The first of two-Day Twos set flight on Saturday after what was a tremendously tumultuous Friday of action at the 2019 World Series of Poker Championship Event. Unlike the turmoil of Day 1C, Day 2AB (the combination of Days 1A and 1B) went through five levels of action with…GASP!…only POKER being played! By the end of the night’s action, a quintet of players was all north of 700K in chips as history was made.
Second Largest Main Event in History
Even though late registration was going on, the numbers for the start of Day 2AB had already shattered expectations. With 8125 players on the tournament board, the 2019 WSOP Championship Event was the second largest “Main Event” in the 50-year history of the tournament. The only one that bested it? The massive 2006 WSOP Championship Event, which drew in 8773 players on its way to crowning Jamie Gold as the champion.
But the field isn’t completely set even now. With Day 2C ready to go on Sunday, the late registration period is still in effect. That late registration – the first time it has been allowed in WSOP Main Event history – will go on to the end of the second level of play on Sunday, or approximately 4PM. 100 players took advantage of late registration on Saturday to run the official number of players up to 8225 and, if there’s a rush on Sunday, it isn’t inconceivable that the 2006 record might be within reach.
Because of the deep stacks (starting stack of 60K) and the lengthy levels (two hours), it isn’t such a bad idea to skip the early minefield and get into the game later. With this said, it could be insane to come into a tournament where you only have 60K in chips and you enter a table filled with players holding more. It is expected that former World Champion Phil Hellmuth and the inaugural winner of the “Big One for One Drop,” Antonio Esfandiari, will be jumping into the action on Sunday and putting the “start late” theory to the test.
Five Players Over 700K, Former Champ Lurking
As former World Champion Qui Nguyen (more on him in a bit) noted in his “shuffle up and deal” call at the start of Day 2AB, it is still too early to get excited about who is in the lead. But there are five men who have separated themselves away from the 1100 players that remain from the Day 2AB action, holding 700,000 or more in chips.
1. Timothy Su, 791,000
2. Tony Blanchandin, 744,500
3. Anton Morgenstern, 735,000
4. Florian Duta, 731,500
5. Galen Hall, 705,900
Nguyen is also in the mix, harkening back to the 2016 WSOP Championship Event that he won. Starting the day with a decent stack of roughly 180K in chips, Nguyen was able to move steadily up the leaderboard throughout the day. When it came time on Saturday night to bag the chips, Nguyen was sitting on a solid 602,400 in chips, good for the top 25 from the Day 2AB field.
Nguyen will be joined on the upper reaches of the leaderboard by players such as WSOP bracelet winner Anthony Spinella (643,700), Day 1B chip leader Adam Owen (511,800), Ali Eslami (506,900), Andre Akkari (467,400), four time WSOP bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro (466,400), overall Day One chip leader Bryan Campanello (460,400) and former “November Niner” (remember that?) Gordon Vayo (451,800). Those that won’t be around for the action on Monday include former World Champions Ryan Riess and Chris Ferguson, Daniel Negreanu, Stephen Chidwick and Justin Bonomo.
Once the late registration period ends during Sunday’s Day 2C action (the remaining players from Day 1C), we will get our first look at what the 2019 WSOP Championship Event field will be. The five levels of play on Sunday will be the last time that the 2019 field will be separated; on Monday, Day 3 will draw everyone that has survived together for the first time. At that point, we can start getting serious about looking to the leaderboard in the 2019 WSOP Championship Event.