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WSOP International Circuit Marrakech: Vladimir Shabalin Shaking Things Up

Vladimir Shabalin

On Day 2 of the Main Event, 152 hopefuls returned to the felt in the stunning Casino Marrakech in the Es Saadi Resort. After the money was reached, they played on, and 16 of them made their way to Day 3.

Even though a huge percentage of the remaining players either has French or Spanish roots, it’s a Russian that has taken the chip lead. Vladimir Shabalin bulldozed his way through the field and has bagged a big lead with 2,070,000 in chips.

Shabalin himself was the one to burst the bubble when he hit two sixes on the flop with ace-six against the ace-queen of Javier Tsunamy.

Vladimir Shabalin bulldozed his way through the field and has bagged a big lead with 2,070,000 in chips.

"HCC" sits just behind Shabalin in second place. The Spanish player dominated all of his tables on Day 1a and continued where he left off on the second day. This gave him a substantial amount of 1,513,000 in chips to play with on the final day.

Closing the podium is Shlomo Ohana with 1,505,000 in chips. Ohana was trending up and down the whole day but ended up on a high note with a strong run. After losing almost half of his stack with pocket queens against pocket kings, Ohana bounced back by eliminating Mathieu Papineau and Mohamed Mamouni in quick succession, causing an early finish for the day as the tournament was scheduled to play ten levels or until 16 players remained.

Notables left in the field are Nicolas Noguera (746,000), who won the 2016 WSOP International Circuit Paris Main Event and Pierre Merlin (648,000), who finished second in the 2017 WSOP International Circuit Paris Main Event in November.

Players that did make the money but not the end of the day include Harald Sammer (41,000 MAD), Otmani El Houcine (34,500 MAD) and Alexandre Reard (32,000 MAD).

Not everyone walked away with a money finish, as Said El Yousfi, Michiel Brosky, Laurent Azoulay, Ben Bensimhon, Viktor Sorokin, Drisse Maouchi, Jean Montury, Pierre Calamusa, Michael Lech, and Smain Mamouni all left the stage empty-handed.

The 16 remaining players will return on Sunday, January 28, for Day 3 of the Main Event. Play resumes at 1 p.m. local time in level 21, which has a small blind of 6,000, big blind of 12,000 and a running ante of 2,000. Blind levels are 60 minutes up until level 25 when they'll be increased to 75 minutes each for the remainder of the tournament.

Come back to see who will be crowned the winner and take home the coveted WSOP Circuit Ring and 1,300,000 MAD (~$142,000) for first place. PokerNews will be on hand to provide start-to-finish coverage of the final day.

TableSeatNameCountryChipsBig Blinds
11Mohamed JhiderFrance651,00041
13Vladimir ShabalinRussia2,070,000129
14Pierre MerlinFrance648,00041
15Antoine RahalFrance811,00051
16Rony HalimiFrance286,00018
21Polo SantoniFrance601,00038
22Nicolas NogueraFrance746,00047
23Shlomo OhanaIsrael1,505,00094
24Mounim KaddouriFrance340,00021
25Roger TondeurFrance704,00044
28Joseph NassarLebanon814,00051
Es Saadi Marrakech Resort
Es Saadi Marrakech Resort

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