Sometimes, it only takes a peek at the 2010 World Series of Poker schedule to know what day of the week it is and that a weekend is near. That was the case on Thursday, June 10, as the two new tournaments on the schedule - PLO and stud - indicated action and more substantial fields of players. After a few slow days midweek, the media, fans, and players were ready to kick it up a notch.
Day 14 of the long haul, as it is affectionately called, that is the WSOP brought two new tournaments. The first was the noon start of the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event, the inaugural one of the 2010 Series. One of the biggest action games in poker, and the one that has grown in popularity in the past years into a player favorite, started the day with a solid field. And coming in at 5:00pm was the $1,500 stud event, allowing those with more modest bankrolls, those who couldn’t play in the previous days’ $10K stud championships, to play a little seven-card stud instead of the usual NLHE. Sometimes, change is good.
Also on tap for the day, though, was the second day of the $2K limit holdem tournament, which was set to try to play to a final table. And Day 2 of the deuce to 7 draw lowball event was also in the works, and it boasted of some of the biggest names in poker. The rail was thick for the 2-7 event, as they clamored to catch glimpses of players like Chris Ferguson and Doyle Brunson. Both of those restarts brought some excitement into the Amazon Room, as did the playdown and final table of the $5K NLHE tournament, one that contained several popular online poker names and played itself out on the ESPN stage.
All in all, the excitement returned to the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas for the 14th day of action, and it is all chronicled below for your convenience and casual reading pleasure.
Event 17: Day 3, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em
The no-limit holdem tournament that began with 792 players ponying up the $5,000 buy-in to compete for the $3,722,400 prize pool was finally on schedule to end on its third day. But 18 players remained at the start of Day 3, and with so much money on the line - $818,959 for first place - not to mention the gold WSOP bracelet, it was a long day. The playdown to the final table and ultimately the winner’s circle will be chronicled in a separate article upon its completion.
Event 18: Day 2, $2,000 Limit Hold’em
The limit holdem event, the first of the $2K buy-in variety, started on Wednesday, June 9, in the Pavilion Ballroom with 476 players and an $866,320 prize pool. The numbers were greater than in the same 2009 event, though not by much, and they allowed 45 players to cash in but the winner to take home $203,607. LHE may not always be the most exciting of games, but when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars and a WSOP gold bracelet on the line, those capped bets become more intriguing.
Day 1 took that field of 476 and thinned it to only 144, still quite far from the money and just barely at half the starting field. And when they returned for Day 2 action, the goal of reaching the final table seemed a lofty one. Early in the day, names like Lex Veldhuis, Liz Lieu, Svetlana Gromenkova, Ylon Schwartz, Dutch Boyd, and Sorel Mizzi were among the players to hit the rail long before the money bubble.
It wasn’t until just after the dinner break that hand-for-hand play started on the money bubble, and it was over quickly after Bob Lauria pushed his last 2,500 chips all-in with . Jeff Siegal called from the small blind with , but the flop came to give Siegal the sudden advantage. The came on the turn and the on the river, and Bob Lauria was the bubble player, leaving in 46th place with only a bad memory of the bustout hand. The rest of the players were guaranteed a minimum payout of $4,097, and Wesley Huff was the first to take advantage of that in 45th place. Other notables who cashed out as the night progressed included Lisa Wagoner in 44th place, Ralph Porter in 40th, Joe Serock in 28th, Gabriel Nassif in 23rd, Shannon Shorr in 17th, and Jeff Shulman in 13th.
The night ultimately ended just short of the official final table. With 11 players left, Duke Lee pushed all-in with on a flop, but Brent Courson called with . The turn and river left Lee out in 11th place with $12,561, and the final ten players were soon done for the night. The starting chip counts and seating assignment for Day 3 was as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Matt Matros ||224,000 |
|Seat 2: ||William Jensen ||326,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Gary Bogdanski ||115,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Eric Buchman ||453,000 |
|Seat 5: || Hansu Chu ||447,000 |
|Seat 6: || Falvio Ferrari ||373,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Brent Courson ||240,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Daniel Quach ||55,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Steven Hustoft ||383,000 |
|Seat 10: ||Matt Grapenthien ||254,000 |
Those ten players were set to resume play at 2:30pm on Friday, June 11, to bust one player to find the official final table, then proceed to play down to a winner.
Event 19: Day 2, $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit Championship
It was another star-studded tournament at the 2010 WSOP. Not only was it a deuce to 7 draw lowball tournament, but it was of the no-limit variety, it required a $10K buy-in, and it was a championship title. All of those things put together drew some of the biggest names in poker to the game, even prompting Doyle Brunson to comment on a social network site that it was his best game and he was looking forward to playing it.
There were 101 interested players on Day 1, which created a $949,400 prize pool, which would pay out 14 players and give $294,321 to the first place finisher. The event was one that only gave the players 7,500 chips to start play, but they all had the opportunity to take their three add-ons at any time during the first four levels of play, giving a different feel to the chip stacks and strategies. At the end of the late night on the first day, there were only 72 players remaining.
Day 2 started with those 72 and quickly reduced that number with the eliminations of such players as Tom Schneider, Robert Mizrachi, Dan Heimiller, David Grey, Brandon Adams, Mike Matusow, Daniel Alaei, Nicholas Brancato, Brandon Cantu, and Michael Mizrachi. When hand-for-hand play started late into the evening, it went on for quite a few hands until Par Hilderbrand finally decided to make a move with his short stack. Booth called and showed a pat wheel of 7-5-4-3-2, and Hildebrand couldn’t beat it, thus the 15th place finish and the bursting of the bubble.
Play continued, and Peter Gould became the first player to cash in the tournament, taking home $19,272 for the 14th place finish. He was followed by Chad Brown in 13th place, Yan Chen in 12th, and Vince Musso in 11th. The night did end with ten players in place, and they were as follows:
|David Baker ||526,000 |
|George Danzer ||425,000 |
|Eric Cloutier ||366,000 |
|Doug Booth ||359,000 |
|Erik Seidel ||280,000 |
|Eric Kesselman ||247,000 |
|John Monnette ||238,000 |
|John Juanda ||225,000 |
|Daniel Negreanu ||223,000 |
|Andy Bloch ||146,000 |
Those players, and likely a large contingent of fans, will return at 3:00pm on Friday to play Day 3 down to the official final table and on to the declaration of a winner.
Event 20: Day 1, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha
With Omaha as one of the most popular games with players, it was odd to see that the first PLO event wasn’t scheduled until the end of the second week of the 2010 WSOP. But the anticipation of the event was enough to bring a very solid crowd to the Pavilion Ballroom on Thursday, June 10. The action-packed game attracted everyone from the relative amateurs to the pros, all of whom thrive on the ups and downs, the big pots, and the unique strategy that pot-limit Omaha can offer. Also a part of this tournament would be the second chance aspect, which allows players to start with only 1,500 chips but take advantage of any of three add-ons of 1,000 chips each during the first few levels.
The first PLO tournament of 2009 was Event 5, much earlier in the Series than this one, and it drew 809 players for a $1,104,285 prize pool. That event was won by Jason Mercier. But the numbers increased in 2010, as the field was comprised of 885 players and the prize pool of $1,194,750. The top 81 players were set to be paid, with $256,919 reserved for first place.
Some of the players without a chance of seeing that money due to their early eliminations on Day 1 included Tom Dwan, Jon Turner, Noah Boeken, and Carlos Mortensen. And as the day turned to night and the requisite number of levels were played, action stopped with only 95 players left. Among them was defending champion Mercier, but atop the leaderboard was Jonathan Little with 129,600 chips, followed by Christian Harder with 116,100 chips. The others in the top five were Matt Zoorob, John Barch, and Nenad Medic.
Action was set to resume at 2:30pm on Friday in the Amazon Ballroom to play into the money and on toward the final table setup.
Event 21: Day 1, $1,500 Seven-Card Stud
The only stud events at the 2010 WSOP thus far had been $10,000 buy-in championship events, precluding many of the game’s newer players or those with smaller bankrolls from competing in the long-time player favorite game. But with Event 21, the buy-in was only $1,500 and the seven-card stud served straight up, with no splits, and that allowed the masses - or at least those with a penchant for this game - to step up to the plate and go for the gold.
Registration was up this year. In 2009, there were 359 players and a $490,034 prize pool, and many will remember it because of the win by Jeff Lisandro that propelled him on to more bracelets and a Player of the Year victory. But in 2010, with his focus on Event 19, the field was open to a new winner. The 2010 number reflected an increase in stud interest, as 408 players signed up to create a prize pool of $550,800. The top 40 players would make some money for their efforts in the tournament, though the top prize of $140,467 was reserved for the winner.
Some of the early exits of the day were made by players like David Singer, Mel Judah, Jimmy Fricke, Scott Clements, David Williams, and Annette Obrestad. And at the end of the night, after more departures, there were 128 players left in the game. The one with the most chips was Scott Seiver, who bagged up 63,800 chips, and he was followed by James Kadlec with 40,500 chips. The rest of the top five included Christine Pietsch, Carlos Mortensen, and Darren Shebell.
Play was set to resume on Friday, June 11, at 3:00pm, when they would reduce the field into the money and on toward the final table.