Okay, no kidding around this time and no clerical errors. Former professional hockey player Eric Cloutier has the chip lead in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Cloutier went on a monster rush on Day 2b to finish as the unofficial overnight chipleader. The 34-year-old bagged up 383,000 chips at the end of the night.
“I think the first level I didn’t play many hands, I think I got up to 30,000. Then I went back down to about 9,000 and got lucky on a pair of sevens and a seven came on the river. I had about 35,000 chips at the begining of Level 8,” said Cloutier. “In one hand I made a weak beat on the end, he raised me and then I moved all-in. He called me with ace-high and I had a pair of twos and that put me up over 60,000. Then after that it went aces, kings, queens – I got a lot of good hands.”
Cloutier was incorrectly credited with being the Day 1a chipleader after he filled out his chip count slip illegibly. Rather than 150,750 Cloutier finished his first day with only 15,750. The error was noticed by Harrah’s staff after Day 1c when his slip was pulled to verify the chip count. But after Day 2a there’s little doubt that Cloutier is, at the very least, near the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s my fault because I wrote my chip count 15,025 and then I went to write my section next to it, which was orange (section). And I kind of crossed it out. So it looked like 150,000 chips,” admitted Cloutier. “Funny story is that when I woke up the next day I had about 30 text messages from Canada, Brazil, Louisiana saying congratulations. I was like ‘WHy?’ Then I got to the tenth text from my friend in Canada that said I was the chip leader. I went to Antonio Esfandiari’s room to look on the computer and there I was as chip leader. So I called Jack (Effel) to tell him I’m not the chip leader.”
“But I am today.”
Day 2a saw the surviving players from Day 1a and Day 1b combined into a field 1,476 players. By the end of the night amidst all of those players two good friends climbed the leaderboard and each ended up in the top twenty in chips. Greg “FBT” Mueller finished with 287,000 and Kyle Wilson had 307,000. If not for each of them losing a 60,000 pot at the end of the night they may both have actually wound up in the top five.
“I was chipping away early and I made a key bluff early in the day. That propelled my up to 45,000 or 50,000 as opposed to being down at around 15,000,” said Mueller. “A key hand for me was when I flopped a flush draw. I played it small until I hit the flush and then I played it huge. He put his money in drawing dead and that was 40,000 so that put me right over the hump and gave me the position to zig and zag a little bit.”
Wilson’s day wasn’t as steady but he still found a way to end up with a formidable stack.
“It was a really up and down day for me. I played pretty wild today. I was up to 100,00 right away and then down to 25,000 in the second level today. Then I caught fire a little bit and went on a sick run the last level. I went from 120,000 to 306,000 in the last level,” said Wilson.
Having two players from the same home town make a deep run is something Wilson’s already thinking about.
“I think it’s going to be two White Rock (B.C.) guys making a November Nine run. I can see it,” said Wilson.
“(Kyle) has done well in the Main Event before and I’ve seemed to struggle a little bit,” said Mueller. “So this is pretty sick.”
Playing five levels of play the field was whittled down to 630 players. The Day 2b field, which will start with 2,964 players, will play only four levels on Wednesday so that the entire field will have played nine levels. After a day off on Thursday action will resume on Friday with all remaining players playing at the same time for the first time this year.
There was a number of prominent names sent packing on Tuesday. Just after the dinner break the Amazon Room got a little bit quieter as Mike “the Mouth” Matusow saw his Main Event run come a slow, painful death. Coming into the day Matusow had only 37,875 and after being card dead the better part of the day Matusow put his tournament life on the line with K Q against the pocket kings of his opponent.
“That’s a microcosm of my entire Series,” Matusow said as he exited the Amazon Room without cashing in the Main Event for the third time in four years. “I never had a hand all day. I was beyond card dead.”
Minutes later the room got even quieter as Gavin Smith busted out. The class clown of the poker world couldn’t win a race with A Q against a pair of eights. Other high profile players who were sent to the rail on Tuesday included Gus Hansen, Sandra Naujoks, Johnny Chan, Phil Laak, Tony G, Barry Greenstein, Todd Brunson and 1972 World Champion Amarillo Slim.