Back to busy. After one lighter day on Tuesday and a seemingly breezy one coming up on Thursday, it was up to Wednesday to increase the action by adding two new big events and hosting three final tables. There wasn’t much time for anything but constant tournaments and exciting poker action on Wednesday, June 23.
It all kicked off at noon with the ever-popular $1,500 NLHE tournament, one of many but one that continued to bring in the throngs of poker players of all calibers and styles. But it was the 5:00pm tournament that was garnering much attention, as it was the $10K buy-in HORSE championship event. Not only was it going to be the last championship event before the Main Event, but it would be the last chance to see Doyle Brunson make a run at a bracelet before the Main, as he admitted that the grind of the WSOP had been getting to be too much. The HORSE tournament was also sure to bring out another all-star lineup of pros and offer another chance at a must-see final table.
The only tournament hitting its Day 2 stride was the PLO-8 event that got underway the day before. Though it would be slow going, the goal was to work toward a final table by the end of the night. And speaking of final tables, there were three of them set to run on Wednesday. The $1K NLHE from the weekend had its final nine players ready to go, while the NLHE shootout and seven-card razz events still had to find their final tables and play on through until winners were declared.
A long day was in store for many tournament reporters and photographers, not to mention tournament staff. And the fans? Well, they were in for as much poker excitement as they could handle.
Event 36: Day 4, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
It was the fourth full and final day of the weekend’s $1K NLHE tournament, the fourth of its kind during the 2010 WSOP. The original starting field of 3,102 players had been whittled down to only 451 by the end of the two starting days. Day 2 found those 451 players work their way into the $2,791,800 prize pool, as the top 324 finishers were guaranteed payment. Day 3 had only 38 players left to compete for the $481,760 first place prize, and they found their final table rather quickly. That left nine players, boasting of names like Scott Montgomery and Daniel Fuhs, to return on Day 4 to play their final table until one person remained and posed with the winning cards and WSOP bracelet. The entire tournament will be detailed in a separate article upon its completion.
Event 39: Day 3, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout
The shootout format is appealing to many players, especially those who think they have mastered the SNG style of play. There were 1,400 players up for the challenge of beating two tables to make it to the final day of action, and they created a prize pool of $1,890,000. The 140 players who won their first tables made Day 2 and the money, and those who won the second day’s tables were invited back to Day 3. The 14 players returned to play toward the final table, all taking pieces of the $1,885,950 prize pool, but only one who would take home the $382,725 first place prize and gold WSOP bracelet. All of the action will be recapped in a separate article.
Event 40: Day 3, $2,500 Seven-Card Razz
The razz tournament brought a well-rounded group of 365 players to the tables for the game that players love to hate, and the subsequent prize pool of $839,500 made it a little less painful. Day 1 brought the field down to only 147 players, but it was on Day 2 that the top 40 players made it into the money, and a select few of 15, many well-knowns among them, finished the night with chips. They returned on Wednesday to play toward the final table and on through until only one player sat with a WSOP gold bracelet and $214,085 in prize money. All of the Day 3 action is summarized in this article.
Event 41: Day 2, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better
As the Main Event approaches, low buy-in non-holdem games become harder to come by, so players know to take advantage of any opportunity they get. This was also their last chance at PLO-8, so those who love the action, the highs and lows so to speak, and the gamble that can be a part of PLO were ready for their chance to take part in the tournament and go for the bracelet.
There were 847 of them, and that registration number brought the prize pool to $1,143,450. Out of that money bag, only 81 players would pick up pieces of it, though the winner would take home a nice amount of $245,871. Day 1 took the field down to 171 players, and Michael Chappus ended the day with 133,400 chips and the overall lead.
Day 2 got underway with those 171 players, and some of them who exited early without any payout to show for their efforts included defending champion Brandon Cantu, James Dempsey, Darryll Fish, Raul Paez, and David Sands. Eventually, just before the dinner break, Ahmad Abghari pushed all-in for his last 18,200 chips on a board. Abghari had , but Anders Taylor showed . Taylor only improved with another king on the river, and Abghari left the tournament on the bubble.
The last 81 players were in the money and guaranteed a minimum payout of $2,847. As the night wore on, some of the cashes were for names like Chris Ferguson in 75th place, Mike Matusow in 49th, Kevin MacPhee in 32nd, and Ben Grundy in 26th. The day finally ended with 15 players still in the running, and it was Ryan Karp in the chip lead but Barry Greenstein and Phil Hellmuth still holding chips. The final 15 stacked up as follows:
|Ryan Karp ||564,000 |
|Steve Jelinek ||538,000 |
|Joel Ettedgi ||419,000 |
|Phil Hellmuth ||331,000 |
|Ben Lamb ||320,000 |
|John Gottlieb ||277,000 |
|Michael Chappus ||260,000 |
|Jeffrey Baker ||247,000 |
|Barry Greenstein ||204,000 |
|Anders Taylor ||144,000 |
|Bryan Andrews ||122,000 |
|Igor Gotz ||105,000 |
|Amanda Thomas ||60,000 |
|Tony Cousineau ||22,000 |
Those 15 players were set to return to the Amazon Room on Thursday, June 24, to play down to and through the final table.
Event 42: Day 1, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Sometimes, simple is best. The $1,500 buy-in NLHE tournaments have been a staple at the WSOP for years, and it remains a player favorite. Amateurs have their opportunity to play throughout the summer and prove to themselves that they can cash…and possibly cash for enough to play the Main Event. And pros will always take advantage of the $1,500 events, especially when they sense that the field may be soft. The fields vary, and the players from all walks of life and income levels and game skills join for the NLHE action at every opportunity.
This event was a solid one, drawing 2,521 players to the tables and creating a whopping $3,403,305 prize pool. It was determined that the money would be used to pay 270 players, while the eventual winner would be guaranteed $604,222. Solid figures all around.
The first day of action progressed with the inevitable string of players busting early, and that list of names included Bertrand Grospellier, Jeff Sarwer, Jennifer Tilly, Thayer Rasmussen, Shannon Elizabeth, Matt Graham, Antonio Esfandiari, Adam Levy, Joe Sebok, Maria Ho, David Pham, Jordan Morgan, Kara Scott, and John Phan. The flurry of bustouts finally ended at the end of the tenth level of the night, and there were 278 remaining. Zheng Jackson was the chip leader with 151K, followed by Jose Brenes with 146,400 chips, and the others in the top five were Darren Spurlock, Grayson Ramage, and James Sowers.
All of the players were set to return to the Rio on Thursday to play into the money, which would likely happen very quickly, and then proceed toward the final table.
Event 43: Day 1, $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
There were so many reasons to pay attention to this event…and play it if there happened to be $10K lying around. It was a HORSE tournament - holdem, Omaha-8, razz, stud, and stud-8 - and that is enough for many players. It was a $10K buy-in, which restricted the field to mostly skilled players and a smaller turnout. And it was the last championship event before the NLHE Main Event and the last chance for one of the biggest and most coveted bracelets of the WSOP. So many players wanted to take a chance on this one that some at the Event 40 final table proposed stopping that particular final table until tomorrow so they wouldn’t miss any of the first night of this event. (That proposal was squashed, however.) Take it from us; it was a must-play event for any who were able.
Once all of the players were seated and the tally was reported, the numbers showed 241 players at the tables and a $2,265,400 prize pool at stake. The top 24 players would be paid from that money, though it would be up to the winner to earn the $611,666 first place prize.
It took quite awhile for any players to find themselves eliminated from this tournament, but among those making their exits on Day 1 were David Benyamine, Dan Heimiller, Lex Veldhuis, David Bach, and Howard Lederer. By the time the night was over, there were only 169 players still in their seats, and when they bagged their chips, it seemed that Sergey Altbregin was the leader with 143K chips. Second on the leaderboard was Carlos Mortensen with 125,800 chips, and the rest of the top five included Scott Bohlman, Scotty Nguyen, and Mikael Thuritz.
The remaining players were set to return to the Amazon Ballroom on Thursday to play down into the money and as close to the final table as would be possible.