The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship continued on Thursday at the Rio in Las Vegas with the start and completion of Day 2-C.
Poker’s world championship resumed play with a grand total of 3,401 players who survived the (three combined) opening-day sessions -- with 2,747 players taking seats in the second of two flights which made up the Day Twos. These two flights which battled the previous 48 hours will commence with the fields (2A/2B/2C) joining together for the first time, this Friday.
Thursday’s participants played five more levels, of two-hours each in duration. With periodic 20-minute recesses and a break for dinner, that made for another nearly 13-hour marathon filled with lots of poker action and quite a few surprises. There were 1,142 survivors from this session. Combined with the 654 survivors coming back from the previous day, that means 1,796 players are still alive in this year’s world championship.
Here were some of the highlights from Day 2-C:
A NEW TOP-TEN LEADERBOARD (COMBINED FIELDS)
From the previous day, Amar Anand, from Shrewbury, MA became the first player to hit the 500,000 chip mark. He ended up finishing Day 2-A/B with 603,500 in his stack and remains the overall chip leader.
That high mark became Thursday's benchmark for the much larger field that assembled on Day 2-C. However, no player got close to approaching the big number accumulated by Anand. The closest to the top among Thursday's session was David Jackson, from Jacksonville, FL. He ended the day with 408,800 in his stack.
By day’s end, the top-ten chip leaders from this session were as follows: CHIP COUNTS
[Note: A combined player list with all chip rankings will be available by 4 am PST: END OF DAY REPORT]
THE FATE OF FORMER WORLD CHAMPIONS
Of all the former WSOP Main Event winners, seven now remain alive in this year’s championship.
Only Greg “Fossilman” Raymer and Jonathan Duhamel survived from the Day 2-A/B group.
Eight more champions started on Day 2C – including Phil Hellmuth, Jim Bechtel, Scotty Nguyen, Robert Varkonyi, Joe Hachem, Jamie Gold, Peter Eastgate, and Ryan Riess. However, just five lasted -- including Riess, Hellmuth, Bechtel, Nguyen, and Hachem..
2008 champ Peter Eastgate was the first to hit the rail. Then, 2002 champ Robert Varkonyi went out. The 2006 champion Jamie Gold exited late in the day. Ryan Riess appears to be in the best shape, chip wise, with more than 300,000 in his stack when play ended.
CELEBRITIES – THEY COME AND GO
The two biggest names from the entertainment world still playing in the Main Event were Brad Garrett and Ray Romano. However, Romano exited late in the day after losing a critical pot holding two pair, which lost to a straight. Meanwhile, Garrett appears to still be in – although he’s currently below the chip average.
On the previous day, highly-accomplished actors James Woods and Jennifer Tilly busted out. That leaves Garrett as the most recognizable non-poker name still alive in the tournament.
SEVERAL WSOP GOLD BRACELET WINNERS ELIMINATED
A large number of gold bracelet winners saw their 2015 WSOP experience come to an end.
Among the most notable former winners to hit the rail were – David Benyamine, Barry Greenstein, Greg Mueller, Kathy Liebert, Mike Leah, Phil Ivey, Keven Stammen, Ronnie Bardah, Nick Binger, Greg Ostrander, Adam Friedman, Eric Buchman, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, Bertrand Grospellier, Calvin Anderson, Chad Holloway, Konstantin Puchkov, Sam Stein, and others.
OTHER WELL-KNOWN POKER PROS WHO WENT BUST
Among the most notable names (non-WSOP winners) who went out on Day 2-C were – Jason Somerville (popular poker media personality), Alexandru Masek (8 WSOP Circuit gold ring wins), Matt Savage (World Poker Tour Tournament Director), Sam Trickett (high-stakes British pro), Ivan Demidov ($6.5 million in WSOP winnings), Tony Dunst (WPT television personality), and others.
THE 2015 GOLD BRACELET WINNERS BUST-OUT CLUB
There were 67 gold bracelet tournaments leading up the Main Event. Accordingly, many players will return home with the satisfaction of having achieved poker’s most coveted prize, winning the WSOP gold bracelet. However, most won’t be adding the crown jewel of poker to their resume, since their Main Event is now over.
Among those eliminated during the Day 2-C session were:
-- Anthony “Ant” Zinno – the Boston, MA poker pro who won the $25,000 buy-in High-Roller Pot-Limit Omaha tourney, which was his first gold bracelet victory to go along with two WPT titles.
-- Corrie Wunstel – the Baton Rouge, LA poker player who won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tourney, which was his first gold bracelet win.
-- Jack Duong – the South Plainfield, NJ player who won the $1,500 Bounty No-Limit Hold’em tourney, good for his first gold bracelet win.
HOW OLD? OLD ENOUGH!
Yesterday, the Main Event went abuzz over news that 94-year-old William Wacher, a World War II veteran, had made it into day three. By contrast, one of the youngest players in the field was Adrien Mateos Diaz, from Madrid, Spain. The 21-year-old barely qualified for entry into this year’s tourney beating the age requirement by 3 days. By the end of Level 8, Diaz became the first player to cross the 300,000 chip mark, which propelled him into the chip lead. Remarkably, if Diaz were to win this Main Event it would be his second gold bracelet victory. Two years ago, at age 19, Diaz won the WSOP-Europe Main Event, played in Paris, France. He also won the most recent European Grand Finale.
For very different reasons at extremes of the age spectrum, these will be two players to watch on Day 3.
SPECIAL THANKS TO DAVID TUCHMAN (ELIMINATED)
David Tuchman has proven to be an invaluable resource of information and entertainment. He’s become the familiar voice of the World Series of Poker, by virtue of his three-year stint at the commentator of the live stream on WSOP.com. Tuchman is not only superb broadcaster, but a dedicated poker enthusiast, as well. He played in this year’s Main Event, but was eliminated early on Day 2-C. All poker players and fans owe a debt of gratitude to Tuchman. We thank him for his dedication, professionalism, and excellence.
SPECIAL THANKS TO KEVIN MATHERS, a.k.a. “KevMath" (ELIMINATED)
“Shuffle Up and Deal” honors went to Kevin Mathers, long considered one of poker’s most steady and reliable insiders and providers of news and information, often via Twitter. Mathers provided the traditional announcement and intro which began Day 2-C. He also played in the Main Event. However, Mathers was eliminated early in the day. As to Mathers’ immense contributions to the WSOP, he was introduced to the large crowd at the start of the day, as follows:
“We at the World Series of Poker, on behalf of all our staff, want to acknowledge and thank Kevin Mathers for all he does surrounding our event. He truly is a bright light and great friend to everyone in the game. We applaud his efforts and his selfless giving of time and information to help the cogs of the game continue to roll forward.”
WHAT’S COMING NEXT?
The 2015 WSOP Main Event Championship continues with Day 3 which will be played on Friday, starting at Noon PST. There will be 1,796 total survivors from flights 2-A, 2-B and 2-C who will return for the unified Day 3. For the first time, this puts the next world poker champion somewhere inside the Rio for certain, since the start of the tournament six days ago which has had split fields up until now.