Less than half of the 2,044 players who began play Tuesday in the first of two Day 2 fields in the World Series of Poker’s Main survived the action and will return to Rio on Thursday.
Today, another 2,000-plus players will compete in Day 2B of the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship. Survivors from today’s action will also return Thursday when the remaining players are merged into one group.
For now, a French woman, Gaelle Baumann, who finished play Tuesday with 505,800 in tournament chips, tops the leader board.
Rounding out the leader board are Mark Demirdjian (499,990), Shaun Deeb (460,900), Gerard Lubas (449,500), Kevin Davis (394,000), two-time world Series of Poker bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst (350,400), Jason Somerville (332,700) and four-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu (277,200).
Five former World Series of Poker Main Event winners made it through and will play Thursday, including defending champion Pius Heinz, Peter Eastgate (2008), Jerry Yang (2007), Robert Varkonyi (2002) and Dan Harrington (1995).
Among the notable professional players and celebrities reaching Day 3 included actors Kevin Pollak, actor-turned poker player Gabe Kaplan, and NHL hockey goalie Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. Luongo’s brother, Fabio Luongo, also survived and will play on Thursday.
The overall chip leader from the weekend’s three days of starting flights, William John, was eliminated. He lost a large pot to begin the day and steadily lost chips throughout the day. His tournament ended shortly after returning from the dinner break.
Also eliminated Tuesday were Poker Hall of Fame members Mike Sexton and Erik Seidel, 2009 Main Event runner-up Darvin Moon, last year’s runner-up Martin Staszko, 2011 Poker Players Championship winner Brian Rast, and noted professionals Jeffrey Lisandro, Mike Matusow, and Billy Baxter.
This year’s $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em World Championship drew 6,598 entries to the Rio, the fifth-largest starting field in tournament history. The top 666 finishers will collect prize money, with $19,227 guaranteed as the lowest payout. The winner will earn $8.5 million.
The total prize pool for the Main Event was more than $62 million.
The Main Event, considered poker’s top individual title, will play out over the next week. By Monday, the field will be sliced and the final table of nine players will be determined. Those players will return to the Rio at the end of October to play for a multimillion-dollar payday and the most expensive gold bracelet ever awarded to a Main Event winner.