Well, what a showcase of poker this $10,000 2-7 Draw Championship turned out to be!
Our starting field of 126 was reduced by a third after one day of play, and the survivors returned to the felt today for a brisk day of lowball action. From top to bottom, the field was stacked thicker than any event we've seen yet at this Series. Steve Zolotow, Dan Smith, Ville Wahlbeck, Steve Billirakis, Michael Mizrachi, Bill Chen, Erik Seidel, Joseph Cheong — those were just the players eliminated in the first couple levels of this star-studded Day 2. Also falling by the wayside were the likes of Eli Elezra, Daniel Alaei, Shaun Deeb, Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, and 2011 bracelet winners Matt Perrins and Eugene Katchalov. Jason Mercier, David Williams, and Huck Seed also went out today, those three all missing the money by just a couple spots.
When the field combined to two tables of seven, everyone was guaranteed a paycheck. The layout of the field was ridiculous — more fitting adjectives escape us at this twilight hour. The final 14 players had a combined 33 bracelets spread among them, and they included three former WSOP Main Event Champions (Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Greg Raymer), a WSOP-E Main Event Champion (John Juanda), and the last two winners of this event (Nick Schulman, David Baker).
Even after Chino Rheem and Brandon Cantu hit the rail, that bracelet count was still strong at 31, but the next elimination dashed that number to bits. Johnny Chan was riding the short stack when his paired on the draw to fall to Baker's queen-low. The end of Chan's bid to tie Hellmuth with eleven bracelets reduced the field to eleven players, but only nine of them hung on for the rest of the level. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Benjamin Parker were cut down in the final few hands, and the Day 3 field is locked with nine players set to return.
Richard Ashby will take the big stack of 700,000 into the final day, and he'll be looking for his second final table of this young 2011 WSOP. Everyone in the field is well accustomed to WSOP final tables, though, and there's really no clear betting favorite. Baker and Schulman are still alive in their bids to win a second bracelet in the same event, and a victory from either of those men would make for fantastic headlines. Perhaps no headline would be bigger than Phil Hellmuth snagging bracelet number twelve, though.
This 2011 WSOP badly needs a big story to rush to the presses, and they may well get one here tomorrow. There are a total of 21 bracelets between the final nine, and of the group, only Joe Cassidy has yet to add his name to the list of WSOP champions.
|3||David Bakes Baker||492,000|
Check out our exclusive Live Updates tonight to see who captures that 22nd bracelet.