When the game is No Limit 2-7 Draw with Rebuys, and the buy-in is $5,000, you know the field will be an elite one. Event #18 did not disappoint, with 85 players adding in an astounding 272 rebuys to build a $1,735,020 prize pool. Among the stars in the field were Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, Billy Baxter and 2007 deuce-to-seven bracelet winner Erik Seidel, who rushed over just before registration closed after busting from the final table of the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud World Championship.
No-limit 2-7 draw, or Kansas City Lowball, is a draw poker game where the object is to get the worst five-card poker hand. In this lowball variant, straights count against the player, and aces always play high, so the best hand is 2-3-4-5-7. There are two variants of 2-7 lowball, draw and triple draw. In Event #18, the players had one draw to improve their hand, while Event #40 will feature 2-7 triple draw. In no-limit 2-7 draw, players were not allowed to limp into the pot, but had to open the betting action for a raise. This, along with the rebuy nature of the event, increased the level of gamble in the room to a level as yet unseen in the 2008 WSOP.
Very few players were eliminated before the end of the rebuy period, with Roland de Wolfe among the few who did not rebuy as often as needed. Once the rebuy period was over, however, several big stars headed to the rail quickly. Among the early eliminations was 2007 winner Erik Seidel, who busted at the hands of Tom Dwan. Dwan also busted Scotty Nguyen when his 7-5 low beat Nguyen and Shawn Sheikhan in a three-way pot. Sheikhan still had chips at the end of the hand, but Nguyen headed to the rail. Dwan built a stack early, and rode it to the chip lead at the end of Day 1.
With such a stacked field, almost every elimination was a "name" player, as the field played down from 85 to 39 over the course of Day 1. Among the bustouts were Patrik Antonius, Billy Baxter, Greg Raymer and Gus Hansen. Hansen busted to Mickey Appleman when he moved all in from early position, and only Appleman came along. Appleman stood pat, and Hansen drew two. Appleman tabled 8-6-5-3-2, and Hansen mucked his cards on the way to the exit.
Andrew Black was one of the last to fall on Day 1 when he got the last of his chips in the middle in a three-way pot with Chad Brown and Tom Schneider. All three players drew one card, and Brown showed 9-7-5-4-2. Black flashed a 10-8, and headed to the rail as Brown scooped the pot. Joining Brown as survivors of Day 1 were stars such as Mike Matusow, Michael Binger, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Tom Schneider and Erick Lindgren. The top ten chip stacks looked like this at the end of Day 1:
Tom Dwan 238,900
Mike Matusow 174,500
Tom Schneider 153,500
Chris Ferguson 149,000
Stephen Wolff 138,900
Yan R Chen 136,700
Doyle Brunson 135,000
David Benyamine 132,200
Michael Binger 131,300
Phil Ivey 122,300
Join PokerNews at 3PM PDT as the remaining 39 players play down to a final table of nine for Wednesday's finale.