Yet another thrilling day at the World Series of Poker (WSOP)’s $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship main event came to a conclusion last night in Las Vegas as two big names topped the leaderboard from Day 2B.
Just 1,080 players survived the second Day 2 from a starting field of 2,490, with Tulsa’s Ben Lamb and Kevin ‘BeLOWaBOVe’ Saul, of Illinois, leading the way as the competitors enjoy a break before returning tomorrow evening.
With Day 2B – which brought together the Day 1B and 1D survivors – now completed, that’s it for separate sessions as all 1,903 players, including the 823 from Day 2A, will now compete under one roof come Thursday as they move ever nearer to the top prize of $8,711,956 and a gold bracelet.
But it did come as a something of a surprise to find Lamb, with 551,600 chips, and Saul (542,200) atop the leaderboard when there are so many competitors involved in this event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Lamb is, in fact, enjoying a wonderful WSOP, having recorded four high cash finishes so far, including first place in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, as well as a second in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event, an eighth in the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship and a 12th in the $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Championship for an incredible $1,331,832 total in the 2011 series.
Lamb, who now lives in Vegas, has 12 cash finishes from all his WSOP entries to stand at $2,157,249 in winnings from the series – and is in a great position to make the November Nine following his 14th place finish from the 2009 main event.
Saul, on the other hand, has not enjoyed a particularly fruitful WSOP, but still has two cash finishes this year, with a 38th in the $2,500 Mixed Hold’em (Limit/No-Limit) event and a 60th in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event for a $19,603 total this summer in Sin City.
But Warrenville’s Saul made steady progress through each of the day’s levels last night, eliminating David ‘Bakes’ Baker in the process, as well as winning a huge pot in the last 30 minutes with his pocket kings when up against A-Q on a queen high board.
Not too far back ahead of Day 3 is the Day 2A chip leader, Russia’s Aleksandr Mozhnyakov, on 478,600.
But Lamb is running incredibly hot right now, with one particular pot summing up his WSOP as he eliminated two opponents when hitting a three-outer.
Lamb, on the button, raised to 2,400 with both blinds making the call. A 5♦ 6♦ 8♦ flop came and the small blind checked. However, the big blind moved all-in for approximately 14,000 and, after getting a count, Lamb threw in a bundle of orange chips worth around 60,000. The small blind, who held about 35,000 chips, then moved all-in – and the three players’ cards were flipped over.
Lamb showed 8♠ 5♠ for two pair, the small blind revealed K♦ 4♦ for a flush, and the big blind held Ad-5s for bottom pair and an ace-high flush draw.
So Lamb was well behind and needed to get very lucky to record a double elimination. But, of course, that is exactly what happened when the 5c came on the turn to give Lamb a full house. The K♣ arrived on the river, and Lamb gathered in all the chips to increase his stack to about 415,000.
With this sort of good fortune, Lamb might well be on course for his best main event finish. Also, if Lamb were to make the November Nine, there is every likelihood he would move top of the WSOP Player of the year standings ahead of Phil Hellmuth. Who would bet against him now?
Meanwhile, other big-name survivors for Day 3 included Jeff Madsen (231,500), Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem (245,100), Sam Simon (317,900) – the creator of animated TV series The Simpsons – Patrik Antonius (361,000) and Brooklyn’s Ryan D’Angelo (462,300).
Californian Erick Lindgren made one of the most amazing comebacks of the day as the 34-year-old finished on 170,300 after beginning with only 3,700 in chips, while Chile’s Nicolas Fierro (405,000) sits in fourth spot and American Narendra Banwari (404,800) fills the fifth place.
Also still in contention from the tables in the Pavilion and Amazon Rooms of the Rio are November Niners John Racener (182,900) and Joseph Cheong (229,100), as well as Garry Gates (219,300), Justin Bonomo (252,400) and Victor Ramdin (172,400).
However, among those unable to make it through Day 2B were Dave ‘The Devilfish’ Ulliott, Paul Wasicka, Andy Frankenberger, Matt Jarvis and JC Tran, as well as former champions Jamie Gold and Joe Hachem.
Curiously, there was a major cock-up on Day 2B with one table using a deck with just 44 cards for some time before being noticed.
It appears a dealer in the Orange Section noticed that eight cards in a pack “were dented” so summoned the floor staff to replace them. This was done, but somehow a floorman provided cards in an incorrect colour, although they were still placed in the well.
Play continued after lunch for half-an-hour as the dealer used the unaffected deck. However, once a new dealer arrived, he realised that eight cards I the second deck did not match so removed eight cards – not knowing that the pack was now eight short – and play continued.
A third dealer eventually arrived and one player asked him to check the cards as he believed the deck was too small. Of course, just 44 cards were being used and the floor moved to remedy this error, with the dealer and cards removed.
Floor staff questioned the dealer and, following the reviewing of surveillance footage, then explained to the table what had occurred to their satisfaction, although players has initially asked that they be compensated after playing 40 minutes with a small deck.
Thankfully, the floor staff reacted quickly to the mistake once it had been noticed and it appears no further action will be taken.
A total of 693 places will be paid in the main event from a prize pool of $64,531,000, with the minimum prize being set at $19,359.
Top 10 chip leaders after Day 2B of the WSOP 2011 $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship:
1. Ben Lamb (USA) – 551,600
2. Kevin Saul (USA) – 542,200
3. Ryan D’Angelo (USA) – 462,300
4. Nicolas Fierro (Chile) – 405,000
5. Narendra Banwari (USA) – 404,800
6. Dong Yang Yan (USA) – 383,400
7. Patrik Antonius (Finland) – 361,000
8. Joshua Gibson (USA) – 355,100
9. Joshua Weizer (USA) – 349,600
10. Richard Rinker (USA) – 343,200