But while Day 1 will be remembered for its needless length, Day 2 was a sharp contrast in its quickness. While it took 12 levels to drop from 180 starters to 29 survivors, the next 20 to be sent home were dispatched in just five levels of play and the final table was set before 5 p.m. local time.
Proving the wrongheadedness of the decision to play 12 levels on Day 1 is the fact this four-day tournament will have a day off Monday before coming back Tuesday at noon central for the final table.
The day began with the typical short-stack bloodletting, including one player who didn't even bother to show up to defend his measly $10k chip stack, preferring to Vinnie Vinh it and allow his chair to make all his decisions for him.
Once play hit the magic 24 mark they were set to re-draw for seats at the final three tables but not before a hand that may be looked at as the turning point in the event played out. Floridian John Devia had built himself a stack in the $250k range on Day 1 and ran jacks into the aggressive Texan Spencer Hudson and his big slick.
Somehow, someway, Hudson failed to improve, the jacks held and Devia stacked the $175k that Hudson was holding, giving him a massive chip lead which he would not let go of. In fact, Devia picked up hand after hand throughout the day and will go into the final nine with almost $1 million in chips - nearly twice as much as anyone close to him.
There were some big names left over from Day 1. Lee Markholt missed the money after trying the previously mentioned all-in-with-jacks trick up against Giovanni Marcacci's A-K. Lee did not fare as well, however, and was gunned down when Marcacci rivered a straight against him by catching one of the two remaining jacks - the first of a few ugly Mississippi rivers.
Also ending her run just before the money bubble burst was Ryan Young will bring the biggest stack to the Tunica final table. He caught a few cards today and played with his usual quiet confidence, building up over $520k, and now has a realistic shot at taking this thing down.
Giovanni Marcacci isn't far behind either with $465,000 and Big Ben Sabrin will be playing to win come Tuesday with $417,000. Rounding out the final nine are 2006 WSOP Main Event 25th-place finisher Mark Garner and "Tickled to be here" Bart Tichelman who have their work cut out for them if they want to move up.
Devia's got the big lead, but with several players within striking distance including a few proven winners, it will be anybody's ball game at the Event Centre at the Grand Casino Tunica on Tuesday and well worth following. Besides poor scheduling, there's only one thing that's certain at these WSOP Circuit events and it's that PL.com will be there to cover them, so if you want the goods you know where to get them.