WSOP main event Day 2C recap: Riess, Hellmuth, Negreanu advance

Paul Oresteen/BLUFF

The Day 2C of the 2015 WSOP main event featured 2,747 players spread out across three different rooms and by day’s end, the remaining 1,142 players were together. David Jackson bagged up the lead with 408,800 in chips, but when play resumes on Friday, Amar Anand will bring in the overall lead with 603,500 from his Day 2AB effort. Thursday’s surviving players combine with the 654 from Day 2AB for a total of 1,796 players still in the running for the $7.6 million top-prize.

Former Main Event champions Ryan Riess, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Joe Hachem and Jim Bechtel made their way through, while Robert Varkonyi, Jamie Gold and Huck Seed were eliminated.

“It was a very smooth day. I didn’t play any big pots without the nuts and I made the nuts a lot,” said Riess. “I slowly chipped, I made quads twice and I’ve been running really well. I can’t ask for much more.”

Riess, the 2013 main event champion, was eliminated on Day 3 last year.

“You can’t make it to final table without getting through Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, but I’m going to take it one day at a time and slowly grind,” he added. “Hopefully, things go my way.”

One of the players at the Riess final table in 2013 was Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, who also advanced on Thursday. Stars Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Matt Glantz and Allen Cunningham did as well. Additionally, 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event winner Adrian Mateos finished near the leaders.

Negreanu chipped up throughout the day and ended with 123,600 in chips.

“It was an interesting day away from the table – a lot funky stuff going on – but the poker was straightforward," said Negreanu. "I didn’t have one tough decision during the last level. I have faith in my system, I’ll do what I do and adjust when I have to, but I have plenty of chips.”

Esfandiari didn’t have the easy going day like Riess and Negreanu.

“It was a lot of ups and downs," said Esfandiari, looking to cash in the main event for the first time since 2012. "I had a really good first level and then a really bad second level. I started making hands and played a lot of pots with an aggressive player three seats to my right.

“I quadrupled my [starting] stack so I’m happy,” he added, with an acknowledgement that there's not much importance in having a big stack at this point of the tournament. “With the main event you just have to get through every day. It’s such a long process. I do yoga every morning, stretch on break and get to bed early.”

Phil Ivey, Jason Somerville, Mike Leah, Mike McDonald and Jason Koon were among the hundreds to hit the rail today. Ivey and Negreanu began the day at back-to-back tables near the aisle and drew a large crowd of fans.

Ivey missed most of the WSOP for the lucrative cash games in Macau and didn’t register a cash this Series. He famously sat out the 2011 WSOP due to fallout from Full Tilt, but outside of that instance, he cashed every year since turning 21 in 2000.

The top 1,000 players will make the money and the field is expected to hit the bubble in the third or fourth level on Friday. The min-cash comes in at $15,000 and it’s possible that there will be two money pay jumps by the end of play.

Top Five Chip Counts from Day 2C

1. David Jackson (408,900 in chips)

2. Zach Jiganti (401,900)

3. Shawn Van Asdale (388,000)

4. Jens Lakemeier (360,000)

5. Hugo Perez (345,300)

Small Blinds: Ray Romano and Brad Garrett entertained the cameras and fans throughout the day, trading barbs and talking up the table. Unfortunately, they both busted with Romano lasting until the last hour of the day. … The yet-to-be-named WSOP Dealer of the Year has the honor of announcing Day 3's "Shuffle Up and Deal"