WSOP 2017: Level up! More stories to come on Day 2C

Reporting on poker tournaments is a kind of storytelling. Granted, it's a peculiar kind, with the players and plot beholden to a card game that carries them through often familiar yet still somehow novel twists and turns. But these are stories we're telling, nonetheless, and it's the stories that keep most of us coming back.

All 7,221 of this year's World Series of Poker Main Event players brought their own personal stories the table, and while we can't learn or try to tell them all, the ones we can excite us to no end.

Then there's the game itself that produces stories of incredible drama, full of dizzying highs and punishing lows. And, well, some less exciting stuff, too -- those times when seemingly "nothing happens" and the only story seems to be that for the moment there's a lack of one to tell.

There's one constant in poker tournaments, though -- the blinds keep going up. And the antes, too, once in play. The structure constantly nudges everyone forward, ensuring that something, eventually, big is going to happen. To everybody.


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New day rising

Day 2C of the 2017 WSOP Main Event is here, and with it comes another blind and ante increase. The players have to acknowledge it, as the increase necessarily affects the relative size of their stacks. The reporters have to recognize it as well, with the news that a new level is starting being perhaps one of the less conspicuous elements of their storytelling, but an absolutely necessary one.

It's a new day, sure. But it's a new level, too, and with each new level necessarily comes the prospect for more interesting stories.

Exactly 3,300 players return to play today, survivors from the 4,262 who began the third and final and largest by far opening flight. They'll be spread out among the several ballrooms on this end of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino -- the Amazon, Brasilia, Miranda, and Pavilon -- likely playing down to a point where about half of them bag up tonight.

Those who do will join the 1,023 players who got through yesterday's Day 2AB when the field finally combines for tomorrow's Day 3. From there they'll all try to be around when the money bubble bursts and just 1,084 are left, continuing the quest toward the final table and ultimately the $8.15 million first prize.

Last night Lawrence Bayley (618,000), Mickey Craft (608,100), and Richard Gryko (564,800) finished at the top of the counts, setting a mark toward which tonight's leaders will be aiming.


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Lawrence Bayley bagged the most on Day 2AB

Sergio Castelluccio, Grayson Ramage, Jared Hamby, Thomas Meuhloecker, and Steven van Zadelhoff were among the other big stacks as well yesterday, with a number of other big names and three Red Spades -- Randy Lew (297,400), Barry Greenstein (133,200), and Liv Boeree (72,500) -- also still part of the mix.

Today Jerome Brion returns to the start-of-day chip lead among Day 2C players with 247,900. Natasha Mercier has a top 10 stack, and 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25K High Roller champion Nick Maimone, 2013 WSOP Main Event sixth-place finisher Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, and EPT Deauville Main Event winner Remi Castaignon will also be among the big stacks to begin.

Representing Team PokerStars Pro, Andre Akkari starts with a healthy 189,900 today which is the best stack of any of the team members as play resumes.


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AA feeling like aces

There will be 10 Red Spades in action altogether today. Akkari, Aditya Agarwal, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Felipe Ramos all come back to better than average chips. Jake Cody and Kevin Martin are in the middle. Brand new Team PokerStars Pro member Jeff Gross, Jason Mercier, and Daniel Negreanu will start below par. And Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier comes back to a super short stack of not quite nine big blinds.

We'll be keeping an eye on all of them, of course, and many others, too, as the blinds and antes keep going up and the number of players remaining go down.

Settle in and let's all enjoy some more poker. And some more stories, which are coming -- we know it. Because a new level is just about to start.


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Level 6 begins


WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.