The first of two Day Twos was in action on Monday, with the 2031 players who survived Days 1A and 1C coming back to continue their drive towards the 2011 World Championship. By the end of the day, only 991 of those players would be able to say they could move onto Day 3 on Thursday, with several Canadian players making their impact felt on the leaderboard.
After having one of the worst WSOP runs of his career, Daniel Negreanu had the thankless task of basking under the glow of the ESPN feature table to start the day. Negreanu, who had worked through his first day of action with a decent stack of 41,175, stayed true to his nature, however, and provided some good television for the viewers later this year. After two players vied for a pot in which one of them would be eliminated, Daniel noted to the winner that he would have beaten them both if he hadn’t mucked his 6-4 preflop (the board ran out4-4-2-6-9). “Good fold, Daniel,” his tablemate said, bringing a smile to both their faces.
Negreanu would begin his ascent up the chip stacks in a battle against fellow pro Can Kim Hua. With a flop reading A-J-10 (two hearts), Daniel moved all in after Hua had made a post-flop bet. Hua made the call and turned up A-K of hearts, but Daniel had hit both of his hole cards with his A-J. In a tenuous lead, Daniel noted to the crowd, “He has like 7000 outs,” (in actuality, only fifteen, with three kings, four queens or any heart), but the turn and river ran blank for Hua. That hand doubled Daniel up to over 85K in chips and he would finish the day with 114,100.
Another player making some moves through the day was Sorel Mizzi. The Toronto pro started off the day with 47,900 and seemingly was moving up throughout the day. He joined Negreanu at the feature table after a couple of hours of play on Monday and chopped a nice stack from Daniel, moving himself over the 100K mark and ending the day’s play with 108,400.
Although Daniel and Sorel have been doing well, they haven’t nearly kept pace with the chip leaders. Russia’s Alexandr Mozhnyakov can lay claim to the title of Day 2A chip leader as he has amassed a stack of 478,600 in chips. He leads what is a quite international Top Ten, with four Americans, two Frenchman, a German, an Italian and a Canadian. Montreal’s Chris McClung is currently ranked in tenth place on the official WSOP leaderboard, holding 313,600 in chips.
McClung is not alone in the upper echelons of the leaderboard for players representing Canada. North River’s John Hines (22nd place, 289,500), Edmonton’s Samuel Ngai (27th, 284,500), Gatomeai’s Jean Ferreira (31st, 279,600), Stettler’s Robert Gallaugher (47th, 252,600) and Saint Jean’s Marc McLaughlin (49th, 248,500) are all in the Top Fifty for the Day 2A action. Unfortunately, there will be a new World Champion this year, as Jonathan Duhamel headed to the rail along with Gavin Smith and Pat Pezzin.
As for the celebrities that are taking their shot at the WSOP Championship Event, former “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander and fellow comedian and “Everybody Loves Raymond” actor Brad Garrett have been able to work their way to Day 3 action. Alexander, who has proven to be an adept poker player, has pushed his stack up to 167,000 in chips and Garrett, who keeps whatever table he is at in stitches, survived Day 2A with 46,000. For sports fans, Boston Celtics guard Paul Pierce was eliminated during play on Monday.
Tuesday’s action around the Rio should be hectic as 2490 players will return for the start of Day 2B of play. 2011 WSOP bracelet winner Ben Lamb will lead the players to the line with his 188,925 in chips, with top pros Andy Frankenberger, Kevin Saul, Thayer Rasmussen, Russia’s Max Lykov and Italy’s Dario Mineri some of the notables chasing him. By the end of action on Tuesday, there should be approximately 1200 players remaining from Day 2B.
Wednesday is an off day for the 2011 WSOP Championship Event and Thursday marks the first time the entirety of the field will be together with the start of Day 3 play. There is still a long way to go, however, before we reach the 693 players who will take away some of the $64.5 million prize pool and an even longer wait (November, to be exact) until the newest World Champion is crowned.