Two more bracelets were awarded on Thursday in 2008 World Series of Poker action at the Rio, including one in an event where popular player Chris "Jesus" Ferguson fell just short of winning his sixth bracelet. That bracelet, in Event #33, the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low World Championship, went instead to emerging European star Sebastian Ruthenberg.
Ruthenberg and Ferguson were the last two players in a powerful finale that also featured Annie Duke and Marcel Luske, and which had seen David Benyamine and Howard Lederer bubble the final table. Ferguson actually held the lead when heads-up play began, but a couple of scoops in late, big hands spelled the difference for Ruthenberg, who collected $328,756 with the win. Ferguson's runner-up showing was worth $202,406.
The day's biggest prize, $573,374, went to Californian Jose Luis Velador, the champion in Event #32, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Velador came to the final table with a healthy lead and early on it looked like this one would be a rout, but he was eventually challenged by Anthony Signore, who pulled nearly even early in heads-up play. Velador reestablished control, however, and put away the win. Signore's consolation prize wasn't bad, at $366,387.
Event #34, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha w/ Rebuys, played down to its final table on the day. This one is led by Kyle Kloeckner at 845,000 in chips, but this won't be a walk in the park for Kloeckner; four other players bring over 600,000 in chips to the final, including Ted Forrest (757,000), Dario Alioto (659,000) and Layne Flack (601,000). They're all among the survivors of the early rebuy frenzy that swelled the prize pool well over $2 million, with $577,725 on the line for first.
The $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Event #35 also set its final-table lineup. This final is really anyone's to take, though Michael Rocco and Al "Sugar Bear" Barbieri have opened up a small lead over the other six players entering Day 3 action.
Two more events began on Thursday. Event #36, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, played all the way inside the money from a starting pack of over 2,000 players. The leader here is Canadian online star Owen "ocrowe" Crowe, who amassed 170,000 in chips on the opening day. Over in Event #37, the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo World Championship, not quite half of the players were sent packing on Day 1 play. The current leaderboard is headed by Soheil Shamseddin, and the top ten is formidable, also including Erick Lindgren, Chau Giang, Bruno Fitoussi, Annie Duke, Brad Booth and Tony Ma.
In a slight respite from the recent two-per-day pace, Friday brings the start of only one new event – Event #38, $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em.