WSOP Main Event: Qualifiers qualifying for day three in style
After four days of disunion and propagation, with players spread through numerous locations nursing mere saplings of chip stacks, today was the day that the scattered woodland took on the shape of a forest. All the disparate day 2a factions came together in the Amazon Room sometime during the third level of play, and some mighty redwoods began to sprout forth above the canopy.
In a development entirely characteristic of every major tournament across the world, PokerStars qualifiers have come to the fore when it really started to matter. Of the approximate 630 players who will go through to day three on Friday, there are at least four online satellite wizards in or around the top ten percent. Step forward California's Peter Kremenliev, Georgia's Jeffrey Mathis, Switzerland's Daniel Makowsky and Uruguay's Hernam De Leon, confirming once again the worldwide scope and strength in depth of the PokerStars hordes.
Kremenliev had about 266,000 at the end of the day, Mathis bagged 215,000, Makowsky was sitting behind about 175,000 and De Leon is at about 195,000.
Although the precise results from the day won't be known until tournament staff release the counts sometime during the wee hours, and the true shape will only be known after day 2b plays out tomorrow, these guys are all in position A1 heading into into the rest of the week. Behind them, let's say in positions A1(a-d), are the esteemed likes of Raymond Rahme (115,000), Greg Raymer (120,000), Luca Pagano (45,000) and Juan Manuel Pastor (62,000), all of whom will wear the Team PokerStars Pro livery into day three.
Raymer sat on the feature table through the full ten hours. Having grown comfortable over the years of appearing on the small screen, he was joined there, also for the entire day, by another veteran of the gogglebox. Jason Alexander might still be best known for his timeless portrayal of George Costanza in "Seinfeld", but today he clocked up a good two season's worth of television time as a poker star.
Rarely overawed and cracking wise with Raymer throughout, Alexander will also be back for the rerun on Friday, with 65,000 in chips.
As veterans ourselves of the World Series rerun, we know that those overnight counts will also reveal a number of other heavyweights who have so far inexplicably flown under the radar. Actually, "inexplicable" is too harsh: the reason is simply that this field remains vast and swings are fast and furious. The tide of momentum that can sweep in favour of one player, can set another all at sea, and as those mentioned above sailed fair today, the likes of Sandra Naujoks, John Duthie, Lex Veldhuis, Alex Kravchenko, Jason Mercier, Katja Thater, Barry Greenstein and Johannes Strassmann crashed into the rocks.
Tomorrow, the waves are certain to be no less choppy, with a massive fleet of Team PokerStars Pros and qualifiers again attempting to navigate through it. Eastgate, ElkY, Brown, Schwartz, Brenes, Khan and Hachem are only seven among hundreds. We'll chart them all right here.
In the meantime, take a look back at today's coverage by clicking any of the following shiny hyperlinks, which will take you through to some
The winner is here somewhere
Before they were stars
New Jersey tag team ends Thater's hopes
Stars of the small screen
$33 wins chance for new memories
Tough time at a tough table
Laying in wait, the praying Mathis
Team PokerStars Pro round-up
Kremenliev provides Garrett swansong
All images come © Joe Giron/IMPDI Worldwide, and there's so much visual stimulation over at PokerStars.tv, you're going to need to lie down in a cool, dark room. With a laptop.
Cheerio folks. We'll be back tomorrow.