Down to three players in the championship finale, play has been anything but cautious during the opening two hours. Cards went into the air for the final playing session of the 2014 WSOP at about 5:30 p.m. PST. Action is expected to continue late into the night, until the 45th world champion of poker is crowned.
The short version is -- the action has been wild. Imagine a poker table turned upside down. That's how much chip movement we've seen.
The most dramatic development prior to the first break in the action (which came at about 8:00 p.m. PST) has been the dramatic rise of Martin Jacobson. He's the Swedish-born player who made a huge move on the first day of the November Nine. Jacobson began the finale with just 14 million in chips, but spent 11.5 hours steadily building his stack to the point where he catapulted himself into serious contention. Now with just over 95 million in chips, Jacobson even surpassed rival Jorryt Van Hoof, and seized the chip lead for the first time at this final table.
Meanwhile, Felix Stephenson from Norway has been a human ping pong ball, bouncing all over the felt in terms of his chip position. About an hour into the action, Stephensen suffered the first serious blow of the night when he doubled up Jacobson after losing a big hand. That loss left Stephenson with just under 20 million, outchipped by his to adversaries by more than 4 to 1.
Stephenson's decline then shifted him into a far more aggressive mode as the player with the shortest stack. Taking a bold "nothing to lose" approach, the Norweigian began moving all-in multiple times, scaring off his more cautious rivals. That gusto gave Stephenson a few extra chips.
Then, Stephensen caught a break when he moved all-in and got Van Hoof to call with a weaker hand, doubling back to where he started this second night of action, with about 62 million.
If the opening two hours has a loser, it's clearly been Van Hoof. The Dutch poker pro enjoyed a dream day on Monday. However, that momentum didn't continue. He now ranks third in chips with about 44 million in chips and appears to have lost some of the confidence he enjoyed while building up a big stack.
We shall see if Van Hoof can shake off the early sting of losing, whether Stephensen's aggressive tendencies continue, and if Jacobson can continue to steadily make a climb towards victory.
Right now, this is anyone's championship title to win. We're in for a fantastic finale.