If Day 1s are about survival and finding a bag, Day 2s are about getting into a rhythm. And with nearly a total of 3,900 players returning (or late registering into Day 2) and five more levels of play, there was plenty of time to get busy living or get busy punting.
Any lingering nerves of actually being in the Main Event should have subsided as players got down to the business of building stacks. Players who got to their seats early were gifted with a surprise keepsake of a ceremonial card protector celebrating the largest Main Event field in the history of the WSOP. Other than that, it was simply go-time.
It didn’t take long for the short stacks to get active and for WSOP officials to start breaking tables in the Paris Ballroom and shipping people into the Horseshoe. For the most part, everything seemed to go very smoothly, including the first day of three-table livestreaming on PokerGO from the Mothership in the Horseshoe Events Center. Of course, there was one small rumored hiccup of a player getting a one-round penalty for, incredibly, taking their Day 1 chips home with them, but it could have been worse.
Now that the first batch of Day 2 players have taken their seats, there’s just one more day of parsed starting days. Today, Day 2D, marks the final day that the field will be playing on different days. After today’s action, the field will remaining field will meet for the very first time.
What We Saw On Day 2ABC
A day after Phil Hellmuth made his grand entrance, there was pomp and circumstance once again. Celebrity chef and TV host Guy Fieri was on hand to unveil the 2023 WSOP Main Event bracelet in a ceremony during the third level of play on the day. Accompanied by members of the Vegas Golden Knights drumbots, Fieri walked into the Horseshoe events center with a stogie in his mouth and the diamond-encrusted bracelet in his hand. Fieri, who opened a restaurant inside the same casino last week, stood at the table stage alongside a group of models and showcased the bracelet for the media and PokerGO broadcast.
Similar to Hellmuth’s entrance, a few players were upset that the ceremony happened during play rather than on one of the 20-minute breaks.
Perhaps more entertaining was the PokerGO livestream which featured one of the toughest tables assembled during the first five days as Faraz Jaka, Niall Farrell, Brock Wilson, and Alex Foxen did battle for the better part of four hours. Not nearly as intense was the sighting of Isai Scheinberg playing in his first-ever WSOP Main Event. The PokerStars co-founder was seen having a blast at his table, laughing and taking in the Main Event the day before being recognized at the WPT Honors ceremony.
We saw a number of past Main Event champions in the field to start the day including Jamie Gold, Johnny Chan, and Joe Cada. But it’s 2013 Main Event champion Ryan Riess who is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his star-turning $8.3 million win. Riess talked about his love of the Main Event, how his life has changed, and his continued passion for the game of poker.
Ten years ago, up-and-coming WSOP star Cole Ferraro likely didn’t even know about the game of poker. But he did know poker superstar Jason Somerville, who was actually his karate teacher when he was young. They reconnected years later and Somerville turned Ferraro onto poker. Ferraro cashed in his first two Main Events and he continues to make strides in the Main Event again this year.
There’s only one person in the Main Event field with a shot at becoming a double World Champion this year and that’s the reigning WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas winner Eliot Hudon. Hudon talked about trying to fly under the radar at the WSOP Main Event and how crazy it would actually be if he won.
Who Are The Day 2ABC Chip Leaders
1. Christopher Brammer – 879,000 – Brammer, who finished the Day 1C as the chip leader with 386,100 in chips, took command of Day 2ABC as well by more than 2xing his stack. The bracelet winner from Southampton, England has more than $2.2 million in career earnings, $1.1 million of which comes from WSOP events. The biggest score of his 15-year career came in 2017 when he took down the WSOP $5,000 NLHE for more than $527,000 – so you know when he has this many chips, he knows what to do with them.
2. Julio Belluscio – 825,500 – Bracelet winner Julio Belluscio had a nice Day 2 taking his Day 1C stack of 214,000 (23rd on Day 1C) and running it up to second in chips. The Argentinian has WSOP scores dating back to 2014 and won his first gold bracelet this year in the $2,500 Mixed Big Bet event for $190,240. With over $792,000 in career live earnings, Belluscio is looking to add on this year with what could be his third Main Event cash.
3. Beqir Salihu – 801,000 – What a day it was for Texas’ Beqir Salihu who took a Day 1C stack of 40,200 (1,844th) and turned it into more than 800,000. Salihu doesn’t have a very long live resume with only three recorded cashes, two of which are in WSOP-branded events. Back in 2013, he made the final table of a $2,500 event for a nearly $59,000 payday.
4. John Sofillas – 780,000 – Pennsylvania’s John Sofillas, who also played on Day 1C, started the day with a healthy stack of 102,700 in chips and put them to work to build it to the fourth biggest in the room. He has two WSOP Circuit cashes to his name, both online back in 2022 with the biggest score being a 5th-place finish for $5,700.
5. Nick Marchington – 716,000 – For those that watch the WSOP Main Event every year you’re likely to remember the name Nick Marchington. The young UK pro made the final table of this event back in 2019, finishing in seventh place for $1,525,000. This year he’s making moves once again, finishing Day 1C with 151,800 and turning it into a top 5 stack. Marchington now has nearly $2 million in live earnings, assisted by a final table appearance in the 2022 WSOP Millionaire Maker for $108,704.
Who’s Moving On, Who’s Not
By the end of the night, all of the Paris Ballroom tables had broken as well as some in Horseshoe Events Center, but with 1,877 entries moving on to Day 3 there were still plenty of big names in the field including Patrik Antonius (584,500 – Top 10 stack), Ronnie Bardah (519,000), Stephen Chidwick (472,500), Cole Ferraro (454,000), Billy Baxter (434,000), Doug Polk (433,000), Alex Foxen (384,000), Faraz Jaka (375,000), Johnny Chan (372,500), Henrik Hecklen (354,500), Hustler Casino Live’s Ryan Feldman (332,500), Jason Koon (225,500), and WPT’s Tony Dunst (50,000) among many others.
With more than half the field eliminated that means the end of the journey for many notable names including Jeremy Ausmus, Isaac Haxton, Freddy Deeb, Joao Simao, Jason Somerville, Scott Seiver, Brian Yoon, Ramon Colillas, Andrew Moreno, Nick Schulman, Melanie Weisner, Marle Spragg, and Isai Scheinberg.
Tables We’re Looking Forward To On Day 2D
Despite more than 3,200 players advancing to Day 2D, most of the recognizable names in the field appear to be well-distributed at the start of play on Saturday. Late entries and early table breaks will certainly shake things up but there are, however, still a few tables in particular we’re keeping an eye on.
Grayson Ramage (Seat 2, 123,300), who has made the top-100 twice in the WSOP Main Event, will start at Paris Table 226 with WPT Champions Club member and four-time WSOP bracelet winner Robert Mizrachi (Seat 9, 98,600). Wedged in between will be infamous poker nuisance Will Kassouf (Seat 3, 31,000).
Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau (Seat 1, 60,700), fresh off his first career WSOP final table, will be playing with Mason Hinkle (Seat 7, 93,700), a.k.a. “Uncle Ron,” at Horseshoe Table 404. Recent $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller winner Jesse Lonis (Seat 1, 71,400) will face off with one of the biggest stacks in the room, longtime online poker crusher and multi-time WSOP runner-up Chris Hunichen (Seat 8, 321,200), at Horseshoe Table 521.
Another online poker legend, Viktor Blom (Seat 1, 104,100) will start the day sitting with WSOP bracelet winner Erik Cajelais (Seat 4, 51,800) at Horseshoe Table 590.