Event #31, $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed, had already burst its money bubble in Day 1 action, so Day 2 was a fast-paced race to a six-handed final table. Dario Minieri was one of the chip leaders coming into the day and continued to parlay his aggressive style into the top spot going into the final table. Although Minieri cashed in both the 2006 and 2007 WSOP Championship events, this is his first money finish in a preliminary event and also his first WSOP final table.
"It's me and you against the world," said 1998 WSOP Champion Scotty Nguyen to Kevin Song in a hand that would eventually leave Nguyen the short stack with seven players left. In the end it was Scotty Nguyen against the final-table bubble, a battle he would ultimately lose.
The six-player final table:
Dario Minieri — 1,721,000
Kevin Song — 1,173,000
Justin Filtz — 891,000
John O'Shea — 589,000
Seth Fischer — 508,000
Stuart Marshak — 183,000
Day 2 started with 73 players who wasted no time in mixing it up with others on their quest to reach the final table. The fact that the field was still very deep-stacked, with the average chip count hovering around 50 big blinds, didn't offset the aggression required to navigate the combative short-handed tables. Short stacks pushed early in a "double-up or die" strategy, adding to the frenetic pace. James Haver pushed his short stack with pocket threes to flip a coin against Shannon Shorr's A-K. Haver was the first elimination of the day, finishing in 73rd place, when an ace fell on the flop. German pro Sebastian Ruthenberg was also an early casualty, going out in 68th place.
Justin Filtz got a leg up on the day in a hand against Eric Lucas. All the money went in on the flop of . Lucas had to Filtz' . The on the turn improved Lucas' two pair, but the on the river delivered Filtz' flush and sent Lucas home in 59th place. Billy Westom was not as lucky with his , unsuccessfully running it up against Bill Chen's pocket jacks. Chen built a nice stack when no help came for Westom, who was eliminated in 40th place. Only moments earlier, Max Pescatori's bid for a second bracelet ended when his Q-J couldn't overcome Brendan Keenan's A-J, putting Pescatori out in 41st.
Shannon Shorr was responsible for the first elimination of the day, but couldn't avoid the same fate. Bruno Fitoussi was having a nice run on Day 2 and Shorr was just one of the reasons why. When the two collided, Fitoussi's A-J had Shorr's A-10 dominated. The board brought both an ace and a jack, just strengthening Fitoussi's advantage and assuring Shorr's 32nd-place finish.
Justin Filtz personally ended Bill Chen's quest for another bracelet. All the money went in on the turn with a board showing Q-8-7-6. Filtz had 8-6 for two pair, while Chen had 9-8 for a pair and the open-ended straight draw. A jack on the river sent Chen to the rail in 19th place. Filtz would also be responsible for ending Fitoussi's spectacular run. Fitoussi had to like the pre-flop odds when his A-Q went up against Filtz' Q-10. But the board delivered both a queen and a fortune-reversing ten, sending Fitoussi out in 11th place.
At the start of Day 2, Alon Shahar had the chip lead, with Dario Minieri in second place. Near the end of the day, the two would meet in a fate-determining hand for Shahar. All the money went in on a J-7-3 flop with Shahar's 8-7 trailing Minieri's K-7. The remaining board changed nothing and Shahar's tournament ended in 10th place.
It was understandably tense when just seven players remained, awaiting one more elimination before the day's end and resulting final table. But Scotty Nguyen always does a good job of diffusing tension.
Justin Filtz: "Where did you get all your necklaces from, Scotty?"
Scotty Nguyen: "From all you guys."
As the final-table bubble played on, Nguyen's chances at another bracelet dimmed as he lost a good portion of his stack to Kevin Song in a hand he had to lay down after an A-4-4 flop. Song showed exposed pocket kings after the hand. Nguyen subsequently pushed all in with pocket tens and was called by Seth Fischer with . Fischer caught the flush on a board and Scotty Nguyen finished in seventh place.
Check back with the PokerNews "Live Reporting" team on Wednesday afternoon for all the fast-paced final table action this event is sure to provide.