Play began just after 1:30 p.m. with 208 hopefuls all looking for a piece of the $1.6 million USD prize pool, but by the time they had played a full seven levels, there were just 39 remaining.
Much of the carnage took place in the first half of the day, and the 57th-place money bubble was upon us by the time the sixth level of play was just halfway through.
Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem came into the day with little more than a chip and a chair, but looked like he had some hope of getting paid when he doubled up not once but twice in the first level of play. Hachem became just another victim, however, when he ran ace-jack into a dominating ace-queen soon after.
Yet another WSOP Main Event champ also found the early going on Day 2 a little rough. The pride of nearby Hong Kong, Johnny Chan, never really got things going today, riding big slick all the way out the door when he couldn't connect until his opponent had already turned a set.
Joining those two on the rail as play moved closer to the bubble were Team PokerStars Pros Isabelle Mercier and Chad Brown, Nam Le, Dan Schreiber, Mike "Timex" McDonald and a host of lesser-knowns.
Men "The Master" Nguyen also busted before the payouts started. It happened in the worst way possible for Men, as he had the audacity to run aces into queens, allowing his opponent to suck out a set on the flop. His wife Van Nguyen busted as well, although she managed to do so in much less notable fashion.
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champ Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier got a real sniff of the cash, playing solid poker throughout the day, and at one point he looked primed for a run at another big payday. It was not to be, though, as ElkY ran ace-queen into pocket kings, busting painfully just one spot before the money bubble burst.
German Andre Wagner came into the day with a healthy chip lead and proceeded to build upon it all day long.
At one point he had over $300k and it appeared he might "Jamie Gold" his way to an easy win here in Macau. Alas, it was not to be, as he shipped big portions of his stack to any and all comers in the late stages today, including a huge chunk he sent with a smile over to Canadian PokerStars qualifier and PL.com pal Keith Wintermans.
Wagner held on for a spot at the bottom of the top 10 by the end of play on $183,500. But Wintermans, who came into the day with under $10k, got on a serious heater, ending in third with $358k.
While Wintermans' move was the biggest, consensus is that young Edward Sabat's was the strongest. The WSOP Rincon Circuit Event final tablist came into the day with a decent stack and quietly added to it throughout.
Then, in the final level of play, he picked up a fair-sized pot getting aces to hold before snatching the lead by making a sick call against a Jung Choi bluff with just T♥ 9♦ on a K♠ Q♦ Q♠ T♠ 3♦ board. Choi held on for a spot in the top 10, and will go into Day 3 with $275k, but he and the other 38 survivors will all be looking up at Sabat and his $379,500.
One player who won't have to look too far is Charles "Chucky" Chua. Chua runs so good he made quads twice today, building a $369,500 stack in the process - good for second in chips and a reputation as the luckiest player left in the running.
With both the experience and the chips to do it, those two will surely be looking to do a lot more than move up the payout structure when things get going around 1:30 p.m. local time.
Despite looking like a freaked-out germaphobe or some kind of Michael Jackson wannabe in the middle of a SARS outbreak when he put on a surgical mask halfway through the day, Full Tilt pro John Juanda also managed to double up a few times as the day went longer. With $170,500 to his name heading into Day 3, no one should count him out just yet.
PL.com certainly won't. We're passing on drinks at the topless Polynesian bar here at the Grand Waldo tonight just to get to bed early so we can see how it all shakes down in the play down to the final nine. Well, maybe just one drink won't hurt.