Friday's first day of play in Event #37, $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold 'Em, saw the 599 starters quickly trimmed to 45 survivors, who will return on Saturday for Day Two. The money bubble burst at 54, so the returnees are guaranteed to cash and will continue working toward the winner's prize of $269,274. James Henson and Richard Ferro top a leader board that also contains Travis Rice in seventh.
Veteran T.J. Cloutier is still alive in the tournament and looking to win his seventh WSOP bracelet. In an early hand, Cloutier moved all in after seeing a flop of . He held for the flush draw, while his two opponents showed and for middle and top sets. The turn came , filling Cloutier's flush, and the river left the board unpaired and gave Cloutier the 17,000 pot.
The middle of the pack saw heavy action as players vied for position. Gioi Luong bounced Ishak Noyan when his pair of pocket fives held up over Noyan's unimproved A-Q. Danny Alaei also remains in the running after a day of aggressive play, including the elimination of Varaham Vardjavand. After a flop of and the turn, Vardjavand bet with on a flush draw and Alaei moved in with for trip sevens. Vardjavand came all in looking for a club on the river to fill out the flush draw. The river filled Alaei's full house and sent Vardjavand out. This started a run for Alaei, who knocked out several players and built a sizeable stack.
Gary Leibovitz barely missed Saturday's field when he went out in 47th place, despite taking out three players on one hand earlier in the day. Leibovitz, who did cash, watched his pocket queens hold up against A-J, A-J, and pocket sevens. Paul Wolfe also made it to the money when he doubled up with K-J against A-J and spiked a king on the flop. Wolfe doubled again a few hands later with pocket kings but would be eliminated in 50th when his jacks fell to Devin Porter's A-10. An ace flopped and Wolfe's night was over.
Many notables were eliminated in Friday's action. Paul Wasicka left early courtesy of Ed Moncada's A-8, which caught an eight to top Wasicka's A-Q. Greg 'FTB' Mueller also exited early, as did Jason Strasser and John Phan. Alex Jacob was eliminated when he went all in on pocket jacks and his opponent hit runner-runner for a full house. Phil Laak, Michael Gracz and Michael Mizrachi were all eliminated shortly after the first break.
Erica Schoenberg exited when Joe Hachem filled to crack Schoenberg's pocket aces. Hachem, along with his brother Tony fell later in the action, Moments after Schoenberg's ouster, Vanessa Rousso busted when Shawn Deeb hit a straight on the river, though Deeb departed short of the money bubble himself. Barry Greenstein and Chris Ferguson also failed to make at through the day, part of a long list that included Jennifer Tilly, Michael Binger, Danny Wong, J.J. Liu, Chris Ferguson, Joe Hachem, Jon Turner, Sorel Mizzi, Joe Reitman, Raymond Davis, Jason Lester, Tony Ma, Tom McCormick, Jean Gaspard and Kenna James.
Chip leaders going into Saturday's play are as follows:
James Henson — 169,000
Richard Ferro — 165,000
Yural Bronshtein — 129,500
Robert McLaughlin — 109,000
Bryan O' Connell — 93,000
Jordan Smith — 89,000
Travis Rice — 81,000
Jason Newburger — 78,500
Richard Osborne — 77,000
Scott 'mindwise' Pendergrast 77,000
Play will resume at 3pm PDT. Visit PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #37, $2,000 Pot Limit Hold 'Em for the latest reports.