293 of the biggest names in poker gathered yesterday to vie for the bracelet in Event #33, Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys. With a relatively small $1,500 buy-in, the event still attracted a stellar field including Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Barry Greenstein and Phil Ivey.
The 293 entries plus 880 rebuys created a prize pool of $1,684,305 to be split among the top 27 finishers, with $464,867 on the line for first. 49 players survived Day One, and will play down to a bracelet today starting at 2pm PDT. WSOP 2006 wunderkind Jeff Madsen sits third in chips behind Matt Glantz and Brandon Adams to start Day Two, as Madsen looks for his first bracelet in 2007. Other notables remaining after Day One include Johnny Chan, who is looking to tie Phil Hellmuth with bracelet #11, along with Erick Lindgren, Humberto Brenes, David Williams and Padraig Parkinson. Event #24 winner Eli Elezra is also still in the hunt, with a top-ten chip stack to start the day.
Play was fast and loose to start the tournament, as the rebuy period lasted through the first three levels (three hours), and players that busted had the option of a single or a double rebuy. Phil Ivey was one of the early action players, going through several double rebuys before the end of the third level, besides making prop bets with Gavin Smith on what color the flop would come.
At the end of the rebuy period, players had their last chances for single or double add-ons. At 3,000 chips per rebuy or add-on, a player who busted right before the end of the third level had the option to take a double rebuy and a double add-on to put themselves right back into contention with 12,000 in chips to start Level 4 (100/200 blinds).
Once the rebuy period ended, play slowed down considerably, but in a game as inherently volatile as Pot Limit Omaha, the field still thinned quickly. Minh Ly, Max Pescatori and Sam Farha all fell in the first hour after the rebuys.
Humberto Brenes started strong after the rebuy period was over and stayed near the top of the leader board all afternoon and night. Brenes is having a phenomenal series in 2007, having already made it to three final tables, one of them in Pot Limit Omaha.
With so many top name pros in the field, there were sure to be some entertaining tables. One such table featured Mike Matusow, Joe Hachem, Chris Ferguson, Eli Elezra and Michael Mizrachi. played to the spectators and his tablemates all day with his typical banter, jousting with the other players and making prop bets on anything with anyone who would take his action. Matusow's ongoing weight-loss prop bet with Ted Forrest (Matusow must get to 180 within a year to get to $100,000) drew comments from Tony G, and the two also lightly considered an arm-wrestling match, though Matusow wanted 5:1 odds, so it never came off. Matusow busted just before the dinner break on a hand where Eli Elezra flopped a full house.
The poker action picked up again after the dinner break, with Greg Raymer, Juha Helppi, Chris Ferguson, Scott Clements and Robert Williamson III all eliminated early in the evening. Phil Ivey followed, and was soon joined by Andy Black, Barry Greenstein and David Grey. After chipping up through most of the evening, Josh Arieh lost a big hand to Jeff Madsen and then bled away the rest of his chips to exit shortly before play ended for the day. Joe Hachem, Michael Mizrachi and Tony G would all finish their tournaments slightly earlier than the rest, busting out in the final levels of play.
The Top Ten at night's end included Alex Balandin, Michael Binger, Ralph Perry and Brandon Adams, author of the poker novel, "Broke," all chasing Matt Glantz. The overnight Top Ten is as follows:
PLAYER — CHIPS
Matt Glantz 155,000
Alex Balandin 146,000
Michael Binger 135,500
Varahram Vardjavand 129,500
Brandon Adams 125,500
Len Ashby 121,000
Hilbert Shirley 109,000
Erik Engelbrektsson 108,500
Qushqar Morad 107,500
Ralph Perry 104,500
Other players in the top 25 include Ram Vaswani, Erick Lindgren, Humberto Brenes, Jeff Madsen, Brad Berman, Tim West, Mark Goodwin, Johnny Chan and Julian Gardner. Join PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #33, $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha (w/ Rebuys). Coverage resumes today at 2pm PDT.