Only 49 players of the 120 Day 1 starters made it back to London's Empire Casino for Day 2 of the £5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event of the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe, leading everyone to believe that it would be a short, relatively painless day. However, as things turned out, we would all be in for a very long day as a four-hour money bubble meant that the money was not reached until almost 3 a.m., and we will return tomorrow with 15 players. The man to beat at the moment is none other than 2010 WSOP Main Event finalist John Racener, with 276,000 in chips.
49 returned and only 18 places paid out. Among those who went home with nothing were Barry Greenstein, Frank Kassela and Phil Laak. Shortly after he was eliminated, though, Laak got to relive yesterday's six-max victory when he was presented with his new WSOPE bracelet by Antonio Esfandiari. An Eminem song was played in his honour, and he did a little dance to celebrate.
Before Laak busted, though, anyone railing the center table would probably have experienced a sense of deja vu - Laak, Chris Bjorin and Willie Tann all final tabled the six-max event yesterday, and by a curious twist of fate, all three were seated together again today for some hours. Phil Laak ultimately could not stay the course when his flush was beaten by Danny Wong's full house. Tann and Bjorin on the other hand both spent much of the day in the upper echelons of the chip counts and both proceed to Day 3, Tann in third place on 154,000 and Bjorin on an average 122,000.
The elimination of 2009 WSOPE PLO finalist Robin Keston in 20th place signaled the start of the bubble. In what seems to be standard WSOP procedure, the blinds were frozen when they went hand-for-hand - but in this case the alleviation of pressure on the shorter stacks to double up before the blinds went up resulted in an epic four-hour journey at the 1,200/2,400 level, until the money was reached at around 3 a.m.
The unlucky gentleman who eventually took the 19th place wooden spoon was 2009 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em bracelet winner John Kabbaj. Kabbaj got his last chips in with aces, but John Racener rivered a flush to send Kabbaj home with nothing. The huge hand catapulted Racener into a decisive lead - which he maintained for the rest of the night.
In the hour that they played after the bubble burst, three players were eliminated. Excitable Japanese national Tasuhiro Waki was first to cash, taking 18th place. Justin "BoostedJ" Smith was next to go in 17th place - he was crippled in a three-way showdown which tripled up Jeff Lisandro, and then busted soon afterwards when Felipe Ramos made a royal flush. On the last hand of the night Christopher Chau, who had been grinding a short stack all day, succumbed in 16th place when Jeff Lisandro made a straight.
The 15 semi-finalists, as it were, will reconvene at 3 p.m. local time tomorrow. Second in chips behind Racener is Hit Squad member Karl Mahrenholz on 211,000. Four-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro is among the big stacks, as is two-time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen.
Join us back at PokerNews.com for all the action as we play right down to one happy bracelet winner.