Atlantic City, NJ (May 24, 2014) — Day 2 of the 2014 WSOP National Championship is in the books and the televised final table is set. Leading the way is bracelet winner Matthew Ashton, one of the 26 players who bought into this event for $10,000. He is the only player in seven-figure territory and begins play with 1,422,000. His next closest competitor is another $10,000 buy-in player, two-time bracelet winner Athanasios Polychronopoulos. A third POY qualifier in the line-up, bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche, takes 350,000 to the third and final day of play. He and Ashton also represent the only Europeans to have ever final tabled this event in its four-year history.
This trio of bracelet winners square off against a trio of qualifiers in on a freeroll with nothing to lose. WSOP.com online qualifier Tracy Doss turned a win in an online Knockout tournament in Nevada into a freeroll seat, then parlayed that into a trip to Atlantic City to play for a bracelet. The pizza shop owner comes to the final table third in chips with 546,000 in what will be his very first WSOP-related cash.
The two Circuit representatives are both at-large qualifiers who won their way into this event based on their season-long performance on the tour. Bibb cashed a remarkable 14 times this season, which is the third-most of any of the at-large qualifiers this season. Andrew Robinson, the short stack at the table, has actually cashed in this event before, taking 15th last year. This year, Robinson returned to the event thanks to a season that included two ring wins, one at Horseshoe Bossier City and one at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.
The freerollers may be short on chips, but they do have history on their side. In the three years WSOP Player of the Year points qualifiers have been allowed to play in the event, they best they have finished is second place.
Day 2 action began Friday at noon ET with 50 players remaining and Palm Beach Casino Champion Jeff Gunnip out in front. While Gunnip’s lead was not to be written off, no advantage was safe as the likes of Ashton, Nitsche, Bryan Campanello, Eric Baldwin and former November Niners Russell Thomas and Ylon Schwartz were all in the top 10.
The start of play marked the closing of registration and with that, the final prize pool was set. The 50 players still alive were jockeying for their piece of $1,260,000 in total prizes, a spot at the ESPN final table and the season’s first bracelet. Play moved fast to start with Baldwin, Ryan Tepen, Yossi Azulay, Jamie Kerstetter, Bernard Lee and Loni Harwood all among those to exit shy of the money.
Midway through Level 16, the field was down 16 players and on the stone bubble with the likes of Campanello and 2012 Main Event champion Greg Merson still alive. It wouldn’t take long for Ruslan Dykshteyn to run his into the of the eventual final table chip leader Ashton to burst the bubble. With Dykshteyn’s elimination, each of the remaining 15 players was assured $21,269.
From there, Merson exited 15th and Campanello followed shortly in 12th, but it wasn’t until Schwartz’s seventh-place finish that Day 2 wrapped.
Updated results from the tournament are available on WSOP.com.
Cards go in the air for the six-handed finale Saturday at 12 p.m. ET on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Play begins with 47 minutes left in the 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante level. Each of the remaining players is assured $65,734, but the winner stands to earn $352,800 and a WSOP gold bracelet.
Live updates from the event will be available right here on WSOP.com.
Seating assignments and chip counts:
Seat 1: Athanasios Polychronopoulos - 937,000
Seat 2: Chris Bibb - 321,000
Seat 3: Tracy Doss - 546,000
Seat 4: Matthew Ashton - 1,422,000
Seat 5: Andrew Robinson - 157,000
Seat 6: Dominik Nitsche - 350,000