Poker News

The first four flights of Day 1 of the 2011 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, along with all the associated pomp and circumstance, are in the books, so now it’s time to get down to business.  Many players just wanted to get past Day 1, but those that are left are focused on the long road to November.  On Monday, the 2,031 survivors from Days 1A and 1C came together in both the Amazon and Pavilion rooms of the Rio in Las Vegas to battle it out in the first of two Day 2 flights.

When play ended after five levels, Russian Aleksandr Mozhnyakov sat atop the remaining field of 819 with 478,600 chips.  Three other players finished with over 400,000 chips: Tuan Vo (434,500), Guillaume Darcourt (410,500), and Stephane Albertini (400,100).

Other notables remaining are Shaun Deeb (294,700), Sebastian Ruthenberg (289,400), Daniel Negreanu (114,100), actors Jason Alexander (167,000) and Brad Garrett (46,000), Annette Obrestad (90,500), Shannon Shorr (110,500), Lee Childs (110,300), Sorel Mizzi (108,400), Ted Forrest (112,600), and Adam Junglen (131,600).  Of course, this is just a sampling – there are many more “name” players still in the field.  Fred Berger, the chip leader going into Day 2A, is sitting in 103rd place with 205,400 chips, almost the same stack he had to start the day.

Four former Main Event champs – Dan Harrington, Jonathan Duhamel, Johnny Chan, and Scotty Nguyen – were eliminated, while two – Jamie Gold and Robert Varkonyi – are still alive.

The story of the day had to be – who else – Phil Hellmuth.  No, he’s not one of the chip leaders and even if he was, it is still a long way to go until the final table.  No, it’s not that.  The story is that he almost missed the action entirely today.  “The Poker Brat” had played on Saturday’s Day 1C and having survived, he was naturally scheduled to resume play on Monday, Day 2A.  Thing is, he got his days mixed up.  He only had 11,800 chips to start Monday’s play, so losing blinds and antes during his absence was very damaging to his stack.

Apparently, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow figured out what was going on and sent security up to Hellmuth’s hotel room to find the eleven-time gold bracelet winner.  Tweeted Hellmuth later that day, “Security broke into my room, I’m like, ‘What’s going on?!?’ SGuard says, ‘You’re playing in the World Series of Poker today.’

“I jump out of bed, dress, and run down to my car. Didn’t know you could drive 75 on side roads!! I Thought I played Day 2 Tuesday…

“Never crossed my mind that I played today!! Started $11,800: 1 hr 40 min late + had $6,975, OUCH!! Changed Sunday to Sat to do charity event.”

Despite not sitting down until his stack was almost to the felt, Hellmuth persevered, finishing with more than twice his Day 1 starting stack: 64,900.  One of the biggest hands came just before the end of the day when he called the 17,600 chip all-in of an opponent, dominating him with A-J versus K-J.  He is still in the bottom half of Day 2A finishers, but considered how Monday started, he has got to be happy with how things finished.

Day 2B will commence on Tuesday at noon Vegas time, as the 2,490 survivors from Days 1B and 1D combine to chase their poker dreams.

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