The 2008 version of the Foxwoods Poker Classic has been going on since March 24th, and the $10,000 No-Limit Holdem Championship started last Friday. This championship event attracted 346 players to this World Poker Tour event, creating an impressive $967,300 first place prize. The winner of the event will also receive a $25,000 seat to the WPT championship, which will take place later this month. For this article I will write short summaries of the first four days of the championship, and then my next article on Thursday will document Day 5 and then Day 6, the final table.
Day 1 started with 346 players and 218 survived. The starting stack was 30,000 chips with blinds at 50/100 in the first level, so there was plenty of time for post-flop poker. Despite the large starting stack, David Pham couldn’t survive very long and he was the first pro to bust, losing his last chips in the first level of play. He apparently attempted to play every hand, but that strategy didn’t go very well and he won only one hand out of the entire bunch. Some other notable early exits included Tom Dwan, Justin Bonomo, and T.J. Cloutier.
Nam Le decided to double up during the first level (rather than bust like Pham) and he was among the chip leaders for the entire day. He finished the day with an above-average stack. Other notables who did well during Day 1 were Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, and Steve Buckner. Actually, I might not have even mentioned Buckner, but he really drew some attention on Day 1 after yelling “Let me suck out one time! Let me suck out one time!” while dancing around the cardroom after giving an opponent a bad beat during the second half of the day. His actions even caused the tournament to come to a complete stop for a minute because everyone stopped to watch his strange celebration.
The big winner after Day 1 was last year’s Foxwoods Poker Classic champion, Raj Patel. Patel, who won $1,272,905 last year in the same tournament, was able to add to his stack during the second half of the day, and he finished the day with 192,000 chips and the chip lead. Paul Snead was second in chips with 182,775.
Day 2 saw many big names go busto, including Phil Ivey (who busted during the first five minutes of the day with a small stack), Men Nguyen, J.C. Tran, Hoyt Corkins, and Hevad khan. Some notables who did manage to survive the day include Kathy Liebert, Lindgren, Greenstein, Erik Seidel, and John Juanda. The biggest name in the top five Day 2 stacks would have to be Ted Forrest; he finished the day 4th in chips with over 300,000 chips in his stack.
Perhaps the most surprising news of Day 2 was that both Patel and Snead remained in the top two places for chips by the time the day was finished. They stayed near the top for the entire day and when cards were done for the night, this time Snead had the chip lead with close to 500,000 in chips and Patel was in second place with around 400,000 chips. Patel, who hadn’t done anything special since winning last year’s event, seemed to be making a serious run towards being the first person to win the same WPT event two years in a row.
Day 2 had left only 75 players remaining for Day 3. Day 3 saw a slow, sluggish day of poker for it featured the money bubble; 40 people were to cash and by the time the bubble came, it took almost half an hour for it to burst! Svetlana Gromenkova ended up busting in 41st place and everyone who survived after her made some money for their efforts.
Most of the well-known players remaining for Day 3 busted before the money bubble even arrived, including Juanda, Liebert, Lindgren, and Greenstein. The professionals that remained in the field after Day 3 was over included Forrest, Paul Darden, and Joe Simmons. Darden finished the day with a respectable 9th place stack, and Simmons ended up with the 5th place stack. Seidel was also still in it when the play was over for the day, finishing in 10th place with 417,500.
Snead lost the chip lead when it was all said in done on Day 3, but he was still in the top five with a 595,000 chips stack. Amazingly, Patel also finished top five in chips, one place ahead of Snead with 670,000 chips. The chip leader after Day 3 was Allen Bari with a 814,000 stack.
33 players came back for Day 4, and Bari quickly lost his chip lead on Monday when play resumed. Patel didn’t fare well, either, and his bid for a repeat in 2008 ended after he became short-stacked and ended up busting. While Patel was probably not aggressive enough on Day 4, Snead was probably playing too aggressively, and he, too, busted. And there you have it, a quick summary of some of Day 3’s largest stacks – all busto on Day 4. Actually Bari didn’t go busto – he managed to survive the day with a short stack. He would be starting Day 5 hoping to chip up in order to make the final table.
A couple very famous poker players enjoyed Day 4. Forrest, who has won five WSOP bracelets and final-tabled five WPT events, finished Day 4 third in chips with 1,682,000 in his stack. Adam Katz landed in second place with 2,190,000 chips, and Seidel, winner of eight WSOP bracelets, finished the day in first place with 2,472,000. Seidel is looking for his first ever WPT win.
That wraps up Days 1 through 4. Day 5 actually featured only three eliminations since nine people survived Day 4 and Day 5 played down to six people, so I figured I would just lump that in with my Day 6 article. Please come back to my blog on Thursday for a report of the WPT final table. Thanks for reading!