Taking second place only to the World Series of Poker Main Event itself, Event 45 has attracted a huge amount of interest this week as a galaxy of international poker stars battled it out for a seat at the final table, and a crack at a serious multi-million dollar main prize.
The start of Day 4 of the multi-style $50 000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E.competition saw a field whittled down to 24 top players, with the chip lead held by Michael DeMichele, only just ahead of Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein. Sixteen of the 24 would be history by the end of the day, and everyone was clearly determined not to be one of those headed for the exit. Consequently, the eliminations started almost immediately in a fiercely competitive game that featured a slew of bracelet-holding land and Internet poker stars who's names have become legend in the modern game.
Chad Brown was the first to head for the rail, with his nemesis, Gabe Kaplan not long behind him. 22-year-old Missouri whiz kid James Mackey was next to see his dreams of another bracelet and big money dashed, bundled out by Farzad Bonyadi in 22nd place, and he was followed by Mike Wattel, who fell victim to Barry Greenstein.
Now down to 16 finalists, the tables were reset, with top chip holders at that stage Ralph Perry (1 635 000); Daniel Negreanu (1 480 000); Matt Glantz (1 460 000) and Barry Greenstein (1 300 000)
Very much in contention were Scotty Nguyen, Ray Davis, Michael DeMichele and Lyle Berman, and the field still contained real threats of the calibre of Andy Bloch, Erick Lindgren, Phil Ivey, Huck Seed, Doyle Brunson and Patrick Bueno.
Veteran Doyle Brunson's ambitions for an eleventh WSOP bracelet came to nothing, but a cash reward of $124 320, when he was sent to the rail in the 16th spot by Phil Ivey. Matt Glanz ended the hopes of Andy Bloch, showing him the exit door after a hand of stud, and David Bach despatched Joseph Michael in similar style.
Down to 13 survivors, Daniel Negreanu was the next casualty, taken out in a hand of stud hi-lo by Lyle Berman and sent home with a 13th place check for $142 080 in his pocket. Phil Ivey then crashed out in 12th place after a confrontation with an aggressive Scotty Nguyen, who went on to eliminate David Bach in 11th place.
10th position went to Ray Davis, who fell to Patrick Bueno after losing a slew of chips to Erick Lindgren in a Omaha hi-lo exchange.
Ralph Perry had the frustration of being the ninth place bust, just missing the final table when he was removed by Huck Seed to set the final table, which was headed by Erick Lindgren with 3 680 000 in chips, followed by Scotty Nguyen (3 535 000), with a comfortable gap between them and the remaining players: Barry Greenstein, Matt Glanz, Lyle Berman, Huck Seed, Michael DeMichele and Patrick Bueno.
In other WSOP events, Las Vegas poker pro Joe Commisso won Event 46 the $5 000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed contest in the third day of play, collecting a massive $911 855 main prize and his first bracelet after a marathon six hour heads up with Richard Lyndaker.
A former day trader, Commisso prefers Internet action to live tournament play, mainly because he says he can play more hands online in the same timeframe, and there is less distracting interaction around the players.
Commisso took the honours after a long and wearing heads up with Lyndaker, who's second placing was worth $570 551. Going into the final table the two were the chip leaders and dominated the game.
In Event 47 – the $1 500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better event, a field of 544 entries was bested by winner Ryan Hughes who became the first WSOP player ever to win two bracelets in 7 Card Stud competitions – his last was in 2007.
Hughes started the heads up with a million chip lead and quickly ended the game with Ron Long to pocket the bracelet and a check for $183 368.
Big name players Men "The Man" Nguyen, Chris Bjorin, Marco Traniello, Phil Hellmuth and Dave Sklansy were among the starters in this event.