After ten more grueling levels of competition, Day 2 of Event # 45: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em has come to a close with just 21 players surviving to make the final day. The day was dominated by two professionals with impressive resumes, Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari, making deep runs in search of WSOP gold. The Poker Brat played a patient and calculated game for hours, grinding a short stack until he won a large pot with pocket aces and doubled through. From there, Hellmuth went on a tear and built a formidable stack, and he appeared to be on the brink of his third final table of the series. Unfortunately for him, and poker fans around the world, Hellmuth went card dead at the wrong time an ultimately busted out in 28th place.
With the exit of the 11-time bracelet winner, Antonio Esfandiari was left as our headliner, and “The Magician” did not disappoint, steadily climbing the leaderboard and never putting himself at serious risk. Esfandiari will enter the final day of play in 4th place with a stack of 663,000 chips, looking to cement his reputation as one of the best players in the world today.
During the day, we watched notables fall by the wayside, including Lee Childs (130th), Joe Tehan (103rd) and Andrew Lichtenberger (52nd). Amateurs also managed to capture our attention, including one of the first deaf players in WSOP history, Radu Junc. After maneuvering his way through the nearly 3,000 player field, Junc’s dream run was ended at the hands of a two-outer on the river.
After the killing fields of Day 1, and moving day today, just 21 players have survived to claim a seat on tomorrow’s third day of play. Jonathan Driscoll of Quebec, Canada, who happens to share a house in Vegas with defending Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel, is our chip leader entering the day after building a massive stack of 1,247,000. He will be trailed closely by Kenneth Griffin (1,133,000), an amateur who earned his first WSOP cash in this event.
Check back with PokerNews tomorrow at 2:30 PST to follow the action as Esfandiari tries to outduel the amateurs and capture his second WSOP bracelet.