With NASCAR in town this weekend, there are plenty of lame puns to describe the speed of this tournament, but suffice it to say a large portion of the field stalled on the starting line as the day began. Many of the 81 players who began the day wasted no time in disqualifying themselves from the proceedings, with early casualties including Isaac Haxton, Alex Jacob, and Antonio Esfandiari. Gus Hansen barely managed to make the second level before hitting the bricks, but he would not be the last of the name pros to make a run for the exit.
Other notable Day 2 eliminations included Day 1 chip-leader Michael Binger and Allen Cunningham.
Paul Wasicka came into the Wynn riding a wave of success that included a final table at the Los Angeles Poker Classic and an outright win at the NBC Heads-Up Championship. Despite having a reasonable Day 1, Wasicka saw his hot streak hit a cold front at the Wynn, busting out before the dinner break today.
One player who managed to build on his success from Day 1 was Chau Giang, whom you might remember as having made two sets of quads within 10 minutes of each other to bolster his stack from a low of $18,000 near the end of Day 1 to a closing total of $80,625.
Giang kept busting heads on the second day of play, winding up second in chips with $279,800 to his name by day's end, and also earning himself a souvenir in the form of Barry Greenstein's book Ace on the River, which the philanthropic pro gives to any opponent who takes him out of a tournament.
Also continuing their upward trend, though in somewhat mind-boggling fashion, were John Racener and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi. Racener is an Erik Cajelais type of cat, in that you don't really know his name but the poker media thinks you should, given his impressive string of cashes following his 21st birthday just a few days before taking third at the WSOPC event in Atlantic City in December.
Racener and Mizrachi found themselves seated together on Day 1, at a table that also included Mikes Sexton and Binger, as well as Jonathan Little. While their compatriots eventually dropped out, both Racener and Mizrachi survived to Day 2, where lo and behold, they wound up sharing a table again. Stranger still, both men managed to accumulate chips, finishing third and seventh respectively on the end of day tally.
As with Day 1, the eliminations came fast and furious, such that by the dinner break only 34 players remained. Players vanished in search of food and returned with full bellies and somewhat diminished poker abilities, as the after-dinner rush commenced and six players were dispatched with a quickness.
Then Rhett Butler and Danny Fuhs got into a bidding war that turned ugly when Fuhs got all of Butler's money in the middle pre-flop and immediately made a set of fives to counter the "Gone with the Wind" star's A♦ Q♣. Butler became the seventh elimination after dinner and the last of the night, but even that wasn't enough to stop a little controversy from brewing elsewhere on the tournament floor.
As Butler was taking his bows, Larry Wright found himself embroiled in a hand with Mike Carlson, and as the action heated up, keeping it real went terribly wrong. Someone called the clock on Wright while he debated calling Carlson's raise on a K♣ K♠ 7♠ Q♦ board, and lost in thought, Wright waited until the floorman counted down his last five seconds before reacting.
That eventual reaction involved him jumping to his feet and loudly protesting that he'd had no idea the clock had been called. He further protested that he'd had sevens-full of kings and offered as evidence the 7♥ to bolster his claim (mark, no second card was shown). The floorman, however, remained unswayed, the hand was declared dead, and with it, the second day of play concluded, with only PokerListings.com left to weather the storm of Wright's ire.
Chris Roos is the runaway chip leader going into Day 3, as the Calgary native has amassed $374,200, good for almost $100,000 on second-place Giang. When asked how he stockpiled all of his chips, Roos could only point to a rum-addled Sam Grizzle, as apparently the Las Vegan had shipped bountiful stacks in his direction no more than four times.
In other news, among the top 10 in chips are the aforementioned Racener, Mizrachi, and Grizzle ($185,900; the man apparently had chips to spare), as well as Johnny Chan and Mike Matusow. Toto Leonidas is eleventh, with Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy, Scott Fischman and Allen Kessler staying classy at the lower end of the spectrum.
Action resumes once again at noon tomorrow from the gaming floor of the Wynn, with plans in motion to play down to a final table of nine before the day is out. Stacks are getting high and the blinds a little slower, but that hasn't stopped these players before, so be ready for another quick day. As always, tune into PokerListings.com for everything but the sugar on your breakfast cereal. See you tomorrow!