The World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Showdown $3,500 buy-in Main Event continued Sunday with Day 2 action in sunny Hollywood, FL. The 673 survivors from the three Day 1 starting flights combined to form one field to close out the weekend, but only the top 170 would reach the money.
The prize pool for the tournament was announced early Sunday morning. A WPT record 1,795 entrants created a prize pool of $5,763,150, easily surpassing the $5,000,000 guarantee. The top 170 finishers would each secure a minimum of $7,093, and the eventual winner will take home a massive payday worth $1,081,184 later this week.
After 10 levels on Sunday, only 114 players were left standing with Richard Kirsch leading the way. Kirsch bagged 1,734,000 in chips and was followed by Matt Stout (1,402,000), Daniel Navarrete (1,400,000), and WPT Champions Club member Julian Thomas (1,199,000).
Dozens of top pros took their seats when Day 2 began, but many were eliminated short of the money. Among them were Jason Mercier, Jennifer Tilly, Eugene Katchalov, Faraz Jaka, Jonathan Little, Blair Hinkle, Amanda Musumeci, and defending champion Kevin Eyster.
2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event champion Harrison Gimbel also went home empty-handed after losing a massive pot just shy of the money bubble. According to the WPT Live Updates, Gimbel and Siva Ganta were two of the five biggest stacks in the room with 180 players remaining and went head-to-head in the biggest pot of the tournament up to that point. It was a wild one.
With the blinds at 3,000/6,000/1,000, Ganta raised to 13,000 from the hijack and Gimbel three-bet to 32,000 from the big blind. Ganta fired back with a four-bet to 110,000, and Gimbel five-bet to 250,000. Ganta called. On the flop, Gimbel led out for 77,000 and Ganta moved all in, having Gimbel covered. Gimbel went into the tank for several minutes, extending well into the scheduled break, before Ganta called the clock. Gimbel quickly announced a call and showed the for ace-high, and he needed help against Ganta's for top pair. The turn and river secured the huge pot for Ganta, and Gimbel hit the rail.
The money bubble arrived a short while later. After seeing a flop of , former WPT champ Anthony Zinno moved all in for around 65,000 with the but ran into the of Oron Unger. Zinno needed to go runner-runner to survive, but neither the turn nor the improved his hand, removing him from the tournament in 171st place.
The eliminations moved quickly from there as Evan Dollinger, Curt Kohlberg, Ben Zamani, Joe Kuether, Ronit Chamani, Ben Hamnett, Ryan D'Angelo, Keven Stammen, Danny Suied and Matt Salsberg were sent packing before the day closed.
Meanwhile, Kirsch vaulted up the leaderboard and will be in prime position to make his first World Poker Tour final table since 2007 when he finished fourth in the Mirage Poker Showdown for $172,912. The Florida native is a regular at the Seminole Hard Rock and will look to make another deep run on his home turf this week.
Among the notables still in contention for the seven-figure top prize are Chance Kornuth (830,000), Matthew Jarvis (747,000), Rep Porter (702,000), James Calderaro (680,000), Noah Schwartz (583,000), and WPT Player of the Year leader Makul Pahuja (558,000). Pahuja holds a sizable lead over Calderaro for POY, but the battle for points will forge ahead when play resumes on Monday. Mohsin Charania, who sits fourth in the POY standings with two events remaining, is also still alive in this event.
Day 3 of the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Main Event will commence at noon ET on Monday. Stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you a full recap of the action upon completion of play.
*Data and photos courtesy of the WPT Blog.