2008 WSOP Event #35, $1,500 Seven Card Stud Day 2: Rocco, Barbieri Lead
Michael Rocco will go into the final table with a slim lead over Al "Sugar Bear" Barbieri as they and six others battle for the bracelet and the $135,753 first prize in Event #35, $1,500 Seven Card Stud. Rocco hopes to add a first-place finish in this event to his win in the 2003 Five Diamond WPT seven-card stud event. Barbieri, who has already cashed at this year's WSOP, has his own first-place finish in a WPT seven-card stud event, The Legends of Poker. They are up against bracelet winner Andre Boyer and three other players who have had multiple cashes in stud events.
The seating assignments and chip counts of the final eight are:
Seat 1: Levon Torosyan (Los Angeles, California) — 114,500
Seat 2: Al Barbieri (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) — 252,500
Seat 3: Max Troy (Los Angeles, California) — 88,500
Seat 4: Michael Rocco (Las Vegas, Nevada) — 255,000
Seat 5: Giacomo D'Agostino (North Providence , Rhode Island) — 123,000
Seat 6: Andre Boyer (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) — 106,000
Seat 7: Jeffrey Siegal (Daly City, California) — 150,000
Seat 8: Danny Kalpakis (Ajax, Ontario, Canada) — 55,000
A number of well-known pros were among the 70 players still in the hunt for the bracelet when Day 2 began, but one by one they were sent packing, some before the money bubble. Former WSOP bracelet winner Katja Thater was out before the money when her full house just wasn't good enough. Thater had pushed the last of her chips in against Craig Thomson and he made the call. They turned over their hands and Thater was behind J-6-J-Q to Thomson's K-2-2-2. Thater improved to two pair thanks to running fours on fifth and sixth streets, but Thomson caught a king on fifth street to make deuces full of kings. "You could still make a full house," he told Thater, and she did, hitting the jack on the river. But Thomson flipped over his last card, another king, giving him a bigger boat and ending Thater's tournament hopes early in the day.
Other notables who didn't survive long enough to cash included end of Day 1 chip leader Leonardo Ebeling, Greg Mueller, Jens Voertmann, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Cory Zeidman, Sam Grizzle, and LA Lakers' owner Jerry Buss, who is having a bad week.
40 players, especially those nursing very short stacks, were very thankful to Owen Mitchell for taking the title of bubble boy for this event. Mitchell missed a big draw against Charles Moore to lose most of his stack just before play went hand-for-hand with the bubble looming. Ten minutes later, he was heads up with Ed Fernandez. Mitchell had check-called Fernandez all the way to sixth street where he decided to push in the rest of his chips with split tens. Fernandez called with split jacks. With neither improving on the river, Mitchell was out in 41st place.
Al "Sugar Bear" Barbieri had a see-saw day that ended on the upside, just out of first place in chips. Just after crossing the money bubble, Barbieri pushed all in on third street against Stefan Rapp. Barbieri showed  ; Rapp showed  . Rapp caught another ace and ended with aces up. Barbieri didn't make his straight or flush, but ended with trip fives, enough for a timely double up. He doubled up again soon after courtesy of Chris Tryba. Barbieri had raised all in with a board of [x-x] and Tryba called with a board showing [x-x] . Barbieri turned over for two pair, tens and eights. Tryba revealed for a pair of jacks. Seventh street missed both players and Barbieri moved up. Then, in late back-to-back hands, Barbieri made his big surge up the leaderboard. He had aces up against Sabyl Landrum and then hit queens up against Chris Tryba to bring his chip stack to well over 200,000.
Along the way to the final eight, many more big names fell by the wayside including John "World" Hennigan, Chip Jett, Chad Brown, Greg Pappas and Landrum. Greg Pappas began the day second in chips, but he was out in 13th place, taking home $6,240, when his lowly pair of sixes was no match for the powerhouse sixes and deuces of Max Troy. Landrum was out next after pushing all in on fourth street against Roy Rose. Landrum had split queens, but Rose had jacks as his down cards and hit his third jack on fourth street. Landrum improved to queens and kings by fifth street, but never filled up. She earned $8,841 for her 12th-place finish.
Levon Torosyan was particularly happy to make it to the finals. He had been eliminated last year by Greg Pappas and faced him twice near the end of Day 2, but Torosyan avoided elimination this time. And while he was unable to return the favor to Pappas, he was responsible for ending Charles Moore's day just shy of the final table. Torosyan's three queens knocked out Moore, holding kings and tens, sending Moore out in ninth place with $11,441.
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