The second day of the Full Tilt Online Series of Poker's biggest buy-in event ever, started off near the money bubble, with 78 of the 648 initial runners remaining. Out of the 30 or so Full Tilt-sponsored pros who started the tournament, only Max Pescatori, David Chiu and Eddy Scharf remained to begin play on Day 2, and all three were well into the middle of the pack.
The top ten chip leaders to start the day were as follows:
That top ten list does include a couple of notable professional players, including Dan 'bashpup' Schmiech and Dag Martin 'dmmikkel' Mikkelson. Players on Day 2 also included two former FTOPS winners, The MasterJ33 and Hoodini10, the winner of the very first FTOPS event ever. Hoodini10 made the money before busting in 50th, and TheMasterJ33 rode an aggressive playing style to a rollercoaster stack before busting out in 16th.
The deep stacks and slow blind levels (5,000 starting chips and 30-minute levels) gave players plenty of chances to pick their spots and play tight, and most of them chose to do just that on Day 2. Only 11 players were eliminated before the first break, and it took nearly two hours to lose the 15 players before the money bubble burst.
Mike 'SowersUNCC' Sowers, a young online pro from North Carolina, took time out to chat with PokerNews after busting. According to Sowers, the two-day structure was "great... although I was so anxious to get back at it the next day it was crazy." The unusual structure of the event, spanning two days, made for some changes in the normal strategies for Sowers and other online tournament pros. "Maybe I was a bit more anxious than having grinded it out for hours and being so patient. The blinds were growing the second day, so I thought I needed to move to have a chance to win..." Sowers unfortunately missed the money in the event, but had a good summer of tournament success otherwise.
Cakewalk34 was the unfortunate bubble boy when his A-K didn't improve to pass his opponent's pocket threes; after the money bubble burst, the play loosened up considerably. The biggest beneficiary to the bursting money bubble was SpikeTheAce, who held on with less than 4 antes before the bubble burst and he gratefully tossed the last of his chips into the middle.
All three Full Tilt pros remaining pushed their chips in during the following action, and all three were eliminated, finishing in the mid-50s of the event. Max Pescatori was first to bust in 58th, followed closely behind by Chiu and Scharf in 55th and 54th, respectively. Several players rode a chip rollercoaster for much of the day, including former FTOPS Pot-Limit champ TheMasterJ33. Uwannabone was another player whose aggressive play near the bubble allowed for a big stack as play neared the final table, but running A-K into J-J and A-A in the same hand sent Uwannabone to the rail in 11th place. GnightMoon was the tenth-place finisher and the final-table bubble boy.
When final-table play started, Grndhg25 had reclaimed the chip lead, with the following runners coming up behind:
Soggy Dogg was the first player to be eliminated from the final table when he flopped top pair, top kicker with on a board of . He pushed all-in from the button when chip leader Grndhg25 checked, and Grnhd25 insta-called with his flopped straight, revealing . No help came on the turn or river, and Soggy Dogg was sent home in ninth place for $30,780. That hand left Grndhg25 in a dominating position with over one million in chips, nearly twice that of his nearest competitor.
On the very next hand, a very short-stacked Batera was all-in pre-flop with . Mattman14 called immediately with . A board of was no help to Batera, and he collected $38,880 for his eighth-place finish.
It took another 36 hands for the next player to fall. Fridhem pushed all in pre-flop with , but couldn't win a coin flip against Viktor's . The flop gave Viktor a set of queens, and the on the river for Fridhem wasn't enough to keep him from elimination. He picked up $50,220 for his seventh-place finish.
The next player went home just five hands later when naskoxx moved all-in pre-flop with . Chip leader Grndhg25 called with , and hit the flop for top pair, top kicker. It was enough to bounce naskoxx in sixth place, for $76,950. That hand pushed Grndhg25 to nearly two million in chips, more than double Viktor's second-place stack.
Mattman14 was the next to fall to Grndhg25 when he pushed all-in with , only to be called by the big stack with . The flop of gave Mattman14 an inside straight draw to chase Grndhg25's top pair, but even that was counterfeited by the on the turn. The on the river sealed Mattman14's fate, sending him home in fifth place for $105,300. It only took four more hands for the chip leader to claim another scalp, as SkinnyRick pushed his all in pre-flop into Grndhg25's . No help for either player on the board of , and SkinnyRick went to the rail in fourth place, good for $141,750.
Dan 'bashpup' Schmiech put on a clinic in short-stack play at the final table, navigating the waters as one of the shortest stacks from the time the final table started to when he busted in third. He got all his chips in good with against Viktor's , and it looked like he was poised to make a run at the chip leaders, but the on the turn ended his tournament. Schmiech picked up $182,250 for his third-place finish.
When heads up play began, Grndhg25 held nearly a 2:1 chip advantage, but it only took nine hands for the tournament to resolve. The end came when Viktor pushed all-in holding on a flop of . Grndhg25 called immediately with for higher trips, and no seven came on the turn or river to save Viktor. Viktor took home $247,050 for second place, and Grndhg25, who held the chip lead to start Day 2 and reclaimed it to run over the final table, earned $396,900 for first place in the highest buy-in tournament in Full Tilt history.