Day 2 of the inaugural Epic Poker League Main Event is in the books. The tournament played its way down to the final 18 competitors on Wednesday night. Although that officially takes the field into the money, more importantly, perhaps, is that everyone remaining has locked up points toward the end-of-the-season freeroll in which $1 million will be up for grabs.
Sam Trickett continues his fantastic 2011 and will enter Day 3 with 1.032 million in chips — good enough for the lead after almost a full 13 levels of play. At the end of the day, Trickett, along with the other 17 players, decided to take $17,340 from the second place payout and give it to the winner, so they are now fighting for an even $1,000,000 up top.
The tournament began with 63 players Wednesday, but eliminations started early and came often. Dwyte Pilgrim, Dan Shak, Vanessa Selbst, Sorel Mizzi, Phil Laak and Daniel Alaei were some of the casualties during Level 1. As play continued, the field lost Chad Brown, Shannon Shorr, Mike Sexton, John Racener and Justin Young. Antonio Esfandiari made a play early in the day against Chino Rheem when he overbet the pot on a flop by moving all-in for nearly 150,000, despite the pot having only reached about 30,000 to that point. Rheem called and Esfandiari's held on against Rheem's . He too, however, could not make it through Day 2.
After the dinner break, play got increasingly tense as the possibility of cashing in the very first EPL event became more and more real. Ben Lamb, Tom Marchese and Nam Le all got within a table of making the history books, but fell short. Brian Rast was busted by Jason Mercier near the end of the day, as well, in a hand he won't soon forget. Creating a pot of over 600,000, he moved all-in on a board of with , but was drawing dead against Mercier's .
The most unfortunate player of the day was Matt Graham who found himself exit squarely on the bubble. He limped from the small blind before Rheem jammed from the big blind. Graham called off his final 142,500 with and found himself ahead and dominating against Rheem's . On the turn, however, Rheem made the nut flush when the board ran out .
While Graham was understandably unhappy about his elimination, it brought a quiet smile to 18 faces around the room as they began bagging up their chips for Thursday. It should also be noted that of the eight players that owned temporary cards via entry from the Pro/Am, two still remain, Dan Fleyshman and Brandon Meyers. You can find out the entire list of players still remaining in the event and relive the action from Day 2 on our Live Reporting pages.
Top Five Chip Counts
The field for the Main Event was strong with the top talent from across the world showing up to test their skills against the best of the best. The action has been sharp, the pots lively and the entertainment vast. Day 3 will be sure to continue right along with those trends so be sure to check back here Thursday at 1200 PDT (2000 BST) when, as always, PokerNews will have as much action as you can take as we play our way down to the final table!
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