2013 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond: Jeff Madsen Leads after Two Frantic Days of Play

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The chips weren’t the only thing flying around the Bellagio over the past two days as poker’s best players (or deepest pocketed, depending on your view) tossed cash around in their attempt to take down the World Poker Tour’s Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic championship.

The “rain” began to fall on Friday with the parameters set on the tournament. The $10,000 buy-in tournament featured an unlimited rebuy option, a situation that plays into the wheelhouse of moneyed pros that can play fast and loose because they know they can get back into the tournament. The Friday action would see a total of 322 entries registered on Day One but, with “late registration” and re-entries allowed until late in the day on Saturday (Day Two of the tournament), the players who made it through the minefield on Friday still had no idea what they were playing for.

217 of the 322 entries from Friday came back on Saturday with past WPT champion Kevin Eyster sitting atop the standings with a monstrous 238,975 chip stack. He was way ahead of Allen Pock, Danny Hannawa, Jeff Madsen and Don Nguyen, but the field would continue to grow on Saturday with new contenders and re-entries itching to get in the game. Taking advantage of the re-entry were such players as Joseph Cheong, Andy Frankenberger (eliminated early on Day 2 by Eyster, fired a second bullet), Antonio Esfandiari and Jason Koon, while Faraz Jaka stepped up with a third entry during the first level of play (Cheong followed suit during the second level) as the late registration period crept closer.

It wasn’t until the end of the third level of the day that registration/re-entry for the tournament closed and, once the final numbers were tallied, the WPT Doyle Brunson looked like the mid-2000s era of events. In total, 449 entries were totaled amongst 309 players (216 only used one buy in while 93 players used anywhere from two to SEVEN entries) to build a prize pool of over $4.3 million. 45 players will earn a piece of that pie, with the eventual champion taking home a $1,161,135 payday.

Once the formalities of the actual purse were determined, the players went about actually eliminating opponents that finally wouldn’t come back. Todd Terry, Jeff Gross, Christina Lindley, Phil Hellmuth, Shawn Buchanan, David ‘Doc’ Sands, Matt Stout, Matt Giannetti and Phil Laak wouldn’t make it to the end of the evening, but Eyster seemed to be on fire for much of the day.

Although Eyster would be in command of the room for much of Day Two’s action, a late charge would eclipse him by the actual end of the night. Madsen, who started the day in fourth place, would eventually accrue enough chips to close the Day Two action as the chip leader:

1. Jeff Madsen, 399,400
2. Kevin Eyster, 397,200
3. Dan Martin, 314,000
4. Sorel Mizzi, 308,300
5. Barry Hutter, 280,700
6. Jean-Robert Bellande, 218,100
7. Jason Koon, 205,800
8. Robert Salaburu, 198,100
9. Curt Kohlberg, 194,500
10. Cliff Josephy, 183,700

As typical for a WPT event at the Bellagio, there are dangers lurking down the leaderboard in the form of top flight opposition. WPT announcer Mike Sexton and former WPT champions Mohsin Charania, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Shawn Cunix, Marvin Rettenmaier and John Hennigan are all above the average stack with 145 players remaining. Will Failla, Scotty Nguyen, Ravi Raghavan, Tony Dunst, Nick Schulman and Daniel Negreanu all have some work to do with their below average stacks.

Day Three will kick off at noon (Pacific Time) at the Bellagio and it is expected that another five levels will be put in the books. That may be enough time for the remaining players to work down to the money bubble but, if not, it sets up for an exciting start to Monday’s Day Four action.

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