There are some days at the 2010 World Series of Poker when no-limit holdem rules the action. But days like Thursday, June 24, players can find a solid mix of the action, and fans can test their knowledge of reading and understanding many of the different variations of poker. NLHE remains popular and deserves to be part of that mix, but alternatives keep everyone happy.
The day did start with holdem, as the noon tournament was listed as a $2,500 buy-in mixed holdem event, one that alternated between no-limit and limit. While not providing the intensity of a game like HORSE, the tournament did require players to be aware of the different strategies to be implemented in the two games, as well as the betting limits and patterns in play during the alternating games.
Also on the schedule was the second day of the $1,500 NLHE tournament that started on Wednesday. That event was taking the course of the day to play down toward its final table. But perhaps the biggest draw of the afternoon and evening was Day 2 of the $10K HORSE championship. The second day brought much of the field back into action, and a simple quick glance around the tables produced a list of well-known pros that was about as impressive as it gets in the poker world. And at the same time, one tournament - the PLO-8 event - was in its third day and quickly worked its way to a final table with none other than Phil Hellmuth amidst the pack and seeking his 12th bracelet.
All in all, the day was a light one in relation to the day before and what the following day held. There was a great deal of poker to be played as the weekend approached, and though the action was serious on Thursday, it was a light one compared to what was to come.
And here are the summaries of the day’s events for your enjoyment.
Event 41: Day 3, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better
With few chances for split-pot games left at the 2010 WSOP, the low buy-in PLO-8 tournament that began on Tuesday, July 22 garnered a total field of 847 players and prize pool of $1,143,450. Day 1 then took the field down to 171 players, all of whom returned on Day 2 and played into the money so the last 81 players could be assured of a payout for their efforts. They continued to play until only 15 players were left with Ryan Karp in the lead. All returned on Day 3 to play for the gold bracelet and accompanying $245,871 prize money, and the details will be written up in a separate article upon the tournament’s completion.
Event 42: Day 2, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
No-limit holdem tournaments always draw a crowd. The game is familiar to everyone, there is strategy to be found on every website and in many books, and it is generally the one most players spend the most time with. Put a $1,500 buy-in on it, and players won’t hesitate to register and take their shots at a bracelet.
There were 2,521 players in Event 42 when it began, which made for a $3,403,305 prize pool that would pay out 270 players but save $604,222 for the winner. Day 1 took the field down to 278 players, and it was Zheng Jackson in the lead when the day ended.
Day 2 took the players very quickly into the money, as the bubble burst a half hour into the action. The first player to cash was Hirofumi Suzuki, who took home $2,756 for the 270th place finish, and notables who followed through the day included Michael Gracz in 206th, Eric Lynch in 191st, Matt Vance in 185th, Jeff Madsen in 139th, Jason Gray in 112th, Gregg Merkow in 86th, Veronica Dabul in 77th, Carter Phillips in 48th, Stephen Chidwick in 40th, Joe Tehan in 36th, and Kevin Schaffel in 26th. The long day ended with 25 players still in the running for the bracelet, despite every attempt to play down closer to the final table. When chips were counted, it was James Schaaf in the lead with 1,258,000 chips, followed by Ryan Hemmel with 1,080,000. The others in the top five were Dean Hamrick, Andrew Rosskamm, and Humberto Brenes.
The 25 remaining players were asked to return to the Rio on Friday, June 25, to play down to the final table, and with time permitting, on through the action until a winner is declared.
Event 43: Day 2, $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
HORSE tournaments are consistently growing in popularity as newer poker players challenge themselves to learn all of the game variations, while older players tend to enjoy the mix of games that keeps their interest and allows them to implement a variety of strategies. The $10K buy-in HORSE championship with its five games - holdem, Omaha-8, razz, stud, and stud-8 - was destined to be a hit, and though there were bound to be some unknowns in the field, everyone knew it would be dominated by some of the biggest names in the game of poker.
The total number of players in the event was 241, which made the prize pool $2,265,400. Only 24 of the players would make it into the money, though, and only the winner would receive the top prize of $611,666. Day 1 brought the field down to 169 players, and it was Sergey Altbregin in the chip lead when it wrapped up.
Day 2 was bound to be a long one, but some of the players who didn’t stay long included Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Daniel Negreanu, David Oppenheim, John D’Agostino, Men Nguyen, Chad Brown, Jason Mercier, Dave Baker, Jean-Robert Bellande, and Ted Forrest. As the evening turned to night, it was into the very late hours that hand-for-hand play began to take the final 24 players into the money, but the tournament staff decided to pause the clock at the end of the level, and movement all but ceased. Nearly two hours later, two players finally exited at the same time though in different games. Cyndy Violette pushed with in hold’em versus the of Roman Yitzhaki, but the board only brought a pair of sixes and couldn’t save Violette. Tommy Hang was tangling with Cuong Do on another table in Omaha-8 on a board. Do had to scoop, and Hang was hung. Violette and Hang split the 24th place money, taking home $10,998 each.
With that, play ended for the night with 23 players remaining and Cuong Do as the chip leader with 720K. Not far behind was Marco Johnson with 626K, and rounding out the top five were Brian Townsend, Eugene Katchalov, and Carlos Mortensen.
Action was set to resume on Friday in the hopes of playing down to the final table and, with any luck, on through to the winner’s circle.
Event 44: Day 1, $2,500 Mixed Hold’em (Limit/No-Limit)
It was a perfect mix - limit and no-limit holdem, a noon start time, and a $2,500 buy-in to keep the field to a reasonable number. Players who learned the game in the holdem era were likely exposed to both forms of holdem, and the mix of the two puts all lessons learned into one basket to make for an exciting tournament.
Turnout wasn’t as great as planned, however. The 2009 event saw 527 players in the field and more than $1.2 million in the prize pool, but the 2010 numbers were a bit less, as only 507 players registered and created a $1,166,100 prize pool. Even so, the top 54 players were to be paid with $268,238 reserved for the first place finisher.
Day 1 got underway with those 507 players, but many of them left the tournament before getting too comfortable. Some of the day’s early eliminations included Ayaz Mahmood, Allen Cunningham, Antonio Esfandiari, Juan Maceiras, Sorel Mizzi, Mark Seif, Isaac Haxton, Rep Porter, Michael Mizrachi, Jason Mercier, Phil Gordon, and Joe Sebok. When the day finally wrapped, there were 69 players remaining with Eli Elezra in the lead with 165,400 chips. Second place was held by James Callopy and his stack of 140,400, and the others in the top five were Jarred Solomon, Daniel Idema, and Dwyte Pilgrim.
The group was set to return at 2:30pm on Friday, June 25, to play into the money and as close to the final table as possible.