As Day Two of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, drew to a close, more than half the field had been sent home, but Eli Elezra remained one of the top chip stacks. While T.J. Cloutier, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Mike Sexton and others watched from the rail, Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Isabelle Mercier, Cindy Violette, Phil Ivey and others bagged their chips and prepared themselves for Day Three. The top ten chip counts, when play resumes today at 2pm PDT:
John Hanson — 641,000
Toto Leonidas — 621,000
Eli Elezra — 568,000
Allen Cunningham — 549,000
Kenny Tran — 544,000
Justin Bonomo — 508,000
David Oppenheim — 469,000
Mike Matusow — 456,000
Phil Ivey — 436,000
Amnon Filippi — 429,000
While only 21 players were eliminated on a methodical Day One, that pace sped up dramatically on Day Two. The field of 127 remaining players thinned to 52 by the end of play, and many well-known players were sent packing, including several players from last year's final table of this event, including Cloutier and Doyle Brunson. 2006 H.O.R.S.E. champion Chip Reese is still in the hunt as Day Three begins.
Jesse Jones was the first to fall in the first Stud round of the day when his buried 10-10 fell behind Brandon Adams' straight and flush draws and could not catch up. Adams made his straight on fifth street and Jones was eliminated. Adams missed his next big draw and was sent to the rail a few hands later by Andy Bloch. Mike Sexton also fell in the first round of the day when his two pair was outdrawn by Noah Jefferson's three running spades to make a flush. Tony G was eliminated shortly after Sexton when Carlos Mortenson and Greg Raymer split a three-way pot in Stud Hi/Lo, leaving Tony G nothing from the pot except the bitter stew of defeat.
As players were eliminated and tables condensed, the star power of some tables grew almost to supernova status. When Eli Elezra, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, Chad Brown, Cyndy Violette, Chip Reese, and Carlos Mortensen found themselves at the same table, it totaled 3 world championships, 26 bracelets and over $39 million in career earnings seated at the same table.
That table didn't stay together long, as Mortenson was eliminated by Reese in the early afternoon. Cyndy Violette forced big laydowns by Phil Hellmuth and Greg Raymer in back-to-back hands to climb back into contention in the tournament. Violette found herself all-in shortly before taking a big pot off Hellmuth in Razz and one off Raymer in Stud. She finished Day Two alive, but near the bottom of the leader board with 60,000 in chips.
Eli Elezra started the day with the top chip stack and played fast and aggressive with his big stack, sometimes to the chagrin of his tablemates. After being moved off the table with Raymer, Hellmuth, et al, Elezra played a hand of hold'em without ever looking at his cards or the board. He three-bet pre-flop blind, then looked away when the flop came and bet out without looking at the board. His opponent, without the ammunition to call, had to fold when he missed the flop. Elezra would finish the day third in chips with 568,000, almost exactly what he started the day with.
The bustouts came in droves as play led up to the dinner break, with Mickey Appleman, Doyle Brunson, Patrik Antonius, Ted Forrest and Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi all falling in the early evening hours. That pace slowed not at all when players returned to play 6000/12,000 Razz, as Howard Lederer and Darell 'Gigabet' Dicken were eliminated soon after. Marco Traniello went to the rail shortly thereafter, joining his wife, Jennifer Harman Traniello, who was eliminated before the dinner break. Chris Ferguson also didn't last through the Razz level.
Todd Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Greg 'FBT' Mueller, and Bill Gazes all tried to survive to see the "H" in H.O.R.S.E. again, but were eliminated in the two back-to-back Stud rounds. Gazes' elimination brought Phil Hellmuth and Eli Elezra back to the same table. Elezra continued to have fun as the tournament progressed, rivering a set of threes to drag a big pot. As Hellmuth and the rest of the table groaned at the two-outer, Elezra responded "I bet you guys do that on the Internet all the time."
At the same table, Justin 'ZeeJustin' Bonomo took down a big pot against Phil Ivey when he flopped a set of tens and improved to a full house by the river. Ivey three-bet pre-flop, Bonomo check-raised the flop, and Ivey called on every street, a not-welcome start for Ivey at his new table. Meanwhile, Mike Matusow found religion at a nearby table. When Hellmuth went over to check on his progress, 'The Mouth' replied "I've raised every hold'em hand so far, Phil...I just raise and pray...raise and pray."
Play wound down as the night progressed, and the event ended for the day with 52 players standing at seven tables. Here are the tables and chip counts for Day Three after players redrew for seats to end their long day of play:
Seat 1: Daniel Negreanu — 307,000
Seat 2: Joe Tehan — 166,000
Seat 3: David Singer — 332,000
Seat 4: Dewey Tomko — 119,000
Seat 6: David Oppenheim — 469,000
Seat 7: Erik Seidel — 194,000
Seat 8: Thomas Weideman — 127,000
Seat 1: Freddy Deeb — 357,000
Seat 2: Cyndy Violette — 60,000
Seat 3: Matthew Hawrilenko — 416,000
Seat 4: Toto Leonidas — 621,000
Seat 5: Greg Raymer — 287,000
Seat 6: Andy Bloch — 425,000
Seat 7: Kenny Tran — 544,000
Seat 1: Phil Hellmuth — 412,000
Seat 2: Thor Hansen — 275,000
Seat 3: Steve Sung — 119,000
Seat 4: Bruno Fitoussi — 337,000
Seat 5: John Hennigan — 204,000
Seat 6: Barry Greenstein — 275,000
Seat 7: Chris Reslock — 98,000
Seat 1: Pat Pezzin — 94,000
Seat 2: Isabelle Mercier — 41,000
Seat 3: Tuan Le — 295,000
Seat 5: Rob Hollink — 321,000
Seat 6: Annie Duke — 165,000
Seat 7: Sam Grizzle — 86,000
Seat 8: Amnon Filippi — 429,000
Seat 1: Erick Lindgren — 99,000
Seat 2: Tim Phan — 234,000
Seat 3: Greg Mascio — 290,000
Seat 4: Chip Reese — 332,000
Seat 5: Mike Wattel — 250,000
Seat 6: Eli Elezra — 568,000
Seat 7: Stephen Wolff — 251,000
Seat 1: Robert Mizrachi — 338,000
Seat 2: John Juanda — 410,000
Seat 3: David Sklansky — 47,000
Seat 4: Allen Cunningham — 549,000
Seat 5: Mark Gregorich — 249,000
Seat 6: Dan Shak — 156,000
Seat 7: Mike Matusow — 456,000
Seat 2: Neal Friets — 246,000
Seat 3: David Williams — 203,000
Seat 5: Max Pescatori — 396,000
Seat 6: Noah Jefferson — 149,000
Seat 7: Justin Bonomo — 508,000
Seat 8: Gabe Kaplan — 186,000
The following players did not list the correct table and seat numbers on their bags: Scotty Nguyen — 72,000; Huck Seed — 278,000; Phil Ivey — 436,000; John Hanson — 641,000.
This star-studded field has led to some very spectator-friendly table draws. There is not a single table to start Day Three without a previous bracelet winner, with most tables offering multiple winners. There are nearly 60 WSOP bracelets owned by the remaining players, plus other major victories and millions and millions of dollars earned (and lost) in the biggest cash games both online and on the felt. Join PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #39, $50,000 H.O.R.S.E., when action resumes at 2pm PDT.