Intense action on Day One of Event #45, $5,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold 'Em reduced the starting field of 728 entrants to 77. Dutch Boyd leads the pack of returning players, going into Day Two with a stack of nearly 300,000. All 77 players will be in the money on Friday as they work toward the championship bracelet and first-place prize of $904,672.
The $5,000 short-handed event drew many big names and created powerful tables. Tony Hachem (brother of Joe), Bill Chen, and Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier faced off at one table, while Joe Hachem ran up against J.C. Tran and Jimmy Tran at another. Hoyt Corkins, who took the bracelet for the 2007 $2,500 Six-Handed NLHE event, played against Phil Laak and Jennifer Harman. Greg Raymer's table also included Kenna James and Huck Seed, while a small disturbance at a table with Phil Hellmuth and Justin Bonomo instigated Hellmuth's relocation to another table.
Many of the big names fell early, including Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Greg Mueller, Gavin Smith, Eric Froehlich and Mike Wattel. Barny Boatman and Scotty Nguyen were both sent out — from separate tables — on nut flushes their opponents caught on the river.
David 'The Dragon' Pham was crippled early on when he bluffed off 22,000 on a board of . His was no match for his opponent's pocket aces, and with only 3,800 behind, he went out a few hands later. He was in good company, though, as Kenna James, Greg Raymer, Johnny Chan, Chau Giang and T.J. Cloutier all made their departures in the same time frame.
Ted Forrest ran into some tough cards, hastening his exit. On his last hand, he held against his opponent's . The board came , making a full house for his opponent and sending Forrest to the rail. Other notables eliminated on Thursday included Jason Strasser, Jennifer Tilly, Shannon Elizabeth, Ross Boatman, Michael Binger, Burt Boutin, Thor Hansen, Thomas Wahlroos, David Williams, Chris Ferguson, Chad Brown, Joe Sebok, and Annie Duke.
The money bubble burst at 78, and Greg Mercow was the only player on Tuesday to leave in the money, cashing $6,159 for his 78th-place finish. Phil Hellmuth and Men 'The Master' Nguyen, who rank first and second (respectively) in WSOP cashes, secured their 62nd and 56th cashes in this event by making it into Friday's play. Hellmuth also finished the day in fifth, as he eyes a possible 12th WSOP bracelet.
Fred Goldberg, recent winner of Event #40, barely missed the money, after going all in on a 100,000-plus pot with pocket kings. The board showed , putting Goldberg well ahead of his opponent's . The turn gave his opponent trips, though, and a blank on the river saw Goldberg bubble just shy of the money.
Chip leaders going into Friday's play are:
Dutch Boyd — 284,000
Keith Lehr — 245,000
Alex Prendes, Jr. — 225,000
Bill Gazes — 205,000
Ram Vaswani — 185,000
Phil Hellmuth — 180,000
Erik Friberg — 175,000
Alex Brenes — 170,000
Kush Patel — 148,000
Men Nguyen — 144,000
Friday will see the field reduced from 77 to a final table of six. Among other notables returning for play on Friday are Roland de Wolfe, Nick Schulman, Justin Bonomo, Tobey Maguire, Tony G, Allen Cunningham, Jeff Madsen, Kevin O'Donnell, Phil Laak, Isabelle Mercier, Carl Olson, Hoyt Corkins, Jamie Gold, Travis Rice, and John Racener.
Play resumes at 2pm PDT. Visit PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #45, $5,000 No Limit Hold 'Em (Six-Handed) for the latest reports.