Hopes for a second bracelet for Canada soared on Wednesday with Daniel Negreanu in action in the Limit Hold’em World Championship event and Mark Radoja’s run to the final table of the $5000 Shootout event. While France claimed its second bracelet in consecutive days on Wednesday, the action on Thursday will be focused on Negreanu as he works for his fifth WSOP bracelet and ESPN commentator Norman Chad, who is leaving all jokes aside while taking part in a Stud Hi/Lo event.
Event #22 – $1500 Pot Limit Omaha – Final Day
The final nine men showed up to the Amazon Room on Wednesday for the $1500 Pot Limit Omaha event, looking to decide the latest champion of the WSOP. In actuality, eight men showed up in the beginning as Elie Payan, who was in fourth place when the cards hit the air, was a late arrival to the final table, missing a round of hands. Looking to maintain his perch atop the leader board was Juha Vilkki, who was the only player over the one million chip mark with 1.235 million in chips.
The final table played out over a nine hour span, time which the late arriving Payan was able to use to his advantage. Although he would take a hit early on against Cody Munger and fall to one of the shorter stacks on the table by dinner time, Payan would make a comeback. He was able to double up through Emil Patel immediately following dinner, then tore through the remaining five men at the table on his way to the second WSOP bracelet win for France in as many days (countryman Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier pulled off France’s first win yesterday). The WSOP bracelet certainly felt sweet for Payan, but the $292,825 first place pocket cash was also welcomed.
Event #23 – $2500 Eight Game Mixed Event – Day 2
There were plenty of intriguing storylines on Wednesday in the Eight Game mixed event. Leading the pack was 2010 WSOP Main Event runner up John Racener, looking to take that one additional step and win a WSOP bracelet this time around. John Juanda, with one win already under his belt in the 2011 WSOP, was in the hunt for his second bracelet of the year, and Abbotsford’s Shawn Buchanan, with his second cash of this year’s Series, looked to earn another final table berth for the Canadian contingent.
Unfortunately, none of those facets of the final day of play would come to its storybook conclusion. Shawn was unable to get much going from the start of play on Wednesday, falling from the tournament during Deuce to Seven Triple Draw play in 20th place for $8098. Although both John’s would make the final table, Racener was eliminated in eighth place and Juanda departed the tournament in sixth.
It was another John who made the final table – John Monnette – who would prove to be the master of the Eight Game format on this day. He would reach heads up play against top pro Eric Buchman with almost a 4-1 advantage and ride it through to the championship. For his efforts, Monnette picked up the praise of poker players, the WSOP bracelet and the $278,144 first place prize.
Event #24 – $5000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout – Day 2
40 men returned for action on Day 2 of the $5000 Shootout tournament and, from the start, faced one of the more difficult paths to the final table. To make a final table for the tournament, the survivors would have to take on the difficult task of a four player sit and go. This ensured that each table would be highly challenging to navigate through and each player who did win their table would have earned the right to be at the final table.
Two Canadians fell during Day 2 action, earning a cash out spot in the annals of WSOP history but dreaming of what might have been. Making his first money – at least officially – of the 2011 WSOP, Guelph’s Gavin Smith joined Beaconsfield’s Jean Francois Talbot at the same four handed table, with neither being able to defeat Adam Junglen. They both will take home $13,368 for their two days of work in the Rio.
Carrying the Canadian banner into final day play on Thursday will be another son of Guelph, Mark Radoja, who defeated his four man table of James Dempsey, Yasuhiro Waki and Marc Inizan to claim his final table seat. This is Mark’s ninth WSOP cash and his second final table, his first coming last year in the $5000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em event. At stake for Mark are the WSOP bracelet and a payday of $436,568.
Event #25 – $1500 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo – Day 2
Of the original starting field of 606 players, 23 will return on Thursday to determine the champion of Event #25. Unfortunately, none of the remaining combatants are Canadian (and none cashed), but there are interesting subplots to today’s final day play.
Literally putting his money where his mouth is, ESPN commentator Norm Chad has stepped out of the broadcast booth and is sitting in fourth place when action begins Thursday afternoon. A fellow broadcaster, the WPT’s Mike Sexton, isn’t letting Chad one-up him, as he will begin play today in nineteenth place. Other notable names on the leader board include 2010 WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela, Day One tournament leader Cyndy Violette, Karina Jett and Kirill Gerasimov.
All of the contenders will be looking up at Cory Zeidman, who takes the chip lead heading into the home stretch of this Stud Hi/Lo event. If/when the champion is determined tonight, he or she will take home a hard earned WSOP bracelet and $200,459.
Event #26 – $2500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em – Day 1
1378 players came out for Event #26, a slightly larger field than the 1245 who showed up in 2010 for the tournament. By the time play was called early Thursday morning, the field had decimated itself, with only 189 players who could say they will be back today for Day 2 play. Even if a player says that, there is still some work left to be done, as only 126 runners will take home cash from the tournament.
Two prominent Canadian pros, Sorel Mizzi and Nenad Medic, are both making impressive runs in the large field. Sorel is currently sitting with 80,700 in chips, while Nenad is stacked with 36,000. Holding the overnight lead is Tyler Cornell, whose 172,600 in chips is about 28K ahead of one of the most colorful professionals in the game, Jean-Robert Bellande.
Plans for Thursday are to work down to the final table, although it will be a difficult task to undertake. The winner of the tournament will get a healthy bankroll boost of $689,739 and the vaunted WSOP bracelet.
Event #27 – $10,000 Limit Hold’em World Championship – Day 1
152 players decided to take their shot at claiming one of the World Championship events at the 2011 WSOP, this one for the Limit Hold’em crown. Playing what is arguably one of his specialties, Canada’s Daniel Negreanu has made substantial noise in his hunt for his fifth WSOP bracelet.
After breaking his duck for the 2011 WSOP in last week’s $1500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout, Daniel is looking to add a second cash to his already gaudy statistics by sitting atop the leader board at the end of Day 1 play. Negreanu holds 118,800 in chips, just slightly ahead of Josh Arieh’s 107K. Other Canadians still in the field include Shawn Buchanan, Pat Pezzin, 2011 WSOP bracelet winner Tyler Bonkowski and Erik Cajelais.
There’s a long road ahead for the 111 contenders left vying for this crown. Only eighteen players will be able to earn anything for their efforts in the Rio for this event, with the eventual champion taking home the $378,642, the WSOP bracelet and the title of Limit Hold’em World Champion.
STARTING TODAY: Event #28 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em and Event #29 – $2500 Six Handed Ten Game Mixed Event
Two events begin on Thursday, one which will be a sizeable tournament and the other for the true specialists of the poker world. One of the multitude of $1500 No Limit Hold’em tournaments steps up for its Day One play at noon, while the highly difficult Six Handed Ten Game Mixed Event – featuring Texas and Omaha Hold’em, Seven Card Stud and Hi/Lo, Razz, two Lowball variations and the mysterious game Badugi – steps up for play at 5PM.
The $1500 event, if previous track records are an indication, should be a monster field. Look for somewhere between 2500-3500 players trekking to the Amazon Room for their shot at WSOP gold. This is the first time that the Ten Game format will be contested at the WSOP but, if the 489 starters from the Eight Game format completed on Wednesday are an indication, should also prove to be popular.
There’s plenty for Canada to cheer about today, as Mark Radoja takes his shot at WSOP glory and Daniel Negreanu looks to etch his name further into the annals of not only WSOP history but also of poker history itself. It makes for an exciting Thursday at the 2011 World Series of Poker.