The busy schedule on tap for Day 32 wouldn’t indicate in and of itself that the preliminaries of the 2010 WSOP were coming to a close, but that was exactly the case. Just one week from June 28 would bring on the start of the World Series of Poker Main Event, and that would be the beginning of the end of the Series.
Speaking of that busy schedule, it was chock full of tournaments, beginning with the Tournament of Champions that was hitting its Day 2 stride but moving at a much slower pace than anticipated. Nevertheless, the fans railing the event were excited to see so many big names still in their seats. Monday also brought the return of the $1K NLHE players, all of whom were Day 1 survivors and prepared to play their way into the money on Day 2. The 8-game mixed event was also returning, though it was in its final stage and playing through until a winner could be declared.
That doesn’t sound like much, but the Pavilion Ballroom brought a $1,500 NLHE tournament into action at noon, and later in the day was the first gathering of $5K PLO players, all of whom looked forward to their last opportunity to play Omaha at the WSOP this summer.
Those four events may not sound like a lot, but for weary players and reporters, it was plenty. But despite any possible exhaustion, we’ve recapped the day’s activities below.
Event 47: Day 2, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
The $1K NLHE tournaments seem to be running all week long, and they actually do run five of the seven days. With two starting days, then one additional day to play down to a final table, the events run for most of the week. But those are the only events that produce very well-rested players for their final tables and have become the envy of players in other events that have sometimes excruciatingly long third days. This fifth in a series of six $1K NLHE events was only in its second full day but still full of action.
The event started with 3,128 players, as 1,759 came from Day 1A and 1,369 from Day 1B. The resulting prize pool was $2,815,200, from which 324 players would be paid and the winner would cash out for $485,791. When all of the remaining players from first days were brought together, there were 476 of them at the Rio, and the field quickly thinned to reach the money. It happened a few hours into the action when Dominic Souza went all-in on a board with , but the trips were up against the flush draw of Young Phan who showed . The turn led to the river, and the flush knocked Souza out in 325th place.
Players then began cashing at the rapid pace that is to be expected. Some of the more notable players who made trips to the cashier cage included Mike Paulle, Matt Glantz, Jeff Sarwer, David Sklansky, Roberto Romanello, JJ Liu, Jeff Madsen, Michael Jordan, Lars Bonding, Aaron Gustavson, Antonio Esfandiari, and Andre Akkari. The day finally ended with only 33 players left standing. The chip leader was Manuel Davidian with 889K, followed by Adam White with 713K, and the rest of the top five included Jason Riesenberg, Owen Crowe, and Justin Young.
Action was set to resume on Tuesday, June 29, at 2:30pm to play down to the final table.
Event 48: Day 3, $2,500 Mixed Event
The mixed event took eight games, put them into a regular rotation, and offered players the opportunity to play them all - limit holdem, Omaha-8, 7-card razz, 7-card stud, stud-8, no-limit holdem, PLO, and deuce to 7 triple draw lowball - for the price of a $2,500 buy-in. There were 453 interested players, which created a $1,041,900 prize pool. Day 1 reduced the field to 192 players, and Day 2 took them into the money so the last 48 could be paid, and that night ended with 20 players pressing forward to the final day. All had the $260,497 first place prize in sight, and they were ready to play for the win and the bracelet on Monday, June 28.
Special Event: Day 2, $1 Million Tournament of Champions
It was an event that fans anticipated all summer. The $1 Million Tournament of Champions began on Sunday with a star-studded group of 27 players, most of them voted in by an election process and a few earning their way through sponsorship exemptions and qualifying wins. With ESPN taping the action for an upcoming television episode, the featured tables were being used, and fans had plenty of room to rail the action and get a glimpse of their favorite pros.
Day 1 started each player with 30K in chips and reduced the field by only a few players, as John Juanda, Barry Shulman, Sammy Farha, Phil Ivey, and Greg Raymer were the only eliminations of the first four levels of play. The last 22 players came back to play another four levels on Monday, during which time Doyle Brunson was eliminated by Daniel Negreanu, Joe Cada was ousted by Huck Seed, qualifier Andrew Barton was taken out by Chris Ferguson, and Mike Sexton was ousted by Scotty Nguyen. They redrew to two tables, and in the ensuing hours, only Dan Harrington was sent home by Daniel Negreanu.
That left 17 players, and the original plan was to have the tournament down to the final table before they returned on July 4 to play it out to a winner. But with play moving along so slowly, it became a serious concern that play could roll over that night into the following day, which will be the start of the Main Event. Tournament director Jack Effel eventually made a decision to restart the event at 7:00pm on Saturday, July 3, in the hopes of then finding a final table; however, if any of the TOC players are at the final table of the $25K six-handed NLHE tournament, they will change it to a 9:00am restart on Sunday, July 4.
When the chip counts were reported, Mike Matusow had the lead with 85,500 chips, and Huck Seed followed in second place with 73K. The rest of the top five were Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, and Joe Hachem.
At this time, the players are expected back at 7:00pm on July 3.
Event 49: Day 1, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Just as the last $1,500 NLHE tournament finished up, another one was set to take its place. As the WSOP wound down, the staff wanted to give players as many opportunities as possible to play, and considering the low buy-in no-limit holdem tournaments were the most popular with players, it only made sense to throw another one in during the last week. As the masses began to arrive in Las Vegas for the holiday weekend and upcoming Main Event, the incentive to play was great, and their needs were filled by events like this.
When all of the players were registered and the staff had the time to tabulate the numbers, it was determined that 2,543 players were in the event and the prize pool was set at $3,433,050. That was going to allow for 270 players to receive payments for their work in the tournament, though only one player would take home the top prize of $609,493.
As the tournament moved through its first few levels of the day, some of the early casualties included Isaac Haxton, David Chicotsky, Gavin Griffin, Ivan Demidov, Thor Hansen, and Kevin Saul. When the night ended after ten levels of play, there were only 315 players left in their seats. The leaderboard showed Guiseppe Zarbo in the top spot with 156,500 chips, followed by Roberto Stamerra with 120,100 chips. The rest of the top five included Andrew Gillis, Gregory Roy, Sean Prendiville.
Day 2 was scheduled for 2:30pm on Tuesday in the Amazon Ballroom.
Event 50: Day 1, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
It was the last chance for any Omaha tournament at the 2010 WSOP, and players were anxious to rise to the occasion. PLO is an action game and one that usually only takes a backseat to NLHE in popularity. But with a $5K price tag on it, everyone was not able to play, but those who were showed up looking for the PLO fix and one of the last opportunities for a bracelet this year.
The event drew a total of 460 players, which made for a $2,162,000 prize pool. That was enough to eventually pay the top 45 players but still set aside $508,090 for the first place finisher. The turnout was solid, especially considering only 362 bought in to last year’s equivalent event.
Those making the early elimination list from the evening event included Kirk Morrison, David Paredes, Carlos Mortensen, Antony Lelouche, and David Chiu. Many more left in the latter part of the eight-level night, leaving only 207 players remaining to bag their chips. The one with the most was Kevin Schaffel with 178,900 chips, and in second place was Alex Freidberg with 138,900 chips. Also in the top five were Kevin Boudreau, Jonas Entin, and Jarred Solomon.
Players were asked to return on Tuesday, June 29, to play into the money and closer to the final table.