The $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout, Event #53, is the last scheduled open event of the WSOP prior to the Main Event. And that may be just one reason why this event drew such a large field. Initially planned to be capped at 720 players, tournament officials ended up seating 823 players, all shooting for a first-place prize of $278,180 and the last preliminary bracelet of the 2008 WSOP.
The player list for the low buy-in event included many from the "Who's Who" list of poker, sporting such names as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, David Benyamine, Humberto Brenes, Barry Greenstein, Chirs Ferguson, Chris Moneymaker, and others.
Maria Ho was an early Round 1 elimination when she caught a ten-high straight on the river, only to lose to a jack-high straight. Todd Brunson was sent home early when Eric Arreca rivered a set of sevens against him. Tex Barch, Layne Flack, and Mark Vos also had their day cut short early.
David Chui, Josh Arieh, Daniel Negreanu, David Pham, Robert Williamson III, Erik Seidel, Kathy Leibert, and Alex Kravchenko were gone in the second wave of Round 1 bustouts. Gavin Smith missed his only opportunity to cash in the preliminaries when his flopped bottom pair didn't improve against Primoz Adamic's top pair. Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah's king-high was good enough to eliminate Humberto Brenes, when Brenes failed to complete his open-ended straight draw.
Jennifer Harman got it in good with her pocket sevens against J-10 on an A-9-3 flop. But the jack on the river sent Harman to the rail. Antonio Esfandiari's pair of aces with A-4 was outkicked by an opponent's A-7 to send him out of Round 1. Justin Bonomo went out the same way, when his top pair with a four kicker was ousted by Imari Love's top pair and seven kicker. And Cyndy Violette left when her top pair and flush draw ultimately lost out to Ryan Erickson's top two pair. Heads up in Round 1, Barry Greenstein's flopped trip jacks looked good against Richard Walter's pocket sevens, until a two-out seven fell on the river.
Before Round 1 was over, Michael Binger, Ram Vaswani, Jeff Madsen, Chris Moneymaker, Chris Ferguson, Bill Chen, Berry Johnston, Shannon Shorr, Roland de Wolfe, Johnny Gale, Andy Bloch and Jonathan Little would all fail to advance.
Players moving on to Round 2 play included Jean-Robert Bellande, Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke, JC Tran, Blair Rodman, Kenna James, Hoyt Corkins and David Bach. It will be a long, long Day 2 to play down to the bracelet with 72 players still remaining and at least six players remaining at each of the nine tables to conclude the second round. Then, following a short break, the nine second-round winners will reconvene for the event's final round.