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Industry observers have been waiting for the first of the low ($1000) buy-in events at this year's World Series of Poker in the hope that it might give an insight into how the blitz on internet poker in the US has impacted this prestigious event.
On Saturday the first of the low budget competitions, event 8 - the $1000 buy-in NLHE - started, and the entries appear to have been encouraging, with 3,300 registrations thus far and counting. There are hopes that late registrations will close the gap between this number and the 4,345 entries achieved last year - many of them through online poker site satellite campaigns.
2116 players started off Saturday on Day 1a of event 8, with a second starting day scheduled for Sunday. Well known faces at the kick-off included Vanessa Selbst, Antonion Esfandiari, Dave Chicotsky.
When InfoPowa went to press in the early hours of Sunday morning there were 312 survivors from the original Day 1a field, with aces like WSOP champion Jonathan Duhamel, Ana Marquez, Shane Schleger, Dan Shak and Chicotsky still in the running, along with Eric Mizrachi, Chad Brown and Vitali Lunkin.
Albert Kim was in the lead, with Marquez some 15,000 chips behind as his nearest opposition.
In other events the series continued to progress smoothly with event 4, the $5,000 NLHE, completing Day 2 action with 25 players left from a field of 865, including Jonathan Little, Matt Glantz, JC Tran, Brian Lemke and Carlos Mortenson.
By the early hours of Sunday morning only 7 players were left competing for the lion's share of the massive $4 million+ prize pool, with Alan Bari 2 million chips ahead of his nearest rival Thomas Ross and in a seemingly unassailable lead.
Event 5: the $1,500 buy-in Seven Card Stud contest was decided by early Sunday morning Vegas time, with Eugene Katchalov taking down his first WSOP bracelet and the main prize of $122,909 in a tense finish against Alessio Isaia, after starting the heads up at an almost 5 to 1 disadvantage.
The event attracted 357 entries and generated a prize pool of $481,950.
Katchalov, who won the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller event at the PCA earlier this year, bested an entry field that included quality players like Chad Brown, Shaun Deeb, Eric Buchman and Andy Bloch.
Early Sunday morning PST there were still 31 players slugging it out in event 6, the $1500 buy-in Limit Hold'em competition, which started on the day previous with a field of 675. Well into Day 2, Jeff Williams was in charge - 10,000 chips ahead of closest opponent Bryan Pimlott.
The registrations for this event were 50 up on the 2010 field, and included Michael Mizrachi, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, Erica Schoenberg, David Bach, Bill Chen, Jamie Pickering, JJ Liu, Jennifer Harman, Barry Shulman, and Brock Parker.
Edward Nassif started Day 2 as chip leader with 92,000, followed by Jerrod Ankenman with 61,900.
Event 7 is the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold'em Championship, which was still underway early Sunday morning with 39 survivors from an original field of 246, which generated a massive $2.35 million prize pool.
There was a surfeit of poker aces around the tables in the first day's action with high profile players like David Benyamine, Justin Bonomo, Nenad Medic, Josh Arieh, Vitaly Lunkin, Hoyt Corkins, Robert Mizrachi, Mike Matusow, Marco Traniello, and Erik Seidel all keenly competitive.
Going into Day 2 only 129 players remained, with Binh Nguyen holding the chip lead, chased by Barry Greenstein, Eric Baldiwn, Toby Lewis, Jason Somerville, Jason Mercier, Vladimir Shchemelev, Todd Brunson, Shannon Shorr, Hoyt Corkins, David “Bakes” Baker, Mike Matusow, Erik Seidel, and Erick Lindgren.
By early Sunday morning McLean Karr lead the 39 survivors, 200,000 chips ahead of closest challenger Chris Oliver.
Event 9 - a $1500 buy-in 2-7 Draw Lowball event - is also in progress, having attracted a field of 275 players that included Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Chris Bjorin, Jimmy Fricke, Barry Greenstein, Phil Hellmuth, Layne Flack,JC Tran, Doyle Brunson, Tom Schneider, John Racener, Huck Seed, John-Paul Bellande and Michael Binger.
By early Sunday only 116 players remained, with Travis Peterson just ahead of Shaun Deeb on chip count.
Source: InfoPowa News