Maria Ho and Jason Somerville are two well-known popular players that are doing extremely well so far here on Day 2a. Both of them are in the Brasilia Room after surviving Day 1b.
Jason Somerville is cruising near the chip lead at Table #1 with about 270,000 in chips, which he has built into a little tower in front of him.
Maria Ho is in another part of the room, but still doing well with about 160,000 in chips. And she's not afraid to use them.
However, Maria seemed to have picked up an antagonist -- Christopher Savage.
In one hand, Savage raised from early position to 1,300, Maria reraised from middle position to 3,000, and Savage says, "If I win this pot, does that mean I'm not gonna get invited to your next party?"
Maria said nothing, and Savage called, and then checked in the dark.
The flop came K♠ 4♥ 2♣, Maria bet 4,000, and Savage folded. Maria showed K♦ K♥ for top set, and she said that perhaps she should have checked it back.
Tony Dunst, sitting across the table, said, "Maria's range is precisely 7-4 suited or pocket kings." It wasn't the first time Maria showed pocket kings to the table, and she smiled and said, "I guess I've shown nothing else."
Jason Somerville is off to a strong start today, up to second in chips.
In the next hand, Maria was back in action, raising from middle position to 1,300, and Dunst called from the big blind.
The flop came A♣ J♥ 9♣, Dunst checked, Maria bet 3,000, and Dunst called. The turn was the 4♠, Dunst checked, Maria bet 4,800, and Dunst called again.
The river was the 10♠, Dunst checked, Maria bet 11,000, and Dunst folded. Maria took her second straight pot.
Maria played the next two pots against Savage, folding the first one on the river for a small pot, and in the second one they both checked the river on a board of K♥ Q♦ 4♦ 10♣ 9♣.
Savage showed K♦ J♦ for top pair on the flop that caught a runner-runner straight, and Maria turned over 4♥ 4♠ for a flopped set of fours.
Maria set, "Good thing I checked back on the river."
At the end of it all, Maria Ho was still around 160,000 in chips, feeling good and playing well.
Daniel Negreanu Also Up Over 100,000
A player raised to 1,400 from early position and Negreanu raised to 3,200. A player in the blinds asked the initial raiser to show his remaining chips, there was less than 15,000 in his stack.
The big blind raised to 11,000 and the initial raiser moved all-in for a total of 13,125. Negreanu and the big blind called, bringing a 3♦ 8♣ K♦ flop. Both players checked down to the river and the final board read 3♦ 8♣ K♦ 8♦ Q♦.
The all-in player showed K♣ K♥ while the big blind turned over 10♦ 10♣. Negreanu mucked and the player with kings tripled up.
The following hand, Negreanu raised to 1,375 from early position and both blinds called.
The flop came 6♦ 5♥ 7♣ and the small blind checked. The big blind led out for 1,625 and Negreanu and the small blind called.
Negreanu finished 11th in the 2001 WSOP Main Event, and 2nd in the 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event.
The turn brought a 7♥ and the small blind checked again. The big blind bet 5,500, Negreanu called and the small blind folded.
The turn brought a 4♣ and there was a four-card, open-ended straight draw. The big blind bet 6,100 and Negreanu threw his hand up in frustration.
Negreanu then pulled 6,100 out from his stack and sat back, shuffling his chips. Negreanu eventually called and was ready to throw his hand in the muck.
"You got it," the big blind said. Negreanu perked up and the big blind turned over Q♣ 6♣. Negreanu showed Q♦ Q♥ and raked in the pot.
The next hand, Negreanu raised to 1,375 again, this time, from UTG. Another player called and the cutoff raised to 5,775. Negreanu called and the other player got out of the way, bringing a 10♥ J♣ 3♣ flop. Negreanu checked, the cutoff bet 6,300 and Negreanu folded.
Negreanu was in the big blind the next hand and called a 1,350 raise from the same opponent in the previous hand. The player bet on the flop and took down the pot.
Negreanu called a 1,400 raise from the small blind the following hand, but then folded to an all-in bet from the big blind.
The next hand gave Negreanu the button and he stepped off the gas and threw his hand away. There were some ups, some downs, but Negreanu's hanging steady with about 146,000 now.
Updated Chip Counts
Here's a look at the top of the leaderboard, with the blinds about to increase to 400-800 with a 100 ante. (Courtesy of WSOP.com.)
1. Mark Demirdjian - 370,000 (462 bb)
2. Jason Somerville - 278,000 (347 bb)
3. James Schafer - 265,000 (331 bb)
4. Tommy Wong - 230,000 (287 bb)
5. John Hoang - 223,300 (279 bb)
T6. Jared Okun - 220,000 (275 bb)
T6. Anh Van Nguyen - 220,000 (275 bb)
8. Daniel Strelitz - 200,000 (250 bb)
9. Barney Boatman - 190,000 (237 bb)
10. Shane Sigsbee - 189,000 (236 bb)