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Event #2 Looking Like a Main Event

Get used to hearing the words “record-setting” when we report on the events of the 2005 WSOP. Yesterday, when the first cards were dealt at the $1500 buy-in no-limit hold'em event, exactly 2,200 players were seated at 200 11-handed tables packed inside the Rio Casino, with 105 alternates (including Phil Hellmuth) joining the field an hour or so later. The 2,305 total entries make event #2 at the 2005 WSOP the largest non-main event tournament in history, and even more impressive, the second-largest poker tournament ever held period--just shy of what was once unprecedented but now seems destined to be a mere footnote in history, the 2004 WSOP main event’s 2,576 entries.

Scott7With the prize pool for event #2 amassing $3,180,900, the top practitioners of the game showed up as if this was the main event itself. Pros gunning for the $725,405 awarded to the player with everyone’s chips at the end included Brunson, Chan, Men "The Master", Cloutier, Greenstein, Raymer, Lederer, Lindgren, Matusow, Gordon, Seidel, Layne Flack, Annie Duke, David Williams, Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, Barry Shulman, Jeff Shulman, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Negreanu, Juanda, Antonio "The Magician," Josh Arieh, "Devilfish" Ulliott, David Pham, Scott Fischman (pictured), and Ted Forrest.

With a mix of top pros and Joe Shmos competing, word has it that some of the pros were upset with the blind schedule considering the starting chip amount. As Cardplayer Magazine reported:

“Many players commented that starting with $1,500 in chips and blinds at $25-$25 increases the luck factor and reduces the professionals’ ability to exploit their edge. J.C. Tran, John Phan and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi were among the players who commented on the disadvantages of this tournament structure.”

Well, looking at Day Two’s current chip counts, it seems like a few of the pros are managing well with the “disadvantages.”

Starting back up at 2 p.m. today--after the field was narrowed to 111 by the end of yesterday--pros remaining in the hunt for the first championship bracelet to be given out to an open field this year include: Mike Matusow (starting today with $108,300 in chips), defending $1,500 NLHE champ Scott Fischman (82,100), Devilfish Ulliott (54,000), 2005 Main Event Champ Greg Raymer (44,600) and Phil Hellmuth (12,200).

Of interest, many of the top pros were knocked out early in Day One, which is not surprising in these events. Seems like many try to see if they can make things happen early and if not, there’s more money to be made in ring games.

From Cardplayer Magazine’s live feed it looks like Barry Greenstein was the first notable knocked out after his K-9 was beaten by Phil Gordon’s A-6. Gordon however didn’t appear to last much longer, going out before hour two of the event, along with other pros including Layne Flack, Phil Ivey, The Grinder, Jennifer Harman, The Magician, Thomas "Thunder" Keller, and current player of the year points leader, John Phan.

Following them to the rail soon after were Lindgren (his pocket Queens lost an all-in race against a player’s big slick), Negreanu, and Brunson.

Not making it to Day Two but making it into the money are pro/beauty Evelyn Ng ($2,865) and Cardplayer’s Jeff Shulman ($2,225).

Now looking at Day Two, which got underway at 2 p.m. today, it looks as if Greg Raymer won’t be adding anything significant to his $5,000,000 bank account today as he’s knocked out in 86th place with $5,565 in winnings.

But Fischman, Matusow and Hellmuth all remain with 80 rounders left, and in fact Fischman is sitting about as well as he can in his attempt to repeat as champion as he is the chip leader two hours into today’s event with $160,000 in chip. Matusow is close in third with $138,000.

That’s all we have for now. Get up-to-the-hour and sometime minute reports from Cardplayer magazine’s live feed and we’ll be posting info about how today plays out as well as tomorrow's final table for Event #2. Yes, tomorrow, because WSOP officials have announced that all events exceeding 1,500 entries will become three-day (not two-day) events.

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