A grand total of 445 players made it through from the two Day 1's and each and every one of them was looking up at Ivey and his huge chip lead when play began just after noon.
By the time play wrapped just after 8:30 p.m. there were only 152 hopefuls left and they were all still looking up at Phil and the $460,000 in chips he'd amassed by day's end.
The day's early levels were marked by the exit of numerous short stacks, most of whom played like they stuck around for Day 2 just to get the Bellagio Buffet comp one more time - almost 70 said goodbye in the first level alone. As usual, there were some solid lessons to be learned from watching the best in the world play the game it seems like they were born to dominate.
I know a lot of you out there in Internetland who dream about becoming big-time poker pros one day and it's good to have dreams. But let me crush them for you a little with the top three reasons why Day 2 of the Five Diamond proved you'll never make it in the world of high-stakes poker.
Starting us out at No. 3 is the fact that $15,000 is a lot of money to you! The bottom line is the bottom line and if the $15,000 buy-in for an event like this one means anything at all to you and yours, you're in the wrong place. This is the Bellagio and for the kind of players who call this place home, like Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth, a dime and a half doesn't mean squat.
The Poker Brat proved that early on today when he dusted off the last of his chips and headed straight to Bobby's Room for a little Chinese Poker. Don't be surprised if each hand played out in there was worth at least that $15k.
The action must have been sweet, because further proving money ain't a thing to poker's elite, Texas Dolly left his seat in the tournament area and was blinded off for most of an entire level just to get in on it. He took his seat again a little later, dumped the last of his stack pretty quickly and got back in the Big Game. These guys play for life-changing money every day of the week and won't sweat for a second when making a decision for all their chips in a $15k event. You're liable to have a coronary just facing a small raise from a player like Brunson, Hellmuth or, God forbid, Ivey.
The No. 2 reason to give up your dreams of poker superstardom is the fact you can't make the kind of plays guys like Roy "The Oracle" Winston pull off. I'm not too sure anybody can. Winner of the WPT Season 6 Borgata Open and of a preliminary event worth over $200k earlier on here at the Five Diamond, The Oracle proved today he is one sick man.
On a flop of T♣ 9♠ 2♥ with about $15,000 already in the pot, Roy bet out $11,000 from the big blind. His heads-up opponent, sitting under the gun, made it $22,000 more. Winston went deep into the tank on this one and after finding out the player had about $28k behind, he pushed him all-in. His opponent made the call felting 8♠ 7♠ for the up-and-down straight draw and back door flush draw.
Unbelievably, Winston held just a pair of treys and even more unbelievably, they held up. You want to play big-time poker? Try playing pocket threes for more than $60k!
But the No. 1 reason you can't take on the best in the world, win millions and become the new face of poker is - drumroll please - the job's already taken and Phil Ivey isn't giving it up anytime soon. Covering poker tournaments often means overhearing bad beat stories as hard-luck competitors phone friends and family back home to tell their tale of woe. The last two days, more than at any previous event, PokerListings reporters overheard such accounts. Player after player left the Bellagio talking about how Ivey pwned them. You want to take your chances at the WPT, or anywhere else for that matter, Ivey will probably pwn you next!
Here are the rules when it comes to Phil: Ivey raises just about everything, with nothing, plain and simple. That is until you re-raise him with pocket queens. Then Phil puts you all-in, has kings and you lose. One young Internet phenom found out that lesson today, joining a not-so-exclusive list of thousands who've been hustled by the man.
On days when Phil Ivey puts his mind to it, it seems like everybody else is playing for second place. Day 2 of the Five Diamond World Poker Classic was one of those days.
He came in with more than $200k in chips and a huge lead and while others like Erick Lindgren, Nenad Medic and James Mordue had great days, climbing up over $300k, Ivey kept his lead and pushed his stack up to $460,700.
All that said, it's not over yet. Lee Markholt found a way to collect $442,500 by the end of play and is right on Ivey's heels. Also, top pros like Daniel Negreanu, Daniel Alaei, Theo Tran, Raymond Davis, Amir Vahedi and James Van Alstyne are all hovering around the $250,000 mark within striking distance.
Personally, I wouldn't bet against Ivey, but they're still going to play this thing out and you can catch all the Day 3 action live from the Bellagio starting at 12 p.m. (PST) right here on PokerListings.com. Last one here buys the beer!