After a day off for Easter, Monday was Main Event Day 2 at the World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Council Bluffs. A field of 280 had been assembled during the Day 1a and 1b flights, and ten new faces registered on Day 2 to round out the field to a healthy 290. With a buy-in of $1,600, a prize pool of over $420,000 is up for grabs with more than $100,000 of that waiting for the eventual champion.
It took a full day of poker to reach the final table, but that goal was eventually met with Scott Stanko leading the nine players into Tuesday's finale. His stack of 1.481 million gives him more than a quarter of the chips in play.
About half of the starting field returned to the Whiskey Roadhouse inside the Horseshoe Casino for moving day. The Day 2 field was packed with notables but as tends to happen in a poker tournament, they were picked off one by one. Dennis Phillips and Scott Clements were two of the first to go, and Bernard Lee followed them out the door a couple of minutes later. Lee flopped top pair with and was all in on the . Charles "Woody" Moore turned over a set of fives, though, and Lee was left with just a frown as he meandered away after a short day.
Chris Bell met a similar fate when he went with on a flop, but Johnny Kincaid called him down with pocket kings to end his day. Also failing to survive the early levels were Joe Cappuccio, Andy Philacheck, Amanda Musumeci, and Doug "Rico" Carli. A short while later fell Mark "P0ker H0" Kroon, Kai Landry, Matt Chang, Drazen Ilich, and Gary "debo34" DeBernardi.
'Round about that time, the field was approaching the money bubble with the final 30 players earning paychecks. Kevin Saul was in command with nearly 100 big blinds, but his fall from the top was to be quick. The first big bite came at the hands of Stephen Ma, though the pot began with James Mordue opening. The active Ma three-bet, and Saul found king-queen in the big blind. He cold four-bet shoved with his big stack, and that chased Mordue out quickly. Ma called even more quickly, though, tabling the much superior . The board blanked off for Saul, who was suddenly cut in half and hovering just above the chip average.
A couple pots later, Saul floated a Jim Devaney bet on a flop. They both checked through the turn, and Saul stabbed at the pot with a bet of 40,000 on the end. Devaney's was the best hand at showdown, and Saul was suddenly short on chips and struggling to stop the bleeding. Devaney finished him off just a few minutes later, but not before the bubble burst to let Saul pick up a small paycheck on his way out.
The bubble lasted several hands, but when it finally did burst, it did so in a big way. Leonel Contreras started the day with a big stack, but he was all in for the small blind of 2,500 on his final hand of the evening. Mark Bonsack and Alexandru Masek mixed it up in side action, and Masek got himself all in with on the flop, too. Bonsack had flopped a set with , though, and Masek could not find an out. Contreras was already drawing nearly dead with . The turn and river were blanks, and Bonsack sent two players off with one swing. Contreras got nothing for his efforts, while Masek's stack allowed him to sneak into the money as the 30th-place finisher.
Once the bubble burst, the eliminations came at a steady pace until night's end. Mordue was one of the first to exit after the dinner break when he got his short stack in with on a flop. Sean Moore's wasn't in much danger, and he earned the knockout after the and filled out the board. Just a few minutes later, Will Souther ran jacks into kings to end his day in 22nd place. Huy Nguyen was run out shortly thereafter, as well.
With 16 players remaining, Becky Makar's tournament came crashing down in a big pot with Devaney. Makar called a raise from Devaney with , then barreled through the board. Her final bullet put her all in, and Devaney had strung her along well with his .
That left 15 men fighting for the title with Allen Kessler the most notable of the bunch. But he was next to fall. Kessler shoved into the of Jeremy Jagoda, and the board ended the Chainsaw's run right there. Phil Mader fell in 14th, followed by WSOPC Caesars Atlantic City champion, Ryan Eriquezzo. The eliminations of Steven Melton and Mike Holm brought the field to ten and the unofficial final table, and it took a few feeling-out orbits before the final hand of the night played out.
One-time chip millionaire Devaney was getting a bit short on chips when he flipped for double or nothing with against Ma's . A king on the flop was just about all she wrote for Devaney, and the chip bags were out for the finalists.
Here's how the table will look when play recommences:
The final table is scheduled for Tuesday at 1400 CDT, and the winner will receive a gold ring and entry into the WSOPC National Championship in addition to the cash.