A special evening's "daily summary" for 2008 WSOP action comes your way to account for today's extended action in Event #53, $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout. Originally conceived as a two-day event, the second round of the opening day's original session was halted for the night after two levels – this following a lengthy Round 1 that lasted well into the night — with 72 of 90 second-round players still in the running. Only in the last few minutes before this summary appears has the second round, what was originally conceived as the end of Day 1 in the event, finished, with Matt Graham eliminating Duane Graff Jr. to claim the final spot.
Graham's second-round victory places him at the final with eight other players, all chasing the event's $278,180 first prize. He'll be joined in the final, which begins yet on Wednesday evening, by Andrew Prock, Brandon Wong, Danny Wong, Jean-Robert Bellande, Joe DeNiro, John Kranyak, Matt Graham, Mike Kachan and Spencer Lawrence.
Also continuing this evening is the final table of Event #52, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Corwin Cole took a narrow lead to the final table but was eliminated in fifth place, not long before a dinner break. At last check, three players were battling for the title – Scott Sitron, David Daneshgar and Dan Heimiller.
Action in other events within the past 24 hours involved a couple of big names that didn't win events where they were among the favorites to do so. The biggest story of the nght was Phil Hellmuth's chase for a record 12th career WSOP bracelet in Event #51, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., where he entered the final day's play – as one of 20 players remaining – with the lead. Hellmuth held strong to make the final table but finished third, while relative unknown James Schaaf claimed the jewelry and $256,412 winner's check. Runner-up Tommy Hang settled for a $158,933 payday, while Hellmuth's third-place run was worth $93,168.
Event #50, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship, saw Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi come to the final with a healthy lead, distinctive in that Michael's brother, Robert, won the same event a year ago. As with Hellmuth in the H.O.R.S.E. event, Michael Mizrachi went very deep here but also finished third, worth $331,279. The title came down to a brief showdown between Peter Jetten and 2007 Irish Open champion Marty Smyth. The deciding hand saw all the chips go in when both players flopped the same nut straight, but Smyth also had a freeroll on a flush draw, which got there on the river for the win. The very valuable flush completer wrapped up an $859,532 win for Smyth, while Jetten's second-place run was worth $528,257.
Tomorrow, Thursday, brings the start of Day 1a of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event, the first of four Day 1 sessions that run through Sunday. The initial four days will be followed by an off day on Monday, July 7th, after which action resumes until the lineup for the November finale is determined. Other action at the Rio today included the celebrity-packed "Ante Up For Africa" fundraiser event, which drew plenty of stars from other pursuits and had a line of fans waiting hundreds deep in the Convention Center hallway hoping for glimpses of their favorites.