Wednesday, July 03, 2019 to Tuesday, July 16, 2019
The first day of a true field being culled went down in the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event as Day 2ab wrapped up just before midnight Saturday evening at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The field of 3,248 - plus about 100 start-of-day entries - was reduced to 1,087 survivors by the close of play.
The day proved far less eventful than Day 1c as a relatively normal five levels of poker played out, but that was likely to the relief of everyone involved.
A former Main Event champ had a big day from start to finish, beginning with a turn on the mic before the first card was dealt. Qui Nguyen, who took down poker's biggest tournament in a memorable and very lengthy final table in 2016, took the stage early to announce the shuffle and deal. He cracked wise about the length of the event and not to get too excited this early, but it certainly can't hurt to have a Day 2 like he had.
Already with a solid stack of 180,500 to kick it off, Nguyen had double that in the first level of play when he cracked aces with ace-deuce, flopping a wheel. He was soon north of 400,000 and continued to build from there until he bagged 602,400 by midnight.
The years since Nguyen's victory have not been especially auspicious in terms of poker winnings, as Nguyen has collected just around $13,000 since that $8 million windfall. Still, Nguyen has proven he can get through a field of this size once before, and he's off to a great start after two days of play.
He said he had to play off his image a bit, developed from his fearless play back in 2016.
"I played my normal game at first, people know that I am aggressive and that's how I was able to chip up," he said. "I did have to change my style, though. I know it's still a long way to go. So, I just want to make the money first."
Several leaders emerged with more than 700,000 to pace the field. Timothy Su (791,000) is the official end-of-day leader, followed by Tony Blanchandin (744,500, Anton Morgenstern, Florian Duta (731,500), and Galen Hall (705,900).
Dan Colpoys looked to be among that number before Morgenstern chopped him down just before play ended, flopping a flush in a three-bet pot against Colpoys' top pair, which also blocked the nut flush and turned into top two on the turn. Morgenstern doubled through with a river check-shove to leave Colpoys bagging 392,800.
Chris Ferguson, Daniel Negreanu, Ryan Riess, Justin Bonomo, Stephen Chidwick and Phil Galfond were some of the most notable names going bust during the course of Day 2ab play. Galfond said he got sneaky and flatted a raise with kings, only to get stacks in against a three-bettor and run into aces.
Everyone who did make it through returns to the Rio on Monday for Day 3. Before that, there's the matter of Day 2c, which takes place on Sunday from 11 a.m. The monster field will pack every available room in the house, and PokerNews will be on hand to relate what goes down as the WSOP Main Event action continues.
Anton Morgenstern raised to 5,000 from under the gun and Daniel Colpoys three-bet to 17,000 from the cutoff. Action folded back to Morgenstern who made the call.
The flop came , Morgenstern check-called the 15,000 continuation-bet of Colpoys.
The turn was the , Morgenstern checked again and now Colpoys barreled a bet of 26,000 over the line which Morgenstern called.
The river completed the board with the , Morgenstern checked for the last time. Colpoys fired 52,000 into the pot and Morgenstern responded with a shove of 295,000. Colpoys made the call with for the turned top two pair but was beat by the of Morgenstern who had flopped the flush.
This launched Morgenstern towards the top of the chip counts while Colpoys dropped more than half of his stack.
In the penultimate hand of the night, Matthew Maccaroni raised to 4,500 in the hijack and Gary Blackwood on the button three-bet to 13,500. The big blind four-bet to 32,000 and that forced out Maccaroni, but Blackwood stuck his stack of T-5,000 in. The big blind eventually called for around 120,000 and the cards were turned over.
The board ran out and Blackwood's kings held up.
The clock has been stopped and another four hands will be played for tonight.
Initial raiser Joel Feldman from under the gun picked up two callers including David Kahan in the small blind and the action on the flop checked to Feldman. His bet of 5,000 was called only by Kahan, who then check-called another 11,000 on the turn.
The river was checked and Kahan tabled as the winning hand.
Kelly Minkin raised to 5,500 from under the gun and the player in the cutoff called.
The flop fell , and Minkin's 6,000 continuation bet was again called.
The hit the turn, and Minkin slowed down by checking, and when her opponent checked behind, the peeled off on the river.
Minkin bet 17,000, and her opponent called. Minkin, who finished in 50th place in the 2018 Main Event, tabled for a full house, and her opponent mucked and announced he held a flush.
The board read with around 95,000 in the middle already.
Stefan Huber bet 31,000 from the small blind and the player on the button raised to 102,000. Huber tanked for a while but ended up folding reluctantly.
Picking up the action after the turn of a board with about 40,000 in the pot, Allen Kessler checked from under the gun and Brian Yoon bet 25,000 from the hijack. Kessler called.
The river was the and both checked.
Kessler tabled , Yoon mucked and Kessler won the pot.
Omri Moga raised from middle position and the player on the button three-bet to 13,500. Moga added the remainder to call.
The dealer spread a flop of and Moga check-called a bet of 8,500 from the button.
The turn brought the and was checked through to the . Both players checked again. Moga showed for jacks and deuces and his opponent sent his hand to the muck.
Benjamin Notgrass was under-the-gun and Jan Eric Schwippert was in middle position and they both put 7,500 in the middle before the flop.
The dealer fanned a flop of and Notgrass check-called a bet of 7,000. The landed on the turn and Notgrass check snap-called a bet of 20,000.
The landed on the river, pairing the board and bringing in the front door flush, and now Notgrass took the lead by betting 25,000 and Schwippert wasted no time calling. Notgrass tabled for a turned Bicycle and Schwippert passed his cards to the dealer to throw in the muck.
Owais Ahmed walked out of the tournament room and mentioned that he four-bet and called a five-bet shove with kings only to lose out against an opponent's ace-king.
Robert Mitchell checked from middle position in a three-bet pot on . Mark Zullo bet 9,000 into about 25,000 from the button and Mitchell called. On the turn, Mitchell sprang to life with an all-in shove. It was 34,500 effective and Zullo appeared less than pleased. He checked his cards numerous times and put his head in his hand, tanking a couple of minutes before mucking.
The player in early position raised to 4,100 and and Zizheng Huang called from middle position. The hijack moved all in for about 36,000 and Huang was the only one to call.
The runout was and Huang made a set of eights to eliminate his opponent.
Gerry Claunch limped from early position, the player in the hijack limped, the small blind completed and the big blind checked his option.
The flop was and action checked to Claunch who bet 16,000. Only the hijack called.
The turn was the , Claunch bet 30,000, the hijack raised all in for about 68,000 and Claunch called with , trailing the hijack's .
The river was the , sending the pot to Claunch's opponent.
"Its ok, Gerry," said tablemate Olivier Busquet. "You're only down to 700."
A raise to 4,000 came in from a player in early position, and Alex Goulder called from middle position as did the player in the cutoff.
The flop fell , and the initial raiser continued for 5,000. Goulder raised to 13,000, and his opponent made up the rest after the cutoff had folded.
Both players checked on the turn, and the hit the river.
Goulder bet 13,500 after his opponent had checked and received the call.
It was for Goulder, and his top pair was enough to win the pot.
As told by Chris Grigorian:
Andy Hwang raised to 4,000 and Chris Grigorian reraised to 11,000, the action folded back around to Hwang and he called.
The flop came , Hwang checked and Grigorian moved all-in for roughly 60,000 and Hwang Snap called.
Grigorian was going to need to catch an ace to stay in the tournament but the fell on the turn giving Hwang quad sixes, and the river completed the board with the , sending Grigorian to the rail.
Michael Lech raised to 4,500 from the button and William Gibbons three-bet to 20,000 in the small blind. Joe Hachem shoved for 36,000 in total from the big blind and Lech dived into the tank.
The ESPN camera crew swarmed the table as the 2005 Main Event Champ had put his tournament life at risk. Lech ended up folding and now it was Gibbons' turn to consider his options. Gibbon looked at the pot, at how much more he'd have to put in, and took some more time to consider his options.
"I really want to fold here," Gibbons said but still made the call in the end.
The board ran out for Hachem to hold and double up.
Lech said he folded ace-jack and Hachem responded: "You're such a good player! All day long, I thought you were shit, but now... I think you're a good player."
The table all laughed.
"I knew you had an ace, so I was happy you folded as I knew he had bupkis," Hachem said while pointing to Gibbons. Gibbons laughed and they joked around a bit more after shaking hands.
Jake Daniels was on the button with on the felt, facing a bet of 5,000 from a middle-position opponent. Daniels called and the river was a . The first player bet 14,000 and Daniels popped in a raise to 37,800. After about a minute of thought, his opponent gave it up.
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