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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP 2010 | WSOP Tournaments

WSOP Day 3: Mixing It Up with 1K NLHE, 50K 8-Game, Omaha

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It took a few days but many members of the media agreed that Day 3 felt like the official groove of the World Series of Poker kicked in. The hallways were bustling from noon until the late hours of the night, and both the Pavilion and Amazon ballrooms were busy with tournament action for most of the afternoon and evening. The 2010 WSOP was in full swing.

Another aspect of the day that made it feel like good ol’ WSOP times was the hectic nature of the schedule. Though things started with only one tournament at noon - Day 1B of Event 3 - the Event 2 players returned at 3:00pm to play their third of five days, and Event 4 got underway at 5:00pm with some Omaha hi-low action. In addition, the first bracelet of the year was awarded on the big stage, as Hoai Pham collected his WSOP gold for winning the casino employees’ tournament. One bracelet down, several dozen left to be awarded in the coming weeks.

The excitement still outweighed the grind of the WSOP, as it truly was still early in the Series, but everyone was finding their comfort zones and settling in for the long haul. With no more final tables until Tuesday, let’s get to the preliminary action as it happened on Day 3 of the biggest tournament poker series in the world.

Event 2: Day 3, $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship (8-Game Mixed)

The third of five days in the biggest buy-in of the 2010 WSOP got underway to take the players ever closer to the money and the final table. Though it started on Day 1 with 116 players (making for a prize pool of $5,568,000), only 110 made it through to Day 2, but only 54 went on to the third day of action.

The star-studded field resumed play at 3pm on May 30, knowing that only 16 places got paid and the long grind of a tournament was in front of them for another night, should they make it that far. One of the first to go was Barry Greenstein, who took his hit in a razz hand and left to register for other events. Others who followed early in the afternoon included Steve Billirakis, George Lind, Sorel Mizzi, Tuan Le, Justin Bonomo, Phil Ivey, and reigning champion David Bach. Later, more eliminations included Jeffrey Lisandro, Scott Clements, Scott Seiver, and Scotty Nguyen.

As the last levels of the night were upon them, Andy Bloch busted none other than Doyle Brunson, and players like Josh Arieh and John Cernuto followed. Some of the last eliminations of the night included Cole South and Chris Ferguson, after which the last 24 players redrew for seats at the last three tables. Those like Erik Sagstrom and Hasan Habib didn’t make it much further, though, as they, too, were eliminated late into the night.

When play was complete with the requisite six levels in the books, only 21 players remained at the tables, and the chip leader was Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, who bagged up 1,483,000 chips. Coming in second was Vladimir Schmelev with 1,432,000, and the rest of the top five players were David Oppenheim, Abe Mosseri, and Daniel Alaei.

Play will restart on Monday, May 31, at 3pm and continue until the final table is set.

Event 3: Day 1B, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em

The first of the $1K weekend tournaments began this weekend, and Day 1A on Saturday brought a solid 2,601 players to the tables. Many speculated about a big crowd on Day 1B to bring the total number of players close to the 6,012 that the $1K event received in 2009, but the first hour of Sunday’s tournament made it clear that it wasn’t going to happen.

When the final numbers were in, there were 1,742 new players on Day 1B, making the total overall field 4,345 strong. Though that was far less than the 2009 number, it was important to remember that there was only one opportunity for a $1K event last year, while there are numerous chances at that buy-in this year. The total prize pool for the 2010 event was $3,910,500, with a sizable $625,872 reserved for the ultimate winner.

The issue of the day arose when it was announced that the top 441 finishers would do so in the money. There were 276 players left after ten levels of play on Day 1A, and the field on the second starting day was dwindling fast throughout the afternoon and evening. Only 555 players were left after the dinner break, and it was made known by the tournament staff that the field couldn’t dip below 165 on Day 1B without having problems and finding half the field in the money…without the other half having a say in it.

Some of the big names in the field met the rail throughout the day. The man who gave the “shuffle up and deal” command at the start of play, Randy “The Natural” Couture, didn’t make it through three levels, and other early eliminations included Jason Mercier, Layne Flack, Sorel Mizzi, Jeff Shulman, Alex Kravchenko, Pat Pezzin, and Erick Lindgren. Later in the evening, reports came of the demise of Nicolas Levi, Andrew Lichtenberger, Jason Somerville, and Chad Batista. And just as play was preparing to wrap for the night, Terrence Chan was eliminated.

When the clock stopped and all of the chips were counted, there were 205 players still in the tournament, which came just within the range of where the staff figured it needed to be. That meant the 481 players from both starting days that would return for Day 2 were set to play directly toward the money when they arrive on Monday.

At the top of the Day 1B leaderboard was Braxton Dunaway with 139K chips, followed by Timothy Boytor with 108K. Dunaway surpassed the Day 1A leader (Terry Fleischer with 119,300) and sat firmly in first place overall.

Day 2 was set to start on Monday, May 31, at 2:30pm, where the remaining 481 players will hit the money and play as far as possible, either a set number of levels or to the final table, whichever looks reasonable. The staff established this as a four OR five day event to accommodate the crowds, so decisions will be made as the final table nears as to how long to push the tournament overall.

Event 4: Day 1, $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better

Thus far in the Series, there had been no-limit holdem and the high-stakes mixed game event, so putting the Omaha-8 tournament as Event 4 on Day 3 only made sense to provide a bit of game variation for the players. And with Omaha being the most popular poker game outside of holdem in the past few years, it was sure to get a solid turnout.

The unique aspect of this event was that the 2008 champion, Thang Luu, came back and won it back-to-back in 2009. Not only that, but he finished in second place in the 2007 event. It seemed to be Luu’s personal tournament, but it turned out that he wouldn’t be able to participate in the 2010 event. During the latter part of the 2009 WSOP, after he claimed his gold bracelet, he was playing in a cash game and got involved in an argument with the dealer at his table. The result was that Luu slammed his fist down on the flattened hand of the dealer, breaking said dealer’s hand. He was subsequently (and quickly) banned from Harrah’s properties for exactly one year. Since that one year hadn’t expired yet, Luu was not allowed in the casino or near the WSOP to defend his title. Consequences can be tough.

The 2010 event went on without Luu, and there were 818 players who entered to vie for the title, meaning the prize pool was set at $1,104,300. The 2009 event brought in 918 players, so it was down exactly 100 from the prior year. But back to 2010, the top 81 players were set to be paid from that chunk of change, with the winner receiving $237,643 in the end.

Some of the early casualties of the 5:00pm starting event were Tom Dwan, Shirley Rosario, Greg Mueller, Jean-Robert Bellande, and John Phan. Later in the evening, others like David Sklansky and David Benyamine joined them, followed by Maria Ho in the last level of the night.

When eight levels of play were complete, there were 274 players left in the field, and the bagging of the chips found that Oleg Shamardin was the leader with 70,800 chips, and Scott Epstein was in a distant second with 45,400 chips. The rest of the top five included Daniel Klein, David Bach, and Clinton Steelman.

Action will resume on Monday, May 31, at 3:00pm, where the players will dig into the money and try to play to a final table.

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