The second day of a major multi-day tournament is one of the toughest for any player, especially at the WPT Championship with almost $4 million first place prize on the line. With the final table still four days away and the money bubble nowhere in sight, the main goal for every participant at the Bellagio was to survive five more levels and advance to Day 3 by playing flawless poker and avoiding any cooler hands.
479 players began Day 2 as the first two flights of players consolidated and occupied both the Fontana Room and the poker room. By the end of the evening, less than half the field remained. Some of the biggest names in poker were casualties while lesser known pros and amateurs were looking to grab a bit of the spotlight as some of their stacks reach epic proportions. When Day 2 ended, former WPT champion Roland De Wolfe emerged as the chipleader as he leapfrogged Phil Hellmuth late in the day.
The action started out fast and did not let up for the first two levels as several top pros were eliminated. Robert Williamson was the first to go followed by defending champion Joe Bartoldi. Early exits included Mike Matusow, Josh Arieh, Thor Hansen, Joe Beevers, Barry Greenstein, Maureen Feduniak, Ted Lawson, David Williams, Daniel Negreanu, Marcel Luske, Gavin Smith, Mimi Tran, Victor Ramdin, John D'Agostino, Harry Demetriou, Todd Brunson, Dan Heimiller, and JJ Liu.
Other pros who failed to advance to Day 3 included Joe Hachem. Johnny Lodden, Vanessa Rousso, J.C. Alvarado, Huckleberry Seed, Scotty Nguyen, Jim Worth, Alan "BoDogAri" Engel, Jeff Shulman, Johnny Chan, Kathy Liebert, Erick Lindgren, Bruno Fitoussi, Dan Alspach, Allen Cunningham, John Phan, Doyle Brunson, Dewey Tomko, Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, Young Pham, Gus Hansen, Haralabos Voulgaris, Mike Gracz, Bill Chen, David Plastik, Padraig Parkinson, Juha Helppi, Mark Newhouse, Stuart Patterson, David Sklansky, Jason Lester, Chau Giang, and Mark Seif.
Paul Wasicka's stack grew after he busted Mohamad Kowssarie when Kowssarie overplayed his A-J. Wasicka happened to flop two pair with 6-2 on a board of J-6-2. At one point he took over the chiplead with 250K.
"I really liked my table and had been playing very, very loose," Wasicka mentioned.
Sammy Farha held the chiplead for a short period of time after he flopped two pair with J-7 against two other players who paid him off.
Patrik Antonius got off to a nice start when he came from behind to crack Kings with Big Slick. At one point Antonius was moved to the toughest table in the room, which included Martin de Knijff, Bill Gazes, Amnon Filippi, Tex Barch, Miami John Cernuto, Dewey Tomko, and Mark Gregorich.
"The first couple of hours everyone played tight, then it loosened up," explained Antonius. "I'm trying to pick my spots and make smart decisions."
Antonius would advance to Day 3 as one of the chipleaders.
Anna "The Poker Fairy" Wroblewski had a magical Day 1a and began Day 2 as the overall chipleader with 211,325. She got off to a hot start and kept adding chips all day long. She flopped a set with 8-8 and cracked pocket Aces as she past the 200K mark. She raced past the 300K mark and got as high as 460K before she slipped a little. She ended the day under 400K but is still at the front of the pack.
"I'm still decent in chips," she said. "I had a tougher table. I was trying too hard. I'm happy to play with the big names. It's the people I watch on TV."
Phil Hellmuth shrugged off a mediocre first day and went to work on Day 2. He was relatively quiet compared to Day 1 and focused on building up his stack. He caught some cards including flopping a set of Queens against David Rheem.
"I didn't run that well on Day 1 and lost a lot of pots," mentioned Hellmuth. "Today was a smooth day and I never won any big pots. Today was about protecting chips. I was playing small pot poker. That's Phil Hellmuth poker."
Roland de Wolfe attained the majority of his chips in the biggest pot of the tournament against JC Alvarado. With De Wolfe moved all in on a flop of and was called by Alvarado who held bottom pair and a baby flush draw with . De Wolfe's hand held up as he stacked up Alvarado's chips. That pot pushed him past the 500K milestone. He ended Day 2 as the chipleader.
De Wolfe would hold a small lead over Phil Hellmuth as Anna Wroblewski could not hold the lead. She still has plenty of chips as the players approached the mid-way point of the WPT Championships.
Can Anna Wroblewski keep up her remarkable run? Or will Phil Hellmuth implode and donk off his chips? Tune in to Poker News to find out by following along with our live updates. Don't forget to check out our extensive photo gallery, Feature Hands section, and amazing videos and interviews.