Thursday was among the busiest days of action yet at the 2007 WSOP, with six different events seeing action — including the awarding of two bracelets — and crowds so huge that tables were set up in a hallway and the later-starting events were delayed, awaiting open tables.
Two bracelets were awarded, both in tourneys that drew extra fan interest. The first went to Jeffrey Lisandro in Event #32, Seven Card Stud. Lisandro came to this final table with a narrow lead over Daniel Negreanu, and Negreanu jumped into the lead in the early action before cooling later and exiting in fifth. Nick Frangos proved to be the last challenger to Lisandro's title claim, finally bowing on a hand where Lisandro made trip aces. Lisandro picked up $118,426 for the win.
The other bracelet awarded on Thursday went to Dan 'rekrul' Schreiber, an experienced online heads-up specialist who made those skills pay off in Event #31, Heads Up No Limit Hold 'Em. Schreiber breezed through Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of this bracket-format event, dispatching Toto Leonidas, Vanessa Selbst and Mark Muchnik for the win, the last with a 2-0 triumph in the best-of-three match for the championship. Schreiber's heads-up win was worth 425,594.
Phil Hellmuth made more headlines, this time by cashing in Event #34, $3,000 Limit Hold 'Em. The cash was Hellmuth's fourth this year and the 61st WSOP payday of his career, again extending his own record. Hellmuth exited soon after cashing, though, finishing 25th among the 27th paying spots, and several other storylines emerged. Alexander Borteh, the Day One leader, continues to hold the top spot entering today's final table, while Vivek Rajkumer begins play in sixth; Rajkumer could tie Steve Billirakis's just-set mark as the youngest-ever WSOP bracelet winner should he capture the title today.
Event #33, $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha (w/ Rebuys) also played down to its final table. Qushqar Morad leads this event with just under a million chips, well ahead of his nearest competitors, Chris Bjorin, Brandon Adams, Chau Giang and Hilbert Shirey. Erick Lindgren busted just off the final table in tenth, with Allen Cunningham and Michael Binger also knocked out, but with paydays for their work.
Event #35, $1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em, was the primary reason for the overflow of players. This noon-kickoff event attracted 2,541 players, filling both the Amazon Room and the Poker Pavilion and extending to other emergency spots throughout the Rio. Play went well inside the 270-spot money bubble by night's end, with 147 players coming back today for a shot at a final table. Dustin Dirksen jumped to a big opening-day lead for the second time in this year's Series, and he'll hope for a more fortunate Day Two this time around. Phil Gordon and Jacobo Fernandez are also in the overnight top ten.
Kirill Gerasimov made the biggest jump from the gates on Day One of Event #36, $5,000 Omaha High/Low Split. This event offered a smaller field heavy on the marquee names, with several chasing Gerasimov as action resumes today. David Benyamine and Patrik Antonius begin play just outside the top ten spots, with Mel Judah, Barry Greenstein and Perry Friedman not much farther back. This one will play down to the final table as well.
One more event began play at noon today, Event #37, $2,000 Pot Limit Hold 'Em. Play had just commenced as this overview was compiled, so check in at PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' blogs for the latest results.