Event #36 of the 2009 World Series of Poker, $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em, drew a whopping field of 1,695 players to the Rio yesterday. In a rapid-fire Day 1, nearly nine out of every ten players were sent to the rail before the chips were bagged for the night. When the last hands were finished and the last pots were raked, only 213 players were left standing, including Dustin Dirksen, Philip Sparta, Jason Gray, Michael Binger and Day 1 chip leader Corwin Cole.
Among the big names taking the field in this event were Joe Beevers, Kathy Liebert, Tony Dunst, Vitaly Lunkin, Ylon Schwartz, Eric Froehlich, and Jean-Robert Bellande. Thang Luu also signed up for this event, but his quest for a third WSOP gold bracelet ended early when he moved all in on the flop holding . His trips didn’t hold as his opponent called with for the gutshot royal flush draw. The on the turn left Luu in need of a fill-up, and when the river blanked out with the , Luu headed home early. Other untimely eliminations included Vanessa Rousso, Blake Cahill, and Mark Newhouse.
The field continued to thin rapidly as Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst, Nenad Medic, and Robert Mizrachi all got bounced from the tournament on Day 1. Liv Boeree got her short stack in as good as she could possibly hope for when she moved all in with in a three-way pot. But it was all for naught as an opponent with turned a set on the board to bust her before the dinner break. She was soon joined on the rail by November Niner Ylon Schwartz, David “The Dragon” Pham, and Sabyl Cohen-Landrum.
Joe Sebok got all his chips in preflop in a three-way hand as well, but he was in significantly worse shape than Boeree when he shipped the remnants of his stack in with K-J. He and Robert Cheung were both chasing a third opponent’s pocket kings, and when the board ran out , the kings held to bust Sebok and put a big dent in Cheung’s stack.
As the night wore on, more and more big names were ousted from the event, including Tony Dunst, Billy “The Croc” Argyros, Kathy Liebert, and Maria Ho. Ho, fresh off a deep run in Event #33, moved all in with K-J late in the evening but she couldn’t catch up to the A-9 of her opponent. Bryan Micon and Eric Lynch also joined the ranks of the fallen as the day drew to a close.
David “Chino” Rheem controlled the top of the leaderboard for much of Day 1, but his fortunes took a downward turn as he lost a big pot in the final moments of the day. On the flop, Rheem called another player’s all-in with for an underpair and a flush draw. Rheem’s opponent tabled for top set, and when the board bricked out and on the turn and river, a big chunk of Rheem’s chips migrated over to his opponent’s stack, dropping the former chip leader to 41st place out of the remaining 213.
Corwin Cole closed out the day with the chip lead on a stack of 185,700. Balazs Botond finished in second chip position with 160,000, followed by Guillaume de la Gorce with 148,700. Dustin Dirksen and Philip Sparta round out the top five, each ending the day with 145,000. Other notable survivors included Michael Binger and Jason Gray, the latter picking up a big pot off of Liya Gerasimova at the end of the day to surge toward the top of the pack.
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