As much as we love reporting the story of the unknown amateur luck-boxing their way to victory in a major event, which seems to be the case when the field is of a gargantuan size, we really prefer watching talented poker players finesse their way to victory by defeating a reasonably sized group of their peers.
More and more these days we seem to be seeing the latter, which is just fine by us. Two hundred and sixty-one began this event, a small number compared to the 475 who turned out just one year ago, and of those 261 a surprisingly large number of faces were already known to PL.com.
As Day 2 began at the respectable time of noon this afternoon one of the biggest names in the game was at the top of the heap - Phil Ivey. The so-called Tiger Woods of poker must be feeling great after his win a few weeks ago at the Los Angeles Poker Classic where, including his cross-booking, he is rumored to have taken down almost $4 million.
Perhaps more important than the money, though, was the fact that he finally achieved what had eluded him for so long up to that point. Ivey had made an astounding seven WPT final tables previous to his victory without a single win. Solely based on the fact that it's a six-handed finale, the laws of statistics say he should have taken down at least one, never mind the fact that he's one of the best players in the world.
One of most interesting pieces of trivia about Ivey, which still holds true, is that he's never made the money on the World Poker Tour without making the final six. During the action today Phil continued to amass chips and terrorize every table he sat down at.
Getting the monkey off his back, just like J.C. Tran did here in Reno one year ago, Ivey seems to be at the top of his game and has a great chance to make a run at another victory here at the WPC.
The biggest obstacles in Ivey's path to victory look to be two young guns who already have a healthy amount of success under their belts in their short careers. Both Jordan Rich and Zachary Hyman were near the top of the chip counts for most of the day.
Jordan Rich's record is, so far, devoid of a major first-place finish but he did make the final tables at the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic (WPTDBFDWPC), the last WSOP Circuit event in Tunica and the Aruba Poker Classic main event, as well as winning two preliminary events at the LAPC last month. In the last few years he's taken down close to $600,000 in live tournament winnings alone.
PL.com first met Zach Hyman almost exactly one year ago when he won the $10,000 Wynn Classic in Las Vegas, defeating a ridiculous final table stacked with the likes of Mike Matusow, Ted Forrest, Chau Giang, Johnny Chan and Michael Mizrachi. He also made the final table of the $5,000 prelim at the WPTDBFDWPC and has a total of over $800,000 in tournament winnings in the last year.
Along with this trio were a number of big names who didn't fare so well as the afternoon progressed. Ari Engel, Steve Sung, Brandon Cantu, Bob Stupak, Gene Todd, Arnold Spee, Huck Seed, Tom Schneider, Yosh Nakano, Erick Lindgren, Hasan Habib, Ted Forrest, Peter Feldman, Eli Elezra and Bill Edler all made it to Day 2 but would all be forced to abandon their seats before the night was done.
Tomorrow will see the 27 survivors, all of whom are now in the money, return to see who will earn a seat at the televised final table and an even bigger payday. For their chip counts going forward, as well as a rundown of how Day 2 went down, head over to the Live Updates page.
Action for tomorrow was pushed back from the normal noon start time we saw yesterday and today and will get going at 2 p.m. This gives players, staff and media alike a chance to relax tonight and maybe even set foot outside of the casino in the morning. With all the names still alive this event is shaping up to be one to remember so, as always, we implore you to come along for the trip. Just remember to keep your arms and legs inside the Web site at all times. It's going to be a bumpy ride.