2012 WSOP, Preliminary Action: WSOP National Championship Draws Impressive Field, Deuce to Seven Lowball Down To Final 10



Although you might expect a “calm before the storm” that will be today’s start of the $10,000 Championship Event at the 2012 World Series of Poker, there are still three tournaments that will hand out bracelets over this weekend. The final $1000 NLHE event is in action, the WSOP National Championship is looking to crown a winner and the World Championship of Deuce to Seven Lowball’s victor will be decided over the next couple of days.

Event #59 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Day Two

The two Day Ones of the final $1000 NLHE tournament on this year’s WSOP schedule brought out a staggering 4620, of which only 726 were back on the felt on Friday. Day 1B chip leader Alex Cordero was the overall leader (and also the only player over 100K in chips), while Day 1A chip leader Ronald Lee was in second when the cards hit the air Friday afternoon.

468 players would take home something to show for their efforts in this tournament and the players wasted little time in working their way down to that number. In just over two and a half hours, the field had burst the money bubble and the players began to divvy up the $1.556 million prize pool. With the bursting of the bubble, a treasured WSOP record was also burst as well.

While he was participating in Event #60, Konstantin Puchkov’s stack had sat silent but it had gotten him into the money. With the cash from this tournament, Puchkov had taken his eleventh skin of the 2012 WSOP, eclipsing the record of ten by his countryman, the late Nikolay Evdakov.

As the field continued to shrink, several notable names took home some cash from this tournament. Tony Dunst, Jeff Madsen and Leo Margets were all gone by the time the dinner bell rang and Phil Ivey, Owen Crowe, Joe Serock, Marvin Rettenmaier, Humberto Brenes and Joanne “J. J.” Liu would be done soon after that.

As the midnight hour approached, there were still 100 players remaining in the tournament, but that number would be halved by the time the WSOP curfew was reached. 51 players will come back today to continue the festivities and Cordero will once again be in the pole position when the action starts. His 822K in chips is slightly bigger than Frank Johnson’s 789K and there are plenty of formidable foes lurking down the leaderboard.

He’s been quiet for much of the tournament, but Jake Cody is in the Top 20 with 302K in chips. Another top European pro, Dominik Nitsche, sits in the Top 30, while the first bracelet winner of the 2012 WSOP, Chiab Saechao (the Employees Event winner), will have his work cut out for him to get deeper in the tournament.

When this champion is crowned on Sunday, the WSOP bracelet and $654,797 awaits.

Event #60 – $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball World Championship – Day Two

54 players returned to continue the battle for the World Championship of Lowball on Friday and the field was replete with big names. As alluded to earlier, Konstantin Puchkov was at the top of the leaderboard when Day Two began (now you know why he wasn’t at Event #59!), but he was unable to secure another WSOP cash to move his new record up one more notch (at least yet).

With only 14 players cashing in this tournament, the shorter stacks were in “double up or go home” mode, which would see some big players walking out of the Amazon Room with no cash. Scott Fischman, Jennifer Harman, Mike Matusow, Todd Brunson, Phil Ivey, Tom Schneider and Barry Greenstein would be gone before dinnertime, but 23 others were left to work their way down as close to the final table as possible.

Former World Champion Jim Bechtel would be the unfortunate bubble boy for the tournament, done in by Bobby Bright and guaranteeing everyone left in the tournament a $19,272 payday. Marco Traniello, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier and Erik Seidel would be knocked off in fourteenth through eleventh places, respectively, setting the stage for today’s final showdown.

When the cards fly today, Ashton Griffin will be the “king of the court” while Nick Shulman and defending champion John Juanda are in pursuit. 2012 bracelet winner Andy Bloch will have to do some work as the short stack, while George Danzer, Mike Wattel and Ali Eslami sit in the middle of the pack stalking the lead. The reward this evening for the last man standing? The final open bracelet of the 2012 WSOP preliminary tournaments and a $294,321 cash out.

WSOP National Championship – Day One

The $1 million freeroll provided to the Top 100 qualifiers from the past WSOP Circuit season saw nearly all of the contenders come to the tables. The special caveat of the tournament – any player in the WSOP Player of the Year race could play as well for a $10,000 buy in – brought out another 57 players to build a prize pool of 1.57 million. With no juice cut out, the eventual champion will claim a WSOP bracelet and $416,051.

Through the day of play, it seemed those POY qualifiers were, at the minimum, more active than the WSOPC All-Stars. With that said, there were some big knockouts that won’t come back today to continue the fight. Michael Mizrachi, Phil Hellmuth, defending World Champion Pius Heinz and Christian Harder dropped from the POY list, while Freddy Deeb, Kurt Jewell and Raj Kattamuri would be some of the notable WSOPC qualifiers bumped from the event.

The leaderboard at the end of the day shows Brian Rast atop the remaining 39 players in the field with Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier right behind him in second place. Drazen Ilich and Aaron Massey, two of the WSOPC qualifiers, have kept themselves in the mix in fourth and sixth places, respectively. Play will continue today with the determination of the final table and a champ will be crowned on Sunday.

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