The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event is officially the second-biggest of all-time, surpassed only by the halcyon days of the poker boom back in 2006, with poker's crown jewel attracting a total of 8,569 entries after registration closed at the start of Day 2c.
Of those 8,569 poker players' hopes and dreams, at least 2,000 were shattered today after the starting field of 4,008 was reduced to 1,793, who advanced to Day 3. The total number of players who will resume the action at the tables tomorrow on Day 3 is 2,880.
Defending champion John Cynn bagged a healthy 248,900, with fellow former champions Jim Bechtel (251,600), Johnny Chan (232,500) and Scotty Nguyen (17,500) all finding bags.
The chip leader looks like Julian Milliard who bagged 947,900 - not bad for a guy who came into the day with around 20 big blinds.
"I've had two crazy days," said Milliard. "On Day 1, I was down to 4,000 chips and tripled with ace-nine vs ace-jack, and started today with 16,000.
"I then had ace-nine beat pocket tens and ran it up from there!"
His biggest pot came when he made a set of deuces on a king-six-deuce flop with two spades. After betting and subsequently calling off an opponent's shove with a flush draw, he avoided the spades as the board bricked and he took down the pot.
Just behind Milliard comes Vlastimil Pustina with 930,700. According to Pustina, last year he busted about an hour before the bubble. Now attending his third World Series of Poker, he's determined to make a deep run after studying with a poker coach, staying active, meditating and - according to him - running good!
Pustina says a key hand from today was where he flopped top set against two pair to double up to around 160,000. Then, close to the end of the night, he got it in with a straight against top pair for a pot of over 600,000 chips.
Other notable big stacks include former November Niner Tom Cannuli (667,000), Kathy Liebert (555,000), Sam Greenwood (535,800), Jeff Madsen (488,600), Brandon Cantu (464,500), Calvin Anderson (459,400), Bertrand Grospellier (428,000), David "ODB" Baker (418,700) and Cliff Josephy (404,000).
The Numbers Behind the Second-Largest Main Event Attendance in History
It's very difficult to downplay the size of this year's Main Event. The total of 8,569 is more than the fields of both the 2004 and 2005 Main Events combined and the field has grown year-on-year for four consecutive years; a 33% increase since Joe McKeehen’s 2015 triumph.
To put this continued growth in perspective, it is perhaps interesting to note that seven of the ten biggest Main Event fields have come since 2010.
The $80,548,600 prize pool generated this year is the second biggest in history, with the $10,000,000 that awaits the winner the joint second-biggest of all time, equal to the amount that Sweden’s Martin Jacobson won for taking down poker’s biggest prize in 2014 (albeit with a slightly lower 6,683 runners). Only Jamie Gold's $12 million win in 2006 stands above this year's top prize.
Top Five Main Events of All Time by Attendance
In terms of the final table, this year will see a huge prize on the line for first and second, with the runner-up taking home $6 million and the winner getting $4 million more. Could we see an even more epic heads-up in length?
Final Table Payouts
Day 2c Recap
There were 344 new players registered at the start of Day 2c, the most famous of which being the 'Poker Brat' himself Phil Hellmuth. After flying into Vegas earlier in the morning, he jumped straight into the action at the secondary feature table and quickly reacquainted himself with the tournament he won way back in 1989.
However, after bluffing off with pocket fours against the ace-seven of Pedro Padilha, Hellmuth was left with 12 big blinds. He ran that up a little before being sent to the rail by Timothy Stanczak. The 15-time bracelet winner called off his last ten big blinds with king-jack on a paired board only to be shown the pocket fives of Stanczak.
Hellmuth was not the only big player to bust on Day 2c, with seven-time bracelet winner Men Nguyen, former Main Event champions Jerry Yang, Scott Blumstein and Robert Varkonyi all eliminated. Blumstein was a late elimination, running ace-queen into ace-king as the final hands of the day were dealt.
Bracelet winner Fedor Holz was also eliminated after getting it in on an ace-high flop with ace-queen only to find Hai Nguyen had flopped two pair to eliminate the German.
Patrik Antonius was also eliminated in brutal fashion at the hands of Farid Jattin. He moved all in with a rivered full house, only to discover that Jattin had turned a bigger house and the Finn headed for the door.
Not To Be for Oddschecker Qualifier Dotson
Oddschecker Global Media CEO Toby Bentall was also eliminated in the penultimate level of the evening, with Oddschecker qualifier Chris Dotson sadly also busting. After winning a competition hosted by PokerNews’ sister company, Oddschecker, Dotson achieved every poker player's dream of playing in the Main Event and swapped work as a boiler operator for rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in the poker world.
He lasted until shortly after the dinner break when he got his last 11 big blinds in with ace-king against two opponents holding pocket jacks and king-queen respectively. Dotson was looking for either an ace or king to take the lead, but instead, the board ran out with a queen to give the original worst hand the winner.
Day 2c Action
The start-of-day chip leader was James Henson, and as the levels slowly ticked by there was very little movement at the top of the counts. That was until Adam Friedman soared to the top, calling an opponent's shove with a turned set of deuces that had his opponent drawing dead.
That saw Friedman crest the 500,000 mark, but after Timothy Su bagged 791,000 yesterday night, it wasn't going to be enough to top the chip counts at the end of the day.
After Kaleookalani Mccabe eliminated former bracelet winner John Racener set over set for a 500,000 pot, it looked like Mccabe could hold on for the lead. However, Julian Milliard had other ideas. Despite starting the day with 16,700 in chips managed to turn on the heat for Day 2c and move up to over 750,000.
He weathered late pressure and managed to hold on, and although not managing to break the seven-figure mark, Milliard's stack won't be hard to miss come the start of play on Day 3.
Play resumes at 12 p.m. on July 8th with fewer than 3,000 players remaining. You won't want to miss a single minute of the action so stay tuned to PokerNews for continued live updates as the Main Event continues.