Action continued in several events on Monday as the preliminary phase of the 2008 World Series of Poker moved closer to concluding, on the day first full day of action following Scotty Nguyen's popular triumph in Event #45, the #50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship. Another highly regarded pro plugged a hole in an otherwise excellent poker resume by claiming the day's single awarded bracelet, that being JC Tran in Event $49, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em.
Tran's victory in the no-limit event came at the expense of trip leader Rasmus Nielsen, who dominated the final table and entered the heads-up duel against Tran with a 5:2 margin in chips, but was unable to hold off the veteran's charge. It took only about two hours for Tran to pull off and complete the comeback, finally exiting the stage with the jewelry and a waiting check for $631,170. Nielsen, the runner-up, collected $389,557.
Two more events worked through their second day of action on Monday, with one successfully settling on a final-table lineup while the other came up short, necessitating an extended session today. Event #50, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship, featured a fearsome lineup of pros, headed at the start of the day by Josh Arieh, who was in contention for much of the day before exiting in 12th. The leader entering the final table turned out to be Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who will come to today's final with the inside track on the event's $859,549 first prize. Kido Pham, Billy "The Croc" Argyros and Marty Smyth are among the others in this final.
The other event playing its second day was Event #51, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., where action was halted with 20 players still remaining. Phil Hellmuth started the day with the lead and ended it the same way, and he'll return on Tuesday hoping to extend his own record and claim a 12th WSOP bracelet. His closest challenger is James Schaaf, with some of the notables still alive including Victor Ramdin, Keith Sexton, Tommy Hang and Ed Tonnellier.
Monday brought the start of the final $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event in this year's lineup, Event #52, and more than 2,600 players turned out for the fun. Many big-name players gave it a go, but it was a rough day on those with star quality – excepting Vanessa Rousso, who survived into the money and Day 2 play in the middle of the pack. The leaders here are Keith Carberry and Alvin Zeidenfeld, who separated themselves from the rest of the pack, including Feming Chan, who will start Day 2 a distant third. 225 players remain, which means a long battle to the final table is in store for today.
The last preliminary prior to the Main Event gets underway today, the two-day Event #53, $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout. The first two of three overall rounds will be held today. One of the unofficial events will be held today as well, the All In Energy Drink Poker Tourney.