The atmosphere for the second day of the PPT event was an atmosphere of calm, cool almost mechanical organization. The chaos of day one had given way to a controllable five-table poker tournament, and one camera crew, and two handheld cameras, instead of the two full crews, one steadicam, and three handheld cameras. There was plenty of space for everyone, and nerves were much less frayed than on day one.
Also unlike day one, cards were in the air fairly promptly, and everyone seemed ready for what was to come. What was to come in the first two hours was a furious series of bustouts. During the first two levels, we lost roughly a player every four hands or so. Most of the players eliminated were shorter stacks that had to make a move. In the first 90 minutes, the following players were eliminated.
38th Jesse Jones
37th Bob Feduniak
36th Tony Bloom
35th Michael Kinney
34th Billy Baxter
33rd Scott Fishman
32nd Allyn Jaffrey Shulman
31st Maureen Feduniak
30th Thor Hansen
29th Charlie Shoten
28th Greg Raymer
The last two names on this list are notable, because they both had stacks. In fact, Raymer came into the day second in chips, but didn't make it to the first break. Greg lost a huge pot to Jose Rosencranz when Raymer flopped a set of 10's to Jose's KK. Unfortunately for the current world champ, Jose hit running spades for a flush, and Raymer was running out the door.
At the first break, there were 27 players left. Eyewitness chip count put Asher Derei still in the chip lead with about 175k. Other players with big stacks included Jose Rosencrantz with 162k, and Toto Leonidas with about 158k.
Back from the break, it was time to bust more players. Here are some rapid fire bust out stories .
The first player out after the break was Peter Costa. Peter debated for a long time whether to call Chris Bigler's re-raise, which put him all in. Peter held QQ, but had a funny feeling. His funny feeling left him feeling not so funny, when he called with his ladies, and Bigler flipped over AA. No help on the board, and Peter Costa could go home, having finished 26th place.
The next key hand was something that you're going to need to get used to reading. Erick Lindgren had pocket Aces (monster hand # 1), and used those Aces to cripple Joe Awada, and double up, as Joe moved in with AQ, and got no help from the board.
Then Can Kim Hua found a hand he could re-raise Jose Rosencrantz with. That hand, naturally was 34 of diamonds, and Hua moved in with it. The bad news for Hua is that Jose had QQ, and a huge stack, all of which added up to an instant call for Jose. There was no help for Can Kim Hua on the board, and it turned out that Can couldn't. Can Kim Hua finished 26th place.
Joe Awada got run over by a truck....twice. Again, the truck's name was Erick Lindgren. This time, Awada was back with AQ, and moved his chips in. Lindgren only had KK (monster hand # 2) this time, and there was no Ace to come for Joe. Joe got up to head for the door, finishing 25th place.
Sometimes in poker when the cards are falling your way, they are falling your way. On this day for Chris Bigler, the cards were definitely falling his way. So, it was no surprise when Bigler called Noli Francisco's all in from the big blind, and flipped over K8. Noli was pretty short, but it was not an automatic call. Turned out Noli was making a move with 79. But it mattered not; as the first four cards off were K8K8. Noli was out of his seat before the turn hit the felt, and strolled out the door in 24th place.
Our first elimination at the TV table occurred when Andy Bloch made a move with A3 into a board that had a three. Unfortunately, there was also a Q on board, and Dave Colclough had AQ. Dave called after a long think, and there was no miracle for Bloch as he left the bright lights of the TV table for the exit, finishing in 23rd place.
The last woman left in the field was the next to go. Mimi Tran pushed her pocket 6's a bit, but to her dismay, Chris Bigler had a pair of Queens. Bigler's ladies held up, and one lady stood up, as Mimi headed to the exit interview after finishing 22nd.
Just after the last woman to be eliminated left, we had our first double elimination of the day, and it was a doozy. David Mosikian opened from early position with a raise, and the communications and media director for the Commerce Casino got the respect you would think a media director would get at a table full of pro players he got four callers. The flop seemed innocent enough, as it came Q 7 8. David moved in for his last 12,000 chips. Dan Alspach came over the top of David, and moved in for 31,000, and you would have thought we were going to see two sets of cards flipped up but no. Erick Lindgren also moved in from the button for about 60,000. This forced the other two callers to fold, and we had two players all in. Of course, Mosikian turned over AA. Alspach turned over QK for top pair .and Erick Lindgren turned over a set of 7s. No help for either of the all in players, and Erick Lindgren was over 100,000 chips, and both Alspach and Mosikian were out on their respective wallets 21st, and 20th place respectively.
The next elimination occurred in a three-way pot also. Robert Williamson had been crippled for about an hour since moving in with a draw, missing, and handing 90% of his chips to Toto Leonidas. This time Williamson moved in out of desperation with 910. Freddy Deeb also moved in with A10. Bad Luck for Freddy though, as the last player to act, Asher Derei woke up with AQ, and decided to call. So, 9 10 vs. A 10, and AQ is dead right? Wrong, as Williamson flops the nut straight, and triples up. Asher wins the side pot, and Freddy Deeb wins a trip to his house as he is eliminated in 19th place.
The players were then combined to two tables, and as fast as you can say 'PPT', we lost three. Robert Williamson lost a coin flip to Dave Colclough bang. Jim McManus' KQ ran head into Colclough's KK bang. Lastly, Daniel Negraneau (you remember him) had pocket 9's, and they held up against Mark Gregorich's QJ, sending Mark back to his duties on the other side of the camera as a host on Fox Sports bang.
Now we are down to 15 players, and you got a sense in the room that the players could smell the cash, and the final table. Only the top six get paid on the PPT, and to some of these guys, the exposure, and of course the cash was a really big deal. The play tightened up a bit, and it was a while before we lost another player.
But lose another we did, as Vince Burgio made a move with QJ of hearts, and ran into stop me if you have heard this before Erick Lindgren's pocket Aces (monster #3). Erick's AA held up, and Vince was left to wonder what could have been.
Oh, did I neglect to mention that after playing on a stack yesterday that was never more than six inches high, that Daniel Negraneau had become the chip leader. Quietly, efficiently, Daniel did his thing, and suddenly had more chips than anyone else. That stack only increased as he called Jim Meehan's all in of almost 100k (about ½ Daniel's stack) with top pair, third kicker. The kicker was good enough, and Jim was free to go back to Minneapolis. Minneapolis Jim finished 14th place.
Jose Rosencrantz was the next to go when his AQ ran into say it with me Erick Lindgren's KK (monster # 4). The most amazing thing about Erick getting these big hands is they all held up, and most of the time for huge pots. Jose Rosencranz and his buddy who watched him for most of the day, Humberto Brenes headed for the exit, just another victim of Erick's big day. Jose Rosencrantz 13th place.
Back to that Negraneau guy He thought for a moment, and decided one of the only things he hasn't accomplished today was eliminating two players at once. So, goodbye John Esposito, and Tom McEvoy, you are the latest passengers on Mr. Dan's wild ride. Daniel was in pretty bad shape with QJ against the A7 of Esposito, and the KJ of hearts of McEvoy. But the cards realized this was Daniel, and they obeyed. A board of Q J 5 10 10 sent Espo home 12th, and McEvoy home 11th. At this point, Daniel was approaching 500,000 chips.
Wait, Daniel and Lindgren are good buddies, right? And Lindgren has had big pairs all day right? Daniel must have been a bit jealous, and decided to get one of those big pairs himself. Daniel's AA found a willing victim in Toto Leonidas, whose AJ was just no match. Toto Leonidas finished 10th, and let everyone play at the TV table.
At this point, they consolidated to one table, and the chip counts looked like this.
David Krell 188,000
Dennis Waterman 169,000
Chris Bigler 145,000
Steve Brecher 133,000
Asher Derei 133,000
John Juanda 68,000
Dave Colclough 60,000
Three more had to go tonight though and play marched on. The first player out from here was Steve Brecher, who went for it with QJ, and ran into Bigler's AK. No help for either player until the river, when a K sent Steve Brecher home. Steve Brecher 9th place.
John Juanda, who played fabulously for two days, didn't have a lot of luck down the stretch, and had to put his money in with KQ. Lindgren called, but this time only with AJ, instead of his usual AA or KK. AJ was good enough though, as an Ace fell on the flop, and Juanda's heart sank. John Juanda 8th place.
You absolutely have to feel for Dave Colclough. He flew over from England, played his heart out for two days, finished 7th out of a field of 180 players, and got .nothing. Dave had no choice but to throw his remaining chips in with 66, and get called by Bigler's 88. No magic 6 for El Blondie, and he was out on the bubble.
Big smiles, and handshakes all around followed Colclough's departure. All six remaining players knew they would make money, get a lot of TV time, and get to play for $250,000 in only two weeks. That's right, the final table of this event is February 25th. I will have gone to France to play on the European Poker Tour, and back by then (more on that later). For now, the six remaining players, and their chip counts are below. Check back for the final report in only 16 days.
Daniel N 610,000 chips
Erick Lindgren 454,000
Chris Bigler 296,000
Allen Krell 189,000
Dennis Waterman 185,000
Asher Derei 133,000