Exactly two weeks from Day 25 will mark the start of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. Those two weeks are relative, though. For players who have yet to cash or make a final table or win a bracelet, their chances to do so are dwindling, and they can feel it. Some players are tiring of the grind, though, and anxious for the Main Event. As for the poker media, we can safely say that most are feeling the exhaustion and ready to get on with the “big dance.”
Today, however, is Day 25 and brings new excitement of its own to the hallways and ballrooms of the Rio Convention Center. The noon start offers the player-favorite shootout format, where the $1,500 buy-in brings no-limit holdem tables in shootout style, so players simply win a nine-handed table to advance to the money and another to reach the final table. It sounds easier than it is, but players love their chances in it. And later in the day, the 5:00pm start hands players a seven-card razz event for a $2,500 buy-in. They love to hate razz, and they hate to love playing it, and though that doesn’t make much sense, they will show up to play it but complain while doing it. Standard fare for some games, it seems.
Also on the schedule for the day was the official second day of the weekend’s $1K NLHE tournament, along with Day 2 of the $10K PLHE championship event. The schedule only lists the $3K HORSE in its final day of play, as competitors take it to the final table and on to a winner, but Day 24 found a sort of stalemate in the $10K heads-up championship. The final best-of-three matches didn’t get underway until nearly 11:00pm, and the first match found the finalists creeping along until nearly 6:00am before finishing their first match. They wearily agreed to finish their tournament on Monday, June 21, so Day 25 got an extra final table.
The shootout took up a good portion of the Pavilion Ballroom, and the Amazon Room played host to all of the restarts. A busy day was in store for all involved, and the results of it all are listed below for easy reference.
Event 35: Day 4, $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship
The event, as with most WSOP tournaments, was supposed to wrap up on Day 3, but when the first of the best-of-three final matches didn’t finish until the sun came up over the Rio, the players and staff decided that a rest was in order. After starting the tournament on Day 1 with 256 players with only 32 coming back for Day 2, the third day seemed rather easy with only eight starting the action. But heads-up play is a tricky beast, and the lengthy day prompted the need for a Day 4. Ayaz Mahmood took the first match, but Ernst Schmejkal was far from out of the running, as the best of three matches would win the bracelet. Upon completion of the tournament, all of the action will be chronicled in its own article.
Event 36: Day 2, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
The weekend $1K NLHE tournament, the fourth of its kind thus far at the 2010 Series, made its way through the two starting days, and Monday brought on Day 2 with all of the players in one place at the same level. Attendance for the event was on par with most of the others, and players were excited for their shot at a bracelet for the most reasonable buy-in available.
Getting the numbers straight was another story, however. The official reporting continued to change the registration numbers listed on the WSOP website. As of Day 1B, the total for the event was 3,105, but Day 2 got underway with that number changed to 3,102. The resulting (and hopefully final) prize pool was shown as $2,791,800, and that was going to allow payouts for the top 324 players with $481,760 reserved for the ultimate winner. As the field played down on the initial days, it was apparent that the thinning was happening faster than expected, as has been the case in most of these $1K NLHE events. Day 1A was then stopped a level and a half short of the required ten levels of play as only 15 percent of the field remained at that point, and Day 1B followed suit.
Day 2 then started with 451 players, one less than originally reported. According to live updates, Scott Montgomery was the overall chip leader with 75,200 chips. All of those hundreds of players returned to the Rio to play down to the money, though some players, like Fabrice Soulier, didn’t make it that far. The bubble did burst shortly into the action, though it happened quickly and without fanfare, and the field cheered at its guarantee of the $1,870 payout.
The day progressed with the following notable players finishing in the money: Lee Childs, Marco Traniello, Nick Brancato, Liv Boeree, Andrew Chen, Tad Jurgens, Shawn Buchanan, Neil Channing, Antoine Saout, Soheil Shamseddin, Chris Dombrowski, Tim West, and Michael Gracz. And when the chaos was done, there were only 38 players still holding chips, and it was Jonathan Clancy with the most, as 774K put him in the chip lead. Timothy Beeman followed with 549K, and the rest of the top five were Joshua Goldstein, Michael Carlson, and Daniel Carboneri.
Those 38 players were asked to return to the Rio at 2:30pm on Tuesday, June 22, to play down to the final table. The extra day allotted for the $1K events promised a short third day and final table action on Day 4.
Event 37: Day 3, $3,000 H.O.R.S.E.
HORSE tournaments usually play out at a fairly slow pace - a trot, if you will - and to finish Event 37 in three days was a challenge but not impossible. The five-game tournament brought 478 players to the tables and created a $1,319,280 prize pool, which was set up to pay the last 48 players and save $329,480 for the ultimate winner. Day 1 of the $3,000 HORSE event took the field from 478 to 219 players, and Day 2 whittled the field even further as the money bubble burst and the night ended with approximately 25 players. (Official reports varied.) With John Juanda in the chip lead and the schedule looking to play to and through the final table, Day 3 was going to be a long but undoubtedly exciting one. All of the action will be reported in a separate article upon the tournament’s completion.
Event 38: Day 2, $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship
A championship event always brings the big names to the tables and gives the fans extra reasons to watch the updates from afar or hover around the ropes of the tournament in person. This $10K buy-in event was one that concentrated solely on pot-limit holdem, and there was no shortage of players looking to participate. Though there were a few new names in the crowd, most of the faces were recognizable ones.
The exciting event brought 268 players to the tables, just a tad under the 275-player field of 2009. The current year then saw its prize pool set at $2,519,200, an amount that could pay the top 27 players and reserve $617,214 for the ultimate winner. Action got underway on Sunday, June 20, and whittled the field down to only 135 players. With Tom Marchese in the lead holding 334,600 chips, players ended Day 1 to rest up for another long day, or so each of them hoped.
Day 2 started with those 135 players but quickly found many of them hitting the rails, including Alex Kravchenko, Humberto Brenes, Shaun Deeb, Jonathan Little, Andy Bloch, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, David Ulliott, and Andrew Lichtenberger. Late into the night, after Jason Lester was eliminated in 29th place, hand-for-hand play began, and the key hand took place when Mike Matusow moved all-in with , Ilya Bulychev did the same with , and Konstantin Bucherl covered them both with . The board of gave Matusow the triple-up, Bucherl took the side pot, and Bulychev left in 28th place on the money bubble.
The night ended with Marco Traniello busting in 27th place and Mike Matusow following in 26th. The official end-of-day chip counts then showed 25 players remaining, with Peter Jetten holding down the lead with 684K chips, followed by Clement Thumy with 616K. The other names in the top five were Tom Marchese, Sam Stein, and James Calderaro.
Those 25 players were asked to come back to the Amazon Ballroom at 3:00pm on Tuesday to play down to the final table and on toward the winner’s circle.
Event 39: Day 1, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout
The shootout is a tournament that most players won’t miss, especially the younger players who have mastered - or so they believe - the art of sit n goes online and believe the live shootout to be simply a version of that SNG. And the reasonable $1,500 price tag allows many players to give it a shot, ensuring a big field. The playdown is also simple, as the first day allows players to compete at one table, the survivors of which return to play another table on Day 2 and make the money. Those winners take seats at the final table and compete for the bracelet. Sounds easy, but is it?
There were many players willing to find out, as a total of 1,400 players turned out. The cap was set at 2,000 but didn’t get there, though the 1,400 number far exceeded the 999 players who came out for the 2009 event. The 2010 prize pool was then set at $1,890,000 and would allow payouts to the last 140 players, meaning that all of the players who made it to Day 2 were guaranteed $5,632, but the 14 who moved on to Day 3 would find progressive payouts with the top prize being $382,725.
Some of the players who won their tables early in the first day were Peter Nguyen, Steve Sallot, Victor Ramdin, Vincent Dulac, Yaman Nakdali, Alex Millar, Cory Carroll, Chau Giang, and JC Tran. Finally, at the end of the night, the last table ended when Mark Schmid won his heads-up match. Altogether, there were 140 players who won and advanced to Day 2 and the money. All will start with 45K in chips and will need to win their tables to move on to Day 3.
Day 2 was scheduled to begin at 2:30pm at the Rio.
Event 40: Day 1, $2,500 Seven-Card Razz
Players claim to hate it. They proclaim it to be the most frustrating variation in poker. But they continue to play it. There is never a shortage of players in a razz tournament, and some of the best players in the world will put up big money to play it, as evidenced by some of the event’s past bracelet winners. Razz is the game that players love to hate, but they may really secretly love it more than they’ll ever admit.
When registration closed for the 5:00pm start tournament, there were 365 players in the game, quite a few more than the 315 who played in the event of 2009, the one that found Jeffrey Lisandro as its champion. The 2010 prize pool was set at $839,500, and the final 40 players standing in the tournament were guaranteed a payout of $4,550 with the winner looking to receive $214,085.
The initial day of the event started with some early eliminations, including Bernard Lee, Christopher George, Tom Dwan, Carlos Mortensen, and Paul “Eskimo” Clark. After eight levels were completed, the official website noted 160 players still left in the field but the live reporting showed 147. Regardless, the chip counts showed Shannon Shorr in the lead with 90,900 chips, followed by Scott Packer with 76,500. The rest of the top five was rounded out with Thomas Tiller, Eric Conti, and David Chiu.
The remaining players, no matter how many there were, could be expected to return to the Amazon Room on Tuesday, June 22 at 3:00pm to continue the action as they played into the money and on toward the final table.