In Event 38, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, we "saw" the conclusion of the 2,778 person zoo that began just a few days ago. It was another hidden final table, spectator access denied in order to provide a "live" streaming webcast to a worldwide audience.
In any case, it was a final table that was sure to be well received by an audience used to watching videos online as Erica Schoenberg was in full effect. Sadly hitting the rail in third, E-Scho made way for the heads-up match between Robert Cheung and Richard Murnick.
Going into the final showdown with a seven to one chip lead, it took Robert Cheung just one solitary hand to end the tournament and claim the bracelet for himself.
Another of a steadily growing list of bracelet winners hailing from my home town of Vancouver, Canada, Cheung came into the final table second in chips and lost little on his way to taking down $673,628.
Cheung's victory aside, everyone's attention was focused on Day 2 of the $50,000 HORSE World Championship. Yesterday there was a scant 21 eliminations but we picked up the pace, paring the field down to 52 by the end of the night.
Each elimination was a big name, another pro we won't be seeing at the final table. The precedent set by last year's final nine will be tough to measure up to and a few of those names have already been crossed off the list. Doyle and T.J. hit the old dusty trail and will not be back to reprise their roles from a year ago.
Two players who are still in the thick of things and would love to meet again at the conclusion of this tournament are last year's heads-up warriors Chip Reese and Andy Bloch. Although Reese finished on top, anyone who was there will tell you it is a $1,716,000 notch that should be in Andy Bloch's belt.
Taking nothing away from Chip Reese, who is unquestionably one of the very best, Bloch had him all-in on a number of occasions during the longest heads-up match in WSOP history which, barring a hit draw, would have ended the event.
One of the highlights of today for me though was watching one table in particular. This small patch of felt was home to 27 WSOP bracelets, including three world champions. Justin Bonomo, Phil Ivey, Eli Elezra, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Huck Seed and John Hennigan were all in attendance at a table that had more than it's fair share of railbirds.
So we watched with rapt attention and made an unforgivable number of bad horse jokes and references.
The tournament staff generously allotted five days for this event so we still have two to go before arriving at the final table of eight. Word on the street, and by street I mean the hallway of the Rio, is that the final table of this event will not be played in the key of No-Limit Hold'em. Instead, they will stick to the mixed HORSE structure which is played for the entire rest of the event, go figure.
Although there was a mixed reaction to this, the decision was well received by players overall. It remains to be seen how this will affect its reception by television audiences.
Playing to a considerably smaller groups throughout the convention center were three other events.
The Seniors No-Limit Hold'em World Championship began, with an astounding 1,882 entrants looking to ride their Rascals to WSOP glory. 153 remained by the time play was suspended for the night, all of whom will be getting paid when they eventually bust out.
Event 42, $1,500 PLOHLSEOB (Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better) also got underway with close to seven hundred runners looking for a taste of the PLOHLSEOB elixir. "Sir Scoop-a-Lot" was in the house, and although it was not clear whether he was playing or not, he made his presence know with the requisite shenanigantics one would expect.
We shaved the field down to less than one hundred by 3am when play was cut off, and with 63 getting paid there will still be a few empty-handed eliminatees before we reach the money sometime tomorrow. This is another one of those events that is almost certainly going to run past the two days it was originally scheduled for, but the tournament staff has implemented a new rule to combat these difficulties.
The powers that be have ordained that if a two day event has not reached the final table by 10pm on Day 2, then a third day shall be added.
Event 40, $1,500 Mixed Hold'em reached the final table with a few big names missing the cut. J.C. Tran went out in 14th, following Phil Gordon who was gone in 15th. Among the nine who will be back tomorrow are lawyer, author and player Michael Craig, Fred Goldberg and Karlo Lopez.
So we've managed to make it through another day in the jungle. Tomorrow we'll be back again, filtering out all the bad beat stories, offensive odors, stampeding fans, ill-tempered security guards, overly-keen interns and a plethora of other annoyances to bring you the distilled essence of the WSOP, from our computers to yours.