French Canadian Miguel Proulx and Northern California pro Matt Keikoan are the latest proud bracelet holders as the 2010 World Series of Poker rolls on, delivering a stream of big money and star-power fuelled excitement at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Proulx took down a marathon event 28 $2,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tussle, besting a starting field of 596 hopefuls and a final Day 3 survivor list of 12.
Proulx accounted for most of the action as the final table was formed and then whittled down to the heads up, in which he faced L.J. Klein at a chip disadvantage, doubling up into a more competitive position and ultimately beating him with a nut flush.
Along with the $315,311 main prize, Proulx picked up his first WSPOP bracelet, leaving LJ Klein with the runner-up prize of $195,147.
Northern California pro Matt Keikoan won his second WSOP bracelet (the first was in 2008 in a $2,000 NLHE competition) after three tough days in event 29, the prestigious $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold'Em World Championship.
He did so against many of the top names in the game who had created a star-heavy entry field of 171 players for the event. Terrence Chan, Matt Hawrilenko and Greg Mueller provide good examples of the quality of the field.
On the final day, 13 survivors started out on a 15 hour endurance test that ended in just two men facing off.
The 5 hour heads up in the early hours of the morning pitched Keikoan against Daniel Idema and was characterised by talented and disciplined play by both contestants, but in the end the day and the bracelet was Keikoan's, along with a first prize paycheck of $425,969, bringing his career earnings to well over $3.2 million.
Plucky Idema collected a second placing check for $263,244 from the cashier.
Day 3 of event 30, the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em contest was still in progress late evening Friday Vegas time when InfoPowa went to press.
The massive entry field of 2,394 that started three days back had been reduced to a mere 5 players, with chip counts as follows:
Christopher Gonzales 4,380,000
David Wilkinson 2,200,000
Billy Griner 1,600,000
Mike Ellis 1,250,000
Martin Jacobson 980,000
Earlier, the final table eliminations were Jeff Cohen in 9th Place ($42,790), Chris Kastler in 8th Place ($55,814), Jason Hallee eliminated in the number 7 spot ($73,719) and William Kakon busted out in 6th Place ($98,605).
Surviving players in event 31, the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. competition, have had a couple of early morning endurance tests as the field of 827 was brought down to only 7 players late evening Vegas time on Day 3.
Day 2 ended at 3am with 24 players still in contention, many of them highly respected - and feared - experts in the game. Chip leader Konstantin Puchkov made a successful last minute run up to the top as Day 2 ended, and remained in the top three chip counts as Day 3 ground into late evening action with 7 players left and a good chance of another very long night.
At that stage, Dustin Leary held a convincing lead of over a million chips, with closest rival Puchkov on 636,000 and Al Barbieri in third on 591,000.
Friday was also Day 3 for players in event 32, the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed event, where 116 survivors from an original field of 568 started in the afternoon, with the money bubble set at 54th spot and a total prize pool of $2,669,600.
The event proved to be a magnet for top players, and Day 3's start saw Christian Harder (in the chip lead), Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, Phil Ivey, Isaac Haxton and Jennifer Harman all taking their seats, representing a serious challenge for the $667,433 winner's share of the prize pool.
Tournament officials informed players that if the field was not reduced to six players by ten levels, the competition will be retired and continue for an additional day.
By 10.40pm Vegas time Friday night there were still 31 players in action, led by Paul Sheng on 980,000, with nearest challenger Sanghyon Cheong on 570,000 and Bruno Lainais on 510,000.
482 players registered for event 33, a $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em Omaha contest, with last year's winner Rami Boukai back to defend his title but unfortunately suffering elimination on Day 1. He was in good company - Daniel Negreanu, Eli Elezra, Dan Heimiller, Max Pescatori and Alexander Kostritsyn all made their exits before the day was over.
Friday afternoon saw 126 survivors back for Day 2 action, with Justin Smith holding the most chips, well ahead of the opposition, which included players of calibre like Victor Ramdin, Andy Black and Jeff Lisandro.
By late evening Friday 41 players remained in the event, led by Josh Tieman on 325,000, well ahead of nearest opponent Chris Reslock (173,400).
The entry field for the $1,000 buy-in Seniors No-Limit Hold'em - event 34 - topped 3,141 this year, eclipsing the registration lists for last year, when 2,707 players entered.
"Oklahoma" Johnny Hale gave the shuffle up and deal call, prefacing it amusingly with a George Burns-esque, "I'm glad to be here today. At my age, I'm happy to be anywhere."
Tournament director Jack Effel handed over the Golden Eagle award, recognising all past champions, and the cards were soon in the air Friday afternoon.
Some 706 contestants were still going at it hammer and tongs by late Friday evening, with Kenny Milam holding the chip lead at 53,200, chased by Michael Hirschensohn (43,000) and Tom Schneider (38,000)
Another prestigious event kicked off Friday afternoon - number 35, the $10,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship, which has an entry field capped at 256 players.
The cap was easily met by a star-studded entry field that included a strong internet component among a list of Phil Ivey, Sorrel Mizzi, Victor Ramdin, Ashton Griffin, Gavin Smith, Blair Hinkle, Faraz Jaka, Tom Dwan, Antonio Esfandiari, John Juanda, Annette Obrestad, British aces Sam Trickett and James Dempsey, Andy Bloch, Carlos Mortensen and Jason Mercier.
By 10.40pm local time Friday, the Day 1 players still standing were down to 128, with the departure list including Mark Muchnik, Jay Rosenkrantz, Blair Hinkle, James Mackey and Barry Greenstein.
Among those already through to the third round are Maxim Lykov, Anton Kozlovskly, Andrew Feldman and Faraz Jaka.
Source: InfoPowa News