Fears that the 40th World Series of Poker might be adversely affected by the global economic recession have failed thus far to materialise, with organisers Harrah's Entertainment reporting that three notable new records have so far been set.
The company points to the 40th Anniversary Event, where a massive buy-in of $40 000 was taken up by 201 players to generate a new non-Main Event prize pool of $7 718 400 - considerably more that the previous record of $7.10 million.
Then there is Event 3, the $1 500 buy-in Omaha Hi Lo which at 918 registrations overtook the previous entry field record of 833 and in doing so became the biggest Omaha tournament entry field yet.
Event 4 is also on track to become a new record, offering players a relatively low cost buy-in of $1 000 in a NLHE competition that has been marketed as a "Stimulus Special" and saluting the economy stimulation packages around the globe. Entries were fast approaching the maximum permitted entry limit of 6 000 players as InfoPowa went to press - already far surpassing previous entry fields for $1 500 buy-in events of 3929 players. The huge field means there will be two starting heats for the event, and a prize pool of over $5 million.... guaranteeing six-figure paydays for every player who makes the final table.
All eyes were on Event 2 as the week drew to a close - that $40 000 buy-in 40th Anniversary Tournament, where the 89 players who survived an original field of 201 of some of the best players on the planet started Day 2 but only 23 completed it, with Internet whizz kid Justin Bonomo holding the chip lead, closely pursued by veteran Ted Forrest.
Eliminations included Bill Chen, Hoyt Corkins, EPT founder John Duthie, Doyle Brunson, Michael DeMichele, Marco Johnson, Nam Le, Kirill Gerasimov, Sami Kelopuro, Humberto Brenes, Chris Moneymaker, Steve Zolotow, Phil Galfond and Neil Chriss, who just missed the money bubble when he was eliminated at 28th.
Chriss's exit occurred only 10 minutes from the end of play for the day, but it was decided to play a further 6 hands, which saw four more players bite the dust, including Vanessa Rousso, J.C. Tran, Sorel Mizzi and David Pham - all of whom collected checks for $71 858 for their efforts.
With just 23 players left and that huge main prize now in sight, Justin Bonomo has the chip lead but has Ted Forrest treading on his heels and a little further back Greg Raymer and David Baker. Other Day 2 survivors are Tony G, Brian Townsend, and Lex Veldhuis.