Right now, we'd say it's a coin flip as to whether the 2008 WSOP will end up earning it's The Year of the ProTM moniker that we trademarked when all is said and done.
Some of this argument simply hinges on this: when exactly do you qualify as a "pro?" We're certainly not willing to play the role of God and make that assessment for people. But then again, how else will we know for sure? It's so daunting.
:: Event #47 ($1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo) - Case in point. Ryan Hughes, who won a Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo event last year, took down this one, earning his second WSOP bracelet. Even though only 7 people in the poker world have heard of Hughes before and only 3 would recognize him walking down the street, Hughes is a pro, right? We say an emphatic "yes" to that question, btw. For the win, Hughes banks $183,368. Get full results here.
:: Event #45 ($50,000 H.O.R.S.E.) - Here's a chance for the pros to put a stake in the ground and say, "Dammit, this is the year of us!" Full Tilt Poker pro Erick Lindgren will bring the chip lead to the final table, stacked at 3,680,000. A win here would all but cement Lindgren as the 2008 WSOP POY. The same could be said for the man in third, Barry Greenstein, who is stacked at 1,955,000. Scotty Nguyen is second overall with 3,535,000. And our perennial pick to win it, Huck Seed, is sixth overall with 1,200,000. Get full final table chip counts here.
:: Event #48 ($2,000 No Limit Hold'em) - Lots of collective WSOP cashes in this group but no one that you'd really look at and say, "Yeah, he's a pro." Get final table chip counts here.
:: Event #49 ($1,500 No Limit Hold'em) - This one had 2,718 entrants, playing down to 215 early this morning. First place pays $631,053. A surprising number of big named pros remain, although chip leader Micah Raskin (175,000), is not one of them. However, some big named big stacks do include Young Phan (128,000), Greg "FBT" Mueller (120,000), the spectacularly-breasted J.C. Tran (above, 93,000), and David "The Dragon" Pham* (90,000). Get a more complete list of chip counts here.
Get J.C.'s full photo after the jump and check out the entire spread here.
* Not a real dragon.