It was another day filled with action at the 2008 World Series of Poker. Thursday brought the awarding of two bracelets, the setting of lineups for two more final tables, and a third pair of events charged from the gate. Both of Thursday's bracelet winners were first-time WSOP champs, Michael Banducci in Event #5 and Thang Luu in Event #6. Both were also frontrunners in their respective finals, each beginning the day with the lead in chips and winding up with all of them at the end.
Banducci's victory came in the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em w/ Rebuys tourney, where he held off an experienced cast to claim the $636,736 winner's payday. Former Main Event finalist Michael Binger was one of the short stacks and bowed out early, and the title eventually came down to a three-way batte between Banducci, Jeff Williams and Peter Gould. Banducci flopped a set to send Gould to the rail in third, then made short work of Williams to complete the win. Williams' second-place finish was worth $ 406,330, while Gould collected $245,993 for finishing third.
Thang Luu's performance in Event #6, $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo found him expanding on a lead he established late in the second day of that event. Spencer Lawrence eventually pulled near even as heads-up play began, following the culling of the other finalists, but Luu again took command and eventually finished off the win. The triumph was worth $243,356 for Luu, while runner-up Lawrence pocketed $156,343.
Much of the attention in the Amazon Room was focused on Day 2 of Event #8, the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Games event featuring eight different poker disciplines. 2007 WSOP Player of the Year Tom Schneider, the Day 1 leader, made it into the money before running out of cards and exiting in 12th, and David Oppenheim's ouster in ninth set the eight-player, star-packed final. Matt Glantz will begin today's closing session with a healthy lead, but the lineup here is formidable, including online stars James "mig.com" Mackey and Tom "durrrr" Dwan, veteran Big Game players Sammy Farha and Eli Elezra, and others.
Also playing down to its final table was Event #7, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, where Theo Tran began play with the lead and expanded it throughout the day. Tan will begin the final table (already his second of this year's WSOP), with a nearly 2:1 margin in chips over his closest competitors, Matt Keikoan and Mihai Manole. Shannon Shorr, JC Tran and Alex Bolotin also have seats in this final.
Event #9, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed, and Event #10, Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low-8 or Better. Matt Matros had the best day of any in the Event #9 opening session, building up from his starting stack of 4,000 to 155,600 by day's end. The 71 survivors here are already well inside the money bubble and will likely settle the final-table lineup by early evening. The same can't be said for Event #10, the $2,500 Omaha-Stud Hi/Low mixed event. Jordan Rich leads the pak after the opening day's eight levels of play, but this one has plenty of action to offer on Friday… and plenty of big names in the mix.
Friday once again serves up two more event starts. At noon, Event #11, $5,000 No_limit Hold'em Shootout should be a wild affair, while the late (5:00 PM) start is reserved for Event #12, $1,500 Limit Hold'em. It's the heart of the schedule for the early stretch of the '08 WSOP, with famous players at every turn and action in all quadrants of the Amazon Room.