Posted 6/3/11 :

Employee event needed more time, but other events close to conclusion
 
The World Series of Poker continued to provide plenty of action on the second day of its commencement in Las Vegas, with the Casino Employees event reaching a final table but not finishing as scheduled. Officials declared the event, at ten levels, should spill over into the following day with four players still in contention and Sean Drake – a dealer from Folson, California – holding a comfortable chip lead.
 
Reconvening Thursday, the quartet played down to a heads up between Sean Drake and Jason Baker, with the two vying for the lion's share of the $382 000 prize pool generated by the field of 850.
 
In the end it was Drake who prevailed, taking the bracelet and the $82 292 main prize, and leaving his opponent with a runner up take-home of $50 807.
 
In the $25 000 NLHE Heads Up Championship event the final 32 players fought for positions in the final 8, with 16 players scheduled to cash.
 
John Duthie was the first to hit the money bubble, followed by other players including Nikolay Evdakov, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Jake Cody, Tom Dwan, Eric Froehlich and Gus Hansen.
 
Jake Cody, Anthony Guetti, Matt Marafioti, Nikolay Evdakov, David Paredes, and Yevgeniy Timoshenko all survived to round eight.
 
Thursday saw the remaining field whittled down to four players fairly quickly, with Timoshenko despatching David Paredes; Froelich besting Evdakov; Jake Cody taking down Anthony Guetti; and Gus Hansen prevailing over Matt Marafioti.
 
The event enters its final stage Friday with Hansen against Cody and Froehlich vs. Timoshenko, with the winners facing off in a best of three heads-up duels.
 
201 players returned on the second day of the $1,500 buy-in Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better contest and by the end, 25 remained, with Francesco Barbaro in the chip lead, closely pursued by Matt Waxman.
 
The event attracted a field of 925, generating a prize pool of $1 248 750 and improving on the record 2009 year's entry field of 918.
 
Big names in the original field included Jeff Lisandro, Barry Greenstein, Jim Meehan, Sorel Mizzi, Jimmy Fricke, Humberto Brenes, Allen Cunningham, Ted Lawson, and Men Nguyen.
 
Thursday saw two new bracelet events kick off; the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em competition, and the $1,500 Seven Card Stud contest.
 
The $5 000 buy-in NLHE event saw a slew of top international players in an entry field of 865 (2010 – 792) and the day ended with Gavin Cochrane holding a slight chip advantage over nearest rival Victor Ramdin, with 243 survivors still very much in the game.
 
In the $1,500 Seven Card Stud contest the entry field at 357 was 51 players less than last year, generating a prize pool of $481 950. By the end of the first day 112 players were still in the running, with Ylon Schwartz in the chip lead, well ahead of nearest opposition Shaun Deeb.
 
The innovative WSOP Grudge Matches proved to be every bit as entertaining and exciting as predicted, with three-bracelet holder Johnny Chan and eleven-bracelet Phil Hellmuth recreating the 1989 clash which catapulted Hellmuth to fame as the youngest ever winner of his first bracelet.
 
Chan was the aggressor from the get-go in the reprise, and although Hellmuth gave a good account of himself he could not withstand the onslaught and was defeated, perhaps changing the historical perspective of the two aces.
 
In the second clash, Sam Farha faced off against Chris Moneymaker in a best-of-three repeat of the 2003 main event that many feel put online poker on the map. Back then Moneymaker was an unknown player who had learned his skills on the internet, and his $2.5 million win made headlines across the world.
 
This repeat performance was every bit as exciting as the two players went at it hammer and tongs, with Moneymaker taking the first game, Farha the second and then an intense and aggressive struggle for the third, which Moneymaker ultimately won.
 
The next Grudge Match should be equally thrilling as Chan and Eric Seidel get it on.