Grindin Away

With two days of poker in the books at the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi leads an accomplished field of 16 players.

The always aggressive Mizrachi took the chip lead less than two hours into play on Day 2 and kept the pedal to the metal. By the five-hour mark Mizrachi held 600,000 in chips, with his nearest competitor far behind at 250,000.He cruised through the rest of the day to end up with 646,000 in chips.

By the end of the day, two-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner Dwyte Pilgrim of Brooklyn found himself trailing only Mizrachi in the chip counts. That was quite a reversal from earlier in the day, when Pilgrim's A-Q caught a queen against the Grinder's A-K to keep the Brooklynite alive in an all-in situation. Pilgrim's quest for a third gold ring will resume with a chip stack of 524,000.

Neither Mizrachi nor Pilgrim have anything approaching a sure shot at the title. Newly-sponsored pro Matt Graham tops the rest of a tough field with a stack worth 515,000, and he is joined in his quest for the gold by Justin Bonomo, 2008 Aruba Poker Classic champ Matt Brady, 2007 WSOP gold bracelet winner Robert Cheung, and Men "The Master" Nguyen, who holds the all-time WSOP Circuit record with four wins.

Two players managed to cash in at the end of the day. Short-stacked Eric Hershler's K-9 fell to Jack Schanbacher's A-9 to bust in 18th place, while Albiges Benoit fell in 17th place with 8-8 to Nashaat Antonious' A-K. Both players earned $15,697.

Play is scheduled to resume today at 12 p.m. PT at Caesars Palace. Rather than play to a final table and break for the day, the tournament staff at Caesars has decided to play the tournament through until a champion is declared.

1. Michael Mizrachi    646,000
2. Dwyte Pilgrim        524,000
3. Matt Graham        515,000
4. Serebryakov Evgeny    508,000
5. Justin Bonomo        394,000
6. Nashaat Antonious    362,000
7. Matt Brady        292,000
8. Jack Schanbacher    289,000
9. Robert Cheung        270,000
10. Jeremiah DeGreef    193,000