Reedley, CA's Ignacio Sanchez tops all Day 2C players in the 2018 WSOP Main Event with 627,200 in chips and takes overall lead entering Saturday's Day 3


Las Vegas, NV (6 July 2018 ) -- Action has ended for the night in Day 2C of the 2018 World Series of Poker's No-Limit Hold'em Main Event - World Championship. Day 2C found 3,480 players starting the day, each a survivor of Wednesday's record-setting Day 1C starting flight, and when Friday's ten hours of play concluded, amateur player Ignacio Sanchez topped the pro-laden chip counts.

Sanchez (pictured), a citrus farmer from Reedley, CA, within California's Central Valley, finished the night with 627,200 in chips to lead Day 2C's 1,668 survivors and take the overall lead entering Saturday's Day 3. 

Sanchez got the best of a deep-stacked table that for a while on Friday evening featured the two deepest-stacked players in the entire Day 2C battling each other. Cliff Josephy, poker's "JohnnyBax", battled with Sanchez for the overall lead before Sanchez took down a couple of big pots late to gain the overnight edge.

Sanchez's huge Day 2C put him more than 75,000 chips clear of the next-highest total posted on the day. That 551,600 total was bagged by France's Eric Sfez. Sfez won a WSOP International Circuit Ring in Rotterdam, Holland, last August.

Places three through six in the end-of-night counts unofficially belong to Canada's Matthew Klapstein (531,700), a second French player, Victor Choupeaux (521,600), a second Canadian player, Colten Yamagishi (504,300), and Maryland's Nils Topringrud (495,000). However, plenty of attention was being paid to Poker Hall of Famer and 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey, who finished the night with a 382,000-chip stack, good for 12th. Prominent China-born pro Yueqi Zhu is also high in the Day 2C counts, in eighth with 429,200.

Still, the night's best story may have been the unheralded Sanchez's surge. "Gambling is like farming," he told the WSOP, during the night's final break. "I grow peaches, plums, nectarines... citrus. You don't know what you're going to make, so it's a one-shot roll. You put all the money into it, and you could get a hail, a freeze, the economy might go down, the market might go down, and you might not even make any money. So it's a gamble, with the weather and all that.” He gestured to his Brasilia table, full of deep stacks. “This is quicker.”

Sanchez doesn't play many WSOP events, though he's given the Main Event a go a half dozen times, by his count. He's cashed in the Main once, in 2014, when he finished 582nd. "I've been playing roughly seven years," he noted, adding, "If you're a poker player, this is what you're playing for."

Sanchez's amazing day occurred in large part at a table in the back corner of Brasilia, where the randomness of tables breaking elsewhere and players being redistributed helped form a murderer's row of deep-stacked players. Josephy, sitting in the nine seat at this table, had the apparent worst of it, as the next four seats to his left were occupied by players with at least 200,000 in chips. That included two-time bracelet winner Keith Lehr on Josephy's immediate left and Sanchez, the last in line.

Despite the deep stacks and the heightened pressure for everyone at the table, it featured plenty of good spirits and friendly banter. Said Sanchez about the extra-deep table, "I'm trying to stay away from him [Josephy]. It's just that he has so much experience; I just want premium hands." Sanchez also kept mixing it up with Lehr. "With Keith over there, he's outdrawn me a few times and it's really ticking me off. He's a good poker player. These guys are good. It's kind of like an honor playing with them."

Josephy, who owns two WSOP gold bracelets and who made the Main Event's final nine just two years ago, is off to another great start. He offered his own take on a solid day's work. "So far, obviously, it's going very well. I couldn't be happier. Keith Lehr is on my direct left giving me a little bit of trouble, but I already told him he better stop. We'll see how that goes.

"He's got more chips than I do at this point in time, and he's willing to put them in play. All four guys on my left have a ton of chips. I ran into a little trouble at the end of the last level [Level 9], but it's all good. Obviously I have a very comfortable stack, and hopefully I'll get some favorable matchups."

Regarding a possible return to the Main Event final table, Josephy admitted, "It would be fun to do again. But it's way too early to think about it. I'm just trying to stay in the moment and play every hand the right way." Josephy did take a late hit to his stack but ended the night with a very playable 285,400.

Lehr, also a two-time bracelet winner, summed up his own day at the deep-stacked table. "It's been up and down. I've been as high as 250 [thousand] and as low as 40. There's a couple of pretty aggressive guys at the table, a couple of pretty good players. Ignacio's tearing me up. These last two hours, I've been trying to get him. Well, I've got him a couple times and he's got me a couple.

"I'm just trying to play my game and not worry about how many chips I've got and keep winning some more." Lehr bagged up 224,000 at the end of the night's play.

Many well-known players were in the running on Day 2AB, spread among the 2,460 players who had chips at the start of the day's play. The day's casualties included Steven Wolansky, Vinny Pahuja, Tony Ma, Andrey Zaichenko, Dominik Nitsche, David Williams, Natalie Hof, Humberto Brenes, Byron Kaverman, Mohsin Charania, Ben Keeline, Scott Bohlman, Cord Garcia, Adrian Mateos, and Mark Newhouse.

The list of star players bagging chips at the end of Day 2C was lengthy; and a complete listing of all survivors, including chip counts, will be available overnight. Among those unofficially bagging more than 200,000 chips at the end of Day 2C were Damian Salas, Chino Rheem, Paul Volpe, Tex Barch, Loni Harwood, Eugene Katchalov, Taylor Paur, Dan Heimiller, Barry Greenstein, James Obst, Steve Billirakis, Chris Moorman, and 2002 Main Event winner Robert Varkonyi.

Others moving on to Saturday's Day 3, though with lower counts, include Liv Boeree, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Todd Brunson, Martin Finger, Andy Bloch, Sylvain Loosli, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Men Nguyen, Patrik Antonius, Jessica Dawley, David Einhorn, Brandon Shack-Harris, Leif Force, Chris Tryba, Shannon Shorr, Barbara Enright, Theo Tran, Pablo Mariz, Ralph Perry, John Juanda, and Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth, the 14-time bracelet winner, bagged a reported 92,000 at end of night.

The largest Main Event in 12 years also offers a $74,015,600 prize pool, with $8.8 million being awarded to this event's winner when action concludes on Saturday, July 14. 1,182 players will cash, with each locking in a minimum $15,000 payday when the money bubble bursts. Saturday's Day 3 combines all surviving players from the Main Event's three separate starting flights for the first time.

The official chip counts for Day 2C will be released early Saturday morning, as well as a complete listing of all surviving Main Event players. 2,799 players return for Day 3 as action resumes in the 2018 WSOP Main Event at 11 am on Saturday.

Unofficial top ten chip counts for Day 2C:

1 -- Ignacio Sanchez 627,200
2 -- Eric Sfez 551,600
3 -- Matthew Klapstein 531,700
4 -- Victor Choupeaux 521,600
5 -- Colten Yamagishi 504,300
6 -- Nils Tolpingrud 475,400
7 -- Farid Jattin 435,000
8 -- Yueqi Zhu 429,200
9 -- Nitesh Rawtani 409,500
10 -- Frank Flowers 409,000

Live Updates from Day 2C 

Chip Counts from Day 2C