Will the 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event be a coming-out party?


Allegedly poker's most mysterious figure over the past year, the current chip leader in the £10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship is Viktor Blom, from Sweden. 
Blom has reportedly been identified as the high-stakes cash game player named "Isildur1."  He enjoyed a stratsopheric rise and a meteoric fall over the past 18 months, enduring multi-million dollar swings in some of the biggest online poker games in history.  Until now, Blom had not made much of an impact at the World Series of Poker.  In fact, he has never cashed in a WSOP tournament of any kind.  However, his status as the chip leader in one of the most prestigious events of the year is certain to intensify global speculation and re-focus the spotlight on one of poker's most enigmatic personalities.  

The  began with 346 entrants.  There are 66 players still remaining in what began as a world-class field.  Some of the more recognizable names still alive entering Day Three include:

Phil Ivey
Nick Schulman
David Baker
Barry Greenstein
Dan Shak
Hoyt Corkins
Daniel Negreanu
Huck Seed
Roland de Wolfe
Eli Elezra
Freddy Deeb
Greg Mueller
John Dolan
J.P. Kelly

Within a razor thin margin of the chip lead is
Indeed, any hopes of the supposed "Isildur1" concealing his true identity (if true) will be shattered if Blom makes it to the final table, appears on worldwide television, or (gulp!)....wins.  Alas, the next chapter in one of poker's best stories in years and most compelling mysteries is about to be written and perhaps told -- on the green felt at Casino at the Empire in London.

£10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Main Event Championship Bojan Gledovic, from Belgrade, Serbia.  He is a 28-year-old poker pro.  This is his first time to play at WSOP Europe.  He cashed in 165th place in this year's WSOP Main Event, held in Las Vegas.  
The only member of this year’s November Nine still alive is John Dolan.  He is currently below average in chips and will need to make a significant move on Day Three in order to survive.

Last year's Main Event runner up remains very much alive in the tournament.  Four-time gold bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu has a competitive-sized stack and will be a player to watch over the next several levels.  

A number of British players also remain in contention.  Among them are Darren Woods, Arnaud Mattern, Nicholas Levi, and others.  Hendon Mob brother Barny Boatman is still in, though below average in chips.
Some famous poker names who were less fortunate and suffered elimination on Day Two were: 
Jeffrey Lisandro
Neil Channing
Chris Bjorin
Jason DeWitt
John Tabatabai
John Racener
Pascal LeFrancois
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
Erik Seidel
Alexander Kravchenko
Jason Mercier
Filippo Candio
Carlos Mortensen
Vitaly Lunkin
Ted Lawson
Farzad Bonyadi
Antonio Esfandiari
Kathy Liebert
Erik Cajelais
Nenad Medic
Allen Cunningham
J.C. Tran
Mike Matusow
Phil Laak
Praz Pansi
Two other notable players who did not survive the day include the past two Main Event champions.  Last year’s winner Barry Shulman was eliminated during the middle of the day.  He ran his stack up on Day One into the top ten at one point.  But Shulman took a slide on the second day and will not repeat as champion.  The 2008 champion John Juanda was eliminated earlier in the day.  Juanda was not able to establish much traction in the tournament and departed unceremoniously among the middle of the pack.

This year’s edition of WSOP Europe is currently taking place at Casino at the Empire in central London.  This is the final gold bracelet tournament start of the calendar year.  On Saturday, the initial two starting days – designated as 1-A and 1-B – combined into a single playing field of 195 survivors.  Surviving players redrew for seats and resumed play promptly at noon.

Play will continue on Day Three, which takes place on Sunday starting at noon.  Players will play down to the final 27.  The Main Event runs through Tuesday, September 28th.
This year's Main Event attracted a slight increase in participation over last year.  The total prize pool amounts to £3,460,000, equal to about $5,475,363 (USD).  The top 36 finishers will collect prize money.  First place will pay £830,401, equal to about $1,314,176 (USD).
Stay tuned to for more news and information.  Live tournament updates can be seen HERE.

In other news....
Four events have already been held this year at WSOP Europe.  The three previous winners were:

EVENT #1:  Phil Laak (£2,500 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em)

EVENT #2:  Jeffrey Lisandro (£5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha)

EVENT #3:  Scott Shelley (£1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em)

EVENT #4:  Conclusion to be played on Sunday, starting at 6 pm (London time)

Note:  The £10,000 buy-in High-Roller Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship was paused in order to allow the final two players – Gus Hansen and Jim Collopy – to participate in the Main Event.  However, both players have been eliminated.  It has been announced the Heads-Up finale will take place on Sunday starting at 6 pm at the Empire Casino.  The two finalists, tied at 1-1 in the best-of-three series, will play the third and deciding match for the WSOP gold bracelet.

For more information about WSOP Europe, please click HERE.