The Amazon Room at the Rio was packed with poker players eager to get action going on Saturday, so packed that table space was an issue early in the day. The crush of players delayed the start of Day 2 of the first event of this year's World Series of Poker, the $5000 Mixed Game Event, from its start time of 2pm until just after 4:30.
The 97 players remaining in the event found other ways to stay occupied. Humberto Brenes was able to entertain the masses gathered for the second day of the World Series and some players also watched the start of Event #3, the first of what should be massive fields for the $1500 No Limit events. Action would eventually start for the Mixed Game event and, even then, Cyndy Violette was a late arrival.
With 45 players earning the first cashes of the World Series, action was intense but moved quite quickly. Professional players Liz Lieu, Vanessa Rousso and Perry Friedman were early eliminations and other pros were able to increase their stacks tremendously. Day One chip leader Greg 'FBT' Mueller started slowly, but by the midway point in Day Two was able to become the first player to crack the 300K mark in chips and maintain his lead for much of the day. The story wasn't as good for last year's longest surviving female player in the Championship Event, Sabyl Cohen, who started the day in third place and, after taking a bad beat when Lonnie Heimowitz' A-Q outflopped her A-K, was eliminated about three hours into Saturday's play.
The first cash awards for this year's World Series started to be handed out about five hours into Saturday's action. The late-arriving Cyndy Violette was the first to pick up her award of $11,658 with her 45th place finish, and joining her on the rail as we moved into the evening were other professionals such as Todd Brunson (38th, $11,658), Johnny Chan (31st, $13,778), David Grey (27th, $15,898) and Tony Ma (24th, $15,898). But the true story of the second day was the dominating play put on by Mueller.
When play came down to the final two tables, however, Mueller ran into his first huge decision of the mixed game event. Playing no-limit, 'FBT' faced an all-in from Kenny Tran. After taking several moments to deliberate, Greg chose to lay his hand down and keep his 586K intact. When Fred Berger was able to eliminate Steve Buchanan in eleventh (with Buchanan earning $22,257 for his efforts) during the limit section of play, ten men approached the final table to determine the final nine who would play later on Sunday for the first bracelet of the 2007 World Series.
With a shot at the televised final table on the line, the pace of play slowed dramatically. Kenny Tran even laid down pocket queens when faced with his tournament existence at the hands of Fred Berger, who had put him all-in with pocket aces. It only delayed the end for Tran; during the next limit segment of the Mixed Game event, Tran was the final-table bubble boy as Steve Paul-Ambrose eliminated him in tenth place, worth $22,257.
The final table is set for the first official bracelet event of the 2007 World Series of Poker. One of the following nine men will walk away with the bracelet, the title of Mixed Game World Champion and a significant raise to their bankroll with the $536,287 first place prize:
Seat 1 - John Younger — 94,000
Seat 2 - Jon Turner — 88,000
Seat 3 - Fred Berger — 942,000
Seat 4 - Roger McDow — 320,000
Seat 5 - Greg 'FBT' Mueller — 683,000
Seat 6 - Kirk Morrison — 512,000
Seat 7 - Steve Billirakis — 562,000
Seat 8 - Steve Paul-Ambrose — 771,000
Seat 9 - Tony George — 546,000
Play is set to start at 3pm on Sunday and PokerNews will provide live coverage. Be sure to check out the action through the 'Live Reporting' section of the site and, sometime Sunday night, we will crown the first champion of the 2007 World Series.