Sunday, May 31, 2009

Justin Bonomo Leads $40,000 WSOP Tournament Field, by Brett Collson - Poker News Daily - 30th May 2009

With a starting field rivaling the most talented ever assembled in a poker tournament, it was assumed that the final three tables of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event would consist of the game’s biggest names. That promise has now been fulfilled, as players cracked the money bubble late Friday evening and the final 23 will prepare to play down to the final table Saturday.

Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo quietly, but steadily climbed to the top of the leader board to end Day 2, holding a small chip lead over Ted Forrest, David Baker, Greg Raymer, and Lex Veldhuis. Bonomo began Day 2 third in chips with 738,000 and rarely got involved in any big pots, pulling in small pot after small pot to increase his stack gradually. His biggest win of the day came by way of Marco “CrazyMarco” Johnson, who was eliminated in 33rd place after his A-Q was overcome by Bonomo’s K-T. Bonomo also watched as Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond and 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker were knocked off his table short of the money bubble. Other notables falling out of the money were Nam Le, Kirill Gerasimov, Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro, and Team PokerStars Pro member Humberto Brenes.

Forrest, who was inexplicably missing for some time after the dinner break, returned to take out Galfond in 29th place and play then went hand-for-hand. Alec Torelli eliminated Neil Chriss in 28th place just after Midnight local time, sealing a payday for everyone at the final three tables. The bursting of the bubble came with less than ten minutes remaining in the final level of the night, so a card was drawn to determine that six more hands would be played before the end of Day 2. Vanessa Rousso (27th place), J.C. Tran (26th place), and Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi (25th place), all exited just minutes later and David “The Dragon” Pham departed in 24th place on the final hand of the night when he ran into Matthew Marafioti’s pocket kings. Each earned $71,858 for their two days of work.

The remaining 23 runners will resume play at 2:00pm and the last nine standing will return Sunday for one of the most anticipated final tables in memory. The winner will receive $1.9 million. Here’s a look at the chips counts heading into Day 3:

1. Justin Bonomo - 2,678,000
2. Ted Forrest - 2,586,000
3. David Baker - 2,367,000
4. Greg Raymer - 2,287,000
5. Lex “RasZi” Veldhuis - 2,103,000
6. Alec Torelli - 1,725,000
7. Keith Lehr - 1,257,000
8. Vitaly Lunkin - 1,166,000
9. Matt Marafioti - 1,003,000
10. Brian Rast - 912,000
11. Doshi Suresh - 771,000
12. Dani Stern – 762,000
13. Clark Hamagami - 691,000
14. Matt Glantz – 671,000
15. Brian Townsend - 671,000
16. Noah Schwartz - 541,000
17. Isaac Haxton - 539,000
18. Antanas “Tony G” Guaga - 481,000
19. David Chiu - 318,000
20. Neil Channing - 270,000
21. Andrew Black - 210,000
22. Frank Kasella - 167,000
23. Andrew Robl - 112,000

The $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Eight or Better kicked off Friday afternoon and broke the record for the largest Omaha High-Low event in WSOP history. The $1,500 event attracted 918 entrants and generated a prize pool of $1.25 million. Defending champion Thang Luu is currently the chip leader with 73,600 in chips, but with 197 players still alive, the gold bracelet is up for grabs. Eli Elezra won a big pot toward the of the night to increase his stack to 55,000. Others returning on Saturday include Celebrity Apprentice runner-up Annie Duke, Ultimate Bet pro Phil Hellmuth, Todd Brunson, and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Play is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm local time.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest WSOP coverage. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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