The 198 players that returned for Day 2 of Event #48, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, had all achieved their first goal, that of cashing in the tournament. With the money bubble bursting just before the end of play on Day 1, the eliminations came in a flood to kick off Day 2, as the short stacks gambled it up in hopes of building a big stack or busting in time to register for the next huge-field no limit tournament. Eric Crain kicked off Day 2 as the chip leader, but he and 188 others headed to the rail on Day 2 as the field thinned to the final table.
By the time that final table was set, some 15 hours after the beginning of Day 2, Crain was on the rail, as were some of the biggest names in the event, including Bryan Devonshire, Nikolay Evdakov and Erica Schoenberg. Evdakov made WSOP history in this event, claiming the title for most cashes in a single World Series. His 158th-place finish was his ninth cash of the series, breaking the previous record of eight cashes, shared by four players.
Other early eliminations included Chau Giang, David "The Dragon" Pham, "Aussie" Sarah Bilney and Blair Rodman, the 2007 winner of this event. Rodman moved all in with , and was called by Vincent Dulac with . The flop of left Rodman in the lead, but the turn made a wheel for Dulac. Rodman needed a five for a chop, but the river sent him to the rail.
Jacobo Fernandez added a few more points to his 2008 Player of the Year lead when he cashed in this event. Fernandez got all his chips in good on a flop of with pocket aces to Sverre Sundbo's pocket jacks, but Sundbo caught perfect on the turn and river, as the cards came down to give Sundbo the straight and send Fernandez to the rail.
Robert Brewer made his case for the final table early when he sent two players to the rail in quick succession. In the first hand, Brewer got his money in ahead of Sergei Veyster with to Veyster's , but the flop of changed everything. The turn was no help, but the river made a set for Brewster and sent Veyster to the rail. On the next hand, Brewer picked up pocket jacks, and busted Erik Cajelais, who held . No help came for Cajelais on the board, and he was done. Brewer rode those eliminations all the way to a seat at the final table.
Play slowed as the field thinned, and the flood of eliminations slowed to a trickle after the dinner break. Lou Esposito was eliminated in 28th place ($16,024) by Ryan D'Angelo when D'Angelo's K-9 outflopped Esposito's pocket tens on a board of K-2-6-8-8.
Dan "Wretchy" Martin busted in 16th ($25,302) place when he moved all in over the top of Daniel Rome's preflop raise with . Rome called with . The board ran out , and Martin was eliminated.
Kirill Gerasimov was all in several times on Day 2, with the last one at the expense of Kenneth Shelton. Shelton moved all in preflop with , and Gerasimov called all in for less with . Gerasimov made a set on the board of , and he moved up off the short stack, leaving Shelton crippled. Shelton busted in 14th place ($35,843) a few hands later when he called Gerasimov's preflop shove with . Gerasimov tabled , and the board bricked out to send Shelton to the rail.
Day 2 chip leader Eric Crain made it almost to the final table before he busted in 13th place. Crain moved all in over the top of Daniel Rome with , and Rome called with . The flop hit Rome solidly with Q-A-Q, and Crain was drawing thin. No help arrived on the turn or river, and his tournament was over in 13th place ($35,843).
After Eddie Kinzler was eliminated in 11th place ($46,385) to consolidate play to one table, Sergey Rybachenko became the final-table bubble boy in cruel fashion. Ryan D'Angelo raised preflop, and Rybachenko went over the top, all in with . D'Angelo called with , and the flop came down . D'Angelo hit top pair on the flop, but Rybachenko made bottom set. The turn gave D'Angelo outs with the , and the Qs on the river made runner-runner straight and sent Rybachenko to the rail in 10th place ($46,386).
With Rybachenko's elimination, the final table was set. The chip counts looked like this as the weary final nine headed off to bed:
Seat 1: Dan Rome (Millington, Illinois) – 650,000
Seat 2: Ryan D'Angelo (Blacksburg, Virginia) – 520,000
Seat 3: Marco Johnson (Walnut Creek, California) – 2,135,000
Seat 4: Kirill Gerasimov (Moscow, Russia) – 1,145,000
Seat 5: Robert Brewer (Sherman Oaks, California) – 1,050,000
Seat 6: Gabe Costner (Long Beach, Mississippi) – 1,475,000
Seat 7: Alan Cutler (Vernon Hills, Illinois) – 535,000
Seat 8: Alexandre Gomes (Curitiba, Brazil) – 1,075,000
Seat 9: Sverre Sundbo (Oslo, Norway) – 685,000
Join PokerNews at 3PM PDT for all the live updates as the final nine take their shot at the bracelet.