Today's spotlight was focused directly on the TV final-table area as Event 5, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em w/Rebuys, played down to the eventual winner. In the end it was Michael Banducci who dominated the action for much of the afternoon, accumulating a solid chip lead which he carried into the heads-up match with youngster Jeff Williams.
PL.com first met Banducci when the WSOP Circuit last touched down in Lake Tahoe. He made the final table but would fall short of his first major title, something he accomplished with flying colors here tonight.
His opponent Jeff Williams is extremely well known across the pond in Europe for taking down the EPT Grand Final a few years ago. Considering Williams is still only 21, it's safe to say his career is off to a good start.
As the final table dropped player after player there was a certain cheering section getting increasingly jubilant - that of Michael Banducci. Partaking of many a Milwaukee's Best, the only beer available in the sponsored lounge above the final-table area, Banducci's crew was busy fueling the cheering which reverberated throughout the Amazon room.
After the final hand had been dealt, with every last chip in the tournament being shipped to the winner at showdown, this group exploded and stormed the stage to congratulate a somewhat stunned Banducci.
A first for the WSOP, Banducci slammed a beer in celebration after being presented with his Corum WSOP bling. Surf on over here to check out the chat we had with him moments after the win.
The majority of the room's attention was set on this spectacle but for the more hard-core poker fans in attendance this wasn't the only object of interest. Playing out at the nontelevised final table was the conclusion of Event 6, $1,500 Omaha Eight-or-Better.
It was pretty much the Thang Luu show from start to finish, as the Vietnamese-born American absolutely dominated the action. A former table-game dealer right here at the Rio, Thang actually made the final table of the Casino Employees event a few years ago, narrowly missing his first bracelet.
Luu knocked off Spencer Lawrence handily heads-up to take down the wrist candy and the $243,356. Check out the official PL.com winner interview for more.
Final tables weren't the only thing on display, though, as four other events were running simultaneously. Events 8 and 9 played down to their final tables and Events 10 and 11 began their Day 1's.
Apart from the bracelet presentations the highlight of the day must have been the playdown to the final eight in Event 8, the $10,000 Mixed Championship. With only 192 initial runners, and the high 10-dime buy-in, it was no surprise to see a slew of huge names deep in the proceedings.
Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson both went far, only to fall short of the final table and a shot at tying Phil Hellmuth for most bracelets. At the time of this blog's publishing nine players are still locked in combat to see which among them will take their leave one off the final.
Tomorrow will see two more events get under way, two more bracelets awarded and two more final tables decided. It's going to be an action-packed afternoon, and we'd hate for you to miss it.