39 players returned on Saturday to Harvey's Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe to contest Day 2 of the WSOP Circuit - Tahoe Main Event, including Aaron Kanter, Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson and Kevin Vanderbeek. Action started off quick, with only 30 players needing to be eliminated to play down to the final table, and it only took one hand to send both Jeff Blenkarn and Tom Maser to the rail. All told, it took barely nine hours of play to set the final table, and the bubble burst long before the dinner break. But when the day's action was complete, it was Ferguson at the top of the board.
Eric Tang played his short stack well all through Day 2, but he finally tossed the last of his chips in pre-flop holding K-Q and was called by both Kevin Vanderbeek and Michael Banducci. Banducci and Vanderbeek checked every street until the river, and with the board reading , Banducci led out. Vanderbeek called and Banducci tabled for the nut flush, and Eric Tang was eliminated on the bubble in 19th.
With two tables and 18 players remaining, Gabriel Testa took advantage of the post-bubble loosening up to eliminate two players. Vincent Shaw got all his chips in with A-J, Vic Campana went to war with Q-J, and Testa's pocket nines held up to send both players to the rail.
Gary Tighe was next to fall when he got all his money in the middle with pocket nines against Chris Ferguson's . Ferguson was behind on the board of , but the on the river gave Ferguson the pot and sent Tighe to the rail in 16th place for $7,458. Michael Banducci claimed another scalp when his pocket Kings held up against Marty Wong's pocket eights, eliminating Wong in 15th place, who picked up $8,814 for his efforts.
Kevin Vanderbeek started the day with the chip lead, but was slowly overtaken by Michael Banducci as Day 2 progressed, then fell to the rail in the late afternoon in a monster hand. Vanderbeek called Banducci's re-raise pre-flop, then moved all-in over the top of Banducci's bet when the flop came down . Vanderbeek made top pair, top kicker with A-Q, but Banducci called quickly with pocket aces. No help on the turn or river for Vanderbeek, and he went to the rail in 14th place for $8,814.
Dennis Lane followed Vanderbeek almost immediately when he tangled with Dustin Fox on a flop of . Fox was well ahead with , while Lane tabled . The turn and river brought the and the , and Lane was busted in 13th. After spending most of Day 1 avoiding big pots with each other, Aaron Kanter and Chris Ferguson got in a big pot late in the day. Ferguson raised pre-flop, and Kanter pushed all in over the top. Ferguson called with , and Kanter revealed . The board brought no help for Kanter, filling out , and Kanter was eliminated in 12th place, good for $10,170.
Dustin Fox sent another player to the rail as the final table neared when he busted Mark Simmons in 11th place. Simmons moved all in over the top of Fox's pre-flop raise, and Fox called with A-Q. Simmons was dominated with A-5, and no help came on the board. Fox's A-Q was good enough to send Simmons to the rail in 11th place, good for $10,170. Not long after, John Thomas was the final-table bubble boy, all in after hitting two pair with K-7 on a 7-5-5 flop. Michael Banducci called with trip fives, and Thomas couldn't catch up. Thomas picked up $10,170 for his tenth-place finish.
The final table was set with Thomas' elimination, and Chris Ferguson finished Day 2 atop the leaderboard. The 2000 WSOP Main Event Champion has a significant chip lead over his opponents, as the final table seating assignments and chip stacks are as follows:
Seat 1: Chris Ferguson, Pacific Palisades, CA — 426,500
Seat 2: Michael Banducci, Traverse City, MI — 158,800
Seat 3: Frank Lee, Los Gatos ,CA — 120,500
Seat 4: Gabriel Testa, San Jose, CA — 128,500
Seat 5: Dustin Fox, Lake Tahoe, CA — 95,000
Seat 6: Sylvester "Vesty" Geoghegan, Mullingar, Ireland — 131,000
Seat 7: Mark Bonsack, Maple Valley, WA — 252,000
Seat 8: George Saca, Folsom, CA — 75,500
Seat 9: Travis Erdman, San Francisco, CA — 36,500