Eliminations were brisk today as the players wasted no time getting their chips in the middle with the best, and sometimes the worst, of it. The goal for the day was to play down to the final eighteen players who would return tomorrow, a feat that could have taken much of the evening. We not only achieved this extremely quickly but ended up finishing with two less players than expected - sixteen!
This magic trick was accomplished by virtue of the fact that during hand-for-hand play, when there were three tables remaining, three simultaneous called all-ins occurred, resulting in three synchronized eliminations. This was a first for me, and it took the tournament staff a bit of time to sort out the chip stacks and figure out which prize belonged to which player.
Among the casualties for the day were Michael Binger, the third place finisher in this year's Victor Ramdin, Jonathan Little, a member of the illustrious ShipItHolla Ballas, who is sitting with close to $2.1 million. Closing the day out in third place is Robert Mizrachi with about $1.8 million in chips.
As much as I enjoy watching poker - I really do I assure you - I enjoy playing it even more. It's not every World Poker Tour tournament that the media gets a chance to sit down at the same tables as the pros and play a little poker of our own.
That's exactly what happened tonight though as the entire media contingent converged for a PokerStars.com-sponsored freeroll. Also at the felt were Team PokerStars member and pro Victor Ramdin and actor and poker player Mimi Rogers.
I was a little worried when Victor sat down directly across from me, after all he is a WPT champion, but as it turned out my apprehension was unwarranted as he would be the very first player eliminated from the 30 person field.
Victor is an amazing person, and truthfully, I doubt he was looking to take down this tournament and its whopping first prize of a seat in the Sunday Million tournament on PokerStars.com. In true Ramdin fashion, he added a little extra incentive to the game by donating $500 to the winner's charity of choice as well as $300 for the runner-up.
It was a fun tournament and I got a hold of a few chips early which allowed me to coast into the final table. Unfortunately the rising blinds and antes caught up to me quickly, and I was eliminated in eighth place when my A-8 was mowed down by an opponent's pocket sevens.
Also making it to the final table, despite being the recipient of a terribly bad beat layed on her by PokerListings.com's own Owen Laukkanen, was Mimi Rogers. She started the final table on life support but was able to double-up quickly when her big slick held up in an all-in pre-flop confrontation.
Enough about the lowly media and our paltry freerolls though. The real action will get underway again tomorrow at noon (EST) when we'll find out who will earn a seat at the televised final table and a chance at the $1.53 million. Join us won't you? From the Bahamas, this is Matt Showell.