It took him a while to get into the swing of things at this years WSOP as he fell at the first hurdle throughout the first week. Phil Ivey however is not a man you can keep down for long and after making two final tables in the last week (including taking runner up in the $10k PLHE) he is currently a big chip leader in Event 24 ($5k Omaha Hi-Low) as we go into the final days play in the event this evening with 27 players remaining. Yesterday also saw two new WSOP Champions names in Michael Gathy (Event 21, $1000 NLHE) and Randy Ohel (Event 22, $2.5k Triple Draw Lowball).
Gathy bested a field of 2,779 players (17 returned to the final days play yesterday( to take home the bracelet and the $441k first prize money - quite a return on his investment of $1,000 and three days play. When play reached heads up the two combatants (Gathy and Jamie Armstrong) were fairly even and a prolonged period of to and fro started, which lasted through two levels. Although Gathy had taken a bit of a lead towards the end there was still nothing really in it when suddenly the end came - a raising war ensued and when the money went in it was Gathy who held the upper hand, flipping over pocket 10's to Armstrong's pocket 9's and as the board offered no assistance the title went the way of the young Belgian who has now racked up close to $800k in live winnings since his first tournament cash just last September (Gathy took down his first live title in his home country taking 1st place and $233k at the Belgian Poker Tour Grand Final in December).
The Triple Draw Event saw a final table stacked with world famous talent with bracelet holders and multi-million dollar winners galore in contention. However, most of them didn't last too long yesterday as multiple bracelet winners Josh Arieh and Layne Flack quickly exited in ninth and eigth place respectively - shortly followed by Shawn Buchanan in 6th spot. Farzad Bonyadi and overnight chip leader David Baker lasted that bit longer but eventually capitulated in 4th and 3rd place.
The 7 eliminations bringing us to heads up play lasted a total of 4.5 hours. The heads up battle however lasted a staggering six and a half hours (yes, you read that correctly, SIX AND A HALF HOURS!!) with the chip leading flying back and forth with gay abandon. Despite both players at numerous points holding overwhelming chip leads this is the match that just wouldn't end. Until of course, at 2am, it finally did. The final hour saw Randy Ohel finally start building a lead from which he finally couldn't be pegged back by dogged second place finished, Benjamin Lazer. For his epic duel Ohel walks away with his first WSOP bracelet and the $145k first place prize money.
In Event 24 the day started with over 70% of the starting 256 competitors still in the running - we ended the day with a little over 10% of that starting field however and sitting high and dry on top was none other than Phil Ivey. Ivey started the day with a reasonable stack but spent much of the day treading water lost in the pack. During the last levels of play however he really stepped on the gas and powered away from the rest of the field. Sitting on a stack of over 446k chips he is almost 150k above his nearest rival, fellow WSOP bracelet winner, the Australian pro Dan Kelly on 297k with 3 time WSOP champ Mike "The Mouth" Matusow in third with 290k. Also high on the leaderboard are recent 10k NL HU champ Brian "$tinger 88" Hastings and former Main Event winner Scotty Nguyen. The final 27 will play to a finish this evening with Ivey looking for his 9th WSOP title.
Event 23 ($3k NLHE Six Handed) also played its second day yesterday with 18 players now left from the original 924. Current chip leader is Artem Metalidi with just over 1.5m chips (average chip count being under 430k) with Betrand "ElKy" Grosppelier and Freddy Deeb both sitting among the top ten at the moment. However with the top two players currently holding around 1/3 of the chips in play the other 16 will have to work hard to stay in contention.
The two events who played their Day 1's yesterday Event 25 ($1500 Limit Shoot Out) and Event 26 ($3k Omaha) getting underway. The limit shoot out reached the last 50 from 366 entrants and some big names left to fight day two include multiple bracelet winners Matt Matros and Brock Parker, Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, Greg Mueller, and Victor Ramdin. Falling by the wayside were the likes of Viktor "Isidlur1" Blom, Jen Harman, Randy "nanonoko" Lew and Phil's Ivey and Hellmuth. The $3k Omaha played down to 138 from 589 and big names still with a chance of glory include; Mike "gordo16" Gorodinsky, John Racener, Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton, Erik Seidel, and Annette Obrestad. Current chip leader on 122k (average is 38k) is Joseph Ressler.
Find more of the latest news and articles relating to the World Series of Poker in the 2012 WSOP-section.