Another busy day at the World Series of Poker® saw two new more WSOP event bracelets awarded, while the player with the most cashes in WSOP history — Phil Hellmuth, with 57 — extended his record with a 58th career cash during the early play on Thursday.
Burt Boutin picked up his second career bracelet by capturing the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (w/ Rebuys) Event #7 on Wednesday. Boutin had previously won a $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em event in 2001, topping David 'Devilfish' Ulliott for the win. In a curious twist, it was again Ulliott who posed the biggest challenge for the other players at this final table, as he sat atop the leader board with over 1.3 million chips as the action began. Boutin began the day in fifth, well behind Ulliott, Erik Cajelais, Larry Jonsson and Sirous Jamshidi at a table that also included John Juanda and Humberto Brenes. Boutin, though, triumphed over all, finally closing out Cajelais for the win while Ulliott finished third.
Event #6, $1,500 Limit Hold'em, might not have had as big a selection of poker 'celebrity' at the final table, but it still offered a WSOP first, being the first-ever WSOP event to be webcast over the WSOP's home page, at worldseriesofpoker.com. The event, filmed inside a special tent and delayed by one hour before webcast as measures against any form of electronic cheating, offered plenty of action. Day Two leader Gary Styczynski held strong through the day's action, picking up a couple of key knockouts before taking down a huge pot against eventual runner-up Varouzhan Gumroyan that all but sealed the win. Soon after, Styczynski capped off his title run, claiming his first WSOP bracelet and a $280,715 first prize.
Two more events played down to final tables being contested later today. The crazed re-buy period at the start of Event #8, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em (w/ rebuys) was yesterday's news, and the event on this day resembled a more traditional freezeout, but with all eyes on the $585,774 first-place money. Amir Vahedi took the biggest stack to today's final table at 1.3 million in chips, with Michael Gracz in second (at 880,000) and Tommy Vu and Michael Chu not much farther back. An oddity in this was the second-day no-show of Vinny Vinh, who began the day with a deep stack but was eventually blinded out in 20th place.
Event #9, $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo, began the day indoors — an improvement over the previous day when initial action took place in the indoor/outdoor 'Poker Pavilion' and high winds forced a halt to the proceedings. First-day leader Jordan Morgan avoided the frequent second-day blues, powering through the final nine... except in this case it wasn't the final nine at all, and it came at Morgan's hands as well: He knocked out two players on the last hand of the night to make it an eight-player final table entering today's play. The twin knockout gave Morgan 325,000 chips and second place at night's end, though still well behind leader John Varner, whose great Day Two gave him 589,000 chips to bring to the final table.
Two more events jumped from the blocks on Wednesday, Event #10, $2,000 No-Limit and Event #11, $5,000 Seven-Card Stud. In Event #10, Shaun Deeb opened up a comfortable margin by the end of the day's action, with John Gale in second, but eyes were on a name a bit lower on the board: Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth stood poised on the edge of his record 58th WSOP tournament cash, and he picked that up in the early action on Thursday, officially extending his own record when he was eliminated in 104th place for a $3,901 cash. 60 cashes by the end of the WSOP seems a lock for Hellmuth, but whether he, Doyle Brunson or Johnny Chan can claim a record 11th bracelet remains an open question.
Over in Event #11, $5,000 Seven-Card Stud, the event's high buy-in and a more traditional poker format meant that this event was heavy on stars and veteran players. Less than a third of the field was eliminated on the opening day of the limit-format event, and Jacob Fernandez held a narrow edge over Nick Schulman at the end of the day. One of last year's double-bracelet winners, Bill Chen, was a few notches behind, but most of the heavy star power in this event remains at the table entering Day Two play.
Beginning play early on Thursday was Event #12, a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed event, with J.C. Tran, Joe Awada and 'Miami' John Cernuto among those making early moves. This event drew $1,427 players, with a total announced prize pool of $1,947,855 and first place worth $481,698. Check back for more as the action develops.