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Day Two at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic

Phil Ivey and Antonio Esfandiari Lurk Near the Top After a Long Day

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Four hundred and twenty-eight players remained at the start of day two at the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic, and a long day was facing those lucky enough to survive six levels of play. The strong tournament field attracted by the event ensured that many professional players would be getting in each other’s way. At some tables this was more the case than at others, but two tables, in particular, saw the worst table draws of the day.

Many professional players fell early during the first level; in fact a lot of players fell, as seven tables were lost as the tournament field sprinted out of the gate during level one. Among those early victims were Barry Shulman, Jean-Robert Bellande, Max Pescatori, Jordan Morgan, and the 2006 WPT championship winner Carlos Mortensen. The end of the second level saw the field disintegrate even further to under 300 players, and the fast pace of eliminations charged on for the rest of the evening and night, leaving the final number of players at 136.

Mickey 'Mouse' MillsThe chips of the vanquished had to go somewhere during the course of this chaos, and wild swings saw multiple players cross the 200,000-chip mark. The first person to do this was Mickey “Mouse” Mills, who was down to 6,000 at one point early in the day and mounted a surprising comeback. He started his march to 200,000 by flopping quad fives, which quadrupled him up courtesy of his opponents, who held a full house and a flush. Shortly after that, Mickey hit a full house with 7-5 to take out an opponent with top pair. Finally, just before dinner, Mickey turned a wheel to pick up even more chips and charge to the chip lead before the dinner break. Mills was joined by several players in the 200,000 club shortly after dinner, and they included Joe Schulman (285,000), Yury Parad (243,000), and Kyle Burnside (200,000). Mills had much tougher luck in the late stages of the day, though, and he finished with 129,900.

Table 14 was the featured table for much of the day, and it was there that a cross-section of the poker world crossed paths. The six well-known professionals at table 14 included representatives from poker's old guard in Bob Stupak and Tony Ma, defending LAPC champion Eric Hershler, as well as two from poker's young crowd in Danny Wong and Aaron Been. Throw in one well-known poker brat Phil Hellmuth and you have a lethal mix of half a dozen players. These six players were also quite resilient. They survived four full levels of play together before Ma and Wong busted out, but then Mark Newhouse and Mills were added for good measure. The table was finally broken up near the end of level five, but at that point there was another table ready to take its place.

Table 9 had become the place to be, or not to be, if you were a tournament poker player, as the evening progressed. Here is a look at how the table stacked up:

Seat 1: Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari
Seat 2: Anna Wroblewski
Seat 5: Johnny Chan
Seat 6: David Singer
Seat 9: David Benyamine

These five players were then joined by Phil Ivey during the last level of play, and he wasted no time in making his presence felt by eliminating Chan a few hands after sitting down. This gave Ivey 280,000 in chips and helped him to surpass theAntonio 'The Magician' Esfandiari table’s resident chip leader, Esfandiari, who held 274,000. It was actually thanks to Esfandiari that Ivey was moved to the table, because the Magician knocked out the former occupant of seat three a few hands earlier. The players that survived the day, each and every one of them, will be quite thankful for the re-draw that is going to take place before day 3.

When the dust settled, a huge chunk of the field had made an exit, 292 players were lost; and among them were some of the biggest names in the game and one celebrity: Chan, Paul Wasicka, Barry Greenstein, David Williams, John Juanda, Bill Edler, Men “The Master” Nguyen, Todd Brunson, Erick Lindgren, John Hennigan, and Montel Williams were all eliminated during day 3.

The chip leaders at the end of play were as follows:

Daniel Fuhs 397,100
Kyle Burnside — 279,700
Phil Ivey — 279,000
Antonio Esfandiari — 245,000
Blair Hinkle — 224,000
Jennifer Tilly — 218,700
Yury Parad — 213,100
Haralabos Voulgaris — 203,900
Mike Watson — 195,900
Noah Schwartz — 186,800

Check back in tomorrow for day 3 action at 12:30 p.m. PT and catch all of the action in live updates, chip counts, pro blogs, photos, and videos at CardPlayer.com.