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2009 WSOP: Simmons Caps Final 27 in NLHE #28, Tran, Kurtzman Lead in PLO #30 and HORSE #31

JC Tran

$1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Event #28, Day 2 – Simmons on Summit

Day 2 of Event #28, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, concluded with the field narrowed from the original 2,638 who signed up for Day 1 down to the final 27 who will return for Day 3. As play concluded for the evening, the chip leader was Joe Simmons on a stack of 1,120,000, followed by Jason Potter with 929,000, and Rico Ramirez with 789,000.

Play started at 2:00 p.m., and the money bubble was burst about 90 minutes later, with the remaining 270 players all earning at least $2,808. Cody Slaubaugh was among the 56 bustees who failed to make the cut. He opened the pot to 3,000 from middle position before Kyle Hegeman made it 9,000 total from the big blind. Slaubaugh reraised to 20,000. Hegeman moved all in over the top for his last 42,900 and Slaubaugh called, only to discover that his {K-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts} was dominated by Hegeman’s {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}. The board ran out {J-Spades}{8-Spades}{2-Clubs}{K-Spades}{3-Hearts}, and Slaubaugh was crippled with 4,200. After doubling a few hands later, Slaubaugh got the rest of chips into the middle with {Q-Spades}{9-Hearts} against an opponent's {K-Clubs}{K-Diamonds}. The opponent turned a set to send Slaubaugh to the rail.

Once the bubble passed, the shorter stacks busted out rapidly – 65 within the first hour. 2008 Main Event runner-up Ivan Demidov was one of three contestants eliminated simultaneously when four players at one table were dealt pocket pairs, and all four decided to make a stand before the flop. Champie Douglas’s pair of kings was best, and they held up against a pair of queens, Demidov’s tens, and another player’s sixes. About an hour later, Douglas pulled off an only slightly less dramatic double-elimination when his {A-Spades}{K-Spades} was best from beginning to end against {A-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds} and {A-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} on the board of {3-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{A-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}. Douglas would eventually succumb though, in 69th place, worth $6,121.

One of the largest pots Joe Simmons collected on his way to the end-of-day chip lead came at the expense of Neil Channing. Both had big pocket pairs – {Q-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds} for Channing and {K-Hearts}{K-Clubs} for Simmons – and together they put 300,000 chips into the middle on the safe-looking flop of {6-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}. Neither the {5-Hearts} turn nor the {J-Hearts} river helped Channing. Not even God could save the queens.

Liv Boeree was running hot for awhile. Holding {K-Spades}{J-Spades}, she check-called all in on the flop of {Q-Spades}{9-Spades}{5-Hearts}, made a flush on the {8-Spades} turn, and the river dream card of {10-Spades} was just icing on the double-up cake. Less than an hour later she doubled again with pocket aces besting A-K. Her luck couldn’t hold out, though, and she exited the tournament in 57th place ($7,237) after running {A-Clubs}{Q-Clubs} into an opponent’s pair of red aces.

Notables who collected a check before heading home included Thor Hansen, Kelly Kim, Mats Gavatin, Clark Hamagami, Tony Cousineau, and overnight chip leader Van Dung Nguyen.

The remaining 27 players will reassemble Monday at 1:00 p.m. PDT and play to the end. All are now guaranteed a minimum payout of $18,688, and the winner will be getting $639,331 and a nice piece of WSOP jewelry.

$2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Event #30, Day 1 – J.C. Tran Seizes Early Lead

It was a killing field for Day 1 of Event #30, $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha, a new WSOP event for 2009. The starting field of 436 was squeezed down to just 61 by the time tournament officials stopped the mayhem. On the top of the heap stood J.C. Tran with 176,900. Len Ashby finished in second chip position with 123,500, followed by Jesse Rios with 109,200. John Juanda, Theo Jorgensen, Eli Elezra, David Chiu, Andy Bloch, and Phil Ivey are also still in the fight.

Players started at noon with 2,500 in tournament chips, plus two add-on chips, redeemable during the first three levels of play for another 2,500 each. A “table of death” was formed early with C.K. Hua, Jeffrey Lisandro, David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Rob Hollink, Jesper Hougaard, Kirill Gerasimov, and Gavin Smith all seated at the same table. Not surprisingly, this table saw a disproportionate share of action.

Smith and Lisandro managed to get all their chips into contention on the board of {2-Clubs}{Q-Spades}{3-Clubs}{K-Hearts}, with Smith holding {3-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{4-Spades} to Lisandro’s {4-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{2-Spades}{2-Hearts}. The {7-Clubs} on the river meant that Lisandro doubled up with his set of deuces. A short time later, it was Hua and Ulliott who put it all at risk, this time on the flop of {J-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}. Ulliott was ahead with {A-Hearts}{A-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}, but Hua had the draws with {J-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{8-Clubs}. When the turn and river fell {5-Spades} and {8-Hearts}, Hua had two pair to Ulliott’s one, and the Devilfish had to use his last add-on chip.

Phil Hellmuth may have gotten a little too eager in a heads-up pot against Mike Stoltz. Stoltz was first to act after the flop of {K-Clubs}{2-Hearts}{3-Hearts} and he was contemplating his action when Hellmuth said, "All right, I call you," and pushed his chips into the middle before Stoltz had bet. Stoltz then put his chips into the pot, and the hands were turned over. Stoltz showed {A-Spades}{A-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{7-Hearts} to Hellmuth’s {Q-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{5-Hearts}. It was Stoltz’s wheel draw that rolled in when the board completed with the {5-Spades} and {4-Spades}.

An astonishing mass of poker talent would not survive the day, including Greg Raymer, Gavin Griffin, Michael Mizrachi, Barry Greenstein, Max Pescatori, Jimmy Fricke, Burt Boutin, Shannon Shorr, Jason Mercier, Nenad Medic, Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, Gavin Smith, Robert Mizrachi, David Williams, Mike Sexton, Jesper Hougaard, Jan von Halle, Chau Giang, Sam Farha, Katja Thater, Clonie Gowen, Jared Hamby, Jeffrey Lisandro, Prahlad Friedman, Sabyl Landrum, Adam Junglen, Berry Johnston, Barry Shulman, Kirill Gerasimov, David Ulliott, Chris Bell, Mike Binger, and Dan Heimiller.

Play resumes on Monday at 2:00 p.m. PDT, and will go until either 3:00 a.m. or when a final table has been determined. The last 61 players will be competing for 45 payouts, ranging from $4,883 to $235,685 – plus the small matter of a gold bracelet for first – taken from a total prize pool of $1,002,800.

$1,500 HORSE Event #31, Day 1 – Kurtzman Out in Front

Day 1 of Event #31, $1,500 HORSE, was slated for the evening shift as 770 participants commenced play at 5:00 p.m. After completion of the eight scheduled levels, the field had been whittled down to 220. Atop the leaderboard was Eric Kurtzman with 57,800, with Marco Traniello (55,000), Jim Silveira (55,000), and Andy Black (54,300) close behind.

The format of this event calls for the games to change every eight hands. Phil Ivey already has two bracelets in the 2009 WSOP, but even he can stand some luck once in awhile. Ivey was the big blind and called a raise from a player in early position. Ivey called down all the way to the river where, with the board showing {Q-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{J-Clubs}, he finally led out. His opponent made the call with {K-Hearts}{K-Spades}. But the cowboys were no good against Ivey's queen-high straight, made with {A-Spades}{9-Spades} in the hole.

The pot put Ivey’s stack up to 5,200, after having been blinded off for most of the first two levels while the multi-tabling Ivey played in Event #30, $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha. Ivey was eliminated in absentia near the end of the day, as he focused his attention on the Omaha event, where he is still in contention.

Mike Matusow didn’t share Ivey’s luck. He was eliminated in a hold’em hand, all in before the flop for his last 475 chips from the small blind, holding {K-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}. He was up against the {A-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} of Filipe Pacheco. Matusow estimated his chances at “about 50-50” when he saw the cards. He had to revise it to “about 99.9 percent against” after the flop came {A-Spades}{3-Clubs}{5-Spades}. It was zero on the turn card of {3-Hearts}.

After getting crippled in a stud hand, Daniel Negreanu made his exit in hold’em just before the close of the day. He was all in against one opponent on the flop of {8-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds} with {Q-Spades}{10-Spades} in the hole. The opponent called with a flush draw, {J-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}, that missed the {A-Clubs} turn but filled when the river came {7-Diamonds}.

Others not getting a return-invitation to the party included Gavin Smith, Markus Golser, Billy Argyros, Dutch Boyd, Shirley Rosario, Maria Ho, Chau Giang, Todd Brunson, Mel Judah, Erick Lindgren, and PokerNews Editor-in-Chief, Haley Hintze.

But many familiar faces will return when the field takes off again on Day 2. These include Mickey Appleman, Paul Darden, Barry Greenstein, Anna Wroblewski, Mark Gregorich, Vanessa Rousso, Bryan Micon, Thor Hansen, Shannon Shorr, Archie Karas, Annie Duke, Marcel Luske, Chad Brown, Bryan Devonshire, Lacey Jones, Shannon Elizabeth, Fabrice Soulier, Blair Rodman, David Singer, Mimi Tran, Ming Lee, James Van Alstyne, Toto Leonidas, Perry Friedman, Joe Serock, Matt Savage, Katja Thater, Farzad Bonyadi, Rodney Pardey, and Al Barbieri.

All 220 surviving players will return to the felt when action gets underway at 2:00 p.m. PDT. The prize pool of $1,051,050 will be divided among 72 spots, each getting at least $2848, with $247,033 reserved for the winner.

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