Another pair of bracelets found worthy owners in action on Saturday at the World Series of Poker, while one of the two most illustrious events on the WSOP schedule, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, settled on its eight-player final-table lineup.
On Day 4 of the H.O.R.S.E. tourney, action started with 24 players in the running, with the first barrier of the day being the 16-player money bubble. Among those exiting just short of the money were Chad Brown, Gabe Kaplan, James "mig.com" Mackey, and, as the bubble boy, Mike Wattel. Inside the money more huge names departed, including Doyle Brunson, Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and, just off the final table, Ralph Perry. The final table remains potent, however, with Erick Lindgren leading the way and eyeing not only the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, but a jump to the top of the 2008 WSOP Player of the Year standings. Scotty Nguyen negotiated his way through the competition to enter the final in second place, with Barry Greenstein, Lyle Berman and Huck Seed also in the hunt.
One of two bracelets awarded on Saturday was passed out in Event #46, $5,000 No-Limit Six-Handed, where early leaders Richard Lyndaker and Joe Commisso dispensed with the other finalists and conducted a marathon duel for the title. In the end Commisso prevailed, collecting one of the largest paydays of the Series to date, at $911,855. Lyndaker, who started the day with the lead, still took home a nice $570,551 prize as the runner-up.
The second of Saturday's two bracelets went to Ryan Hughes in Event #47, $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Low, the second bracelet of Hughes' career, which, like the first, came in a stud hi/low event. Hughes become the first player ever to win more than one stud hi/lo tourney at the WSOP, and his victory here was worth $183,368. Ron Long, Hughes' final challenger – and who also had the chance to win his second stud hi/low bracelet, earned $113,240.
Event #48, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, successfully played down to its final table though dawn approached before the last nine players were determined. Moving out to a healthy lead here entering the final was online star Marco "CrazyMarco" Johnson, with Gabe Costner in second. Russian star Kirill Gerasimov mounted an amazing comeback from severe short-stack status to climb to third place by night's end and place himself well within the mix.
Event #49, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, drew a massive 2,718-player field to the field, and as with all other $1,500 NL events this year, occupied every available table at the Rio. This event played all the way into the money with 215 players still alive entering today's Day 2 play. It's still a long way to the final nine, but Micah Raskin, the overnight leader, has the shortest path. A surprising number of well-known players made it into the Day 1 top ten, including Young Phan, Greg "FBT" Mueller, Manny Minaya, Matt Matros, Greg Merkow and JC Tran. With 215 players remaining, though, a lengthy Day 2 is assured.
Two more events get underway on Sunday. Starting at noon was Event #50, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship, boasting a field of over 300 (at early estimate) of the world's best players. Among them early on were Erick Lindgren and Barry Greenstein, both attempting to build up their starting stacks before their own H.O.R.S.E. final-table appearances later in the day. 5pm brings the start of Event #5, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., a rather more affordable version of the format than the World Championship under the big lights today.