Two years ago, Chris Vitch won the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball event the very first time it was held here at the World Series of Poker. Vitch topped a field of 236 for $136,854 and his first bracelet.
Now, he's aiming for bracelet No. 3 overall and the second one from this event as he bagged a narrow chip lead with 12 left heading into the final day of the event. It would be a more handsome payday of $180,455 this time around, as the prize pool was pumped up by the single reentry option that resulted in 321 entries.
Vitch finished with 493,000 to lead the remaining two tables. However, he's far from in the clear as he's closely trailed by Damjan Radanov (476,000), George Trigeorgis (462,000) and Scott Seiver (431,000). Any of them could overtake Vitch with one decent pot since limits are heading to 10,000/20,000 to start Day 3.
However, Vitch's vast limit skills and chip stack mark him as the man to catch. Making his lead all the more impressive, he started the day as one of the shortest stacks with just a handful of big bets. While Vitch made more than his share of big hands, he also showed off his chops with a savage bluff midway through the day against Joe Wagganer.
In the hand of A-5 triple draw, Vitch check-raised after the second draw and called a three-bet. Vitch patted and Wagganer drew one. Then, Vitch led out with a bet and Wagganer folded. Vitch showed down two pair of aces and deuces.
Bracelet winners remaining in contention include Mike Leah, Bryce Yockey and three-time gold winner Frank Kassela. Leah was all in seemingly a dozen times and at risk, but he kept finding doubles when his back was against the wall.
Day 2 also saw the bubble burst at 49 players. Hand-for-hand play took some time, but defending champ Jesse Martin and Jaswinder Lally finally succumbed in the last hand of Level 14 (2,500/5,000). Some of those who cashed included Chris Ferguson, Randy Ohel, Shaun Deeb, John Monnette, Brian Hastings and Billy Baxter.
The big money will go out on Day 3 and the final 12 players, who are all guaranteed a payday of $9,072, reconvene at 2 p.m. Tune in to PokerNews then to see who grabs the gold.