Day 2 of the Main Event at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs WSOP Circuit stop is complete, and only nine players remain. As the starting field of 247 was whittled down to a final table over two intense days of competition, one fact became increasingly clear with every elimination -- this final table would be absolutely stacked!

Play began Sunday at noon with 84 players left. The eliminations came quickly throughout the first few levels, and the tournament reached the money about 30 minutes before the dinner break. After dinner, only 24 players remained, and half of them busted out within the next two hours. As the field continually grew smaller amidst the fast and furious bustouts, several stars emerged from the wreckage.

Blair Hinkle has a chance to make history. Hinkle won this event last year and is trying to become the first player ever to win back-to-back Main Events at the same Circuit stop. Not only that, but Hinkle also won the Main Event here in August 2010. If he wins again, he’ll be the first person in Circuit history to win the same Main Event three times. Hinkle, who earned a World Series of Poker Bracelet in 2008, enters Day 3 in second place with 1,001,000 in chips.

Hinkle trails only one player, Ken Douglas, who sits atop the leaderboard with 1,065,000 in chips.

Much like Blair Hinkle, Charles “Woody” Moore has had a lot of success at Council Bluffs in the past. Two years ago, he finished runner up in the Main Event here. And in 2010, when Hinkle won this event for the first time, Moore finished fifth. This is Moore’s 40th career Circuit cash, and he’s looking for his second ring. Moore currently has 688,000 chips, good for third place.

Paul Ewen returns for Day 3 with 425,000 in chips. He has a chance at earning the title of Casino Champion. He cashed in two preliminary events, making one final table. Ewen currently has 30 points. He’s guaranteed at least another 25, and could earn as many as 50, which will surely push him toward the top of the leaderboard. Much remains to be decided, though, as the 12th and final ring event is set to run alongside the Main Event.

The rest of the field is no less impressive. John Holley has two WSOP Circuit rings and 28 career cashes. Justin Bond won his first Circuit ring last month in St. Louis. He also cashed in three other events at that stop. Justin Truesdell has two Circuit rings on his resume, including a Harrah’s New Orleans Main Event title, and he’s already cashed in two preliminary events here. Quang Pham final tabled three events here at Council Bluffs over the past two years. Dan Carson is the outlier of the group, with no WSOP-related results, but he has proven his competitive mettle throughout this tournament.

This event featured a stacked field leading up to the final table as well. Alexandru Masek was the last elimination on Day 2. He finished in 10th place for $6,747. Masek has won more Circuit rings than anyone else in history, winning his record-breaking eighth ring about a month ago at the Circuit stop in St. Louis. He made two final tables in preliminary events here at Council Bluffs, but finished in 3rd place and 8th place, and was unable to secure his record-extending ninth ring. Masek has a chance at winning Casino Champion honors. His three top-ten finishes give him 67.5 points on the leaderboard, which is currently tied for first. Ewan has a chance to surpass him, however, and there’s still one more ring event to be played.

Bernard Lee also finished this event just short of the final table. He finished in 12th place for $6,747. Lee is most famous for his deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2005, when he eventually finished 13th. He historically performs well here, as he’s twice finished in the top ten at the Main Event at Council Bluffs.
The 247 entries generated a prize pool of $370,500. The eventual winner will walk away with the first-place prize of $90,770, along with a WSOP Circuit ring and a free entry into the National Championship in May.
Play resumes Monday at 1 p.m. local time. Here’s a seating chart and chip counts entering the final table. A complete list of payouts can be found in the “Results” tab of the live updates.

Seat 1: Quang Pham - 246,000 (15 BBs)
Seat 2: John Holley - 216,000 (13 BBs)
Seat 3: Blair Hinkle - Blair Hinkle - 1,001,000 (62 BBs)
Seat 4: Paul Ewen - 425,000 (26 BBs)
Seat 5: Ken Douglas - 1,065,000 (66 BBs)
Seat 6: Justin “Matt” Bond - 464,000 (29 BBs)
Seat 7: Charles “Woody” Moore - 688,000 (43 BBs)
Seat 8: Justin Truesdell - 614,000 (38 BBs)
Seat 9: Dan Carson - 192,000 (12 BBs)