$10,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship

Hellmuth Never at a Loss for Words

On a board of {4-Diamonds} {6-Diamonds} {2-Spades} {k-Diamonds} {6-Hearts}, Phil Hellmuth checked and then called a bet of 900 from John Racener. Racener showed the nut flush, {A-Diamonds} {2-Diamonds}.

"That pot could have been a lot bigger if I had gambled on the flop before you had me drawing dead," said Hellmuth. We're not sure whether it was a boast that Racener hadn't extracted more chips from Hellmuth, or a simple statement of fact.

Hellmuth Arrives

True to form, Phil Hellmuth turned up more than two hours late. He just took his seat at Allen Cunningham's table.

Movers and Shakers

Phil Laak is now among the chip leaders. On a board of {8-Hearts} {3-Spades} {2-Clubs} {K-Diamonds} {7-Hearts}, Laak bet 8,900 after Anna Wroblewski checked. She called him down and was dismayed to see Laak table {2-Diamonds} {2-Spades} for a flopped set of deuces. Wroblewski mucked her hand and saw her stack dwindle to half the starting bank, a total of 10,000. Laak is up to 37,000.

He's not the only player making significant chip prgoress. James Mackey is up to 40,000 after taking several thousand off of Eli Elezra. Mackey check-called Elezra's bet on a flop of {3-Spades} {8-Hearts} {3-Diamonds}, then check-called again for 5,000 when the turn fell {Q-Spades}. Mackey checked a third time on the river {2-Spades}. Elezra sighed and checked behind, then mucked his hand when Mackey showed {J-Clubs} {J-Diamonds} for the winner. Elezra slipped down to 12,000 in chips as a result.

Last but not least, we recently heard that WSOP November Nine participant Scott Montgomery was eliminated. Unfortunately we haven't been able to track down any details of his elimination yet.

Tags: Anna WroblewskiEli ElezraPhil LaakScott Montgomery

A Few Snippets of Action

The sound of riffled chips is soothing background noise here as we get deeper into Level 2 at the L.A. Poker Classic Main Event. The action is still dominated by small pots at this level, with the average stack roughly 200 big blinds deep.

Allen Cunningham is one player on the north side of that line; he chipped up to 24,000, helped in part by taking down a three-way pot on a board of {10-Diamonds} {A-Diamonds} {6-Hearts} {4-Hearts} by leading out for 525 as first to act. Neither of his opponents felt like playing for that price.

On a nearby table, Jon Turner took down a pot by betting the turn of a {K-Hearts} {6-Diamonds} {7-Diamonds} {3-Spades} board after calling a bet of 525 on the flop. Winning that pot brought "PearlJammer" back to the starting stack.

Tags: Allen CunninghamJon Turner

Chip Counts by Guza

During the break, PokerNews' own Ezekiel Guza, perhaps better known for his poker themed, belly busting one liners (click here and cue up the 8:32 mark), ran around frantically and snagged as many chip counts as he could before the players returned to their seats. Here are a few notable counts:

Erick Lindgren - 16,500
Andy Bloch - 18,500
Theo Tran - 25,000
Jimmy Fricke - 20,000
Antonio Esfandiari - 22,000
Jeff Madsen - 19,200
Alex Jacob - 15,500
Daniel Negreanu - 20,000
David Chiu - 35,000
Kevin Saul - 29,000

Our Surroundings

If you've never been to the Commerce Casino, you're missing quite an experience. From the self-park lot, you enter the building from the rear and step into the Asian gaming pits. Three-card poker, pai gow poker and several other similar games are spread before you. Many people who first take in that vista think to themselves, "That's it? This is what all the fuss is about?"

Not even close. Take a few steps further into the building and the room opens up considerably to the right side, revealing roughly forty tables of medium- and high-stakes poker games. The large bulk of the poker tables (the low-stakes games) aren't even visible; they're in a separate room around the way.

But don't stray from your course. Just past the medium- and high-stakes games is an elegant, red-carpeted curving staircase that leads up to the second floor. At the top of that staircase you'll find the grand ballroom that houses the LAPC tournament action. 68 tables are squeezed into this space. Clotheslines are strung across the length of the room, about ten feet in the air; a large black and white table-number placard hangs over each. The room is lit by nine chandeliers and a phalanx of ceiling fluorescent lights. A snack bar at the back of the room provides reasonably-priced sustenance for hungry poker players.

The Commerce is, in every sense of the word, a premier poker destination. It's fitting that it has drawn all of the premier poker players of the world for this $10,000 tournament.

Play Resumes

Cards are back in the air. Despite the excessively deep stacks, we did manage to lose a few players during Level 1.

Break Time

Players are on their first fifteen-minute break of the day.

Ivey's Trips No Good

The board showed {J-Hearts} {7-Hearts} {6-Clubs} {J-Spades} {A-Clubs}. Phil Ivey was in against one opponent and went to showdown. Ivey tabled {J-?} {2-?} for trip jacks, but was outkicked by his opponent's {J-?} {8-?}. No worries for Ivey, however; he's still above the starting stack with roughly 21,000 chips.

Tags: Phil Ivey