As expected, Event #26, $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. drew a small but high-profile lineup. 192 players entered, creating a prize pool approaching a million dollars and a first prize of $275,683, plus the winner's WSOP bracelet.
Loaded tables were everywhere. Cyndy Violette, Marco Traniello and Ted Lawson held court at one, while Jeffrey Lisandro, Nick Schulman, Michael Mizrachi and Isabelle Mercier were at another. A third held Mel Judah, James Van Alstyne and Greg Raymer, while others boasted similar matchups.
Light-hearted play marked the low, early levels. Layne Flack, after serving as the voice of reason on a hand, responded to a comment that he should have been a floor person with a disparaging, "Floorman? That **** is easy." (Flack was a former cardroom dealer before turning pro.) Annie Duke offered this when play switched to a Razz segment: "The only people who play Razz are deceased."
Only 20 players were eliminated in the first eight hours of play, though that included notables Todd Brunson, Max Pescatori, Jennifer Harman, Chau Giang and Blair Rodman. The slow knockout pace continued throughout the day, with 115 players remaining when action halted at the 2am curfew. Sam Grizzle made a late push to open a lead over the pack, with the overnight Top Ten as follows:
Sam Grizzle - 52,500
Jim Bechtel 37,000
Toto Leonidas 35,800
Chris Reslock 34,000
Jack Ward 33,300
Jack Zwerner 32,100
Benjamin Lin 30,800
Daniel Alaei 29,400
Chris Bell 29,200
Stephen Landrum 29,200
Other players high on the board entering Day Two include Marc Karam, Gavin Smith, Erick Lindgren, Gavin Griffin, Mark Goodwin, Erik Seidel, Cyndy Violette, Phil Ivey and John Juanda. Join PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #26, $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. beginning on Saturday at 2pm.