I've never covered a heads-up event before, but boy was it frantic. Of course, it helps when Phil Ivey is bouncing around the room multi-tasking with different tournaments, but that won't be of any comfort to victim Michael Mizrachi who ended up receiving just two hands for his $10,000 investment.
Meanwhile, the pace continued into Round 2, and three and half hours later the playing area was empty. Saar Wilf and Juan Ramirez were slightly stubborn and threatened to rob your blogging team of their post-match beverages, but when Wilf finally succumbed at the death, we were left with our final 64, all of whom will be taking their newly acquired stack of 120,000 into Round 3.
And what a line-up it is too. We may have lost the likes of Tom "durrrr" Dwan, David Benyamine, John Juanda and reigning WSOP Champ Joe Cada along the way, but flying the flag for the "big names" are renowned pros such as Vanessa Rousso, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Antonio Esfandiari and, of course, Sir. Phil Ivey, who seemed to play rather less hands than his fellow survivors.
Play resumes tomorrow at 3pm with players looking to advance another round and get that much closer to the sparkling, gold bracelet and the lion's share of the $2,406,400 prize pool. There are a plethora of enticing match-ups in store (see below), so be sure to join us, same bat-channel, slightly earlier bat-time. Cheerio.
Just 64 players remain. One more match and the surviving 32 are in the money. Here are the third-round match-ups, a.k.a., the bubble round:
Jason Somerville vs. Tobias Reinkenmeier
Julian Herold vs. Craig Bergeron
Martin Kabrhel vs. Fabrizio Baldassari
Alexander Benovski vs. Darren Woods
Gavin Smith vs. Gabe Kaplan
Josh Arieh vs. Maxim Lykov
Ashton Griffin vs. Anton Kozlovskiy
Phil Ivey vs. Kido Pham
Andrew Feldman vs. Nicholas Rampone
Michael Leah vs. Faraz Jaka
Steven Gross vs. Amritraj Singh
Brock Parker vs. Phil Gordon
Brian Rast vs. Aaron Been
Antonio Esfandiari vs. Owen Crowe
Ayaz Mahmood vs. James Collopy
Alioscia Oliva vs. Kevin Saul
Sorel Mizzi vs. Matthew Waxman
Chris Moorman vs. Vladimir Schmelev
Jeremy Coon vs. Alexander Kostritsyn
Keith Block vs. Scott Baumstein
Scott Clements vs. Robbie Verspui
Bertrand Grospellier vs. Andrew Rosskamm
Ryan Fee vs. Timothy Adams
Jordan Morgan vs. Ludovic Lacay
Ernst Schmejkal vs. Juan Ramirez
David Williams vs. Christopher Moore
Jonathan Little vs. Alexander Kravchenko
Sam Stein vs. Emil Patel
Vanessa Rousso vs. Terrence Chan
Dee Tiller vs. Melanie Weisner
Eric Cloutier vs. Vivek Rajkumar
Johan Sundell vs. Michael Glasser
All of the other 63 matches had completed, only Juan Ramirez and Saar Wilf were left battling to decide who would take the final spot in tomorrow's third round. Ramirez enjoyed a 3-to-1 chip advantage during the latter stages of their match, but Wilf continued to survive.
On the conclusion of one hand near the end, Wilf exhaled. "We'll get there eventually," he said. "Yeah," agreed Ramirez. Soon after it was announced the new level -- with 3,000/6,000 blinds -- was starting. "We got there!" smiled Ramirez, and both laughed.
Indeed, it didn't take much longer. Down below 20,000 chips, Wilf faced an all-in raise from Ramirez, and decided his was good enough for the call. Ramirez tabled , the board went , and Ramirez is our last second round winner.
Looking in on our lone remaining combatants...
Currently Juan Ramirez has the lead with 81,000 to Saar Wilf's 39,000.
As Justin Smith was still in the pot-limit Omaha event, he was allowed to play his heads-up in the Amazon Room rather than the Pavillion.
However, we have a spies, and they reliably tell us that he was unable to topple fellow countryman Alexander Venoski who proceeds to the next round.
This means that just one match-up remains: Saar Wilf versus Juan Ramirez.
Gabe Kaplan enjoyed a chip advantage over Dustin Woolf for much of their match. Finally, down to 16,000, Woolf shoved from the small blind/button with , and Kaplan called with .
The community cards got along much better with Kaplan's hand than with Woolf's, coming , giving Kaplan a full house.
"That was tough!" said Kaplan with a smile. We'll be welcoming him back tomorrow.
Andrew Rosskamm had chipped Tom "durrrr" Dwan back down to about 40,000 when a hand arose in which Rosskamm raised enough to put Dwan all in. Dwan sat in contemplation for several seconds, staring straight ahead into his opponent's sunglasses.
Finally Dwan called, tabling . Rosskamm turned over .
The dealer swiftly delivered the community cards -- -- and Dwan's day is done. Rosskamm moves on to Round 3.
After regaining the chip lead, Vivek Rajkumar found in the big blind and duly raised Leonid Yanovski's 5,000 button raise to 18,000. Yanovski moved all in and Rajkumar snapped him off.
Despite being ahead, the Poker Gods slapped Yanovski firmly in the face by delivering one of Rajkumar's three outs, the board coming to finish the match.
Yanovski out, Rajkumar through.