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Event #2 40th Annual No Limit Hold'Em

Day 1
Buy-in: $40,000
Players: 201
Prize pool: $7,718,400 going to the top 27 finishers

Okay, when talking about the WSOP in Vegas, this is why it's hot! The second event having a seven figure prize pool with the first place champion becoming an instant millionaire with $1,891,012 waiting along with a gold bracelet. Some of the names that sat down in the Amazon room to play were David "Devilfish" Ulliott from the United Kingdom, David Williams, Steve Zolotow, Marco Traniello, Yevgeniv Timoshenko, Huck Seed, David Singer, Mark Seif, Vanessa Rousso, super hot WSOP Circuit player Dwyte Pilgrim, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, Nenad Medic, Ted Lawson, Phil Laak, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Joseph Hachem, Hasan Habib, Kirill Gerasimov from Russia, Chris Ferguson, Chris Moneymaker, Bruno Fituossi from France and the list goes on with super talent and super rich participants. This is probably the most fantastic list of players assembled, so you know the final table will be one for the record books. Everyone received 120,000 chips to begin with for this 4 day event.

After 2008 Main Event champion Peter Eastgate gave the order to shuffle up and deal, players went to work. Some of the early bustouts were Jim Bechtel, Eric Cajelais, Dario Mineri, Tom Dwan and Scott Montegomery. Daniel Negreanu also went to the rail after his short stack all in with A Q offsuit met the set of 3's held by Doug Lee. Antonio Esfandiari ended up with a set of 3's to send Annie Duke packing to the sidelines. Chris Fergueson also busted out after losing to the two pair (10's and J's) of Chris Moneymaker. Phil Hellmuth lost a huge chunk of chips (220,000) to the paired Kings of Alan Sass, leaving Phil upset and almost in tears. Poor Phil...moving on, Main Event Champ Joe Hachem was eliminated losing to the Ace high hand of Hasan Habib. Others who ended up doing the railbird shuffle were Scotty Nguyen, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Johnny Chan, Barry Greenstein, David Beyamine, Erick Lindgren, Gavin Griffin, Ivan Demidov, Peter Eastgate and Dennis Phillips (remember those last three from the Main Event final table in 2008?). By the time 1:15 am rolled around, there were 89 who will move on to Day 2. Here are the top 9 with chip counts:
  1. Bruno Fitoussi -- 812,500 chips
  2. Chris Moneymaker -- 805,000 chips
  3. Justin Bonomo -- 738,000 chips
  4. Alexander Veldhuis -- 646,500 chips
  5. Kyle Wilson -- 611,500 chips
  6. Brian Townsend -- 609,000 chips
  7. Michael DeMichele -- 519,500 chips
  8. Emil Patel -- 494,500 chips
  9. Alan Sass -- 491,000 chips
Day 2
Before we go too far, here is the payout schedule for the final table:
  1. $1,891,012
  2. $1,168,566
  3. $774,927
  4. $548,315
  5. $413,166
  6. $329,730
  7. $277,940
  8. $246,834
  9. $230,317
The goal for today is to play for another 8 levels or 18 players, whichever comes first. And when the signal to begin was given, this group showed no mercy and preyed on any sign of weakness. Early eliminations include WSOP bracelet holder Bill Chen, Hoyt Corkins after losing to the King high straight of Main Event champion Greg Raymer and British poker player John Duthie lost out to Frank Kassela. Duthie looked good with pocket 10's to the pocket 8's of Kassela until another 8 came on the turn ending Duthie's chance for a bracelet.

Beyond this point it was hard to keep up with the body count as players were shown to the sidelines. Kenny Tran with A K suited lost to Neil Channing's pocket J's and was busted out of the event. He was followed by Lee Markholt, Russell Rosenblum, Christopher Moorman from the UK, Michael DeMichele busted by quad 8's belonging to Lex Velhuis, David "Deveilfish" Ulliott who had his pocket K's crushed by a set of 7's, David Singer, Josh Arieh, Phil Ivey eliminated courtesy of Sorel Mizzi of Canada and Bruno Fitoussi from France who went from being chip leader to railbird with misfortune after misfortune. Chris Moneymaker who was looking really good with stacks around the 1 million mark, also joined the ranks of the busted.

On the flip side, Greg Raymer took out players with big stacks and had 2,270,000 chips at one point. Justin Bonomo was in excellent form ending the night with 2,678,000 chips and David Baker cleared the path of players to finish with 2,367,000 in his stack. Day 2 concluded with 24 players left.
  1. Justin Bonomo -- 2,678,000 chips
  2. Ted Forrest -- 2,586,000 chips
  3. David Baker -- 2,367,000 chips
  4. Greg Raymer -- 2,287,000 chips
  5. Lex Veldhuis -- 2,103,000 chips
  6. Keith Lehr -- 1,257,000 chips
  7. Vitaly Lunkin -- 1,166,000 chips
  8. Matthew Marafioti -- 1,003,000 chips
  9. Brian Rast -- 912,000 chips
Day 3
Day 3 had the goal of playing down to the last 9 players for the final table. Action started at 2:00 pm, and so did the eliminations. Within the first 5 minutes Andrew Robl finished in 23rd losing to the paired A's of Greg Raymer. Raymer had 2.4 million after that win and seemed unstoppable. Soon after, Neil Channing ended his quest for the bracelet in 20th place taking home $71,858 for his efforts. Neil was under the gun when he pushed 258,000 chips to the middle holding A 5, but lost to the paired K's of Issac Haxton. Andrew Black claimed the winnings for 19th place when his two pair (A's and J's) lost to a larger two pair (A's and K's) belonging to Dani Stern. Brian Rast went out in 14th place after meeting the quad 5's held by Vitaly Lunkin from Moscow. The final table bubble boy was Tony G leaving in 10th place after losing to the paired 10's of Vitaly Lunkin. Also, to give credit where credit is due, Greg Raymer received pocket A's three times and pocket Q's once, had them all cracked and still ended up with 3,345,000 chips for the final table. Issac Haxton doubled up big time in a hand with Alec Torelli to vault him over the 5 million mark. But Torelli had the chips to spare after winning a big hand with quad 10's against Brian Townsend. So the 9 will continue play at level 22 which has blinds at 20,000/40,000 with a 5000 ante. Here are the final table players with chip counts:
  1. Issac Haxton -- 5,955,000 chips
  2. Vitaly Lunkin -- 4,565,000 chips
  3. Lex Veldhuis -- 3,805,000 chips
  4. Greg Raymer -- 3,345,000 chips
  5. Alec Torelli -- 2,340,000 chips
  6. Justin Bonomo -- 1,685,000 chips
  7. Dani Stearn -- 1,300,000 chips
  8. Noah Schwartz -- 660,000 chips
  9. Ted Forrest -- 560,000 chips
Day 4 -- Final Table
This was filmed by ESPN, so don't miss is when it is shown on cable. Action started at 3:00 pm continuing at level 25 with blinds at $40,000/$80,000 and an ante of $10,000. Ted Forrest finished in 9th place as his hand was beaten by the pocket 3's of Noah Schwartz. Soon after, Noah Schwartz was eliminated in 8th courtesy of the pocket A's that belonged to Greg Raymer. The magic came back to Raymer as he doubled up through Issac Haxton quickly gaining a stack of over 5.5 million chips. Next on the Raymer hitlist was Lex Veldhuis who finished in 7th, losing to pocket K's held by Raymer. In 6th place was Alec Torelli, beaten by the 10 kicker of Issac Haxton. Then it became Justin Bonomo's turn to say goodbye as his all-in move with pocket J's was met by the pocket A's of Haxton. Haxton then received another Ace on the river for a set, sending Bonomo to the rail in 5th. Dani Stern picked up the cash for a 4th place finish after losing to the Ace high hand of Issac Haxton. Next one out was Greg Raymer in 3rd who received a standing ovation from the crowd for his performance. What happened is after a number of raises and re-raises from Haxton and Raymer, Raymer moved all-in with 8,105,000 and was called by Haxton who barely had him covered. Raymer produced pocket 5's, but Haxton produced pocket 9's which ended up giving Haxton the higher two pair by the river (9's and 3's) and the win.

At the beginning of the heads up Haxton had 16,495,000 chips verses Vitaly Lunkin with 7,520,000. Action continued at level 29 with blinds at $90,000/$180,000 with a $20,000 ante. Lunkin made up the difference by winning strategic hands against Haxton. And for a while, lots of back and forth movement took place with short and very tall stacks of chips. But the winning hand came and went as follows, after a flop of Qd 10d 8d, Lunkin went all-in and Haxton called with 5,635,000 in his stack. Lunkin turned over pocket A's and Haxton showed 3d 8c. Turn card was a 7c and the river a Ks, giving an incredible victory to Vitaly Lunkin! Lunkin's friends ran from the stands and wrapped him in a Russian flag to celebrate. So he now has world admiration, the Russian flag as a cape and the gold bracelet that you can't buy anywhere. It has to be earned. ESPN schedule showing for this event will be on July 28th.
  1. Vitaly Lunkin -- $1,891,012
  2. Issac Haxton -- $1,168,566
  3. Greg Raymer -- $774,927
  4. Dani Stern -- $548,315
  5. Justin Bonomo -- $413,166
  6. Alec Torelli -- $329,730
  7. Lex Veldhuis -- $277,940
  8. Noah Schwartz -- $246,834
  9. Ted Forrest -- $230,317