320 of the wildest poker players in the world buckled in for a bumpy ride in Event #34, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha w/ Rebuys. The nature of pot-limit Omaha created plenty of action, and the unlimited rebuys available for the first few levels (at a relatively low cost for the WSOP) added to the wildness of the day. By the time the rebuy period was over, the 320 entrants had rebought a staggering 1,350 times, building a prize pool of more than $2.4 million!
Among the rebuy fans in the field were Phil Ivey, J.C. Tran, Layne Flack, Josh Arieh and Tony G. Others present included Tom Schneider, Lee Watkinson, Erick Lindgren, Joe Beevers and Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott. The field was sprinkled through with former world champions as well, with Joe Hachem, Johnny Chan, Greg Raymer, Chris Ferguson and Jamie Gold all taking part.
One hand that demonstrated the wildness of the early levels of play saw Sherkhan Farnood get Chad Brown, Phil Ivey and Layne all in on a flop of . The four players tabled their hands:
Farnood made two pair on the turn, and it held up on the river to give him the pot and bust all three opponents. All three immediately rebought and were back in action the very next hand.
Not everyone used every rebuy at his or her disposal, however. Roy Winston, Paul Magriel, Dan Shak and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi all busted before the end of the rebuy period and chose to fight another day.
The play tightened up somewhat with the end of the rebuy period, but the draw-heavy nature of Omaha kept the pace of eliminations steady. Early bustouts included Terrence Chan, Phil Gordon, Greg Raymer, Tony G and Phil Ivey. Ivey raised preflop in a four-way pot and found three callers. The flop came down , and Ivey bet the pot. After a raise and a reraise, Ivey called off his remaining chips with for a gutshot straight draw and an overpair. Gabe Costner tabled for a set of sixes, and their third opponent showed for the wrap straight draw. The turn ended all discussion, bringing the and giving Costner a full house. No nine or ten appeared on the river, and Costner busted both players.
Other early eliminations included Eric Froehlich, Jamie Gold, Markus Golser and Isaac Haxton. Former world champion Joe Hachem lost a big pot to Mark Vos when his was outflopped by Vos' on a board of , and was eliminated a few hands later. Gavin Smith sent Eugene Todd to the rail when he flopped a set of fours against Todd's A-A-10-x. No help came on the turn or river for Todd, and he was eliminated, bro.
Frank Vizza went on a tear late on Day 1 to finish near the chip lead. Vizza took the chip lead after two big pots that sent David Grey and Andy Black to the rail, but lost that lead to Daniel Makowsky late in the evening. In the first hand, all the chips went in the middle on a flop of , as Grey led out, a player in middle position raised, Vizza reraised, and Grey moved all in. Everyone called and Vizza tabled for a wrap draw. Grey had made top set with , and their opponent held for two pair and a straight draw. The turn gave Vizza the straight, and the river was no help to his opponents, as Vizza claimed two scalps. Andy Black got all his chips in the middle against Vizza on the next hand when the flop came down . Both men had flopped straights as Black held and Vizza showed . The turn kept the chop in order, but the river gave Vizza the Broadway straight and sent Black to the rail.
As the day wore down, the fast-paced action of the event had the money bubble approaching earlier than expected. With less than two hours to go, only 22 eliminations remained before the payouts began. Play halted before pay began, however, as 48 players survived Day 1. Among the last eliminations were J.C. Tran, Sorel Mizzi and Gavin Griffin. Notable survivors included Erik Seidel, Layne Flack, Mike Gracz and Jared Hamby. The top ten chip stacks were as follows at the end of the day:
Frank Vizza 408,000
Daniel Makowsky 397,500
Kyle Kloeckner 343,500
Kevin O'Donnell 266,500
Thomas Wahlroos 237,000
Jerrod Ankenman 191,000
Layne Flack 189,500
Nathan Doudney 181,000
Tim West 168,000
Francisco Azares 164,500
Join PokerNews at 2PM PDT on Thursday as the money bubble bursts and the final table is set for Event #34.