The 2008 World Series of Poker feted its latest pair of bracelet winners on Thursday on another busy day in the Amazon Room. Action in six different events occurred. The bracelets were noteworthy, too, going to Kid Poker, Daniel Negreanu himself, who captured his fourth career bracelet in Event #20, $2,000 Limit Hold'em, and Vanessa Selbst, who dominated Event #19, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha, on the way to her first career WSOP title.
Negreanu came to the limit event third in chips, but built a stack throughout the final as other bracelet seekers were sent to the rail. In the end it came down to a matchup between Negreanu and Ugur Marangoz for the jewelry and the $204,874 winner's rpize, which finally went Negreanu's way when the short-stacked Marangoz's last chips went in on a hand where the flop came 5-K-5 and Negreanu slow-played a pocket five for the winning trips. While Marangoz had to settle for $126,671 and the near miss, Negreanu was off to phone Phil Ivey, reportedly to let him know he had taken the lead in a bracelet wager on this year's series… worh $200,000 per win.
Selbst's victory in Event #20 was just as noteworthy, if with less-steep side bets involved. Selbst dominated this one throughout, having huge leads after both Day 1 and Day 2 play, and it was only for a short span during three-way action at the final table when the other two survivors, Stanley Statkiewicz and Jamie Pickering, pulled near even. Selbst reasserted control and soon dispatched Stakiewicz to take a big lead again, then finished off Pickering in one of the most light-hearted finales ever. Selbst's first bracelet – also the first won by a woman in an open event this year – was accompanied by $227,933. Pickering collected $145,459 as the runner-up.
Event #21, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em, found Scott Seiver building a massive lead heading into today's final. Seiver has five previous cashes but no final tables to date, including a near miss in Event 13 this year. That was no problem this time, as he'll bring 2,512,000 in chips to the final, far ahead of second-place Rajesh Vohra's 1,040,000. Jacobo Fernandez, having a solid '08 series himself, is in third at 848,000 as play resumes today.
Event #22, $3,000 H.O.R.S.E., by contrast, did not reach its final table in its Day 2 session, though when it does the final should be a good one. Play was halted past 3am when 16 players (the final two tables) remained, and another long session is expected today when the winner will be determined. The Flying Dutchman, Marcel Luske, moved up the board late to grab the overnight top spot, just ahead of Jared Davis. Other stars still alive here include Jennifer Harman, Hoyt Corkins, Blair Rodman, Steve Zolotow, Todd Brunson, Eric Froehlich and Mickey Appleman. Look for a great final here.
A third pair of events trimmed down big starting numbers to manageable Day 2 fields. Event #23, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, found Dustin Dirksen and Andrew Jeffreys well ahead of the rest of the pack as first-day action concluded. Barry Greenstein was well up the leaderboard in ninth, and other stars such as Phil Hellmuth remain alive in this one. Event #24, $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em/Omaha, a mixed event with alternating formats each level, played its first eight hours as well. Stephen McKinney assumed the overnight lead as this field was trimmed from 457 to 85. Ninth spot held the biggest name in this event's first-day top ten as well, in Max Pescatori.
Another two events begin today. Fans of outright aggression need look no further than the start of today's Event #25, $10,000 World Championship Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em, which will hold its first three bracket-style rounds of heads-up elimination matches today. This field is capped at 256 players. At 5pm, Event #26, $1,500 Razz, gets underway.