From a starting field of 968 entries, just 22 players remain in the Main Event as Day 2 comes to a close. St. Maarten ring winner Jason Rivkin leads the field with 2,355,000, looking for his second gold ring in the span of a month. There are some dangerous opponents and a few significant storylines further down the leaderboard, though.
Said El-Yousfi (pictured) knows his way around Harrah's Cherokee rather well, particularly the tournament fields here. The Moroccan-born pro is the reigning WSOP Global Casino Champion, winning his first major title in this building just this past August. El-Yousfi collected his first Circuit ring earlier in the season, parlaying Casino de Marrakech Casino Champion honors into a gold bracelet and nearly $350,000 in cash. He'll return for Day 3 in fifth place with 1,200,000 chips and 21 players standing between him and another huge victory.
A few of the other remaining players have already won rings, too. Chip Ervin (1,750,000) has one from Tunica, plus a third-place finish in the April version of this event earlier in the year. He'll begin Day 3 in second place. Russ Head (1,130,000) has two of them already, and a third would put him in some elite company on the WSOP Circuit. Warren Sheaves (730,000) and Brad Albrinck (570,000) are the other two who already have rings on their tournament records. Robbie Beck (720,000), on the other hand, is still looking for his first; his father Bob has two, and Robbie has his own chance to add to the family trophy case tomorrow.
Robert Hankins is also still alive, too, though he bagged up the second shortest stack of just 315,000 chips. Hankins is already a six-time winner on the WSOP Circuit, with his most recent victory coming in the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Main Event. Another win would put him just two behind the all-time leader, Alex Masek.
A full list of chip counts is available on the Live Reporting page.
Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $10,106 on Monday, but all eyes are set on the gold ring and the top prize of $275,877 awaiting the winner. Blinds will be 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante when play resumes, putting the average stack just south of 30 big blinds. Cards go in the air at noon, and play will continue until a champion is crowned.