Sixty-eight players returned to the Brasilia Room at the Rio on Wednesday to play down to the final table of Event #43, $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo. After a lightning-fast Day 1, all the remaining players were well within the money, and looking for their shot at the gold. Among the field were Erik Seidel, Sam Khouiss and world champions Chris Ferguson and Joe Hachem. By the end of Day 2, all but one of these name pros would be on the rail (or into the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament), while Jon Maren rose to the top of the leaderboard.
The day started out fast for Joe Hachem, as he sent two players to the rail on one of the very first hands. All the money went in preflop, as Hachem tabled A-A-6-3 against Greg Hurst's A-10-6-2 and Lou Piccioni's 9-5-2-2. Hachem's aces held up on a board of Q-10-4-J-5, and Hurst and Piccioni headed to the rail. The day started off with a steady pace of eliminations, as more than 20 players, including Chris Ferguson, busted out in the first two levels. That pace was markedly slower than the rapid-fire bustouts on Day 1, which at one point averaged nearly 100 players per level!
Day 1 chip leader Ed Smith was eliminated midway through Day 2 when he moved all in over the top of Jon Maren with . Maren called with , and flopped the nut flush on a board of . Smith needed runner-runner help to chop, and went to the rail in 23rd ($5,601) when the turn and river ran out . Later eliminations on Day 2 included Joe Hachem, Chip Jett and Sam Khouiss.
As the players dwindled and the number of tables continued to shrink, eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel went on a tear, moving from a short stack to chip leader, finally finishing the day second in chips. He started his run by doubling through Joseph Haddad with . Seidel moved all in over the top of Haddad's preflop raise, and Haddad called with . The board ran out to give Seidel the full house and the double-up.
Seidel continued his climb up the stacks at the expense of Jim Geary, sending Geary home in a three-way pot with Daniel Klein. Seidel raised preflop with , and Klein called. Geary called all in, and Seidel and Klein checked the flop. Seidel fired after the turn, and Klein called to see the fall on the river. Klein folded to Seidel's all-in move on the river, and Geary mucked to Seidel's nut low with a pair of fives for the high. Geary picked up $9,828 for his 15th-place finish.
Just before the dinner break, Seidel doubled through chip leader Martin Klaser to take the lead when he pushed all in preflop with . Klaser called with , and Seidel made trip kings on the board to scoop and capture the chip lead.
Ten players went to dinner break, needing one more elimination to set the final table. The chip stacks and seat assignments looked like this as the final ten collected around one table:
Seat 1: Daniel Klein - 160,000
Seat 2: Joseph Haddad - 135,000
Seat 3: Tom Chambers - 283,000
Seat 4: Larry Wright - 150,000
Seat 5: Chad Burum - 120,000
Seat 6: Michael Fetter - 290,000
Seat 7: Jonathan Maren - 210,000
Seat 8: Martin Klaser - 345,000
Seat 9: Erik Seidel - 320,000
Daniel Klein became the final-table bubble boy when he busted just after the players returned. Klein re-raised Jonathan Maren preflop, with just a few chips behind. Maren called, and the flop came . The last of Klein's chips went in the middle, and he showed for the overpair. Maren tabled for a pair of fives and the nut low draw. The turn gave Maren trip fives, and the river gave him the scoop and send Klein home in 10th place ($12,285). That pot gave Maren a slight edge in chips over Erik Seidel going into the final table.
The final table chip stacks were as follows as the players bagged up their chips and headed to bed:
Jonathan Maren — 377,000
Erik Seidel — 340,000
Martin Klaser — 337,000
Michael Fetter — 288,000
Tom Chambers — 263,000
Casey Kastle — 188,000
Joseph Haddad — 135,000
Larry Wright — 117,000
Chad Burum — 117,000
Join PokerNews at 2PM PDT for the final table as Erik Seidel tries for his ninth bracelet.