Only one bracelet was awarded at the WSOP yesterday as Ukrainian Oleksii Kovalchuk took down Event 42: $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better. We also saw the start of the eagerly awaited $50k Players Championship, the event which truly separates the greats from the not-so-greats.
Kovalchuk took down his second career bracelet beating a 22 strong final day field which included some outstanding talent. The main obstacle looked to be the days opening chip leader and 5 time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro who looked in fine form. However as it turned out Lisandro didn't even make the final table. Along with fellow notables Bryan Devonshire and bracelet winners Allen Bari and Perry Friedman Lisandro couldn't make the most of his chip stack and fell in 10th place after his 2 pair and 2nd nut low were taken out by Mark Gregorich's nut low and nut flush combo.
The final table took seven hours to complete and started with Pokerstars Pro and TV Commentator Chad Brown in second spot to Gregorich. Brown was questing after his first bracelet win, having placed second on two previous occasions. It wasn't to be for Brown however as he exited in 6th, unable to string anything together at the final table. The eventual winner Kovalchuk began to assert his control when play became four handed before he eliminated both Mark Ratigan in 4th and Gregorich in 3rd to take a 2:1 chip lead (roughly 2m to 1m) into heads up play against German PokerStars Team Pro George Danzer.
Heads up play lasted roughly an hour and a half and it certainly wasn't a one sided affair as Danzer turned things round to take a 2:1 chip lead for himself within the first 30 minutes of heads up play. However, just ten minutes later Kovalchuk regained the lead taking pot after pot including a 1.4m O8 pot which put Danzer in serious trouble, leaving him with just 400k to Kovalchuk's 2.6 million. After decimating Danzer's stack the chips all went in during the Omaha round with Danzer holding to Kovalchuk's . The board brought a K and a 9 to give Kovalchuk two pair and as the river didn't bring the 10 Danzer needed to complete his gutshot straight draw Kovalchuk took his second bracelet in as many years along with the $228k first prize.
The $3k NLHE Event was also due to finish yesterday but both players remaining (Jackie Glazier and Greg Ostrander) turned down the option to play another level last night and opted to come back fresh today to finish proceedings. Currently Glazier has a commanding chip lead of 9.48m to 3.07m and is looking to become the first woman since 2008 to win an open event. The day started with 30 players with some big names still active. However only JP Kelly among them made the final table, and he was the first to exit when he got there. The likes of Shannon Shorr, Dan Shak, Jason Koon and Scot Montgomery and Fabrice Soulier all failing to make an impression yesterday. We'll have to wait for tomorrows round up to find out if Glazier can close this one out.
Day 2 of Event 43 ($1500 NLHE) saw the field whittled down to just 20 players from the 320 players returning for day 2. The chip leader after yesterdays play is Zach Clark with 1.342 million chips. There are however a surprising number of notables left in play with former Irish Open winner Neil Channing in third with 1.32m, bracelet winner James Mackey in 4th with 1.074 million and Randy "nanonoko" Lew in 12th with 402k. Play will leave us a winner by tomorrow evening.
In was day one for Event 44 ($1k NLHE) and we saw a huge 2,949 players register for the event, down to 297 at the end of play. Currently leading the way is Tony Welds on 131,900 chips. There are some name players high up in the list with Amnon Filippi, Jude Ainsworth and Blair Hinkle all in the top ten at the moment and of course a whole host of others who failed to progress including; Liv Boeree, Rep Porter, Barry Shulman, Greg Raymer, Vanessa Selbst, Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger, Faraz Jaka and Jimmy Fricke among them.
We also saw the start of the annual big name fest that is the $50k Poker Players Championship which attracted a field of 104 big time poker players looking for what for many is the ultimate bracelet of the WSOP played in the 8 game format for the third consecutive year.
Only one player fell yesterday with 2 time final tablist in this event David Singer getting all his chips in during the Omaha round holding AAKK on a A 5 4 6 board against Bruno Fitoussi's turned nut straight. The river blanked and Singer became the first to be eliminated. The list of notables is obviously too large to list here but we have seen both Patrik Antonius and Gus Hansen make an appearance as well as the list of expected past and present champs. With three 2012 bracelet holders (Andy Bloch, Joe Cassidy and David ODB Baker all in the top 10. The current chip leader however is one of last years final tablists, Matt Glantz - the only player to currently have doubled their starting stack to 310k chips. Also doing pretty well at the moment we see Viktor "Isildur1" Blom in 14th place with the likes of Luke "fullflush" Schwartz, Jason Mercier and Huck Seed not far behind. Things should start to stretch a little tomorrow when we'll have a much better idea of who the likely competitors for the title will be.
Find more of the latest news and articles relating to the World Series of Poker in the 2012 WSOP-section.