It was a frontrunner's day at the WSOP on Monday, as both events that saw bracelets awarded wound up having those bracelets awarded to the players leading those events at the start of the day. Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond and Vitaly Lunkin claimed gold in the day's action, while play continued in three more events with two more finals set for Tuesday.
Galfond, a well-known Internet force, is now likely Madison, WI's second-most famous poker son named Phil, which is an oddity since the most famous Phil from the Midwest's Mad City, Phil Hellmuth Jr., was also at the final of Event #28, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha w/ Rebuys. Hellmuth departed early, however, while Johnny Chan exited halfway through in his bid to tie Hellmuth for most career WSOP bracelets at 11. In the end only David Benyamine and Adam "the_houdini" Hourani stood in Galfond's way; Hourani surged from well back to dispatch Benyamine in third but could not overcome Galfond's sizable lead when all was done. Galfond collected $817,781 with the win, while Hourani's surge to second brought him $493,748.
Russian pro Vitaly Lunkin led a pack of 17 players into the last day of action in Event #27, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Lunkin had dropped from the lead when the official final table was set, with Brett Kimes and Philip Yeh leading the way, but stormed back to take the title after a series of final-able knockouts. This was by far Lunkin's largest career cash and was worth $628,417, while Kimes, the second-place finisher, pocketed $387,837.
Two more events settled on their final-table lineups. 81 players from an initial field over 700 returned for Day 2 battle in Event #29, $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em. The first order of business was cracking the 72-player money bubble, which happened early in the day, and after a full day's action the final table was reached. Matt Vengrin edged above the million-chip mark to lead the way, with Johnny Neckar in second at 796,000, and all the others between 300,000 and 540,000. Among them is Tony "Bond18" Dunst, an occasional columnist here at PokerNews.
A lineup heavier on name recognition will compise the final of Event #30, the $10,000 Limit Hold'em World Championship. Aaron Katz overtook Euro star Rob Hollink late in the session to lead the way to this event's last day, with Andy Bloch, Jerrod Ankenman and Brock "t soprano" Parker also among the finalists.
The day's only new event was the popular (and resource-intensive) Event #31, $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed. Aron Shahar grabbed the Day 1 lead as a 1,102-player field was trimmed all the way down to 73. Shahar can't rest easy, however, with the uber-aggressive Dario Minieri in second place, vacuuming up chips. Others still alive here include Scotty Nguyen, Bill Chen and Max Pescatori.
Two more events will start up on another busy Tuesday at the Rio. The noon starter was Event #32, another of the popular $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em events, which, as always, consumed all available space. At 5pm enough space will have cleared for Event #33, $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low World Championship, to begin.