Wrapping up the first week of the 2011 World Series of Poker, four events were in action on Monday, with one bracelet being awarded and two other tournaments’ first days of action exceeding the expectations of the media gathered in the Amazon Room at the Rio.
Event #8 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Day 2
623 players came back after the two Day Ones from the massive, 4178 player field with a great deal of labor still at hand. Although they had outlasted nearly 85% of the field, the survivors beginning Day 2 still had to work down to the money, where 423 players would earn the right to say they had cashed in a WSOP event. Two WSOP champions, 2002 World Champion Robert Varkonyi and inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event champion Annette Obrestad, were among the early casualties of the battle.
After two and a half hours of play, the money bubble burst with the remaining 423 players earning at least $1880 for their two days spent in tournament play. Once the money bubble burst, there was an incredible rush of players who had nursed their stacks to the cash rushing out the doors of the Amazon Room, as they attempted to make their stands with meager holdings. For those at the top of the food chain, however, it was time to attempt to pick up the chips of those also-rans.
Canada can be proud to say that 24 players have already earned cashes among those that have been eliminated. One of those was Michael Malm, who had been in the Top Five of the leader board after the two Day Ones, but was eliminated in 89th place ($4587). Taking the top honor for the highest cashing Canadian at this point is Mississauga’s Andrew Chen, who finished the tournament in 70th place for a $6580 payout.
When the tournament resumes today, there are still 60 players remaining in the field; plans are today to play down to the final table; considering the size of the field, that could be a greatly ambitious goal. Top professional Jon “PearlJammer” Turner continues to hold the lead that he seized on Day 1B, but there are a host of Canadian pros looking to take him down. Leading the Canadian contingent is defending World Champion Jonathan Duhamel, who currently sits with 250,000 chips in fourteenth place. Gabriel Rouleau, Jonathan Driscoll and Andrew Chen join Duhamel in the Top 30.
Event #9 – $1500 No Limit Draw Deuce To Seven Lowball – Final Day
The final table of the $1500 No Limit Draw Deuce To Seven Lowball took place on Monday afternoon, featuring a final table with, while not well known names, talented practitioners of one of the most difficult disciplines of poker. The United Kingdom’s Matthew Perrins held the chip lead over veteran pros Bernard Lee and two time WSOP bracelet winner Chris Bjorin. The final table played out in just over five hours, the quickest table of this year’s WSOP by far.
Bjorin was active in the early going, taking a good portion of Perrins’ chips, but Perrins maintained his chip advantage by eliminating Josh Brikis in sixth place. After Perrins dropped Thomas Fuller from the tournament in fifth place, the raucous British contingent supporting him on the rail only became more vociferous, cheering their countryman on against his three remaining opponents.
After a level up, Perrins continued to take the fight to the table, extending his lead by eliminating Lee in fourth place. He controlled nearly three-quarters of the chips in play following Lee’s demise and used that advantage to storm past Robin Rightmire and, once heads up play was reached, Bjorin. By the time the smoke had cleared, Matthew Perrins had eliminated five of the six other final table players, earning the second WSOP bracelet for the U. K. and taking home a payday of $102,105.
Event #10 – $1500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em – Day 1
Stunning the naysayers in the poker media (including this journalist), the $1500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em bypassed expectations in drawing an outstanding field of 1920 players. This vastly outpaced the 1663 players who showed up for the tournament in 2010 and demonstrates that, even though there are difficult times with the online poker situation, the lure of winning a WSOP bracelet can withstand any obstacle.
By the time play had ended early Tuesday morning, only 188 brave souls remained from the starting field. This was agonizingly close to the money bubble, as 180 players will take home a payday from Event #10 and guarantees for some tense times when play resumes Tuesday afternoon. Anthony Spinella will begin play today with the chip lead, sitting on a 223,000 chip stack.
Making his second deep run in a tournament at this year’s WSOP, Toronto’s Alexander Wice is currently the highest placed Canadian, sitting in twelfth place with his 87,200 in chips. Another player having success this year, Steven Goosen, is only two spots back of Wice, while Marc McLaughlin, Alexandre Gauron, Sean Grover, George Jalkotzy, Nathan Amar, Samuel Ngai, Greg Mueller, Marc Blais, Marc Dupre, Glenn Tappenden, Peter Jetten. Matt Jarvis and Shaun Hartlinall have some work to do if they want to reach the final table of this tournament.
Event #11 – $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo World Championship – Day 1
In another sign of the health of the WSOP, the 202 players who came out for the second World Championship event of this year’s WSOP featured some of the best players in the game. While a smidge under the 212 runners from the 2010 tournament, each table featured at least one notable player and the skill level of the field is nothing short of world class.
When play begins on Tuesday, 178 players still remain from the split pot event, with Uruguay’s Fabrizio Gonzales perched atop the mountain with 117,300 in chips. Attempting to follow up on his first ever WSOP cash last week, Lorraine’s Guillaume Rivet is in contention in third place, holding a 95,900 chip stack.
You would have to look down the leader board to find other Canadians, but they are some of the biggest names in the game. Daniel Negreanu has made his first Day 2 of the 2011 WSOP, sitting in 40th place at this point with 51,800 in chips. Shawn Buchanan, Daniel Klein, Mike Watson and Pat Pezzin round out the remaining Canadian players in the field.
There is an audacious task at hand for the remaining players in Event #11. The plan is for the final table to take place on Wednesday, meaning it could be a long Tuesday for those who go deep in this tournament.
STARTING TODAY: Event #12 – $1500 Triple Chance No Limit Hold’em
The $1500 Triple Chance No Limit Hold’em tournament – which allows players three separate 1500 chip chances for their buy in –is a first time event at the 2011 WSOP. Although there was a similar event in 2010, it carried a $3000 buy in. A second, larger ($5000) Triple Chance event will play out later in this year’s WSOP schedule.
With this being an inaugural event, handicapping the field size is difficult. The $3000 tournament last year drew out 945 contestants, with Ryan Welch defeating Jon Eaton for the WSOP bracelet. Considering the overwhelming success of the $1500 Six Handed event, however, it is extremely likely that there will be an outpouring of support for this lower buy in tournament and the field size may reach the mid-1000s.
With the first week of the 2011 WSOP in the books, Canada has been just short in grabbing the brass ring of its first 2011 WSOP bracelet. The WSOP is a long haul, however, and it is only a matter of time before a Canadian, be he (or she) pro or amateur, breaks through to earn the most valued trophy in the game of poker.