At the start of the day on Sunday, 142 players – including fourteen Canadians – were left to vie for the title of World Champion in the 2011 World Series of Poker Championship Event. By the end of the night, only 57 of those players would be coming back for Monday’s action.
2009 $50,000 Poker Players Champion David Bach led the field to the line on Sunday afternoon, looking to increase on his slim lead over Pius Heinz and Edmonton’s Kyle Johnson. Along with Johnson, thirteen other Canadians stepped to the felt and there were three women – Bodog pro Amanda Musumeci, Claudia Crawford and Erika Moutinho – still left in contention. By the time the final cards flew on Sunday night, however, both of those numbers would be seriously chopped.
Two top Canadian pros, Sorel Mizzi and Tyler Bonkowski, moved quickly up the ladder in the early going. Mizzi earned his by doubling up through Jeff Becker when his A-K stood up to the A-Q of Becker. Bonkowski, meanwhile, finished off Becker when Becker pushed in with K-Q against Tyler’s pocket fives. Already ahead in the hand, Tyler moved further out on a 5-9-10 flop. Although Becker had draws to the straight, they were erased when another nine came on the turn, eliminating Becker at the hands of the Canadian contingent.
Dublin’s Eoghan O’Dea was able to make some strides towards the later stages as well during action on Sunday. In what was most likely his high moment, Eoghan five bet all in against Nelson Robinson and was way out in front pre-flop with his A-Q versus Robinson’s A-J. A Queen on the flop was all that it took to virtually lock up the hand and, once the turn blanked for Robinson, O’Dea doubled up to 2.3 million chips. Eoghan finished off the day with 2.535 million and will be back for action on Monday.
Both Sorel and Tyler would fight into the night, but it would all be for naught (OK, maybe a few thousand dollars!). Sorel’s departure was particularly painful as, on a 6-9-9 flop, Sorel bet out 200K and was looked up by Alexandr Mozhnyakov. On the Ace turn, Mizzi would once again push out a bet, this time of 335K, but Mozhnyakov moved all in this time. Sorel made the call and tabled a dominant pair of sixes for the flopped boat. All Mozhnyakov could muster was a J-9, but he was drawing at several outs to a better full house. Unfortunately for Sorel, an Ace came on the river, giving Mozhnyakov that better boat and sending Sorel home in 95th place ($64.531).
Tyler made it through the dinner break, but he would suffer a similar fate as Sorel. Against Brazil’s Hilton Laborda, Tyler went to the river on an A-10-2-7-4 board. After Laborda fired off a million chip bet, Tyler made the call. This brought a rapturous sound from Laborda as he tabled his 5-3 for a rivered Wheel. While he celebrated with his countrymen on the rail awaiting the break, Tyler was left with around 300K in chips. Although he would fight valiantly from the short stack, Tyler was eventually eliminated late in the night when he ran his pocket Jacks into fellow Canadian Tri Huynh’s pocket Aces.
For their part, Huynh and Kyle Johnson had a steady day, although they would flip flop their positions. Not only did Tri knock out Bonkowski, he was also responsible for the elimination of Jean-Robert Bellande from the tournament. By the end of action on Sunday night, Tri had moved up to eighth place (6.295 million) while Kyle had also added to his stack, but dropped on the leaderboard (eleventh place, 5.97 million).
When action resumes on Monday, Tri and Kyle will be chasing Ryan Lenaghan, who has amassed a stunning 12.865 million in chips, and 2011 WSOP bracelet winner and current WSOP Player of the Year leader Ben Lamb, who has 9.98 million in chips. Tri and Kyle will be joined by Calgary’s Khoa Nguyen (23rd, 3.53 million), O’Dea (34th, 2.535 million), Waterloo’s Matthew Kay (49th, 1.295 million) and Delta’s Jody Howe (54th, 1.065 million) as the remaining Canadians in the field.
As far as the ladies go, only one is left. Both Musumeci and Crawford were eliminated during play on Sunday, leaving Erika Moutinho as the Last Woman Standing (40th, 2.075 million). Other top pros still remaining in the field include Bach, Erick Lindgren, David “Doc” Sands, Bryan Devonshire and Lars Bonding.
The plan for Monday’s action is to play down to the final 18 players and four levels have been scheduled to do just that. If they reach the required number prior to playing four full levels, it is unknown as to how far they will take the action. Tuesday will be the day that the 2011 “November Nine” will be determined and both Monday’s and Tuesday’s action will be broadcast on ESPN2.