Day 4 of the 40th annual WSOP can really be surmised in just 1 paragraph. Event #2 played to the Final Table and Quit. Event #3 played till 19 players were left and quit. And Event #4 was day 1a, played till 376 players remained, and quit. See a trend?
There were no bracelets handed out for the second straight day, as the effort was to shrink down the size of some of the incredibly large fields. It was however an incredible day of poker that included the usual WSOP hoopla, including this year’s Lemonade Selling Contest for Refugees International. The contest pitted a lemonade stand hosted by Annie Duke of Poker fame and Celebrity Apprentice runner up (she got hosed) vs. Norman Chad, the comical co-host along with Norman Chad of the ESPN broadcasts of the WSOP. It was lots of fun, and eventually saw Annie win the contest, and promptly donate all of the proceeds to charity.
But as for the poker itself, Event #2 has finally made it to the final table. The remaining 9 players all have unique stories. There is a WSOP World Champion still amazingly in the field, and a Pablosplace hopeful. Greg Raymer, the winner of the 2004 NLHE Main Event, has suffered some of the most unfortunate luck that I can remember, and is still in great position with 3.3 million chips, which is good for 4th place.
In a series of 4 hands over 2 levels of play, Raymer saw beats that I’ve ranted about from online play, but really, when there are 14 people left in a $40k buy in event, and you’re playing for $1.8 million, or even at the Final table of that event, these are just sick. The first hand, Raymer was dealt AA, and called a shove from a short stack, who flipped over As-Qs. With 2 spades on the flop, the river spade gave his opponent a flush for the win. Not terrible, as you can’t fault the guy for shoving with a premium hand.
In the second one though, it was much sicker. Raymer made a pre-flop raise, and another Short stacked player shoved with K9o. Raymer again called with AA and the flop produced a K, and the River a 9 to give his opponent two pair. But Raymer went back to work and accumulated more chips like the champion he is.
Then, when the action went to 10 handed, Raymer was dealt QQ. An Ace hit the flop on and the board was all hearts. Raymer bet it, and his opponent called. The players checked the turn and river and Raymer commented “Ace is good.” His opponent – AJ.
Finally, Raymer again has AA and shoves, only to be called by Ted Forrest who also shows AA. The pot is chopped on this one, but Raymer took it like the a champion. He just kept winning pots with other cards and now sits in a great position at the Final Table.
My other hopeful, and the guy that I really hope wins it all is Noah Schwartz. He is currently sitting short stacked with only 660,000 in chips, which is 8th of 9 players. He had been up around 3 million, but got very unlucky as he moved over the top of a player that was stealing with 7-6 (he had shoved all in) and then was called by another player with T-T. Noah flipped QQ and was in great shape pre-flop, but the flop produced a T, and the turn another T to give Torelli Quad T’s to scoop a giant pot. Schwartz is still alive, but will need a couple of double ups to make a run at the title. But I commend him for his amazing play and this Final Table appearance. Great job Noah.
In Event #3, the bubble burst at 90 players, and we ended the day with 19 players remaining. My eye has been on 2 players in the remaining field. 1 is the defending champion of this event, Thang Luu, who is currently sitting 2nd in chips with 410k. Repeats in the WSOP are just flat out impossible in this day and age. The field sizes continue to grow, and players are getting better and better as more and more players learn how to play the game. I think it will be very interesting to see if Thang can hang in there to win a second championship in this even in a row.
The other player that I’ve had my eye on is Freddy Deeb. I’ve only caught a little bit of poker on TV lately, but the couple that I have, were WPT events that saw Deeb at the Final Table. Deeb is really an undervalued player in my opinion. He is truly a fantastic poker player, that plays all of the games well, evidenced by the fact that 1 of his 2 WSOP bracelets came in the H.O.R.S.E. event. But he’s had 25 total cashes a the WSOP, 14 of which were Final table’s, resulting in 2 Championships (the 2007 H.O.R.S.E Championship, and the 1996 $5,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball). He also bubbled in 10th of the $3,000 Limit Hold’em event, or it would’ve been 15 Final Tables. Deeb is an incredibly accomplished poker pro, and I wish him luck in this event.
In Event #4, the field size had to be capped. There were 2 days of poker that are considered to be Day 1a and Day 1b. Because of the size of the field, these days needed to be broken down this way to accommodate all the players, but because of the calendar of events, the field size is capped at 3,000 players per day. Well, day 2 sold out already, and we have a field size that has 6,000 players bought in. Day 1a finished with very few big names still in it. Jason Mercier and Corwin Cole are probably the two largest names that remain in this field, as nearly 90% of the field was eliminated that played in Day 1a. 376 players will wait a day to resume, as Day 1b gets under way with the other 3,000 players today.
Also today, we have the Final Table of Event #2 this afternoon, The final 19 players of Event #3 will be in play, and a special event in which the 25 surviving WSOP Main Event Champions will be competing in a Freeroll event. Greg Raymer will likely have to miss this event as he’ll be playing in the $40k, but the field will host an incredible set of names. It should make for a great television broadcast as well.
That’s all for Day 4. I’ll have more from Day 5, including the likely awarding of the next 2 bracelets of the WSOP 2009 tomorrow morning. Cheers