Unlike last year, but just like Friday, the biggest news at the World Series of Poker on Saturday was that there was bad news. The issues that got under the skins of players in 2007 seem to be a distant memory. Craig Abrahams, Director of Broadcasting and New Media for Harrah's, commented that 2008 feels like a monumental step forward from 2007.
That big step forward was evident as the first $1,500 No Limit Hold’em got underway. With a field of 2,046 on the first of two Day 1’s the total will easily surpass the record for a non-main event field. As of midnight only 250 seats were left for Day 1b, meaning a 4,000-player field (nearly 900 more than the record) would be entirely possible.
Rather than opening the doors to the Amazon Room and let a normally nervous group of players step into the room in search of their seats the loudspeakers were blaring the Black Eyed Peas’ hit song Let’s Get It Started. Instead of 2,000 nervous poker players sitting in their seats quietly waiting, the move seemed to get everybody, players, dealers and staff in a good spirits.
With so many amateurs filling up the seats in Event #2 it was difficult to find and overly strong table. That is until just before the dinner break when Gavin Griffin, Bill Gazes, Todd Witteles and Shane Schleger all found themselves seated together.
Saturday also saw the remaining 70 players from the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em World Championship play down to a final table of nine players. With ESPN set to tape the final table Sunday show producers couldn’t be happier with the star-studded final table. Andy Bloch, Patrik Antonius, Phil Laak, Mike Sexton and Nenad Medic are the big names left. But the real story might be the relatively unknown Mike Sowers. Named as one of five WSOP rookies to watch, Sowers held the chip lead late in Day 2.
The bubble of that event produced a couple of interesting moments. With only one player left to be eliminated before the remaining players would cash, Andreas Krause
found himself in the big blind facing a minimum raise from the player on the button. Looking to glean more information from his opponent Krause flipped over the A(d). A floor person was immediately called over and Krause was informed that if he continued with the hand by either calling or re-raising he would be assessed a one orbit penalty. Rather than risk being blinded to death Krause folded.
The other interesting moment came when Vinnie Vinh
made an appearance, attempting to get past the ropes to catch the action in the event. Vinh was politely asked to stand behind the rail. It’s somewhat ironic that Vinh would show up to catch Day 2 action after he made two strong Day 1 runs last year, only to skip out on his second day of play. In both cases Vinh’s stack was blinded off and he was eliminated from the tournaments.