One Drop High Rollers Ends Day Two On Controversial Note

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The second day of the largest buy in event at the 2013 World Series of Poker ended on a controversial note early this morning as the players, looking to reach the money in the tournament, were instead denied that opportunity and will come back on Friday with 26 men remaining.

108 players returned on Thursday with Brandon Steven leading a stellar field with his 1.398 million chips but, with a ten level grind set for the day, it was too soon for anyone to start thinking about the WSOP bracelet and the $4.83 million payday at the end of tomorrow’s action. Tobias Reinkemeier, Dan Shak, Jason Mo and Chris Lee rounded out the top five as the tournament kicked off Day Two on time.

2012 “Big One For One Drop” champion Antonio Esfandiari got off to a good start, knocking off Jim McCrink to push his stack to the million mark. As he was doing this, Steve O’Dwyer, Cole South, Kevin Stammen, Anton Morgenstern and Alex Venovski headed to the rail as well. Steven gave up some chips in doubling up Matt Marafioti but, even with the loss, still sat over the million chip mark at that time.

As the day wore on, the list of players walking out of the Rio resembled a “Who’s Who” of the poker world. Eugene Katchalov, Owais Ahmed, Dan Kelly, Reinkemeier, Jason Somerville, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst, Kyle Julius and Daniel Negreanu would all be victims of the carnage as the tenth level started. That’s when the tournament took a dip into the controversial waters.

Once the tenth level was completed, there were still 26 men on the tables. Voicing their opinion, the players wanted to play one more level to get down to pop the money bubble (24 players will earn the minimum $173,723 for their participation in the tournament). Per the WSOP “ten level rule,” which dictates that a tournament’s day of play will end with the completion of ten levels of action, the players were told that this was not a possibility. A call from the tournament staff to Jack Effel, the Vice President of the WSOP, upheld that decision, but the turmoil was far from over.

As the players were bagging their chips, they were informed that, by WSOP guidelines, the remaining 26 players would be redrawn for action this afternoon (to start a day of play, tables are always redrawn at the WSOP). This further piqued the ire of those players remaining, who contended that there would already be a redraw once the money bubble was popped and three eight handed tables remained; as such, the start-of-day redraw wasn’t necessary. Once again, the WSOP officials held firm and a completely new table draw will be taken to start action on Friday.

After all the contentious arguments were quelled, Sweden’s Martin Jacobson was on the top of the table to end Day Two play with his 3.225 million in chips. That is a tenuous position, however, as Connor Drinan is only 5000 chips behind him in the second place slot. They are two fo the four players over the three million chip mark and there are other contenders who have their targets firmly set on them and the High Rollers crown.

1. Martin Jacobson, 3.255 million
2. Connor Drinan, 3.25 million
3. Brandon Steven, 3.14 million
4. Matt Glantz, 3.005 million
5. Antonio Esfandiari, 2.97 million
6. Martin Finger, 2.91 million
7. Bill Perkins, 2.75 million
8. Chris Klodnicki, 2.57 million
9. Olivier Busquet, 2.275 million
10. Nick Schulman, 1.94 million

There are some players who lurk down the leaderboard that, while they might have some work to do, might put their names in the mix when the High Roller championship is determined tonight. Phil Laak (1.76 million), Andrew Lichtenberger (1.575 million) and 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Steve Gross (1.27 million) have the best shot at improving their positions, while Shak (1.02 million), Jeremy Ausmus (995,000) and Mike Sexton (740,000) are sitting on the bottom of the totem pole and will have to find some magic to get back in the tournament.

It should be an exciting day of play in the High Roller on Friday, with the first order of business determining who takes home some money. From there, it is on to determining a champion which, with the total chips that are in play, could lead to a conclusion very late on Friday night…or a suspension of the action if the “ten level rule” is enacted once again!

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