Most Americans were celebrating Independence Day on Sunday with feasting and relaxation, but in Las Vegas players in the last three preliminary events were still fighting on the felt for big money prizes and the last three winner bracelets before the main event kicks off Monday.
In event 54, the last of the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em contests, 47 survivors of Day 2 reconvened at the Rio Sunday afternoon with David Peters holding the chip lead. The players were all that remained of an original field of 3,844 which had been reduced to 586 players by the start of Day 2.
Late night Sunday, the departure in tenth place of Johnny Kitchens – who earned $35,045 for his time and trouble – set the final table in place, and officials decided to bag the chips for the night and start the final table fresh on Monday afternoon.
Maintaining an impressive chip lead at level 24 is David Peters on 2,653,000, leading a final table that comprises Marcel Vonk (2,253,000), Henrik Tollefsen (1,878,000), Nathan Jessen (990,000), Matthew Lupton (973,000), Dustin Dorrance-Bowman (794,000), Paul Kerr (784,000), Espen Moen (443,000) and Mehul Chaudhari (443,000).
Average chip stack is 1,281,333, and the first prize in this event is worth $570,960.
Day 4 in the long-running event 55, the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, was still going strong late night Sunday with just 4 players left at level 30, led by the much respected French poker ace Ludovic Lackay on 4,650,000. He is being pursued by Daniel Alaei (2,650,000), Ville Mattila (1,750,000) and French Canadian pro Miguel Proulx (1,490,000) on a final table that has seen the chip lead change a number of times in an exciting day.
Registrations for the event numbered 346, among them many well known names, including Tom Dwan and Phil Hellmuth, both of whom cashed but did not survive to the final table.
Day three ended Saturday night when a final table was reached and the players agreed to call it a night, with Lackay holding the lead. Play recommenced Sunday afternoon, and the final table eliminations went like this:
Trevor Uyesugi in 5th place ($195,631)
Stephen Pierson in 6th place ($147,138)
Dmitry Stelmak in 7th place ($111,524)
Alexander Kravchenko in 8th place ($85,180)
Matthew Wheat in 9th place ($65,568)
If Lackay manages to prevail in this event, which is his first WSOP final table, it will bring his career winnings to over $2 million.
Young gun James Mackay topped the chip counts as Day 2 ended Saturday night in event 56, a $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em competition. He headed 73 survivors from an original field of 1,941, with a chip stack almost double that of his nearest opponent, and appeared to be in an almost unassailable position despite some formidable competition going into the third day of play Sunday afternoon.
However, the vagaries of good fortune and poker dictated that by late night Sunday Mackay had fallen back to the sixth position in a pack that still numbered 16 contestants as level 24 started. All had survived the money bubble and will therefore enjoy a good return on their entry fees, but the final bracelet before the main event and the generous first prize are calling.
Joseph Curcio on 1,720,000 was holding the chip lead as InfoPowa went to press late Sunday night, with his nearest rival Tomer Berda on 1,500,000 and another five players with millionaire chip stacks in the top ten contestants at that point.