Thursday, July 09, 2009

WSOP Main Event Thoughts Through Day 2

Try as I might, I have just not been able to keep up with what's been going on at the WSOP Main Event as much as I would like, what with work, family and all that I have to do this week after 10 days away from my life. Now, with all of Day Two officially over with after Wednesday's Day 2B action, and with a rare day off on Thursday for the Main Event, I thought I would take the time and use this space just to gather the information I personally am interested in as far as who is left and who is gone from the Main Event heading into the weekend. This is not meant to be anything new, but rather just an amalgamation of information culled from other sites covering the Main Event into one place, with a particular focus on the players I personally am interested in.

OK, so first things first. How many total runners ponied up the 10k for this year's Main Event? 6494. Per Pauly this makes the prize pool a cool $61 million, to be paid out to the final 648 finishers. This will easily be enough to ensure more than a million bucks goes to each member of the November 9, the ME final table which will be suspended until November as it was last year. The 9th place finisher should nab over one and a quarter mill for his efforts, and the eventual winner will take home over $8.5 million. As of the end of all the Day 2 action, according to, there remain 1724 players in the running for that grand prize. By my count, we have four or five of last year's November Nine still left in the field. This includes the 2008 WSOP Main Event champion Peter Eastgate, as well as eight other former WSOP Main Event winners each still on the prowl for their second ME bracelet.

Now, who's out already that I care about? Lots of players:

Jerry Yang. Former ME winner, busting early without making much noise at all for the second straight year, this time out about nine hours into Day 1A. There's just a sense of fairness, of rightness, seeing the guys who donkeypunched their way to millions bust out early this time around.

Allen Cunningham. One of my favorite players and a guy who played a lot in the underground cardrooms of New York City back in the day, AC was eliminated in the final round on Day 1A. No 6th WSOP bracelet for Cunningham in 2009, who remains 7th on the all-time WSOP earnings list.

Andy Bloch. You just never like to see a fellow lawyer go busto, especially a cowboy hat-wearing all-around nice guy like Andy with a lot of poker skill to go along with his J.D. degree and Harvard Law diploma. Andy busted late on Day 1A.

Chris Moneymaker. Here is another former Main Event champion, out in under four hours on Day 1B. Not sure what to say about this guy, but maybe he shoulda just quit while he was ahead and made the 2003 WSOP his first and last live poker tournament.

Doyle Brunson. Doyle busted about 7 1/2 hours in to Day 1B. This caps off an extremely frustrating WSOP for Doyle, who I read somewhere grew so fed up with the increasing donkament aspect of the tournaments that he ended up playing fewer WSOP events than any recent year in 2009. It's always a sad day in my book when the Godfather of Holdem goes busto from the Main Event. With son Todd also eliminated late on day 2A, daughter Pam becomes the only member of the Brunson family still alive in the Main Event through Day 2.

Jamie Gold. The former Main Event winner and nationally-acclaimed douchebag made it about seven hours in this year's Main Event Day 1B, continuing his streak of poker futility that began, well, within seconds of him lucksacking his way to the largest winning purse in poker history a few years ago.

Daniel Negreanu. Out early on Day 1C. Talk about a guy who has cooled from his pace a couple of years ago. There was a time when I met have said Danny Boy was one of my favorite poker pros. Now I barely ever even think of him anymore. What have you done for me lately, Daniel?

Shawn Sheikhan. God, remember when people actually cared about this guy's poker play for about 5 minutes? Out late on Day 1D.

David Williams. Ditto the above comment. What ever happened to this guy, huh? Eat one too many feet maybe? Or perhaps the rest of the field finally caught on to his aggro small-ball ways. Also out late on day 1D.

Phil Laak and girlfriend Jennifer Tilly. Both out very early on Day 2A. Oh well. I guess we won't get to see the Unabomber rolling around on the ground with his hoodie pulled tight to hide his entire face other than maybe the tip of his nose. And with Tilly gone I guess so are the hopes of another famous soul read like when she was so sure Patrik Antonius had pocket Kings in that one hand of High Stakes Poker:

That look on Ivey's face between 2:06 and 2:13 is pure classic.

Gus Hansen. Always a bummer when ole' Gus goes busto. Perhaps the best tournament poker player to never have won a WSOP bracelet (present company excluded, of course), and again this won't be the year after Gus's early Day 2A elimination.

Johnny Chan. Too bad, but the 10-time bracelet winner seems nearly irrelevant in today's mega poker world. Also out early on Day 2A.

Barry Greenstein. I didn't like his book, but he's a heck of a poker player and still the loser of the biggest suckout I've ever seen on High Stakes Poker, at the hands of a two-outer by Sammy Farha for about 400 Large of real cash:

High Stakes Poker Farha KK VS Greenstein AA - The most amazing bloopers are here

Ugh, I have to run to the bathroom every time I watch that garbage. In any event, Greenstein's early Day 2A elimination is probably nowhere near as bad as that hand was.

LJ. This one was a real bummer. Apparently LJ pushed real hard with pocket 8s on an all-undercard board early on Day 2A, and got called all the way through the river by pocket Tens. Some of those details might be off, but I've been there and I have probably lost more tournaments with an overpair to a higher overpair in my day than any other way other than suckouts. One of the significant adjustments I have made to my no-limit game over the past couple of years is to either find out if my mid-overpair is ahead early, or lay it down to sufficient pressure if the action all through the hand indicates a good possibility of a higher pocket pair out there. Anyways, that sucks, I really thought LJ had a good shot this year.

Tony G. No Russian loudmouth asshole to rival Hellmuth in the douchebag department. Out about four hours in to Day 2A.

Michael Craig. No Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide author to kick around anymore. Out around 5 hours in to Day 2A.

Mike Matusow. Sucks, but The Mouth is out about eight hours in to Day 2A. No drug-dealin', drug-usin', crybabyin' loud mouth druggie to follow during another Main Event deep run.

Anguila. This is a poker blogger, a professional player from Spain, with a good blog but who apparently lost late on Day 2A with AK in his third consecutive Main Event, according to Pauly. Another blogger bites the dust.

Erick Lindgren. Always one of my favorite players. From reading his book and listening to him in videos, he seems to approach the game the most like myself out of all the pros out there. Erick is out within the first hour of play on Day 2B.

Erich Froelich. Also out late in the first round of Day 2B. Good. This is the guy who 2-outerdonked me out of the big 1k FTOPS event a couple of years back. I don't care how many bracelets he won in 2006. "E-Fro" is finished as a poker player.

Howard Lederer. Busted around midway through Day 2B,I have no idea how. Both Howard and his sister Annie Duke are early casualties in the Main Event this year.

David Sklansky. Out midway through Day 2B. I played with DS for about five hours at my table during the 2007 WSOP, and he played just about the most boring, by-the-book five hours of poker I've ever seen. Including of course the super-young Asian girl railbirding him from behind his left shoulder. Well, add this to the list of another year where Sklansky fails to do anything significant in the world of tournament poker.

TJ Cloutier. Amazingly, TJ was among the biggest names who were shut out of the Main Event this year thanks to Harrah's brilliant planning (yet again) and consequent inability to make room for everyone for the first time in WSOP ME history on Day 1D. Not having TJ in the field is pretty ghey if you ask me, given all of his WSOP cashes over the years.

Shannon Elizabeth. I didn't see where or how, but apparently the American Pie star and hot WSOP fixture these days was eliminated somewhere during the first two days of play. Anyone who's been around the WSOP over the past few years has to have seen Elizabeth around, as over the past year or so she's even managed to get her name on the screens as an early chip leader from time to time. But everyone's favorite Rio eye candy is busto. I wonder who the hottest chick left in the Main Event is?

OK, now on to some happier news: who's still alive that I care about, heading into Day 3 on Friday?

First off, the overall chip leader heading into Day 3 is? Amir Lehavot with 610,500 in chips. The rest of the top 10 are no-names from my perspective, with #10 coming in with 370k in chips. And what about after the top 10?

Phil Ivey 325k. This is a huge story in the making, and if he can survive another day or two of eliminations, the press is really going to start going nuts on one of the most reserved, introverted players out there, at least as far as the persona that comes across on the tv.

JC Tran 254k. JC will always hold a special place in my heart because (1) he is an awesome nlh player, and (2) he's the guy whose table I got moved to on the bubble of my WSOP cash in 2007. I've never seen anyone abuse, maul and bully his opponents with a massive stack like JC did that day. Maybe he gets another chance to bully with a big stack in this year's Main Event?

Josh Arieh 225k. Everyone's favorite super dickhead from ESPN's coverage a few years ago has been hanging around near the top of the pack for much of the way through the Main Event so far.

Paul Wasicka 210k. Winner of the National Heads-up Championship as well as a ME final tablist two years ago, Wasicka is in good position with nearly twice the average chip stack.

David Benyamine 199k. Who doesn't love a French guy who donks it up at high stakes on full tilt while banging one of the hottest chicks in poker? Me. I can't stand Benyamine, but he knows the game and is well above average heading in to Day 3.

Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo 190k. And everyone's favorite multi-accounting online cheater is once again blazing in yet another big poker tournament. Does anyone hate how good this guy obviously is more than I do?

Lou Diamond Phillips 190k. That's right, this is not a typo. The 47-year-old star of Stand and Deliver is in the top 50 in chips heading into Day 3.

Dennis Phillips 190k. Perhaps the most recognizable and likeable member of last year's November Nine, DP is still alive and doing well with 190k in chips after two full days of play.

Dan Harrington 183k. Anyone who claims not to want to see Harrington make another run to his fourth WSOP Main Event final table is lying. Harrington is everyone's favorite cutiepie old guy at the tournament, and more than a few players know to be scared whenever one of the tightest players around voluntarily puts money into the pot.

Jeff Lisandro 180k. Lisandro has had perhaps the best WSOP of anyone so far in 2009, and here he sits well above average heading into Day 3 of the Main Event. He will definitely be a player to watch over this coming weekend.

Antonio Esfandiari 164k. The Magician is also alive and kicking after two days and nine two-hour blind rounds of play. Average is 113k, so Esfandiari has some room to work his magic early on Day 3.

Jean-Robert Bellande 160k. One of the biggest dickheads from the Main Event a couple of years back, the calmer, quiter JRB sits in good shape after more than 20 hours of poker so far in the 2009 WSOp Main Event.

Dutch Boyd 140k. Keeping with the theme here, surely Boyd is another of the big asscocks of the poker world who are clustered around the 150k plateau. Here's hoping that someone jacks him of all his cash while he is playing on Friday.

Phil Hellmuth 135k. Doubtless the biggest douchebag in all of poker, the only question is not if but when does the ranting start? This clown dressed up like Julius Caesar for his annual three-hours-late grand entrance on Day 1C this year. Let's hope he ends up just like JC did two thousand years ago. You can be sure the ESPN cameras will be all up in Hellmuth's UB-clad mug from now until the moment he blows up like a volcano is eliminated.

Joe Hachem 130k. The 2005 Main Event winner is slightly above average heading into the Day 3 action. Maybe he can suckout-eliminate someone early like he did to me in my first WSOP tournament back in 2006.

Cliff "JohnnyBax" Joesphy 107k. Sitting right around average is one of the big online pros still alive in the field. JohnnyBax has probably eliminated everyone I know at least once from a tournament on full tilt or pokerstars, and he will look to do more damage when the action resumes on Friday at the Rio.

Peter Eastgate 98k. Last year's Main Event winner came in to Day 2B as a short stack, and got even shorter in the earlygoing. PokerNews is reporting, however, that Eastgate rallied from down to around 8k in chips near the end of the day to wind up with 98k and an near-average chip stack (average is 113k per Anybody who flops like he did at the final table last November has got to be considered armed and dangerous while still alive in this tournament.

There are lots of other well-known pros sitting well below average at this point (Jennifer Harman, Devilfish, John Juanda, Miami John Cernuto, Humberto Brenes to name a few), but no need to do more than mention them at this point. If these guys can double up once or twice, then it may make sense to pay some more attention. I understand that 7-time WSOP bracelet winner and fellow New Yorker Erik Seidel is also still alive, although I am having trouble locating a chip count for him which makes me think he could be busto and just not reported correctly to this point. Same deal for Greg Raymer, who I saw in a PokerNews interview was around 100k about halfway through Day 2B, but can't find anything final on him since then. Of course, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander is also still alive and kicking, the first time he has survived until Day Three in the Main Event after his Day Two elimination back in 2007, but unfortunately I don't have a chip count for George Kostanza either.

Lastly, does anyone have any information on the only other two members of our blogging crew that were left playing heading into the Day 2B action? This would be lucko and sprstoner. I know both of their names but cannot locate chip count information on either one on any of the major sites. Any info would be appreciated, in the comments.

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Blogger Astin said...

Lucko's out, and Stoner is still alive I think. Lost track after I turned off the computer last night.

2:42 AM  
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5:59 PM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

You know... I thought I was following the WSOP Main Event, and I couldn't have given you half of the descriptions you just made of all those players.

Makes me wonder what goes on when you actually ARE paying attention! JEEESH!

Pedro anyone? I'll be posting my thoughts on that over the weekend assuming he is signed by 4pm this afternoon. Which seems to be whats going to happen :)

8:52 PM  
Blogger Rock said...

You are so wrong about Tony G. He is Australian. ;-)

8:56 PM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

Ummm... Danny Boy had the most cashes at the 2009 WSOP and had 2 final tables (one runner-up).

I think that qualifies for success.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wow Drizz, I had no idea.

Far be it from me to unfairly slam one of Pokerstars' main sponsors on his WSOP performance. I stand corrected.

10:47 PM  
Blogger KajaPoker said...

Barry also lost a $1M pot to Dwan in Season 5 after winning about 500K from him first:

I love ya Hoy, but sometimes you crack me up: "Erick Lindgren... he seems to approach the game the most like myself..."

6:12 AM  

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