Event #16: Millionaire Maker $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em attracted 7,275 entrants and created a prize pool of $7,142,850, of which a hefty $1,277,193 will go to the eventual winner. By the end of Day 2, just 142 players remained in contention for the title, with Justin Pechie and his stack of 979,000 leading the way.
Hot on his heels is Wendy Freedman, who finished third in chips with a stack of 907,000. Freedman may not be a familiar name to the poker masses, but she's well known to local grinders. That's because Freedman has been competing in Vegas circles for the past four years.
"I've moved around a whole lot. I grew up in Houston and I moved here from San Francisco actually," Freedman told PokerNews. "I like to play a lot of different games, but I guess no limit is my bread and butter. I usually play $2/$5 and $5/$10 no-limit hold'em."
Freedman's first-ever cash, which was a paltry $774, came back in January 2012 when she finished 39th in a Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza $340 No-Limit Hold'em event. Since then she's amassed a total of $438,420 in live earnings, with her single biggest cash being $75,519 for a sixth-place finish in the 2012 World poker Tour Borgata Poker Open $560 No-Limit Hold'em Reentry. Freeman also captured a World Series of Poker Circuit ring when she took down a $580 buy-in no-limit hold'em at Bicycle Casino in Jan. 2013.
Freedman is already guaranteed $8,151 in the Millionaire Maker, but with her stack she'll likely end up with much more than that, especially if she can run as well as she did on Day 2.
"Well, it was a grind," Freedman said when asked about her day. "I came in with a decent stack, but nothing spectacular. I can't really remember how I ran it up at this time. I won a big pot late in the day with against . Yeah, the beginning is just a blur [laughs]."
While Freedman can't recall all her big hands, live updates from the event shed a little light on how she acquired her chips. In one hand from Level 20 (4,000/8,000/1,000), a player opened for 16,000 and Freeman three-bet to 42,000. Her opponent called and then checked the flop.
Freedman continued for 28,000, a call was made, and the dealer burned and turned the . The original raiser led out for 92,000, Freedman called, and the completed the board on the river. The original raiser fired out 132,000, and Freedman wasted little time in calling with the for a jack-high straight. It was good as her opponent showed the for a pair of sevens.
"For most of the day today I was playing with people I did not recognize, which is weird because I pretty much know everybody," stated Freedman, though the same didn't hold true for Day 1a. "I played with some friends. My summer housemate was actually to my left for most of the day yesterday. He tortured me endlessly. It's pretty funny, I usually hold over him, but he had position and he used it quite well. I don't want to throw him under the bus [laughs]. Andrew Barber, I think he's actually bagging now too."
Indeed, Barber bagged up 628,000 on Day 2, good enough for 23rd in chips.
Freedman, who has been playing poker professionally for "a lot of years," first learned the game in 2006 while in graduate school in Boston. That is where she played a $5.00 game against a bunch of MIT students.
"That was my start, and then it kind of all spiraled downhill from there," Freedman joked.
"I live in Vegas, and I always play a pretty full schedule during the summer. I don't know how many WSOP events I plan to play. This is my fourth. I'm just going to take it day by day and see what my mood is, if I'd rather grind cash. I'm haven't been playing too many other tournaments around town."
Something tells us her mood will be pretty good if she managed a deep run in one of the summer's biggest tournaments.