Today was Day 2 of the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event, numbered 17 on the WSOP schedule. From the starting field of 179, the surviving 69 returned to the felt to play another ten levels. The money bubble was burst very late in the night, and it's Manuel Bevand who'll lead the remaining 17 players into tomorrow's finale. His massive stack of 961,000 chips puts him miles ahead of his nearest challenger.
The field that returned for Day 2 was absolutely packed with notables. November Niner Matt Giannetti was one of the first to drop out, and he was followed out the door by Gavin Smith, Erick Lindgren, Shannon Shorr, John Juanda, and Kevin MacPhee. Defending champion Amir Lehavot bagged up after Day 1, but the early stages of the second day was his downfall this time around. Also exiting fairly early on were Erik Seidel, Jon Aguiar, Steve O'Dwyer, Tom Marchese, and Robert Mizrachi. A bit later fell Olivier Busquet, Andrew Lichtenberger, Humberto Brenes, Noah Schwartz, Liv Boeree, and another former November Niner, Jason Senti.
Steve Landfish came into the day with the big stack, but his early trend was downward. He seemed to be struggling through the opening levels a bit, but he managed to find his groove once again. Matt Stout was nice enough to help him re-find it. Stout found what he thought was a favorable spot when Landfish five-bet shoved on him. Stout quickly called all in with ace-king, but Landfish had been dealt two aces. The ensuing knockout allowed him to chip back up into the lead, and he'd hover around that spot for the rest of the night.
He couldn't go wire-to-wire, though, mostly because of the heater Shaun Deeb was on during the middle stages of play. A fast start saw him win a few key pots to put his name among the big stacks. Deeb's first big bite came at the expense of Leonid Bilokur and his pocket queens. Deeb put him at risk with , and the board ran to earn Deeb the knockout. A short while later, he won a big flip with pocket jacks against Chris Moore's , and just like that, he was one of the leaders.
He was already accumulating a formidable stack when a cooler of a pot arrived between he and Nabih Zaczac. The latter got heaps of chips in with on a flop. It's hard to fault him for that, but Deeb's had him drawing more slender than Zaczac had hoped. When the turn and river bricked off, one of the biggest pots of the tournament was pushed to Deeb, and with it came a commanding chip lead.
Deeb cooled off after the dinner break, though, and his slip allowed Ryan Julius to sit in the top spot briefly. Landfish retook that spot as the night wore on, but it was Bevand who got the last laugh.
Jeff Tims took the first bite out of Mike McDonald's stack with 20 players remaining when he turned Broadway against McDonald's ace-queen. The very next hand, McDonald got the rest of his chips in against Bevand on a nine-high flop. McDonald was working with a respectable , but he was in bad shape. The Frenchman rolled over two red queens, and the sent McDonald off to the rail with a big frown.
That brought the field to the bubble, and it took just a few hands to find the unlucky 19th-place finisher. It was WSOP stalwart Farzad Bonyadi who fell with pocket fives against . An ace on the river ended Bonyadi's day as the bubble boy.
The 18 who survived that bubble are all guaranteed a payday this weekend, and there is some serious talent (and quite a few bracelets) left in the field. Only Bertrand Grospellier cashed but failed to make it through Day 2. He exited in 18th place right at night's end. Some of the notables who will return for the final day are Julius, Antonio Esfandiari, Hoyt Corkins, Ali Eslami, Andy Frankenberger, Matt Marafioti, David Benyamine, Chris Klodnicki, and Cary Katz.
Oh, hey. Let's not forget about Phil Ivey. The man himself is back at the WSOP for 2012, and he's doing some serious bracelet hunting once again. Ivey's played just about everything this summer, and he's already made one final table. He's in contention for another here tomorrow. After a relatively quiet day on the felt, Ivey bagged up 180,000 chips to put himself in 11th place for Day 3.
Speaking of Day 3... the conclusion of this event is another can't-miss here at the WSOP. We'll be back at 1:00 PM to play on down to a winner, and we hope you'll join us back here. Can Ivey grab number nine? Will Deeb finally break through at the WSOP? Or maybe one of the two remaining French players can snag their first bracelet of this young summer.
Until tomorrow, all that's left is goodnight!