We’ve reached the point in this year’s World Series of Poker that, for those playing and working, the days are beginning to run together. About a week from now, this lethargy will evaporate as the $10,000 Championship Event begins in the hunt to crown the next world champion. For now, however, there are the preliminary events to slog through, including one final table that should be exciting on Tuesday night.
Event #48 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack
After a massive 6,260 players came out for the Day 1 festivities in this tournament, there were still 2,085 who came back on Monday to continue the fight. The Monster Stack (called such because players started with twice the starting stack that they normally would have – in this case, 15,000 in chips instead of 7,500) certainly lived up to its name, building a prize pool of over $8.4 million and guaranteeing the eventual champion a $1,037,451 payday. That was still a long way off, however, as the players first had to determine the 939 players who would divvy up the prize pool.
The popping of the money bubble took only two hours to reach. On an A-J-4-5-K board, Raul Manzanares Lozano pushed his stack to the center, putting his opponent on the tough decision of calling off for his tournament life. After a long deliberation, the player made the call and showed Big Slick for the rivered two pair. That was nice, but Lozano came up with pocket jacks for the flopped set that led the entire way, knocking out his unfortunate opponent in 940th place ($0) and pushing the field to the money.
The rest of the day the tournament floor was brutal as players were sent to the rail. Over the next nine hours, nearly 700 players were given their walking papers, with such popular pros as Dan Heimiller, Calvin Anderson, Ryan Riess, Blair Hinkle, Mark Radoja, Ronnie Bardah, Benjamin Zamani and the great-in-Scrabble name of pro Athanasios Polychronopoulos earning a bit for their two days of work. It was another pro, however, who surged to the lead.
Of the 259 players remaining in the fray, two-time WSOP bracelet Sportsbook Steve Billirakis has taken the seat at the helm of the field. His 1.399 million chips give him the best shot at making the final table, but there’s still a long way to go before that is reached:
|Steve Billirakis||1.399 million|
|Tommy Nguyen||1.264 million|
|James Stewart||1.2 million|
|Raul Manzanares Lozano||1.176 million|
|David Neiman||1.16 million|
|Raj Singh||1.141 million|
|Sihao Zhang||1.106 million|
|Francis Rusnak||1.021 million|
Hanging out lower on the leaderboard are pros like Tyler Patterson (857,000 chips), Mukul Pahuja (787,000) and Kurt Jewell (768,000). They will look to improve their lot when the tournament resumes this afternoon at 2 p.m. Pacific time.
Event #49 - $10,000 Eight-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha Championship
The 476-player field has been whittled down to the final six players in the latest championship event at the WSOP. In Pot-Limit Omaha, it will be two-time WSOP bracelet Sportsbook Brandon Shack-Harris who leads the charge to the finish line on Tuesday afternoon.
In the final level of the night on Monday, Shack-Harris was able to leap over a sizable portion of the field by doubling up through the chip stack of Mike Leah. On that hand, Leah raised from the button and Shack-Harris defended his blind. An A-7-6 board set off the fireworks, with Leah firing out a bet before Shack-Harris potted the action. Leah shoved for his remaining chips and Shack-Harris called as well.
The two hands played themselves:
Leah: A-Q-J-7 (flopped top two pair)
Shack-Harris: 6-6-3-3 (flopped set)
Needing an ace or seven, Leah instead saw the board run out with a five and a 10, knocking him to the basement in the tournament and out moments later in seventh place (at the hands of Ryan Hughes). Shack-Harris rocketed to a dominant lead that he will carry to Tuesday’s play.
|Brandon Shack-Harris||7.73 million|
|Ryan Hughes||5.14 million|
|Loren Klein||4.24 million|
|Rep Porter||2.68 million|
|Jerry Wong||2.15 million|
|Scott Bohlman||1.855 million|
The pursuit of the bracelet resumes at 2 p.m. Tuesday and will play down to the champion. That fortunate individual will take home the WSOP gold and a $1,018,336 payday.