Second in chips when things got under way was none other than John Phan. We followed Phan's escapades with interest just a week ago at the World Poker Tour event in Tunica, Mississippi. He finished 22nd in that tournament but if it had been a drinking competition he would have been champion, followed closely by Men "The Master" Nguyen.
Razor's adventures continued all the way east to Atlantic City and he managed to hold it down until about halfway through this Day 2. Phan wasn't consuming quite as much alcohol at the table this afternoon but by the way he was playing you wouldn't have been able to tell. Aggression is the name of the game for Razor, which translated to a bumpy ride for his chip stack. His count went up and down almost as often as the ubiquitous beer gripped in his hand.
As the afternoon wore on Phan's stack began to shrink before he got all-in in a big three-way pot which was subsequently shipped to Lee Watkinson. It started with a short stack open-shoving, Watkinson raising to isolate and Phan re-shipping all-in over the top. Watkinson tabled pocket nines which were the favorite against Phan's big slick and the third player's A-8. Watkinson flopped a set which was more than enough to secure the pot and send Razor on his way.
John Phan wasn't the only player who would go from big stack to bust though. Joe Sebok found himself chip leader for much of the afternoon, a position he's more than familiar with, but was unable to keep it in check, going bust in an astonishingly short period of time.
For the rest of the evening the lead went back and forth between Noah "fourUhaters" Schwartz and Gavin Griffin. Griffin is, of course, best-known for his victory at last year's EPT Grand Final, when he claimed the coveted European title in the name of North America, as well as for his WSOP bracelet in 2004. Schwartz is an online pro who already has a few WPT main events under his belt.
When the chips went in the bags though, Griffin had consolidated his lead with right around $563,000. Schwartz is still in great shape with close to $500,000 which, we believe, puts him in second going into Day 3.
As is the custom on the tour, at the beginning of this event the entire media booked some action on a last-longer style bet. Each member of the press was given three picks with the last remaining pick alive taking down the wager.
This PL.com reporter is proud to say that one of his picks is the end-of-day chip leader Gavin Griffin. Also on his ballot is Jordan Rich, still in good shape with an above-average stack, and past WPT winner Eugene Katchalov, who was unfortunately eliminated earlier this evening. Only time will tell if Gavin can go the distance and secure PL.com a little bit of side-betting glory.
As a final note we'd like to throw out a shameless plug in hopes it might find its way back to us in merchandise form.* Occupying a center spot on the front wall of the tournament room is one brand-spanking new Harley-Davidson Trail Glide, donated by Harley-Davidson Wildwood and Millville. In addition to the $1.4 million, the title and the $25,000 seat to the WPT Championship, the winner of this event will also ride off on their very own chopper.
Play is slated to get back under way at 11 a.m., a ludicrously early hour in the poker world, when the 99 surviving players will return to duke it out for a spot on Day 4. The money kicks in at 54 but the plan is to make it down to 27 so we'll most likely be in for another long one. We'll be saving you a seat right here so make sure to join us then.
* PL.com will accept both motorcycles and motorcycle accessories.