Big names and bigger stories were Sunday's highlights from the WSOP. Established pros Barry Greenstein and Kenny Tran claimed the day' bracelets, while Phil Hellmuth extended his own WSOP final-table and cashes records in a third event. Overall, six events saw action on a busy Sunday at the Rio.
Kenny Tran's first-ever bracelet brings significant bragging rights, since it came in the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em World Championship, Event #25. Tran survived eight different matchup before toppling Alex Torelli 2-0 in a best-of-three final, while Jonathan Jaffe and Vanessa Selbst settled for semifinal showings, the second straight for Selbst in the event. Tran's first career bracelet brought with it a $539,056 payday, while runner-up Torelli collected $336,896.
Barry Greenstein collected career bracelet #3 in Event #26, $1,500 Razz. Greenstein was at or near the top of the board through much of the event, and closed out a win worth $157,619 during the evening's play. This final included Mark Tenner and Vegas gambing legend Archie "The Greek" Karas, though the second spot went to Chris Klodnicki, who walked away with $97,389 for his efforts.
A final table full of big names and side stories developed in a wee-hours wrapup to second-day play in Event #28, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha w/ Rebuys, where Chris "Jesus" Ferguson bubbled in tenth to conclude the session's play. A short-stacked Phil Hellmuth squeezed his way into the final, thereby making his 40th career WSOP final table and breaking the tie he was in with TJ Cloutier. Hours before, Hellmuth had secured his 64th career WSOP cash, extending his own record there as well. Hellmuth has a thin chance to win bracelet #12, but Johnny Chan brings five times as many chips to the final in his own bid for career bracelet #11, which would tie Hellmuth's bracelet mark. Chan sits mid-pack starting the final, while Internet stars Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond and Brian "tsarrast" Rast hold the biggest stacks. The final also includes Daniel Negreanu, Kirill Gerasimov, David Benyamine, John Juanda and Adam Hourani.
Another final-table lineup was almost determined in Event #27, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, but the massive field and deep stacks meant that 17 players still remained when play was halted for the night. Vitaly Lunkin and Kenneth Terrell occupy the top two spots heading into today's play.
Many of poker's biggest names turned out for one of two attractive tourneys with Sunday starts. Getting underway at noon was Event #29, $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em, which featured nine players per table instead of ten, as found in most other WSOP full-table hold'em events. 716 players started and 81 still remained ten levels later, with the money bubble to burst at 72 players early today. This one will play down to a final nine in today's session. Alex Zaslavsky was the Day 1 leader, with Matt Vengrin and John "The Razor" Phan also in the top ten.
Fans of limit hold'em saw the 5pm kickoff of Event #30, the $10,000 Limit Hold'em World Championship. This one drew 218 entrants, 92 of whom survived into Day 2 play. The leaders here are JC Tran and Terrence Chan, with Justin Bonomo, David Oppenheim and Alex Kravchenko also among the top ten. Both the money bubble and the final-table lineup will be determined today.
Only one new event gets underway today at the WSOP, the first single-event starting day in nearly two weeks. It's a popular event, the $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed tourney, Event #31, which overflowed the Amazon Room and occupied much of the nearby Brasilia Room with its noon start.