Day 43 of the 2016 World Series of Poker was in a sense the final preliminary day of the $10,000 Main Event as the Day 2c field showed up and saw its numbers cut in roughly half, while the Little One for One Drop continued on with a second starting flight.
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Monster Day 1c Field Down to 1,416
In the final day of Main Event play before the whole field combines, a pile of players showed up for Day 2c at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and saw their numbers whittled down to 1,416 after another 5.5 levels of play.
It's mostly a collection of anonymous names near the top of the counts, with Brazilian Gustavo Lopes in the lead at 630,700, but one name that does catch the eye is fifth-place Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Back in 2010, Mizrachi made the November Nine and was the presumptive favorite before falling in fifth for over $2.3 million. He might be gearing up for another deep run after bagging a mountain of chips.
Top 10 Chip Counts
One player who would have bagged the lead if he had won his final big hand of the night was Dan Heimiller. The two-time bracelet winner started the day with one of the biggest stacks and ran it up to over 500,000 but a late snag cost him a big chunk.
“Goddammit,” Heimiller said when asked how he felt about his day. “Two hands to go, and I lose over 100,000. I flopped two pair with eight-six and he went runner flush with aces.”
Indeed, Heimiller fired 40,000 on the turn in the hand in question and then called a bet of 75,000 on the river with a club four-flush on board, mucking to his opponent's with a pot of well over 200,000 in the middle.
“Now, I'm not happy any more,” he said. “Hopefully, I can make up for it tomorrow.”
Explaining where the initial stack came from, Heimiller said he got off to a hot start by winning four of the first five hands he was dealt and then later gambled with a gutshot straight flush draw on the turn against a player who had a set of kings.
Ryan Riess spent the day in familiar territory.
"I'm very familiar with the structure," the 2013 WSOP Main Event champ told PokerNews. "I've played three times, I won it once obviously, and busted the end of Day 3, and the End of Day 4, so I'm very familiar with the long days back-to-back. I'm in my comfort zone. I like it."
Even coming into Day 1 this week Riess felt like something special might happen.
"I don't know what it is about this event," he said. "It's hard to explain, but there's something magical about it almost. When I got here for Day 1c, I think I tweeted that there was magic in the air. There's nothing really like it. It's such a special event. Everyone is here from celebrities we used to watch on TV, to athletes, to all the best players in the world and satellite winners everyone is here."
Reiss' father sat on the rail for most of the day watching his son compete. Riess said it makes the Main Event experience extra-special having family around.
"When I won it my dad didn't fly out until the final table, but every year since then he's said he's going to come out for the World Championship," he said. "So he flies out and stays for a week or so now. My dad's wife, she's leaving in the morning, but he's gonna stay throughout and hopefully I can make Day 7 and he can watch me final table it again."
The day began with 3,252 runners and 1,416 of them advanced to Thursday's Day 3.
Two legends of the game were among the fallen as neither Daniel Negreanu nor Phil Ivey could make it through the day.
Ivey came in nursing a short stack and never really got much going, shipping the last of it in with on an flop. A player with called and held up unimproved despite Ivey's myriad outs.
As for Negreanu, he put it in the middle with and could not win a race against an opponent holding .
The 1,416 who made it through will combine with the 760 who advanced from Day 2ab to make a field of 2,176 on Day 3. The money was reached on Day 3 in 2015, and with 1,011 paid this year, it may well happen again some time after the noon restart.
Little One Rolls On
The last WSOP tournament outside of the Main Event continued Wednesday with the second of three starting flights for the $1,111 Little One for One Drop.
After drawing 754 entries on Day 1a, another 1,426 jumped in Wednesday. It appears it will have to be a big day Thursday in the final starting flight if the event is to match the 4,555 entrants seen in last year's event.
Jerry Dababneh grabbed the flight chip lead with Xu Liang, Dustin Goldklang, Steve Cha and Randy Ohel holding stacks within striking distance.
Felipe Ramos, Martin Jacobson, Chris Ferguson, Ben Keeline, Connor Drinan, John Monnette, Mike Leah and Dzmitry Urbanovich were among the notables to survive.
Jason Mercier also bagged chips, keeping his hopes for a third bracelet this summer alive.
The survivors of all three starting flights will come back for Day 2 at 2 p.m. local time Friday. The third and final starting flight goes off at 3 p.m. local time Thursday.
What's On Tap?
For the first time in the Main Event, everyone with chips will be under one roof when the noon restart gets Day 3 going. At 3 p.m., the third and final starting day of the Little One kicks off.
As the 2016 WSOP rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, brought to you by our sponsors, 888poker.