The final Day 2 of the 2018 World Series of Poker Championship Event wrapped up its action on Friday night. After all the chips were counted, Ignacio Sanchez – an amateur player who plays the “Main Event” every year as his only poker tournament – emerged with not only the Day 2B lead but the overall advantage with his 627,000 in chips. But lurking down the board is a player who hasn’t been at the WSOP for the past couple of years – the one, the only…Phil Ivey.

Event #65 – $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship – “The Main Event”

The largest ever Day 2 in the history of the WSOP – reflective of the massive 4571 players that came out on Day 1C – took to the felt on Friday morning. 3480 players were in their seats as the cards went into the air, with the players simply looking to survive another day of action and inch their way closer to the money. At the start of action, Samuel Touil was the man atop the standings with his 352,800 in chips, but all being chip leader on Day 2 gets you is a target on your back.

From the start of the day, the focus of many a railbird was on one of the two Phils in attendance on Day 2B. Phil Ivey started the day with a decent stack, but it blossomed as the day wore into the evening. The 2017 Poker Hall of Famer never seemed to make a mistake as he worked his way through the action, eventually bagging up a sizeable stack of 434,200 chips to take through to Saturday’s Day 3 action.

The trail for Phil Hellmuth was a bit more difficult. Sitting at the featured ESPN broadcast table for much of the evening action, Hellmuth’s chip stack fluctuated as the night wore on. He was never in danger of elimination, but slowly his stack began to inch upwards. Remarking to that he was “the calmest I’ve ever been for a Day 2,” the 1989 World Champion and 14-time WSOP bracelet winner was able to work through the pitfalls of Day 2B with a viable stack of 162,700 that will provide him some working capital for Saturday.

Touil, for his part, played some solid poker throughout the day. Instead of suffering from a case of “table captain,” Touil was able to increase his stack as the day played out. With his 405,500 in chips, Touil should be assured of at the minimum a cash in the 2018 WSOP Championship Event and perhaps a deep run.

The story of the day was Sanchez, however. He already had a sizeable stack before entering into a hand with former “November Niner” Cliff Josephy that would catapult him to the lead. On a 3x-K♣ 10♣ flop, Sanchez fired a continuation bet that was called by one opponent. Josephy made a move on the pot, three-betting the action to 22K, with Sanchez being the only one to come along. A turn 8♣ brought a check from Sanchez, at which point Josephy fired out another bet of 36K.

That seemed to wake up Sanchez. He responded with an all-in push that would actually put Josephy’s tournament at risk. As Josephy pondered his situation and the ESPN cameras hovered, Sanchez sat like a rock awaiting the decision. Eventually Josephy came to the decision to fold, which turned out to be the correct one as Sanchez advertised that he had the goods, A♣ 6♣, and rocketed into the lead.

1. Ignacio Sanchez, 627,200
2. Eric Sfez, 551,900
3. Matthew Klapstein, 531,700
4. Victor Choupeaux, 521,600
5. Collen Yamagishi, 504,300
6. Farhad Jamasi, 503,400
7. Randy Eklund, 492,000
8. Nils Tolpingrud, 475,400
9. Cory Albertson, 475,100
10. Louis Boutin, 434,600

According to unofficial WSOP statistics, Sanchez will also be the overall leader when the entirety of the 2018 WSOP Championship Event field comes together on Saturday.

1. Ignacio Sanchez, 627,200 (Day 2B)
2. Eric Sfez, 551,900 (Day 2B)
3. Shawn Daniels, 532,500 (Day 2A)
4. Matthew Klapstein, 531,700 (Day 2B)
5. Eric Liebeler, 531,000 (Day 2A)
6. Samuel Bernabeu, 524,000 (Day 2A)
7. Collen Yamagishi, 504,300 (Day 2B)
8. Farhad Jamasi, 503,400 (Day 2B)
9. Michael Dyer, 502,400 (Day 2A)
10. Casey McCarrel, 501,800

The 1655 players from Day 2B will join with the 1131 runners from Day 2A to make for the largest Day 3 in WSOP history. 2786 players will be seated in the Amazon Room for action on Saturday, with the hopes of getting down to the 1182 fortunate souls who will receive a line on their poker resume indicating they cashed in the 2018 WSOP Championship Event. The action begins at 11AM (Pacific Time) and will play out for another five, two-hour levels before wrapping up for the night.

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