Survivors from Day 1a and 1c combined on Monday at the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event. The 2,031 players were looking to build on their stacks to both survive the day and to begin their march toward the money bubble.
Phil Hellmuth made a late entrance to Day 2a but not by choice. He had mistakenly thought he was playing Day 2b and had been sleeping in at his hotel. Mike Matusow contacted hotel security for Hellmuth and eventually they broke into his room to tell him that he was playing for $8.7 million. He raced to the Rio to find his already short stack blinded down to 7,675 chips. Most people would have given up at this point but not Hellmuth. He ground his stack through the day and rebuilt it to around 26,000 before hitting a huge double-up near the end of the day. A player on the button moved all-in for 17,600 and Hellmuth made the call with . His opponent showed a dominated . The board fell and Hellmuth's ace played to move him up to 55,000. Hellmuth finished Day 2a with 64,900, well off the chip leaders but still a very workable stack.
Two ladies put on solid showings during Day 2a. Lisa Hamilton, 2009 WSOP Ladies Event Champion, started off barely above her initial Day 1 starting stack. From that point, she was able to more than quadruple to finish the day with 126,700 and become the leading woman so far at the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Sarah Bilney had a strong start to her day as well. She came in with around 80,000 in chips and quickly jumped up to 135,000 when an opponent decided to gamble with suited, and Bilney woke up with pocket aces. Unlike Hamilton, Bilney was unable to build on her momentum and lost two-thirds of her stack by the end of the day. She finished with around 53,500 in chips and will be back for Day 3.
Pro Shaun Deeb had a dominating day at the Main Event. He started play with around 62,000 in chips and from there quietly built to over 200,000. Later he and another player called a raise to 2,900 and saw a flop of . Deeb checked to his raising opponent, who bet out 4,400. Deeb was the only caller of the bet. The turn brought the and action was checked around. The fell on the river and Debb bet out 8,100 and received a call. Deeb showed for top pair and took down the pot and sat with 300,000. He went on to finish Day 2a with 294,700 in chips, which is good enough for 19th on the leaderboard.
Aleksandr Mozhnyakov quickly emerged as the chip leader on Day 2a. After dinner break, he was sitting with 277,000 and within a half hour was up to 340,000. A bit later, he took down a nice pot to move up to almost 500,000 in chips. Mozhnyakov called a preflop raise of 10,000 to see a flop of . He then bet out 10,000, only to see his opponent shove for 65,000. Mozhnyakov insta-called with , and his opponent turned over . The turn and river blanked for both players, giving Mozhnyakov the win and increasing his stack to 490,000. Mozhnyakov finished Day 2a with the chip lead and 478,600 in chips.
After five levels of play, 822 players remained. Three other players besides Mozhnyakov finished Day 2a over 400,000 in chips. Tuan Vo is currently second with 434,500, Guillaume Darcourt is third with 410,500, and Stephane Albertini is fourth with 400,100. Several other notables finished very healthy in chips. Dan Shak will go into Day 3 with 182,600 and John Cernuto finished with 182,100 in chips. Eli Elezra will take 151,700 into the third day, while 1983 Main Event Champion Tom McEvoy finished the day with 143,600. Players from Day 2a will combine with Tuesday's survivors and return to play on Thursday.
Want a more extensive look at the action from Day 2a? Check out our Live Reporting Blog.
A field of 2,490 survivors from Day 1b and 1d will return on Tuesday to play 2b of the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Ben Lamb will start the day as chip leader with 188,925. Play will last five levels as players start to jockey for a spot at the top of the leaderboard heading into Day 3.
The PokerNews podcast crew was back on Monday to discuss all things main event. They talked about the massive field, the chip leaders, and even about the guy who was not able to play on Day 2a because he decided that throwing someone's clothes out of a hotel window was +EV.
Catch up on what you missed in the Main Event by listening here.
Video of the Day
Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics survived Day 1 of the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Kristy Arnett caught up with Pierce during Day 2a to talk about his day at the tables, how he got started in poker, and whether he would become a poker pro if the NBA lockout cancels next season.