On Sunday, the World Series of Poker saw history being made as the largest single day buy-in tournament got underway. The beginning of the $1 million buy-in Big One for Big Drop saw 48 players spread out over six tables each vying for the biggest prize in poker history - the first prize of $18,346,673.
At the end of the day, there were 37 players moving on to Day 2. Of the 11 eliminations, 9 of them were poker professionals. Justin Smith became the first player eliminated, followed by Andrew Robl, Jens Kyllonen, Jonathan Duhamel, early-in-the-day chipleader Paul Phua, Erik Seidel, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Nick Schulman, Eugene Katchalov, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and, suffering the last elimination of the night on the last hand, Giovanni “Malibu” Guarascio.
Returning as the chip leader on Monday is two-time bracelet winner Brian Rast with over 10 million in chips. But he is by far not the only big name remaining in this still-star-studded field. At Rast's table are Phil Hellmuth, sitting second in chips with over 8 million, as well as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and Bobby Baldwin. The other four tables are almost as deadly, with Mike Sexton, Tom Dwan, Ben Lamb, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Noah Schwartz, Roland deWolfe and other well-known pros still in the field. Sitting near the top of the chipstacks is the founder of the One Drop charity and brains behind this charity event, Guy Laliberté.
They are playing down today to the final eight, who will return tomorrow for the televised official final table. The tenth place finisher leaves with nothing, while the ninth place finisher will receive $1.1 million, making this event's money bubble the most expensive one in poker history.
UPDATE: 12:00 am PDT - Mike Sexton is the final table bubble boy, eliminated in 9th place by Antonio Esfandiari. Sexton moved all in on the turn with the board reading As Js 3d 6d. Esfandiari tanked for a long time and, saying "if you have ace-jack, you have ace-jack" before making the call. Esfandiari turned over 6s 3c for a turned two pair. Sexton had Jd 10d for a pair and a flush draw. He had 13 outs, but the 8c wasn't one of them and the announcer missed out of being on the other side of the felt for the televised final table.
UPDATE: 11:45 pm PDT - The most expensive money bubble ever just burst with the elimination of Ilya Bulychev in 10th place. He was knocked out by Sam Trickett, Qd 6d versus Kc 7h on a 7d 4d 2c 3s 2s board.
UPDATE: 11:24 pm PDT - With the elimination of Phillipp Gruissem in 11th place (knocked out by Tricket jacks versus ace-queen), we are down to the final ten. Here are the chips stacks moving on to the unofficial final table:
Antonio Esfandiari - 33,125,000
Sam Trickett - 27,200,00090
Guy Laliberté - 19,700,00065
Brian Rast - 13,200,00044
Mike Sexton - 9,900,00033
Philipp Gruissem - 8,500,00028
Phil Hellmuth - 8,200,00027
David Einhorn - 8,025,00026
Richard Yong - 7,500,00025
Bobby Baldwin - 7,425,00024
Ilya Bulychev - 3,125,00010
UPDATE: 11:00 pm PDT - There are just 11 players left. Antonio Esfandiari is in the lead with 33 million, followed by Sam Trickett with 27.2 million and Guy Laliberté with just under 20 million. Short stack is Ilya Bulychev with a little over 3 million.
Roland deWolfe exited in 15th place and Tom Marchese was knocked out in 13th. In his last hand, Marchese three-bet all in from the small blind and the original raiser, Antonio Esfandiari, called. Marchese had Kd Jd and Esfandiari had Ac 5d. The board ran out Ah 10h 8c As 4c and Marchese was out in 13th place. Brandon Steven was eliminated in 12th place, just a few spots short of the final table. Interestingly, Steven had bubbled the final table at the 2010 WSOP main event.
UPDATE: 7:00 pm PDT - Event #55 is down to just two tables of eight players. Recent elimination include Haralabos Voulgaris in 17th place, Jason Mercier in 20th place, and Dan Shak in 23rd place.
With 16 left, the chip leader is Antonio Esfandiari with 22.1 million, followed by Sam Trickett with 16.5 million and Brian Rast with just over 16 million. Mike Sexton is the short stack with 1.4 million.
Esfandiari knocked out Jason Mercier in 20th place in a tough hand. After a pre-flop raising war, Mercier got his stack in with pocket kings, only to be up against Esfandiari's pocket aces. The aces held and Esfandiari rocketed to the top of the leader board.
UPDATE: 3:30 pm PDT - Ben Lamb was eliminated in 25th place by Tom Marchese. All the money went in after the Jc4s6c flop during a back and forth raising war that culminated with Lamb moving all in with his last 4.7MM. Marchese had a set of fours with 4d4h and Lamb had a straight and a flush draw with 7c8c, The board ran out blanks for Lamb and 2011 WSOP Player of the Year was out. The field is down to the final 24 and about to redraw for the final three tables.
UPDATE: 3:00 pm PDT - Phil Ivey has been eliminated in 26th place. During the last level, Gus Hansen, who had won his seat on Saturday in the $25K Mega-Satellite, also hit the rail in 27th.
UPDATE: 1:00 pm PDT - Six players have already been eliminated, within the fist hour of play on Day 2, including Negreanu, Dwan, Vivek Rajkumar, Phil Galfond and Noah Schwartz.
Dwan and Negreanu went out in the same hand, courtesy of Mikhail Smirnov. Negreanu was the short stack at the table and he had reraised all in preflop. Smirnov four-bet, Dwan five-bet all in, and Smirnov made the call putting two of the biggest names in this field at risk. Cards revealed, it looked like a great position for Dwan as he had pocket aces. Smirnov had pocket nines and Negreanu had ace-ten. But the flop was devastating to Dwan, coming 9h-4h-7d. The 8h turn gave Negreanu additional outs with an open-ended straight draw, but instead the fourth nine fell on the river and Smirnov moved into the top ten in chips.