Action: Last Event Before Main Begins With 6-Handed NLHE

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A mixture of sadness and excitement filled the Rio Convention Center on Tuesday, June 30, as the last preliminary event of the 2009 World Series of Poker kicked off at noon. While many players - not to mention members of the media - were glad to see the first starting day of the $10K Main Event just around the corner, others realized that their chances for a WSOP might have to wait another year, and their shots at poker fame may have to come in some other form at another time.

Some of the excitement of the day also came from the final table of the $50K H.O.R.S.E. event, which was playing out along with two other final tables. There were also two events in their second days playing down to their final tables, along with the only starting event of the day kicking off with a turnout that put tables in almost every room of the tournament area. With so many options, players were taking their last chances at preliminary bracelets, and fans were trying desperately to get their last glimpses of their favorite players.

In one of the last opportunities to write about preliminary action at the 2009 WSOP, let’s wrap up the three tournaments as they played out in Las Vegas.

Event 54:  $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 2

This was the last opportunity for players to get in on any reasonably priced NLHE action of the 2009 WSOP, and players turned out in droves for it, causing a sell-out to be declared the night before the event began. When it did start on Monday, June 29, the final tally of players was 2,818 and the prize pool came to $3,846,570. Only the last 297 players standing would be paid, though, and Day 1 fell short of bursting that bubble, as 376 players remained when play stopped.

Day 2 consisted of the field reaching the money within the first two levels of action, and with the very quick elimination of a player on the bubble, Chris Alchenberger became the first to cash in the event, garnering $2,769 for the 297th place finish. Play continued through the afternoon and evening, until the 3:00am cutoff time finally approached. With the last-minute elimination of Kiran Desai in 29th place, which was worth $15,578, the rest of the players were released for the night.

The last 28 players were set to return to the Rio on Wednesday, July 1, to play down to the final table and see it through to the win. As they prepared to do so, it was Sergey Konkin in the chip lead with 1,400,000, but Christopher Demaci was a close second with 1,332,000. Joseph Chaplin was the only other player over the million mark with 1,095,000. The only notable name left in the field that many would recognize was Vivek Rajkumar, but all of the remaining 28 players had the opportunity to make a name for themselves by winning the tournament and claiming the bracelet and $673,276 first place prize.

Event 55:  $2,500 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, Day 2

The deuce-to-seven event brought a select group of lowball fans to the tables on its first day of play. The 257 players made for a $591,100 prize pool, which was reserved for the last 24 triple draw players in the field. Day 1 saw the field reduced to 73, nowhere near the money bubble but with all the makings of an interesting second day.

Day 2 began with those 73 players finally hitting the money bubble in the evening hours. Hand-for-hand play became a moot point when Tom McCormick went into action with only 400 chips and lost them to Joseph Morrow, who showed 8-7-6-3-2 for the win. McCormick was ousted in 25th place with only lowball memories to keep him warm that night. The final 24 players were guaranteed a $5,148 payout, and Michael O’Grady was the first to take advantage of that.

As the evening became late-night, Daniel Negreanu busted in 16th place to narrow the field, and several other players took their leave as tensions rose and the final table neared. When the 3:00am cutoff time came upon them, they drew a card and decided to play four more hands before calling it a night, and during that time, Jacobo Fernandez was eliminated in tenth place, which was good for $13,423. That left the final nine to return on Wednesday, July 1, to play for the bracelet. The final chip counts were as follows:

Abe Mosseri        447,000
Blair Rodman        358,000
Masayoshi Tanaka    345,000
John Juanda        182,000
Julie Schneider        163,000
Brad Libson        146,000
Hertzel Zalewski    111,000
Nam Le              95,000
Kris Lord          87,000

Event 56:  $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed, Day 1

This was the last preliminary tournament of the 2009 WSOP and the last chance for players to win a bracelet before the main event. That brought an astounding field of 928 players to the tables at the Rio for the short-handed event with a $5K buy-in. The resulting prize pool was an impressive $4,361,600, and first place was $1,003,218 - over a million dollars for the last non-main event bracelet!

Only 90 of the players in the event would receive any of the prize pool, though, and the field would not be thinned enough to accomplish that feat on Day 1. When play stopped at the end of the last level, 160 players still remained. The chipleader was Rory Mathews with a stack of 369,800 chips, and Sander Lylloff brought up second place with 360,000. The rest of the top five included Rui Cao, Faraz Jaka, and Lars Bonding. There were several notables still in the field, including Phil Hellmuth, who would all return on Wednesday, July 1, to play down to the final table.

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