Bell Gardens, Calif. (28 March 2016) – The Main Event of the World Series of Poker Circuit at the Bicycle Casino was a star-studded affair, and after Day 2 on Monday the remaining field exemplifies the event’s star power.
The chip leader heading into Day 3 is Jamie Gold, winner of the 2006 WSOP Main Event. Gold’s signature victory earned him a $12,000,000 payout for besting a field of 8,773 players, the biggest Main Event the WSOP has ever held. He has 2,875,000 in chips at the end of Day 2, a full 700,000 ahead of his closest competitor.
Only two tournaments in WSOP history have had larger first-place prizes, and the winner of the biggest is also advancing to Day 3 here at the Bike. Antonio Esfandiari – winner of the 2012 Big One for One Drop event for $18,346,673 – is currently sixth in chips at the Bike with 1,235,000.
Gold is not the only remaining player with a history of success in tournaments with big fields. Ray Henson (currently ninth in chips with 870,000), won the re-entry tournament at the Choctaw Circuit stop last year. The event attracted 4,053 entries, at the time the largest tournament field in Circuit history. A few months later, he finished in third place in the inaugural Colossus event at the World Series of Poker. That event had a massive field of 22,374 entries, the biggest live tournament in poker history.
Also advancing to Day 3 is Bruce Buffer, UFC’s Voice of the Octagon. He is currently in 11th place with 455,000 in chips. Buffer is one of several celebrities who played in this event. Oscar-nominated actor James Woods made a deep run and finished in 30th place, and actor Bill Fagerbakke made it to Day 2, but was eliminated short of the money.
Two other WSOP bracelet winners made it to Day 3 – Bryn Kenney (395,000 in chips) and Jack Duong (1,455,000).
Day 2 began at noon on Monday with 140 players. Esfandiari held the chip lead to start the day after amassing 520,000 in chips on Day 1A. He had such a big stack to start the day that three of the players advancing to the final table have fewer chips than Esfandiari had at noon.
The top 81 players finished in the money, and the bubble burst after about three hours of play. Players who cashed include bracelet winners Tuan Le (71st place, $3,075), Mel Wiener (61st, $3,345), and David “ODB” Baker (19th, $9,605).
Also finishing in the money is eight-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Ari Engel. Engel recently won Casino Champion honors at Harrah’s Atlantic City. After finishing in fourth place in the Atlantic City Main Event, Engel hopped on a plane and entered Day 1B here at the Bike the following day. He advanced to Day 2 and eventually finished in 50th place for $3,675.
Nipun Java won this event two years ago. He had a chance to repeat the accomplishment, but ended up bowing out in 18th place ($11,535). The player who finished runner-up to Java in 2014, Shane Schleger, made the money today as well. He finished in 80th place for $2,825.
Also finishing in the money were Nancy Nguyen (59th, $3,345), Dylan Wilkerson (42nd, $4,080), Nam Le (39th, $4,080), Phong “Turbo” Nguyen (27th, $6,905), Kevin O’Donnell (34th, $4,580), and Jason Les (22nd, $8,095).
The tournament attracted a total of 756 entries across two starting days, generating a prize pool of $1,134,000. The eventual winner will earn $226,785. A full list of payout is available here.
Play will resume Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.
Here are the chip counts for the remaining 12 players. Results so far are available here.
1 – Jamie Gold – 2,875,000
2 – Ludovic Geilich – 2,175,000
3 – Alexander Greenblatt – 1,780,000
4 – Jack Duong – 1,455,000
5 – Blaise Hom – 1,290,000
6 – Antonio Esfandiari – 1,235,000
7 – Hector Contreras – 1,155,000
8 – Barry Woods – 940,000
9 – Ray Henson – 870,000
10 – Ken Coplon – 500,000
11 – Bruce Buffer – 455,000
12 – Bryn Kenney – 395,000