When the rebuy events were eliminated from the 2009 WSOP, the $5,000 Rebuy No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Event went with them. In its place was established the $10,000 World Championship No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw, Event #23. Ninety-six players entered the event this year, and like many of the World Championship events, the player’s list reads like a roll call of WSOP champions. By the time the action drew to a close, 57 players survived, with Roland de Wolfe’s name at the top of the leaderboard heading into Day 2.
Some of the biggest names in the field were clustered around one table for much of the day. At one point the bracelet count on Table 248 reached as high as 34, with Allen Cunningham, Phil Ivey, Ville Wahlbeck, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, David Grey, and Andy Bloch all fighting each other for a shot at another bracelet. Other tables may not have featured as much bling, but the rest of the field was still stacked with names like Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Carlos Mortensen.
The deep stacks kept action slow during the first few levels, as players had until the end of the third level to use their rebuy chips. At the beginning of the event, players were given 10,000 in chips, and two rebuy buttons. The rebuy buttons could be used at any time, or would be automatically converted to chips at the end of Level 3. The eliminations were slow in coming in the beginning of the day, as only four players were sent home in the first four levels. Eventually the pace of bustouts picked up and Scotty Nguyen, Daniel Negreanu, and Tom “durrrr” Dwan all headed to the rail.
Lowball legend Billy Baxter was working for an eighth bracelet in Event 23, but he fell short when Greg Raymer ousted him from the tournament. Baxter moved in predraw, and David “Chino” Rheem called. Raymer then moved all in over the top, and Rheem went deep into the tank before folding. Baxter drew two cards as Raymer stood pat and revealed a 9-7-4-3-2. Baxter mucked his hand, and the man with seven bracelets in lowball headed home out of the money. Other notable eliminations included Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Jim Bechtel, and Huck Seed.
Phil Hellmuth showed up late to the event, even by Hellmuthian standards. He missed the first four hours of play, and eventually got it all in against Amnon Filippi and Dan Harmetz. Harmetz and Hellmuth each took one card while Filippi stood pat. Harmetz bet out on the side pot after the draw, and Filippi called, but he couldn’t beat Harmetz’ 10-8-7-6-5. Hellmuth tossed his hand aside and headed to the rail without ever gaining traction in the event.
Roland de Wolfe took over the chip lead as Day 1 drew to a close, adding all of Layne Flack’s chips to his stack just before play ended for the evening. De Wolfe raised predraw, and Flack made the call in late position. De Wolfe bet out hard after taking one card, and Flack drew one as well, promptly moving the rest of his stack into the middle. De Wolfe tabled the second-best possible hand, 7-6-4-3-2, and grabbed the chip lead as Flack headed home.
De Wolfe ended the day holding a hefty chip lead with 180,300, well in front of his next-closest competitor, Stanislav Alekhin on a stack of 121,000. Vince Musso finished in third with 118,000, and John Juanda was the only other player to finish in six figures at 111,800, good for fourth chip position. Other notable players still in the hunt for WSOP gold include David Benyamine, Michael Binger, Jacobo Fernandez, Max Pescatori, Phil Ivey, Daniel Alaei, Ville Wahlbeck, and Johnny Chan.
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