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World Series Of Poker Europe Update: Day 10

Swings and Roundabouts on Day 2 of the WSOP Europe Main Event

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Day 2 of the World Series of Poker Europe main event, presented by Betfair, is where the picture began to get a little clearer and a lucky few could begin to dream of the £868,800 that awaits the 2008 champion in a few days time. The 179 combatants were whittled down to just a hardy 62 after an exhibition of incredible bad beats, crushing eliminations, and world-class poker talent.

Roland de WolfeA man at the centre of much of this excitement was Danish player Martin Vallo. First, Vallo got involved in a huge pot with Full Tilt pro Roland de Wolfe. De Wolfe opened for a raise and his fellow table bully Vallo called. On the A-K-4 flop, de Wolfe bet out and was flat called by the Dane. After the turn came down a 7, de Wolfe bet again, only for Vallo to make a huge reraise all-in. It didn't take a second for the Englishman to call with A-K for top two pair. Unlucky for him, Vallo had flopped gold dust — his pocket fours hitting a set. As the river bricked, Vallo scooped up a 180,000 pot and looked set for a long stay in the tournament.

Enter Brian Townsend and some well-timed pocket aces. As he had been doing all day Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott raised in late position to 3,500 and got a call from Vallo on the button. The action came around to the online trailblazer Townsend who raised it up to 11,500 in his traditional aggressive manner. With roughly equal chipstacks, Vallo was the only one to call. Townsend bet out 16,000 on the A-7-3 flop with Vallo instantly shoving for 80,000 more. A quick check back at his cards to confirm that he had the stone cold nuts and Townsend called with top set against Vallo's deceased A-K, shipping in a huge pot that has helped him cement his position near the top of the leader board.

Those two cooler hands were joined by a couple of the most heartbreaking bad beats you could ever wish to hear. The first involved Mike Matusow but, for once, he was the one dishing out the beat. Just limping from the small blind with A-9, Danny Wong checked his option with A-J. The flop came down as action-packed as anyone could wish for: A-J-9. Needless to say, all the money got in the middle with 'The Mouth' cursing his luck until a red 9 on the turn changed his tune. His full house held on the river and Matusow will move onto Day 3 as a huge threat in this tournament.

November Niner Scott Montgomery thoroughly outplayed his opponent Jean Thorel in a huge 285,000 chip pot yet, as is poker's way sometimes, he had nothing to show for it. With a lot of chips invested preflop, Montgomery check-raised the Frenchman to 30,000 on the Q J 2 flop. Thorel quickly called. The 9 came on the turn and Montgomery unusually checked again. Thorel moved all-in for 75,000 more and the trap became clear after Montgomery showed pocket queens for top set. Thorel had A J though, and miraculously hit a fifth club on the river to complete an unlikely runner-runner flush and leave Montgomery in dire straits. The poker gods do have some sense of justice though, as later the two clashed in a race situation which Montgomery won to gain some revenge. Even that wasn't enough to save the American, though, as he was eliminated with just seconds remaining in the day's final level.
Daniel Negreanu
Loudly casting his unique poker spell today was overnight frontrunner Daniel Negreanu. He solidified this lead early on in a hand versus fellow big stack Jamie Rosen. Negreanu hit a set of fives on the river versus the young hotshot's top pair, top kicker and managed to extract maximum value with a cheeky check-raise on the end. Negreanu's luck was truly in late in the day though when he tangled with Ben Grundy in an unusual hand. After a bet and call on the flop, the two checked the turn until the board read 5-6-7-8-9. Grundy checked it over to Negreanu who bet 11,000 into the made straight. After some deliberation Grundy made the call only to find his A-J had been rivered by the A-10 of Negreanu for a higher straight.

The very next hand saw the end of Grundy as he pushed on the button with A-3 and failed to suck out on Fraser Bellamy's big blind Big Slick, A-K.

A whole plethora of other big names hit the rail throughout the day; Doyle Brunson unfortunately ran his A-K into the pocket kings of an opponent, Tom Dwan gambled it all on a flush draw, and others such as Joe Hachem, Chris Ferguson, and Scotty Nguyen simply failed to get out of the starting blocks.

Finally, the plight of Phil Hellmuth deserves a mention. As he consistently berated his tablemates for their 'idiotic' play, his small stack continued to decline as the blinds passed through him. Eventually Hellmuth found pocket kings and made a min-raise to 1,600. H.O.R.S.E. champion Sherkhan Farnood called in the big blind with 5-5 and overtook the 'Poker Brat' on a 8-5-2 flop. Hellmuth shoved his remaining few thousand in there, and was drawing slim against the player he had labelled 'the worst in the world' throughout the day. As no miracle came, Hellmuth was KO'd, much to the amusement of the watching Mike Matusow.

62 players will return for Day 3 where the money bubble will be broken as the WSOPE Main Event plays down to the final 18. While the chips are being bagged up, a late surge by serial tournament phenom Andy Bloch has seen him thrust to the top of the leaderboard.

As the Empire casino prepares for more top class poker, the current top ten chip counts are:

1. Andy Bloch, USA, 321,600
2. Brian Townsend, USA, 290,100
3. Erik Seidel, USA, 282,300
4. John Juanda, USA, 252,500
5. Phillippe Rouas, USA, 233,300
6. Christopher Elliott, UK, 231,900
7. Christopher Moorman, UK, 219,500
8. Justin Smith, USA, 217,700
9. Daniel Negreanu, Canada, 203,700
10. Brandon Adams, USA, 190,000