Day 2b kicked off with almost twice as many runners as the previous Day 2 flight, as 2,924 players returned for Day 2b of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event. In the days of 6,000-player "Stimulus" events and 6,494-player Main Events that may not seem like a huge field, but in reality the Day 2b field was larger than any Main Event field prior to 2005. As a matter of fact, more players took to the felt at the Rio on Day 2b than played in every WSOP Main Event combined from 1970-1995. At the close of play, Amir Lehavot was the chip leader on a stack of 610,500, well in front of his nearest competitors Peter DeBaene and Troy Weber.
Among the players in the massive Day 2b field were some of the biggest cash game players in the world, such as Phil Ivey, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, and Jennifer Harman. Also in the field were international superstars like Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Nicolas Levi, Alexander Kostritsyn, and Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott. World Champs were on display throughout the room on Day 2b as well, with Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Scotty Nguyen, Dan Harrington, Peter Eastgate, and WSOPE champion John Juanda all taking the field. And there was the occasional player whose celebrity comes from other arenas, such as Los Angeles Laker Jordan Farmar, actors Marlon Wayans and Lou Diamond Phillips, and producer Sam Simon.
Nearly half of the massive field busted on Day 2, among them some of poker’s top players. Erick Lindgren suffered a tough beat at the hands of Craig Ivey to start the day, and suddenly the field was one bracelet winner shorter. Lindgren saw the three-way flop of with Ivey and Vinny Pahuja, and Ivey led out. Pahuja got out of the way, and Lindgren pushed the rest of his stack into the middle. Ivey called with for an overpair, but Lindgren had the lead with . The on the turn gave Ivey additional straight outs, but it was the on the river that made a set for Ivey and sent Lindgren packing early on Day 2b.
Other premature bust-outs included Isabelle Mercier, Paul Darden, Victor Ramdin, and Bill Chen. Scotty Nguyen, Vanessa Rousso, and Kathy Liebert were also early casualties, as was Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Mizrachi never got much going on Day 2b, and was sent to the rail before the dinner break. By the time dinner rolled around, nearly 900 players had been eliminated in just four hours of play.
The action continued apace after dinner, with Gavin Griffin, Ylon Schwartz, and Marlon Wayans all heading to the rail. Wayans played a solid tournament, but when he got all his chips into the middle holding pocket kings to Fergal Nealon’s , all he could do was watch the outcome. The flop came down 9-6-2 with two hearts, and the turn brought the . Wayans held the , so there was only one out left for Nealon. He spiked it on the river when the hit, and Wayans was done. Other Day 2b eliminations included Cyndy Violette, Paul Magriel, Hal Lubarsky, Tom Dwan, and Nenad Medic.
For much of the evening it appeared that 2008 champ Peter Eastgate’s name would be added to the bust-out list, but the resilient champ came back from the brink time and again on Day 2b. He survived to see Day 3 along with Phil Ivey (pictured) Phil Hellmuth, Dan Harrington, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jeff Lisandro, and Brian Lemke.
As the fourth level of play drew to a close, 1,486 happy survivors bagged their chips in preparation for a rare day off at the WSOP. Join PokerNews at noon on Friday as Day 3 kicks off with roughly 2,000 players all vying for a shot at the Main Event bracelet.