Players returning for Day 2a at the World Series of Poker brought with them a sense of seriousness not found in the opening days of the Main Event. The frantic, almost carnival-like atmosphere that starting days of the Main Event brought was replaced with a more serious, down to business feel for Day 2a. A field of 1,476 entrants returned to the Rio for the first of two Day 2s.
No more than ten minutes into play the "All in and call" announcement from a dealer was heard. Players returning with a short stack appeared bent on doubling up or going home. Returning stacks ranged from Brandon Demes' leading starting stack of 137,075 to numerous stacks below the 2,000 mark.
ESPN film crews hurried all over the Amazon room capturing the exact moment when a player's series was ended. The heart-breaking loss came too early for pros looking for a career defining run in the big dance. Many notable eliminations occured before dinner break; Johnny Chan, Phil Laak, Barry Greenstein, John Hennigan, Tony G., Barry Shulman and Brian Townsend all found their way to the rail.
Sadly, fan-favorite Jack Ury, the oldest player in history at the WSOP at 96 years young, was eliminated - but received a standing ovation from the Amazon room for his efforts.
Samer Rahman, who finished Day 1b in the top 5 chip counts, surged ahead of the field - amassing approxiamtely 325,000 chips through three levels. By comparison, no one else has cracked the 200,000 chip mark.
Greg "FBT" Mueller is in full stride this year, having already won 2 WSOP bracelets in Limit Hold'em. He is currently 2nd in chips with 176,000 and is accumulating more for a deep run.
Lex Veldhuis, Roland De Wolfe and Chris Ferguson were all seated together at the secondary feature table. Ferguson is having a great Day 2 hovering around the 150,000 mark. Veldhuis, on the the other hand made an early exit from the table and the tournament.
Seated deep in the Blue section of the Amazon room is Player of the Year frontrunner Vitaly Lunkin. The Russian is quietly building his stack upwards of 120,000.
Many pros remain in the field and have been building their stacks. Andy Black, Tom Schneider, Fabrice Soulier, Greg Raymer and Joe Sebok have all good days and are either above or nearing the 100,000 chip mark.