In a field as deep and storied as Event #45, $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, the names at the top of the leader board may change, but they will undoubtedly be recognizable. James "mig.com" Mackey took the chip lead into Day 2, but at the end of the day it was "Big Game" regular and WPT founder Lyle Berman with the biggest chip stack of the 67 remaining superstars.
140 of the starting 148 returned to the felt for Day 2, with the deep stacks and the limit format keeping all but a few alive through Day 1. The bustouts came much more quickly on Day 2, with some big names heading to the rail very early in the day. Andy Black, Tony G and Chris Ferguson were among the early exits, and David Singer headed to the rail early on Day 2, marking the first time in the three years of this event that he missed the final table. Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler sent Annie Duke to the exit when Duke got all her chips in the middle on a board of . Duke tabled for top pair, but Kessler had her outkicked with . The river was no help for Duke, and she was eliminated.
The lineup from the 2007 final table lost a few more members on Day 2, including runner-up Bruno Fitoussi. Fitoussi went out in a round of razz when he bricked out and busted to Hasan Habib's J-low. 2007 H.O.R.S.E. champion Freddy Deeb went to the rail after an Omaha hi/lo hand with Steve Zolotow when they got it all in on the ace-high flop. Deeb's top pair was no good against Zolotow's top set, and his hopes for a repeat victory ended early.
Other notable eliminations on Day 2 included Alex Kravchenko, Ted Forrest, Howard Lederer and David Benyamine. Benyamine got the last of his chips in on sixth street in stud hi/lo against Doyle Brunson with  . Brunson tabled  , and picked up the on seventh street for a pair of sevens and a smooth six-low. Benyamine took a peek at his last card and mucked, unable to hold on against the living legend. Brunson started this event with greater determination than ever, as the trophy for this event was named after his recently-deceased friend, Chip Reese. Reese won the inaugural $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event in 2006 and passed away unexpectedly this past year. Brunson remarked on several occasions leading up to the WSOP about how much it would mean to him to win this particular event. Brunson finished Day 2 among the chip leaders, joining Berman, Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu as stars in the top of the field.
Even more big names headed to the rail as the end of Day 2 neared. Gus Hansen dodged many all-in situations on Day 2 before finally succumbing in a three-way pot with Allen Cunningham and Thor Hansen. All of Gus Hansen's money went in on the flop; after he led out, Cunningham raised and Thor Hansen reraised. Gus Hansen called and Cunningham got out of the way as Gus tabled . Thor showed and sent Gus to the rail when the turn and river came down . With no flush and no low, Gus Hansen's tournament was over. Other late eliminations included Patrik Antonius, Tom Schneider, Todd Brunson and Mike Matusow.
By the end of Day 2, less than half the field remained, with only 67 survivors at night's end. Lyle Berman edged past Patrick Bueno at the end of the day to take a slight chip lead as the top ten chip stacks overnight are as follows:
Lyle Berman — 507,000
Patrick Bueno — 485,500
Barry Greenstein — 473,000
Minh Ly — 451,000
Chris Reslock — 435,500
Joseph Michael — 401,000
Erick Lindgren — 397,500
Justin Bonomo — 384,000
Daniel Negreanu — 374,500
Doyle Brunson — 366,000
Join PokerNews at 3PM PDT on Friday for all the updates as the field continues to thin on Day 3.