While Day 1A of the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event saw players slowly and steadily climb up the counts during the first half of the day, Day 1B has a player absolutely terrorizing the field and tearing up the chip counts as a result. We are only at the dinner break and recreational cash game player Bob Safai has almost as many chips as Day 1A chip leader Fred Berger ended the day with.
Safai thrived during Level 3 play, where blinds were up to 150/300, but some of the other notables in the field were less fortunate, including the marquee name from last year’s final table, Michael Mizrachi. Find out how Mizrachi went out, Safai went up, and what else went down over the course of the last level while the Day 1B field goes on dinner break until 8:20pm PT:
Day 1B Outperforms Day 1A
The numbers are in and the turnout for Day 1B was even better than Day 1A with 985 players ponying up $10,000 for their chance at WSOP Main Event glory. That puts the total number of runners in the big dance so far at 1,882. That is 28% decrease over last year’s numbers, but WSOP officials are still speaking highly of the prospects for big fields on Days 1C and 1D. Numbers in the 6,000 range are being bantied about, but that would mean double the turnout we’ve seen so far this Main Event to get there.
Safai’s Stack Soars
High stakes cash game regular Bob Safai had plenty of chips to begin with at the start of Level 3, but his stack just kept swelling as the level progressed and he now appears to be one of the biggest stacks in the room with 155,000.
A nice chunk of those chips came as the result of back-to-back hands. First, Safai raised from the hijack to 800, Tyler Cornell called from the cutoff, John Monnette called on the button, and the player in the big blind defended.
The flop fell QT3 and the player in the big blind checked. Safai bet 3,000, Cornell called, and Monnette and the player in the big blind got out of the way. The turn brought the 7 and Safai wasted little time betting 6,000. Cornell once again called, then the river brought the 4. Safai instantly put out a bet of 14,000 and Cornell thought for a minute or so before calling.
Safai silently turned over Q4 for a rivered two pair to take the pot. Cornell mucked and fell to 20,000 chips.
The very next hand, Safai limped in and tangled with the players in the small and big blind. There was 4,500 chips in the pot and the board read 974A3 when action checked to Safai, who plunked down a large stack of yellow 1,000 chips to effectively put his opponents all-in. The player in the small blind folded, while the player in the big blind got a count, then called for his last 18,000 or so chips.
Safai flipped up K3 for the nut flush, the other player mucked and sat in silence at the table for a few moments before making his exit.
Safai was at it again shortly thereafter. With 13,000 already in the pot and a board of A946, Safai bet of 15,000, and his opponent went into the tank. He eventually went all-in for just over 30,000, and Safai beat him into the pot. Safai was well ahead with AK against AT, and, with the river 8, Safai eclipsed 190,000 before the dinner break.
Lamb Looking to Lionize WSOP Player of the Year Race
Even with his incredible summer, in which he finished first and second in Omaha events, as well as a final table appearance in the $50,000 Players’ Championship, Ben Lamb has fallen behind Phil Hellmuth in the WSOP Player of the Year race. Although he still has the seven events at the WSOP-E to try and collect enough points to overtake Hellmuth, Lamb likely wouldn’t mind capping his impressive results at the 2011 WSOP with a deep run in the Main Event.
Lamb has gotten off to a quick start on Day 1B. With a little over 13,000 already in the pot and the board reading 9432J , Ben Lamb bet 12,000 into an opponent who had about 30,000 behind. After staring at the board for about a minute, the other player called. Lamb tabled 56 for the nut straight, his opponent mucked, and, with that pot, Lamb neared 90,000.
For the third time on Day 1B, Michael Mizrachi got short-stacked, and for the third time he had a caller for all-in bet. Mizrachi was in a coinflip situation as his KT tangled with his opponent’s 99. The flop gave Mizrachi even more outs, with the QJ7 board adding six outs for a straight. The J on the turn took away a nine as an out, but now a queen would counterfeit the pair of nines, meaning Mizrachi picked up one additional out. The 4 on the river brought an end to Mizrachi’s 2011 Main Event.
Justin “BoostedJ” Smith had been hovering around 20,000 for most of the day, but thanks to a rough series of hands, he dropped to 10,000 and then hit the rail after Smith four-betting all-in with QQ only to run into another player’s AA. There was very little drama to this hand, as the flop came out A33, with Smith drawing dead to running queens. There were not running queens, and Smith made his exit from the 2011 Main Event.
Joining Smith on the rail over the course of Level 3 action was Nacho Barbero and Tuan Le
Seiver Loses Twice
After simultaneously ordering a beer and a coffee from a server, Scott Seiver got into a friendly $5 wager with another player at his table. Seiver believed that the server would rather take $3 in cash versus a $5 chip from the Rio. Seiver produced both and waited for the drinks to arrive. When the server returned he asked him which he’d rather have and held both options out. The server took the red chip.
“Five dollars or three dollars? Are you kidding me?,” the server laughed as he walked away with the chip. The server’s decision put Seiver in a bind though when it came time to make good on the lost bet. “I can’t pay you now,” Seiver laughed.
By The Numbers
1 Number of players who won a bracelet in 2010 by making a Royal Flush on the final hand of play. Hasan (Alex) Anter turned a flush, but rivered a Royal to beat nemer Haddad and claim the final $1,500 No Limit Hold’em bracelet of the year.
88 The difference in field size between Day 1A and Day 1B. After 897 runners on Thursday, 985 turned up for Friday’s poker action.
Notable Chip Counts
Bob Safai – 184,500
Ben Lamb – 112,800
Kevin Saul – 94,700
Randy Dorfman – 82,100
Sam Stein – 81,575
Jean-Robert Bellande – 65,600
Scott Seiver – 49,000
John Racener – 40,000
Justin Bonomo – 34,500
Eugene Katchalov – 33,250
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