Mortensen Leads WSOP Event #2 After Day One - Friday 30th of June 2006

By Ryan McLane

The 2006 World Series of Poker's (WSOP) record-breaking field of 2,776 players in Event #2 was whittled down to 122 on Tuesday night at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Juan Carlos Mortensen is in the lead with $127,000 chips after Day One.

Just after 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, WSOP officials announced that the then-remaining 270 players finished in the money earning at least $2,200 for their marathon efforts.

Wednesday's play begins at 2 p.m. with every player still involved earning at least $4,500 for the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Tournament. First place in the first public event of the 2006 WSOP pays $757,839. Event #1 is open only to casino employees.

The tournament saw 2,288 entrants take their seats and begin play at 12:04 p.m. PST. During the first two rounds, WSOP officials sat another 488 alternates as players busted out.

There was such high demand for the event that spectators lining the rails were mainly those hoping to grab an alternate seat. For more than three hours, the most prominent noise in the Amazon room was the voice of WSOP officials rattling off alternate names.

Phil Hellmuth Jr., the 1989 Main Event Champion and winner of nine WSOP bracelets was honored late Tuesday night when it was announced that he cashed in his 50th WSOP event. There was a lengthy cheer for Hellmuth and he acknowledged the crowd with a small wave of his hand.

Hellmuth is in 67th place with $25,000 in chips to start day 2.

The largest crowds of the day were gathered around the affable Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, the 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion. The size of his gallery can be attributed to his accessibility to the rail (spectators are not allowed inside the table rows) and his willingness to talk to the players and fans around him about his hands and play.

Early on, Raymer cracked aces when his 10-9 offsuit found trips on the flop. It was the most talked about hand of the day until Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi found two-pair in the flop with his A-2 only to watch his opponent catch a runner-runner straight to bounce him from the tournament.

Raymer is currently in 36th place with $40,000 chips.

WSOP officials say play will continue on Day Two until only the final table players remain. The final table will be played on Thursday afternoon.

Other notable chip stacks from Day One:
5th Place – David "Devilfish" Ulliot $88k
9th Place – Young Phan $71k
10th Place – Erik Seidel $70k
46th Place – Jennifer Harman $32k
50th Place – Phil Gordon $31k
62nd Place – Paul Darden Jr. $26k
80th Place – Tuan Le $21k

Other Notes: Chris Gros from Henderson, Nev. became the first gold bracelet winner in the 2006 WSOP, taking home the $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em Event #1. He joins Tournament of Champions victor Mike Sexton as the second 2006 WSOP winner. (The Tournament of Champions winner does not get a bracelet.) ... The employee event saw a record crowd of 1,232, giving Gros a prize total of $127,516 in addition to his first bracelet ... "Oh my God," Gros said when asked how it felt to be a bracelet winner. "I don't know what's more exciting, not having to make another mortgage payment or winning the bracelet. This is something I will always have."

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