The second day of the £10,000 High Roller Heads-Up of the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe brought back a nice even 32 players to play down to four over three rounds spread throughout the day. One might have thought that four hour gaps between planned start times would give plenty of time to see off half the field over a number of 20-minute levels (30 minutes for the final round) but there were some real battles over the felt early Wednesday as each table offered its own bubble, with half the players guaranteed at least £22,847, and half going home having won at least one match with nothing at all. Late arrivals like Chris Moorman had a blind a minute removed until they found the Empire Casino, but that didn’t do too much damage; it was more a war of attrition that ended unfavorably for the online phenomenon. His opponent Neil Channing eventually won this match many hours later and made it all the way to the final round via McLean Karr (a match he described himself as "tough") before being eliminated by Gus Hansen with the nut flush draw against a flopped set of eights, missing the bubble and jumping to the £47,045 pay level, which awaited the losers in the round of eight.
Interesting stories brewing were curtailed as Mori Eskandani, producer of High Stakes Poker among other hugely popular televised poker shows, fell to Andrew Feldman in the first of the day’s matches. Meanwhile, Ilari Sahamies was dispatched by Huck Seed who later proved to be the most resilient player of the day, coming back from tight spots all-in against Howard Lederer (victorious earlier against Shawn Buchanan) in his second match to bink his way to the final eight where his journey ended. Meanwhile Gus Hansen, having eliminated Mark Everett, went on to draw Phil Ivey in the second match, which drew a sizable crowd. A rail-exciting all-in with pocket threes when Ivey had flopped top pair with queen-ten only to see a two-outer materialize on the turn gave the Great Dane a shot at a top finish, and he eventually made it all the way to the final four.
Daniel Negreanu’s repeated pocket tens first gave Chance Kornuth a foot in the door in their initial match, then reappeared to bust him moments later. Negreanu went on to grind down Andrew Robl before taking a good while to finish him off. Robl himself participated in one of the hardest-fought early matches, against Touko Takala, coming back from an early drop in chips to bust the tough Finn and make the money. McLean Karr followed the same formula to beat Amit Makhija after a bad start, before (as previously mentioned) losing to Neil Channing in the next match. The longest bubble prize (although they seemed to feel anything but blessed to still be playing when everyone else had a break) went to Daniel Steinberg and Sondre Svanevik. They were all-in five times in the final high-blinds level, and each time the shorter stack doubled to a slight chip lead, announcing, “This is torture!” rather than rejoicing at the fall of each outdraw or race won. Svanevik, probably a mite tired by this marathon, busted in the next match to Kevin Eyster but still cashed for that not-to-be-sneezed-at £22,847.
The second-round saw Ram Vaswani, once a tournament circuit stalwart and now a rare but formidable participant in high buy-in events, eliminate Marius Torbergsen in fairly short order (his first round match saw a cool deck put paid to Yevgeniy Timoshenko) and sail through to the final four after eliminating Kevin Eyster, finishing him off with a straight race, his sevens holding against ace-queen in a 400k+ pot. Joining him for Day Three is the popular Jim Collopy, who had his fair share of on-their-backs good fortune against Martin Kabrhel, before moving on to bust Huck Seed in his last match of the day. All four of the final eight not to progress receive £47,045 for their not inconsiderable efforts in this challenging format.
The final third-run match to finish was that between Daniel Negreanu and Andrew Feldman. The latter had beaten Saar Wilf after a slow and considered battle earlier in the day, grinding his opponent down and snagging the last of his chips with ten-three, which made top pair of tens. Negreanu proved a tough nut to crack, too. Down to under half his starting stack at one point, he fought back for a whole level before finally, after some renewed grinding down, with an all-in-preflop (sort of) stack size, finding the premium queens but failing to hold against Feldman’s king-six.
Tomorrow at 3 p.m. local time, Gus Hansen will face Andrew Feldman, and Ram Vaswani will take on Jim Collopy, with 40 minute levels and just shy of a million chips each.
PokerNews will be bringing the action from the one-on-one semi-final and final, which will be a best-of-three affair, awarding another WSOP bracelet and £288,409 to one of these four.
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