The roll call of names in Event #2 of the 2009 World Series of Poker, $40,000 No-Limit Hold’em, reads like a who’s who of poker. Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Mike Matusow, and Huck Seed were just a few of the 89 players who returned to the Rio for Day 2. The internet stars were out in force as well, as players more well-known by their handles such as Lex “RaSZi” Veldhuis, Dani “Ansky” Stern, Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, and James “mig.com” Mackey also settled in around the tables looking for a shot at WSOP gold. Bruno Fitoussi and Chris Moneymaker started the day among the chip leaders, but by the end of the night they would both be on the outside of the money bubble looking in, as Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo finished Day 2 atop the leaderboard.
In such a stacked field, almost every player eliminated had some major tournament victories to his name. Bill Chen was no different, having won two WSOP bracelets in the span of two weeks in 2006. Chen was one of the first eliminations on Day 2, falling to fellow multiple-bracelet winner Mark Seif. All the money went in preflop, and Chen’s needed a lot of help against Seif’s . The board missed both players, and Chen was done. He was joined by early bustouts Hoyt Corkins, EPT founder John Duthie, and living legend Doyle Brunson.
Lex “RaSZi” Veldhuis took over the chip lead early in the day after he busted Michael DeMichele in dramatic fashion. After trading bets and raises back and forth, all the chips went in on the river with the board reading . DeMichele tabled for the overpair, but Veldhuis showed for quads. DeMichele headed to the rail as Veldhuis became the first player over one million in chips.
Despite falling asleep on a break and missing part of a level, Ted Forrest made a run at the chip lead late in the day, in part at the expense of Chris Moneymaker. Moneymaker started the day second in chips, but never got on track on Day 2 and busted out of the money. In his final hand, Moneymaker raised preflop from middle position, and moved all in over the top when Forrest reraised. Forrest quickly called, and had the 2003 Main Event champ in a world of hurt when he tabled to Moneymaker’s . Moneymaker picked up a set on the flop, but so did Forrest as the board fell . The case ten didn’t fall on the turn or river, and Moneymaker was done.
Greg Raymer took his turn atop the leaderboard when he busted Steve Zolotow late on Day 2. Neil Chriss opened for a raise preflop, and Raymer called from late position. Zolotow reraised, Chriss called, and Raymer moved all in over the top. Zolotow called all in, and Chriss got out of the way. When the hands were revealed, Zolotow was racing for his tournament life with to Raymer’s . Zolotow kept the lead on the flop, but Raymer picked up the on the turn to take the lead. No queen on the river, and Zolotow was done as Raymer took over as the chip leader.
After Ted Forrest busted Phil Galfond in 29th place, play went hand-for-hand on the money bubble. After a lengthy hand-for-hand period, Neil Chriss became the last player to finish empty-handed when Alec Torelli busted him in 28th place. Torelli raised preflop, and Chriss and Greg Raymer both defended their blinds to see the flop of . Chriss led out at the flop, Raymer folded, and Torelli raised enough to put Chriss all in. Chriss made the call with for top pair, and Torelli showed for the up-and-down straight draw. The on the turn made Torelli’s straight, and Chriss was drawing dead. The river was a meaningless , and the bubble was burst.
The bubble popped with less than ten minutes remaining in the final level of the night, so a card was drawn to determine that six more hands would be played before the end of Day 2. And what an action-packed six hands it was, as the short stacks shoved and the big stacks scooped. When the dust cleared over the last six hands, four more players had been eliminated before play was over for the day.
Vanessa Rousso was the first short stack to bust when her pocket queens lost a race against Keith Lehr’s . Lehr caught an ace on the river to send Rousso to the cage, the first player to collect a payout in the event. She picked up $71,858 for her 27th-place finish. Queens played better for Matthew Marafioti just a few moments later when he busted J.C. Tran in 26th place ($71,858). Tran called all in preflop with , and Marafioti flopped top set on the board to send Tran packing.
In yet another hand where a player moved in holding queens, Sorel Mizzi got it all in preflop with to David Baker’s . The flop added outs to a straight for Baker, but he didn’t need them as the turn and river came down and to send Mizzi out in 25th place ($71,858). Matthew Marafioti claimed his second scalp in the final minutes of the day when he busted David Pham in 24th place ($71,858). Surprisingly, neither player held pocket queens, but Pham did move all in preflop with . Marafioti snap-called with , and his kings held up to send Pham to the cage on the last hand of the night.
After a steady pace for most of the day, Day 2 ended in a flurry of action as four players busted in six hands to thin the field to 23 survivors. Justin Bonomo finished the day with the chip lead, as Ted Forrest, David Baker, and Greg Raymer all followed close on his heels. Other notable Day 2 survivors included Tony G, Brian Townsend, and Lex Veldhuis, who hung around the top of the chip counts all day as players rose and fell around him.
The final 23 players will return to the Rio at 2PM local time to play down to the final table. Join PokerNews for all the live updates and hand histories from the WSOP.