Las Vegas, NV
You hate to peak too early.
Doesn't matter if it's poker or sex, it's utterly embarrassing to blow your load before you're supposed to. A chip leader on Day 1 or 2 of the WSOP means absolutely nothing unless those chips are used to propel you into the highest echelons of the poker circus -- the November Nine -- which in gambling terms is the greatest show on Earth. Well, maybe not Earth, but certainly in Las Vegas once Bob Dylan packs up his gear and takes his song and dance act to the next city on his tour. So with the exception of Bob Dylan, the WSOP is still the biggest show in town and Ben Lamb is one of the colorful main characters, with a name that's straight off the pages of a Tennessee Williams play.
Photo courtesy of Winamax
The leading man, Ben Lamb, lead the charge on Day 1B (see Luck Rack of Lamb) and decimated the field during the opening flight of running with the donks. Although Day 1 might seem like a sprint, the entire Main Event is a post-apocalyptic marathon in which mutants and roving gangs of thugs are trying to prevent you from reaching the Promised Land. Despite the appalling carnage left on the bloodied battlefield, Lamb rose above his competition on both Day 1B and again on Day 2B.
Even if Lamb busted on Day 1, he'd still be considered one of the most outstanding players during the 2011 preliminaries. Lamb thrived on pressure and collected one bracelet after three final table appearances. At one point late in the summer, Lamb was #1 on the WSOP Player of the Year leader board (with this year's point system powered by Bluff Magazine). It wasn't until Phil Hellmuth went deep in the Players' Championship for his third runner-up performance before the Poker Brat elbowed Lamb out of POY's top spot.
Unlike Lamb, Hellmuth struggled on Day 1 and barely survived the day. Hellmuth's rough Main Event continued when he showed up late on Day 2 when he forgot what day he was playing. If Hellmuth's wife didn't call security to wake him up with a "welfare check," the Poker Brat would've gotten blinded off, while half-baked reporters speculated if Hellmuth spiraled into the depths of a deviant narcotics binge similar to other famous no-shows -- Stuey Ungar and Vinnie Vinh. Alas, Hellmuth arrived, albeit late on Day 2A, and quashed whatever rumors that he was a crackhead, or worse, an Ibogaine addict.
When the Main Event clock reached the end of Level 10, Ben Lamb was still out in front of the blood-thirsty pack of 1,000 or so players. Lamb also extended his lead to over 551,000 in chips. Only one other player, Kevin Saul, finished Day 2B with at least a half o' mil in chips. Saul's online screen name is some clever combination of lowercase and uppercase characters with a play on Above and Below, which I can never figure out which is which. AboveBelow? BelowAbove? BelowSideways? And I'm not even going to attempt to figure out the capitalization. If I was cooking on good old-fashioned trucker's speed, perhaps I'd write out all 5,423 combination and variations of Saul's online screen name, but since neither of us can play online poker anymore due to the fucking jackals in Washington cockblocking a perfectly legitimate racket, it just doesn't matter. I'm praying that if/when online poker returns to American soil, that Saul will opt for a much easier screen name to remember like KevSaul420.
I can read minds, so hurry up and finish reading this post so you can either continue to jack off to Swedish golden showers videos on RedTube, or rush over to "like" a dozen of the most mundane things ever mentioned on social media. In case you were wondering -- Day 2A's leader Aleksandr Mozhnyakov from the Russian Motherland, never cracked the 500K mark, but in overall terms, he'll begin Day 3 as third in chips behind Lamb and Saul. Sheesh, that combination sounds too biblical for my tastes. I'm seriously hopping the Family Radio crackpots are just a bunch of overzealous Jesus Freaks and that the Second Coming isn't scheduled for any time during the next week or so. Because if Jesus and his army of angels return to Earth, the first they will do is blow up the Jersey Shore house and smite the entire city of Las Vegas -- the modern Sodom and Gomorah. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off angels on a mission from God. All atheists better head to the city limits quickly before the maelstrom of Armageddon is nigh.
I apologize for the tangent, where were we? Oh, that's right... Day 2B of the WSOP Main Event.
2011 Main Event - Quick Stats
First Place: 8,711,956
Juice to the WSOP: $4,119,000
Day 2A Runners: 2,031
Day 2A Survivors: 822
Day 2A Chip leader: Aleksandr Mozhnyakov – 478,600
Day 2B Runners: 2,490
Day 2B Survivors: 1,080
Day 2A Chip leader: Ben Lamb - 551,600
Photo courtesy of WhoJedi
In case you were wondering about your favorite pros or it you have a fantasy poker league, here's who ADVANCED to Day 3 (according to a list furnished by Nolan Dalla from the WSOP)...
Doug "Toolbox" Lee, Freddy Deeb, Alexandre Gomes, Donny Mizrachi, Phil Laak, Matt Matros, Kristy Gazes, David Bach, David Oppenheim, Joshua Tieman, Fred Berger, Shannon Shorr, Adam Junglen, Brad Garrett, Minh Ly, Mike Caro, Jason Mercier, Dan Shak, Jason Alexander, Daniel Negreanu, Annette Obrestad, Mickey Appleman, Ted Forrest, Lee Childs, Shaun Deeb, J.P. Kelly, Tex Barch, Ville Wahlbeck, Allen Rash, Mel Judah, Vitaly Lunkin, Ben Lamb, Patrik Antonius, Dan Kelly, Justin Bonomo, John Racener, Tony Hachem, Peter Gelencser, Jeff Madsen, Robert Cheung, Victor Ramdin, Erick Lindgren, Thunder Keller, Lyle Berman, Sam Stein, Minh Nguyen, Matt Matros, Scott Clements, Todd Brunson, Steve Danenmann, David Chiu, Matt Savage, Jeffrey Lisandro, Allen Cunningham, and Jake Cody.Yep, there's still seven former WSOP Main Event champions still alive and in the hunt for a second title...
Tom McEvoy, Berry Johnston, Phil Hellmuth, Huck Seed, Carlos Mortensen, Robert Varkonyi, and Joe Cada.And here's a few players that I know of who advanced to Day 3 with a minimum of a 100,000 in chips, yet fell short of being on the "official list of notables"...
Garry Gates, Justin "FluffDog" Filtz, RISE Poker Team Pro Jean-Robert Bellande, Carl Olson, Raul Pino, Will the Thrill Failla, Pete Carini, Danny Ryan, David Baker, Mark Muchnik, Jared Hamby, Scott Carlson, Jared Jaffee, Leif Force, John Myung, John Shipley, Matt Stout, Taylor Caby, Galen Hall, EmilPatel, Quoc Nguyen, Lars Bonding, Bryan Micon, Blair Hinkle, Ricky Fohrenbach, Brian Lemke, Amit Makhija, Humberto Brenes, Keith "The Camel" Hawkins, Guillaume Darcourt, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Max Weinberg, Peter "Nordberg" Feldman, Russell Rosenblum, Diogo Borges, Miami John, Andrew Webking, Jeet Shetty, Athipoo Phahurat, Abdulaziz Almashal, Jon "ApeStyles" Van Fleet, Christian Harder, Tyler Patterson, Daniel Ospina, Court Harrington, and Jani Sointula.Oh, and let's not forget friends of Tao...
Louie Cohen (who has a shade under 85,000), Kristy Gazes (70,000), Jen Shahade (65,000), Bilney (53,500), and Neil Channing (very very low, he's on life support).By the way, here's some more numbers for you stat geeks, which was compiled by Nolan, Seth, and the WSOP crew...
How the eventual world champions stood at the end of Day 2:Yes, so good news for Ben Lamb and Aleksandr Mozhnyakov. According to these stats above, there's a 90% chance they will cash in the 2011 Main Event because only one Day 2 chipleader (Yuriy Kozinskiy) completely whiffed. The worst Day 2 leader cashed in 733rd place and the highest anyone ever finished was 41st place.
2010 - Jonathan Duhamel ranked in 889th place.
2009 - Joe Cada ranked in 99th place.
2008 - Peter Eastgate ranked in 484th place.
2007 - Jerry Yang ranked in 26th place.
2006 - Jamie Gold ranked in 155th place.
Based on WSOP figures (2006 to present), 9 of 10 End of Day Two chip leaders cashed. The previous results are as follows:
2010 2A – David Assouline finished in 44th place
2010 2B – Boulus Estafanous finished in 733rd place
2009 2A – Amir Lehavot finished in 226th place
2009 2B – Peter DeBaene finished in 398th place
2008 2A – Brian Schaedlich finished in 456th place
2008 2B – Peter Biebel finished in 273rd place
2007 2A – Jeff "Mr.Rain" Banghart finished in 41st place
2007 2B – Gus Hansen finished in 61st place
2006 2A – Yuriy Kozinskiy did not cash
2006 2B – Dmitri Nobles finished in 76th place
That's it for now. Day 3 will resume on THURSDAY at noon. Wednesday is a staff holiday, so there's nothing going on at the Rio.
Follow @taopauly for Twitter updates throughout the day.
Also, help support indie writers and buy my books: Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers and the World Series of Poker, and my recently released novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. Both are also available for Kindles and iPads.