111 players returned on Wednesday for Day 2a action at London's Empire Casino, pursuing their dreams of capturing the first-ever World Series of Poker Europe Main Event title and its £1,000,000 first prize. The field featured names such as Hellmuth, Greenstein, Ferguson and Harman, all prior WSOP bracelet winners. Internet superstars "Imper1um," "ActionJeff" and "Annette_15" also returned to the fray on Day 2a. Janne Lamsa led all players into Day 2a with the biggest chip stack from three casinos' Day 1a play, and the top five stacks to start the day looked like this:
Janne Lamsa - 115,850
Huseyin Yilmaz - 99,575
Phil Hellmuth - 82,825
Andrew Feldman - 76,650
Patrick Bruel - 71,225
Any collection of superstars like this was sure to create some interesting table draws. Table 13 featured Annette 'Annette_15' Obrestad and Brian 'sbrugby' Townsend, while WPT champions Hoyt Corkins and Erick Lindgren squared off at Table 8. The true table of doom, however, featured Humberto Brenes, Phil Hellmuth, Farzad Bonyadi and Jan Sorenson, for a total of 18 WSOP bracelets.
The bustouts came fast on Day 2a, with Brandon Adams running into Manuel Palenca's early on. Palenca caught a king on the flop to leave Adams drawing thin, then heading to the rail. Markku Aho and Phillip Peters also busted very early into Day 2a. Chris Ferguson didn't last much longer, as he became the victim of a Phil Hellmuth suckout to end his tournament. Ferguson got all in with his A-Q dominating Hellmuth's A-10, but Hellmuth caught a 10 on the river to send Ferguson to the rail. Erik Seidel followed his Team Full Tilt stablemate soon after, losing a coin flip to Konstantinos Panikidis. Panikidis called Seidel's all in with and topped Seidel's when he caught a king on the flop. No two-outer arrived for Seidel and his hopes for a ninth WSOP bracelet will have to wait until summer.
Pam Brunson was the last Brunson standing as both her father Doyle and brother Todd were eliminated on Day 1. She busted early on Day 2 when she had the bad timing to pick up pocket kings on the same hand that Gus Hansen picked up pocket aces. Her hand didn't improve, and the last remaining member of poker's first family headed to the rail. Brunson was only one of the many scalps Gus Hansen claimed as he built his stack on Day 2a.
Phil Hellmuth started Day 2 with one of the biggest stacks in the field, but lost a massive pot to Mark McCluskey when his flopped set of sevens was crushed by McCluskey's flopped set of jacks. The board of gave McCluskey jacks full of deuces and set off a classic Phil Hellmuth tirade about the dealing at the Empire. Hellmuth hung on to survive Day 2a, but with a microscopic stack.
Many poker superstars didn't even finish the day with Hellmuth's mini-stack, instead heading to the rail. Other notable eliminations on Day 2a included Jeff 'ActionJeff' Garza, Brian Townsend, Barry Greenstein, Thor Hansen and Humberto Brenes.
Greg Raymer and Ram Vaswani both fell victim to Gus Hansen at the feature TV table, as Hansen flopped a full house to eliminate Raymer and dodged an ace to eliminate Vaswani. Hansen flopped a full house on a board of with pocket sevens to bust Raymer, and his pocket kings held up against Vaswani's A-Q to send the Hendon Mobster to the rail. Hansen finished the day with the chip lead, and the complete top ten chip stacks after Day 2a play is as follows:
Gus Hansen — 349,400
Janne Lamsa — 253,800
Pat Scanlon — 240,000
Annette Obrestad — 214,400
Annie Duke — 191,700
Johannes Korsar — 148,400
Huseyin Yilmaz — 143,500
Jan Sorensen — 118,500
Terry Cook — 117,700
Sergey Feklisov — 115,500
40 of the 111 players that started Day 2a had chips at the end of play, also including Erick Lindgren, Gary Jones, Jennifer Harman, Marco Traniello and Jeffrey Lisandro. Join PokerNews at 2PM local time (9AM ET) for all the updates, chip counts and interviews as the survivors of Day 1b return for their Day 2b play at the Empire Casino in London.