WSOP 2017: Grafton + chips + Polk + guns = high-volume Day 2AB
The volume in the Brasilia Room of the Rio Hotel & Casino hit a new peak this afternoon when British pro Sam Grafton, indisputably one of the loudest players in world poker, was moved to the feature table of the World Series Main Event. The dazzle of the TV lights only served to turn Grafton's dial up way past 11.
There were two other factors boosting Grafton's decibels. One was the presence on his left of Doug Polk, another of poker's most celebrated and garrulous grinders. ("Doug's got his guns out!" Grafton bellowed at one point, after Polk opted for the sleeveless vest option.) Another was the presence on the table in front of Grafton a tournament-leading 450,000 chips.
Starting the day in the top five counts, Grafton quickly hit the accelerator pedal through the first levels this afternoon. Even as Level 8 comes to its conclusion, Grafton is the only player confirmed with more than 400,000 chips. He's going nowhere.
It's been a mixed afternoon for Team PokerStars Pro. The predictions of reporters is that around half of the returning 2,959 players will be knocked out today, but precisely half of the six Red Spades playing have already hit the rail.
Jen Shahade was first to depart: She got the last of her chips in the middle on a board of A♣9♠4♣ and, with A♠K♣, had good reason to think she might be ahead. But Sean Lindsey had A♦9♥ and there was no king on either turn or river, sending Shahade back to Philadelphia and the arms of her six-month old baby Fabian.
Not long afterwards, Celina Lin, who began the day with only 14,900, flopped a set of queens but lost to a straight. Maria Konnikova, meanwhile, actually had a straight on her elimination hand. But her opponent rivered a flush.
Both Konnikova and Lin will now go bracelet hunting in the $1,111 One Drop event, which offers the last chance for silverware of the summer.
"I will avenge you!" declared Team Online's Randy Lew after Lin announced her elimination on Twitter. Of the three remaining Team Pros, Lew is best placed to do just that. He has around 175,000 at the mid-point of the day, even if the live reporters have only just learned his name.
Barry Greenstein has been up and down a bit today, but currently sits with about 102,000. It's also his third seating assignment of the afternoon after two previous tables broke. Greenstein, who is aiming for his 13th cash of this year's WSOP, is not one to let trivialities like that affect him.
The other Team Pro in today's field is Liv Boeree and she still has about 55,000. That's only 5,000 more than a starting stack, but blinds are still only 500/1,000 in Level 8, so there's no need to panic yet.
Boeree is nestled among a table of Brits. Toby Lewis and Alex Goulder are also with her on Table 109 of the Amazon Room.
It's very hard to get a solid idea of how many players are left as action is still spread across vast sections of the Amazon Room while the Brasilia is also full. We're obviously wishing the best for our three representatives and hoping that they can run to the end of the day.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.