Two more poker players wrote themselves into WSOP history as first-time bracelet winners during Friday's action at the Rio, while four more events trimmed their fields on another busy mid-Series day. With a big weekend looming and a run of "World Championship" events just ahead, it's the busiest stretch on the schedule during the WSOP's 2008 run.
Scott Seiver came close to making his first final table just a week ago, settling for a solid 13th-place finish in the recent $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em event. This time, in Event #21, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em, not only did he make the final, but he built a commanding lead as well, one he would never relinquish on the way to a $755,856 winner's payday, one of the largest of the series to date. Seiver was relentless in picking off the shorter stacks as the final table progressed, and the last to fall was Dave Seidman, who settled – if that's the word – for a $482,372 second-place consolation prize.
The day's other bracelet came much later, in an event with plenty of star power at the table. Event #22, $5,000 H.O.R.S.E., saw Marcel "The Flying Dutchman" Luske arrive at the final with a narrow lead, and while he was in it until late, he eventually departed in third position. Heads-up action for the bracelet and $299,253 first-place money came down to a duel between Jens Voertmann and Doug Ganger, with Voertmann ultimately outlasting Ganger for the title. Ganger's runner-up showing was worth $182,822.
Two more final tables were set in Friday's action. Event #23, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, saw its final nine congeal from a start-of-day field of more than 100. Dustin Dirksen started the day with the lead and stayed near the top throughout, and will come to this final third in chips, behind Andrew Jeffreys and Blair Hinkle. Hinkle will be trying to match his brother Grant Hinkle's feat of winning a bracelet in this year's series.
Over in Event #24, $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha/Hold'em, the final table for today was settled very late as action rolled on in the Brasilia Room until nearly 5am, nearby to the Amazom Room in the Rio's Convention Center. Kyle Kloeckner pulled into a narrow chip lead as David Penly bubbled in tenth spot, but Allen Cunninghan is close behind Kloeckner, and Max Pescatori and Minh Ly are also among those making the Saturday final in this event as well.
Event #25, the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em World Championship, saw a capped field of 256 entrants – with many big names trying to register just before the event but failing to gain entry — play down to 32 in a lengthy first three rounds of play. Among those surviving through to Day 2 include recent bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst, the Mizrachi brothers (Robert and Michael), Brandon Adams, Sammy Farha, Kenny Tran, Erick Lindgren, Gavin Griffin, Andy Black, Alex Jacob, David Williams, Lyle Berman and many others. They'll play down to the final four in Saturday's three rounds.
Event #26, $1,500 Razz, saw Barry Greenstein move to the top of the pack as a field of well over 400 was trimmed to only 104 by night's end. In sixth spot overnight was Vanessa Rousso, with players such as Andy Bloch and Tom Schneider also still in the mix.
The heart of the 2008 WSOP schedule continues with yet two more events scheduled to get underway on Saturday. A huge turnout is expected for the noon start of Event #27, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, while the 5pm start time is reserved for Event #28, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha w/ Rebuys. In 2007, both of these events built huge prize pools, among the largest, outside of the Main Event itself, in the entire series.