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Best of Vin Narayanan

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Ben Lamb grabs the lead on Day 2B of the WSOP Main Event

13 July 2011

Day 2B of the World Series of Poker Main Event began at noon Tuesday with 2,490 players. Four hours of play later, 582 players had been eliminated. That's an elimination rate of 2.425 players per minute. After 10 hours of play, the elimination rate was 2.35 players per minute.

If you're thinking that 2.425 (or 2.35) eliminations per minute seems pretty hectic, you're right.

Calls of "Seat open" became white noise in the first hour. And at one point, a player couldn't remember what table he was playing on prior to the break.

"Guys, help us out here," said a floor official into the loudspeaker. "We have a player who has lost his seat. Do any of you remember playing with this guy?"

After receiving no response, the official went section by section, trying to find a player or dealer who knew where the lost player was supposed to be sitting.

Ben Lamb can do no wrong in this year

Ben Lamb can do no wrong in this year's World Series of Poker. He's the current chip leader in the Main Event, and he's nipping at Phil Hellmuth's heels in the race for Player of the Year. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

After striking out on the section-by-section approach, tournament officials gave it one more try.

"Dealers, does anyone have an empty seat with a black sweater on it?" asked the official.

That worked. The player found his seat. And he received a rousing ovation from the rest of the field.

By the time play ended for the night (players played five two-hour levels), only 1,080 players survived Day 2B action. The Day 2B survivors will join the 822 Day 2A survivors to form the tournament's first combined field on Thursday. Wednesday is an off day for the players.

When play resumes Thursday, Ben Lamb (551,600), Kevin Saul (542,200), Aleksandr Mozhnyakov (478,600) and Ryan D'Angelo (462,300) will be the chip leaders. Mozhnyakov is the only chip leader who played on Day 2A.

Other players who built sizable stacks Tuesday include Patrik Antonius (361,000), Nicolas Fierro (405,000) and Narendra Banwari (404,800).

One player who won't be playing Thursday is Mike Matusow. Matusow busted out of the Main Event early on Tuesday, and sounded frustrated as he tried to describe his Main Event.

Erick Lindgren proved he knows how to work a short stack Tuesday.

Erick Lindgren proved he knows how to work a short stack Tuesday. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

"I played exceptional [poker] on Day 1," Matusow said. "I just didn't have anything to show for it."

"I played well today, too," Matusow added in the hallway outside the Rio. "That [last] table was just bad."

Matusow was a little less restrained on Twitter following his elimination.

"Goodbye 2011wsop may u rot in hell," he tweeted.

Lamb, meanwhile, continued his stellar WSOP run Tuesday. The Player of the Year candidate -- he's second behind Phil Hellmuth -- began the day with 188,925 chips and by the dinner break, he had run that up to 325,000. He ended the day with 551,600 chips and a table of poker players just shaking their heads in amazement and bewilderment at what they'd just seen.

But Lamb's remarkable run doesn't even put him in the running for Tuesday's best heater. That award goes to Erick Lindgren.

The 2008 WSOP Player of the Year began Tuesday with 3,700 in chips. By the time the dinner break rolled around, Lindgren had 105,000. And he finished the night with 170,300. Lindgren's big move up the leaderboard puts Hellmuth's Day 2A performance to shame. And last night, everyone was talking about Hellmuth's remarkable comeback.

Hellmuth missed the first 100 minutes of play Monday because he didn't realize he was playing that day. His chip stack was blinded off and was sitting at a little less than 7,000 when he arrived. But Hellmuth managed to build that chip stack up to 64,900.

Victor Ramdin spent most of Day 2B trying to figure out how to catch up with the chip leaders. His best opportunity came when he flopped a straight with two other players in the hand. Unfortunately for him, one of his opponents hit the nut flush on the river, denying him a pot that would have had him sitting on around 380,000 chips. Instead, he dropped down to about 75,000 and had to begin the climb again. He ended up with 172,400 at the end of the day.

Josh Romero was called a young Denzel Washington by his opponents at the WSOP Main Event.

Josh Romero was called a young Denzel Washington by his opponents at the WSOP Main Event. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

One of the interesting by-products of keeping a couple thousand people in the same room day after day is that eventually they'll start talking to each other (maybe Congress should try this). And the conversations can get a bit interesting.

At one table, we overheard a discussion about a poker player who had been banned from all MGM properties. According to the story, he was kicked out when he chased a prostitute down in the lobby to retrieve $100 she wasn't supposed to take.

And at another table, Josh Romero was making an impression. Romero had just moved from the Pavilion Room, where he started the day with 73,975 chips. As he sat down at the table, his new opponents began calling him a "young Denzel Washington."

"You must have heard that comparison before," one player said.

"I've only heard it a couple of times," Romero replied. "But I'm starting to believe it now."

The "young Denzel" had barely finished stacking his chips after his move when he was dealt pocket aces. Two players had moved all-in ahead of him, so he made the call. He turned over his two aces, and saw that he was facing ace-king and pocket queens. His aces held up, and "young Denzel" was off to a good start at his new table.

Other notable players who survived Day 2B: Justin Bonomo (252,400), Tony Hachem (245,100), Jeff Madsen (231,500), Joseph Cheong (229,100), John Racener (182,900) David Chiu (63,600), Allen Cunningham (100,600), Jeffrey Lisandro (88,000), Freddy Deeb (56,500), David Bach (42,200) and Vanessa Rousso (41,000).

Notable players (not named Matusow) eliminated during Day 2B action include: Mike Sexton, Phil Laak, Jamie Gold, Amnon Filippi, Matt Jarvis, Darvin Moon, Chau Giang, Joe Sebok, Jason Lester, Vivek Rajkumar, Andy Black, Beth Shak, Dario Minieri, Phil Galfond, Daniel Alaei, Kenny Tran, Barry Greenstein, Maya Geller, Roland de Wolfe, Eugene Katchalov, Shannon Elizabeth, Liv Boeree, Cliff Josephy and Tony Dunst.
Ben Lamb grabs the lead on Day 2B of the WSOP Main Event is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.