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2009 WSOP: Rousso, Dwan Among Survivors in #29 NLHE Heads-up

Vanessa Rousso

A capacity field of 256 players faced off Saturday afternoon in Event #29, $10,000 World Championship Heads-up No-Limit Hold'em, at the World Series of Poker. After two rounds of action, Day 1 came to a close with 64 players still in the hunt to obtain the coveted bracelet. Chris Ferguson, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, and Vanessa Rousso were among the surviving players returning for third-round action on Sunday afternoon

Players started with 30,000 in chips and 20-minute blind levels, the starting chips and levels doubling in each succeeding round. The opening round of play had several intriguing match-ups: Greg Raymer defeated Isaac Haxton in a match-up of two final-tablists from Event #2, $40,000 No-Limit Hold'em, held on the opening weekend of the WSOP. Some featured Round 1 match-ups included: Tom Dwan over Nam Le, Yevgeniy Timoshenko topping Barry Greenstein, Gavin Smith defeating Chino Rheem, Dario Minieri besting J.C. Tran, Chris Ferguson over Greg Mueller, and Matt Hawrilenko getting the best of Eric Froehlich. Other players advancing to Round 2 included Jason Mercier, Brock Parker, Scott Seiver, and defending champion Kenny Tran.

Since only the finals are a best-of-three affair, some upsets were bound to happen. Vivek Rajkumar, who won the heads-up event at the LA Poker Classic, was such a victim, losing a big hand to Evelyn Ng after Rajkumar's {4-Hearts}{5-Clubs} flopped two pair on the {5-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{4-Diamonds} board and went up against Ng's {A-Diamonds}{A-Hearts}. Rajkumar stayed in the lead until the {A-Clubs} spiked on the river, giving Ng a set. Rajkumar was unable to recover and was dispatched a few hands later.

Phil Hellmuth was another player to have an earlier-than-expected departure, losing to Benny Spindler when Hellmuth's A-K lost to Spindler's 8-7 when Spindler paired his seven on the turn. Michael Mizrachi, Howard Lederer, Gus Hansen, J.C. Alvarado, and Isaac Baron were also sent packing after their first match-ups.

Round 2 started with some confusion for Justin “BoostedJ” Smith, who showed up late for his second-round match against Hoyt Corkins, only to find James D'Ambrosio sitting in his seat. His actual opponent, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier was sitting alone, and eventually D'Ambrosio headed to the correct table. It worked out in the end for both Justin Smith and James D'Ambrosio, as they both won their matches to move on to Round 3.

Other featured Round 2 match-ups had Erik Seidel winning over Adam Junglen, Chris Ferguson defeating Jason Somerville, Jeff Madsen topping Joseph Serock, Scott Fischman overwhelming Scott Montgomery, and David Pham sending Mark Teltscher home. Among those joining the winners circle heading into Round 3 are Chris Ferguson, Tom Dwan, Mike Caro, Brock Parker, Antonio Esfandiari, Johnny Chan, and William Thorson.

Vanessa Rousso came back from a 10-to-1 chip deficit to defeat Emil "whitelime" Patel. Steve Zolotow doubled through Anton Allemann with quad tens on the river against Allemann's nut flush, eventually disposing of Allemann to also join the Round 3 participants. John Juanda, Gavin Smith, Kenny Tran, Layne Flack, Evelyn Ng, Will Failla, and Shaun Deeb don't have to look for Round 3 match-ups as they were all eliminated.

The remaining players return at 2pm PDT Sunday for Day 2, one victory away from making the money, which starts at $17,987. The players who win all three match-ups on Sunday will move to the final day, guaranteed at least $92,580 with the winner guaranteed $625,682. Some match-ups to watch for in Round 3: Jeff Madsen vs. Steve O'Dwyer, Steve Zolotow vs. “Action Jeff” Garza, Scott Fischman vs. Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Justin “BoostedJ” Smith vs. William Thorson, John Duthie vs. Terrence Chan, Evan Roberts vs. Vanessa Rousso, Roberto Romanello vs. Tom Dwan and Benjamin Tollerene vs. Chris Ferguson.

Check with PokerNews during the day to get the latest results and see who moves on and who goes home empty-handed.

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