|Jon Ho Christensen||89,700|
With one day down in this edition of the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em bustament, the field has already been cut from 2,521 to under 280. Zheng Jackson used the last levels of the day to surge to the top of the leader board with 151,000. Humberto Brenes hit a rush after dinner and terrorized his table, shark in tow, to finish with 146,400. Darren Spurlock, who dominated the field for most of the day, ended the night in third with 142,400. Grayson Ramage brings 130,000 into Day 2, and notables Mike Sowers and Carter Phillips both have over 120,000.
At 21, Phillips would love a chance to become the youngest player to win two bracelets in the same year, but he's got his work cut out for him on Day 2 first. Phillips and the other big stacks will be joined by plenty of other tough opponents who made it through a day full of firing, flipping, and folding. To keep their chips, they'll have to fight off the likes of Arnaud Mattern, Nam Le, Jude Ainsworth, and Shannon Shorr.
When the remaining players return to the Rio at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, they'll be less than one table away from bursting the money bubble. Once that happens, it will be a beeline for the final table and a shot at a bracelet and the sweet $604,222 first prize. Check back here for all of the action as it happens.
There is just no stopping Humberto Brenes tonight. With only a hand or two left, Brenes three-bet to 8,800. Another player cold four-bet all in for another 2,000, and after the first raiser folded, Brenes called with . His opponent could double up if his held. The flop gave both of them a pair, but Brenes was way behind. The on the turn added the queens as chop outs, but only one of the two remaining deuces in the deck would eliminate the short stack. Of course you know what's coming on the river - the . Brenes celebrated the bust and ended the night as one of the night's largest stacks thanks to his massive post-dinner heater.
The TD just announced that everyone will play four more hands and then call it a night. With 297 players left, that means they'll end a few tables short of the money.
A few minutes after getting a player at his table to fold on the river of a big pot, Humberto Brenes mixed it up with the guy again. Brenes checked an flop, and his opponent bet 4,400. Then Humberto check-raised to 10,000. The other player moved all in with , and Brenes called him with . The on the turn meant Brenes had to dodge spades but didn't have to worry about nines. And the on the river gave the Shark Man a full boat. He busted the other player and built up to 107,000.
Action folded to Bernard Lee on the button and he shoved in for 11,300. The big blind made the call with . Lee held the mother of all hands in two aces. There was no help on the board for Lee's opponent, allowing Lee to double and then some to just under 24,000.
Will Failla loves the ladies, but he was a little less enamored when he discovered he'd run queens into aces. But the Thrill was quickly back in love again when two more beautiful women appeared on the flop, giving him quads. Failla doubled up to 35,000.
Humberto Brenes opened with a raise to 2,100, and his opponent reraised to 8,000 out of the blinds. Brenes called to see the flop. The other player bet 8,000, and Brenes flatted. His opponent fired again, this time 20,000, after the on the turn. Once again, Brenes called. The came on the river, and the other player slowed down and checked the action to Brenes. Humberto made a small bet of 15,000. It smelled like a big hand, or at least something that could beat a bluff, and his opponent folded. "See, you can't get the shark," Brenes said, playing with constant companion, a tiny toy shark. "The shark is smart." Brenes' shark is now sitting on a stack worth 84,000.
The hunt for the money is on, and there is a chance we could burst the bubble tonight. If not, it's going to be awfully close. There are 40 minutes left on the clock, and the board reads 324 players remaining. The last 270 earn a cash, meaning we're 54 eliminations (a few of which have probably already occurred) away from bursting the bubble. However, we're not the only ones who have noticed this, and plenty of short stacks have slowed their play down to a crawl.