For anyone caught up in the day-to-day actions of the World Series of Poker, Day 30 seemed like any other. But to look at the schedule reminded that this weekend was the last one of preliminary tournaments at the 2010 World Series of Poker. The events leading up to the Main Event where fewer, and fewer opportunities to grab a gold bracelet remained.
Saturday kicked off the way all summer weekends at the Rio had, with its signature $1K NLHE tournament that began at noon and attracted a sizable crowd. It was the second to last one of the 2010 Series, and players were ready to take their chances and make their best efforts. With that tournament being the cheapest and most basic of any offerings, the 5:00pm start was the exact opposite with its $2,500 mixed event, one that boasted of a rotation of 8 games and a skilled field. The contrast between the two events was significant and boasted of what can be the very best of the WSOP.
Two tournaments restarted in the Amazon Room on Saturday, as the $1,500 NLHE and $5K PLO-8 events were set to play through their respective money bubbles and on toward the final table in the late stages of the evening’s action. And no one could ignore the final table of the mixed holdem tournament, as Event 44 started its third day with the final table set and ready to go. Gavin Smith was the most well-known player at the table, and his many years in the business have yet to garner him a WSOP bracelet, but also seated with the group was Dwyte Pilgrim, a player who has taken the WSOP Circuit events by storm but couldn’t find the same success - yet - at the summer games.
The day was not an incredibly busy one but one with much excitement and plenty for players and fans alike. For a recap of what happened to move these events through Saturday, take a look below.
Event 44: Day 3, $2,500 Mixed Hold’em (Limit/No-Limit)
It may have been the fastest moving tournament of the Series thus far, as the final table was actually set by the end of the second day of the tournament. The mixed holdem tournament originally drew 507 players and created a prize pool of $1,166,100, which would allow 54 players to be paid but the winner alone to receive $268,238. Day 1 took the field all the way down to 69 players, and Day 2 quickly put them into the money and eventually whittled the field to only nine. The final table was then set, with notables Dwyte Pilgrim and Gavin Smith ready to compete and Jarred Solomon as the chip leader.
Event 45: Day 2, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
In a series of low buy-in no-limit holdem tournaments, it can become difficult to differentiate one from the next. But what does separate them is the action that takes place on the second day of play. The first day thins the field to a reasonable tracking number, and it is the following day when players begin to stand out and rise above the crowds. Though many, sadly, discount the $1,500 NLHE tournaments because so many “unknowns” typically run deep, it is important to watch those who do well because some use it as a platform to rise in the world of poker.
This event brought 3,097 players to the tables and created a $4,180,950 prize pool, with $721,373 of it reserved for the winner. Day 1 thinned the field to a more comfortable 400 players, but it was during Day 2 that the money bubble would burst so the last 324 players could be paid.
Day 2 did move quickly to hand-for-hand action, at which point Ilya Gorodetskiy was all-in holding against the of Jorge Breda. The board came and blanked to allow the tens to hold. That eliminated Gorodetskiy on the bubble and pushed the rest of the players into payout opportunities. Some of the notable players who cashed included Jeffrey Papola, John Juanda, Ben Roberts, Olivier Busquet, Jon Eaton, Jonathan Little, Matt Kay, Maria Ho, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Tom Schneider, Berry Johnston, Alex Bolotin, John Phan, and Shawn Buchanan.
The day ended with 34 players remaining and Sam Trickett in the chip lead with 922K, followed by Larry Wilder with 916K. Also in the top five were Stephen Chidwick, Nishijima Thiago, and Dutch Boyd. A larger than usual number of players were left in the field, which was set to create quite the long Day 3 for everyone involved.
Players were asked to return on Sunday, June 27 to play down to the final table and most likely all the way through until a winner is declared.
Event 46: Day 2, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better
It wasn’t the last opportunity for players to get their PLO action on at the 2010 WSOP, but it was the last PLO-8 of the Series. That brought players out for the event, as did the general lure of the split pot game, with its highs, lows, and chops, all equaling serious action that would ultimately lead to a gold bracelet. The $5K buy-in also assured a smaller field of more experienced players, which brought in a somewhat elite group of players.
Everything got underway with a total of 284 players in the field, and that created a $1,334,800 prize pool. It was going to allow 27 players to be paid and the winner to receive $327,040. Day 1 took the original field and thinned it to 130 players.
Day 2 began with those 130 people and quickly saw players depart, including names like Richard Ashby, Johannes Steindl, Lee Watkinson, Ross Boatman, Robert Mizrachi, John Racener, and Alex Kravchenko. The day turned into night, and it wasn’t until the morning hours that the money bubble hit. And the key hand came about when Vladimir Shchemelev pushed all-in on a board of with with trip fives. But Jeremy Harkin showed for the full house. The on the river pushed Shchemelev out in 28th place on the bubble.
Play continued for only a short while, as Senevio Ramirez cashed, followed by Chip Jett, Ville Haavisto, Barry Greenstein, Barny Boatman, and Lee Grove. That left 21 players to bag their chips, and the one with the most was Sergey Altbregin with 486K. Second place was held by David Ulliott, and the others in the top five were Perry Green, Dan Shak, and Chris Bell.
The return date was set for Sunday, as those 21 players would hit the slow road to the final table and attempt to play it out until only one player remained standing.
Event 47: Day 1A, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
It was the fifth of six $1K NLHE tournaments of the 2010 WSOP, and that meant it was also one of the last opportunities for players of all bankrolls to compete in the cheapest open tournament offered at the Series in years. But the fact that it wasn’t the last of the year kept the field to a semi-reasonable one. But the total wouldn’t be known for another day, as this was only the first of two starting days.
The tournament staff declared that 1,759 players signed up to play Day 1A of the tournament, though if past events were any indication, that number may change when the numbers are put together in the coming days. But no prize pool or payout information could be determined until Day 1B players made their way to the felt on Sunday regardless.
The day moved forward, though only a fraction of the players made it through the first few levels. That group did not include some of the early bustouts like James Akenhead, Jerry Yang, Chris Ferguson, Gavin Griffin, Tom Dwan, Billy Baxter, and Leo Margets. And at the end of the night, there were only 257 players left with Chernykh Moscow in the lead with 75,150 chips. Next on the leaderboard was Justin Brickner, followed by Didier Leroy, Tom Braband, and John Nguyen.
Day 1A players still holding chips were then given Sunday off to make room for the second starting day to play itself out.
Event 48: Day 1, $2,500 Mixed Event
The mixed event was the only chance during this year’s WSOP to play all of the eight games in one event without ponying up $50,000 to do it. The Poker Player’s Championship (http://pokerworks.com/poker-news/2010/06/02/wsop-event-2-michael-the-grinder-mizrachi-50k-poker-players-championship.html) at the beginning of the Series offered all eight games - limit holdem, Omaha-8, seven-card razz, seven-card stud, stud-8, no-limit holdem, PLO, and deuce to 7 triple draw lowball - but Event 48 provided an opportunity to do it for $2,500. Many players were anxious to participate and play in the 5:00pm tournament.
When the numbers were calculated, it seemed that 453 players entered the tournament, which was a distinct improvement over the 412 number recorded in 2009. Whereas that prize pool did not hit $1 million, the current event did with a $1,041,900 pot, one that would eventually be distributed amongst the top 48 finishers. First place looked to earn $260,497.
Play moved along into the night, but some of the players did not, as early eliminations included George Lind, Tom Dwan, John Juanda, Phil Ivey, and Men Nguyen. The night eventually ended after the first eight levels were complete, and the leaderboard showed 192 players left but Jarred Jaffe in the lead with 71,125 chips. Second place found Suk Min Sung with 67,900 chips, and the rest of the top five included Justin Smith, Michael Mizrachi, and Luca Pagano.
All of the players were asked to return to the Rio’s Amazon Ballroom at 3:00pm on Sunday, June 27, to play into the money and closer to the final table.