Esposito won first place in this very event last year in the spring and also placed ninth in the December edition of the tournament. Esposito has the opportunity to go back-to-back with the winter New Orleans events if he can pull off a win tomorrow.
Day 2 started with 69 players, of whom Esposito was pretty much the lone well-known one to make it through to the final table. Just as Day 1 saw players like Matt Stout, Tim Vance, Doug "Rico" Carli and Jimmy Tran all take their places on the rail.
Jonathan Little (17th) and Matt Stout (12th) were two who held on the longest and were, in fact, the only players in the aforementioned list who made it into the money.
Esposito, who finished the day with $100,000 chips, is joined by a charismatic group of players who make up the final nine, including two WPT final-table finishers and a couple players who are playing in their first poker tournament.
The group is led by Tim "TK" Miles who accumulated a total of $687,000 chips, with a good portion of that coming in the last level. Although he isn't the most well-known player in the world Miles has an impressive poker resume that includes an $80,704 win at the WSOPC New Orleans Winter $1,000 event.
Right behind Miles is local Ed Jatho who comes from Abita Springs, La., which is just outside of New Orleans. Jatho came out of nowhere to finish with $406,000 chips in what is, incredibly, his very first tournament.
Jeff Tims finished with $345,000 chips, which should come as no surprise to those who watched the preliminary events, as Tims won the $500 No-Limit event for $58,491 just five days ago.
Mark Fratter is breathing down Tims' neck with $321,000 chips. Avid PokerListings.com readers will remember Fratter as the player who chopped the 2007 WSOPC Caesars Indiana with Carlos Uz.
Fourth in chips is Nick Ceci with $256,000. Ceci hasn't been involved in the poker world for the last few years, as he took the time off to care for his ill wife, but he came on with a vengeance in this tournament. Earlier this week Ceci made the final table of the $1,000 event at Harrah's New Orleans.
Rounding out the lower stacks are Charles Kelley, Gabe Costner and Floyd Vanderford.
A former stockbroker, Kelley has an outstanding background in poker, which includes a second-place finish at the 2007 Borgata Winter Open for $849,089.
Costner's Day 2 was filled with more ups and downs than a roller-coaster. There were several times during the day where it looked like he would be eliminated in short order but he always managed to double up during key moments. He also had some very vocal supporters on the rail, including girlfriend Claudia Crawford, who will likely be out in full force tomorrow cheering on their horse.
Finally, Floyd Vanderford is short-stacked with $65,000 and will have to make moves early if he wants to go much further. Considering it's his very first tournament, just making it this far is an incredible achievement for the New Orleans local.
Of course all eyes will be on Lou Esposito to see if he can do the unthinkable and win back-to-back WSOPC Harrah's New Orleans events.
Join PokerListings.com tomorrow at 12 p.m. CST as we bring you every important hand and every elimination from the final table of the 2007-08 WSOPC Harrah's New Orleans.