Day Two of Main Event Drags on to 6:30 a.m.
Because of TV Scheduling for Final Day
Eric Buchman Will Start Final Day Holding Lead with 890,000 Chips
"This is no country for old men" is the start of a famous poem, "Sailing to Byzantium," by William Butler Yeats. Well, day two of the WSOP Circuit championship event at Harrah's Atlantic City was no tournament for old poker players because it turned out to be a grueling challenge that started at noon and didn't end until 6:30 a.m., 18-1/2 hours later. Normally, the players might have been sent to bed at 2 a.m. or so to continue play the next day. The problem was that a live telecast by Bluff Magazine had been firmly scheduled for 2 p.m. on day three, so the boys had to keep playing down to the final nine.
The day ended with Eric Buchman holding the lead with 890,000 chips.
Day two play started with Ken Adams, a Washington law partner specializing in cases upholding poker, as well as a poker writer for CBSNews.com, holding the lead with 153,000 chips.
Montel Williams, the one big celebrity in this event, went out near the end of the first level, with about 80 players left, when he ran into a set of jacks. As he left, he noted that he will be hosting an "Ante Up for MS" charity poker event during the Grand Casino Tunica Circuit next month.
For a while, the most interesting table included Robert Williamson III; Bobbi Gross, the last woman left in the event; attorney/poker writer Adams; and Howard Wolper, who besieged the players with noisy commentary.
About four hours into play, Gross departed, and the tournament became all-male. Then, just before the dinner break, Williamson flopped a set of sevens, departing when Feming Chan made a straight on the river.
At 8:30, Mike Sica took the chip lead when his pocket aces knocked out defending champion Rick Rosetti, who held pocket 10s. As we got close to the money, one of the players who left empty-handed was starting chip-leader Adams.
By 11p.m. we were down to 28 players and hand-for-hand, but it took nearly an hour before the bubble broke when Heung Yoon's pocket 9s were beaten by John Racener's pocket queens. All players were now in the money as seats were redrawn with the next nine players guaranteed $7,114.
When level 16 started at 1:45 a.m., 22 players were still left. Among the five who had been knocked out was Frank Vizza, winner of event #7, $1,000 no-limit. At this point, Adrian Velez was now leading with about 600,000.
It was nearly 3 a.m. when we got down to two tables after Mike Sica was outdrawn, losing to a paired 10. Seventeen players still remained when blinds became 10,000-20,000. At 4:45 a.m. blinds were 15,000-30,000 with 4,000 antes, and still 13 players left.
The 11th player busted out in an amazing manner. Hui Zhu was all in for his last 65,000 and got two callers. The pot was checked down, Zhu turned up a 5-4, the other players turned up a 4-2 and a 7-4, and Mike Nelson won the whole pot with a seven-high! The final 10 now moved to the last table at 5:30 to lose one more player. The punishment continued as play dragged on with three all-in survivals. Finally, Vincent Procopio was down to about 35,000 after his A-K couldn't catch Velez's pocket 9s. As the level ended, the clock was stopped for five minutes of play. But Procopio, now down to 19,000, made a miracle escape with 10s-6s against Eric Buchman's K-J. The flop came K-5-2, but then a trey and 4 turned up to give him a straight!
It was now past 6 a.m. The players went on break, returning to blinds of 20,000-40,000 and 5,000 antes. Finally, just before 6:30 Feming Chan raised to 100,000 with A-8. Procopio called for 95,000 with 9-5, and went out when the board came 5-4-4-8-6.
Meanwhile, the TV show was moved back to 3:30 p.m., giving the players a little extra time to recuperate.
Final Table Chip Count:
1. Adrian Velez 755,000
2. Eric Buchman 870,000
3. David Fox 535,000
4. Thomas Fee 255,000
5. John Racener 780,000
6. Joseph Brooks 450,000
7. James "Mike" Nelson 470,000
8. Feming Chan 690,000
9. Sam Skolnik 80,000