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Three World Series of Poker events (WSOP) will run simultaneously today, a sign that the momentum is building here at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino as players gear towards the Main Event and poker immortality.
The final table for Event # 2, the 3-day $1,500 No Limit Hold'Em tournament that began on Tuesday, will be the main draw for the rail birds.
Former Main Event winner (2001) Carlos Mortensen will vie for his third bracelet from the sixth chip position. The Spaniard, who is nicknamed "El Matador" was the chip leader after day one, but suffered consecutive devastating hands to lower his position late on day two.
Mortensen has 337,000 chips going into the final table. The buzz around the gallery is that Mortensen's big tournament experience makes him a viable candidate to take home the bracelet. He also has one World Poker Tour (WPT) title on his mantle.
Professional poker player Ron Stanley, in 8th position with $283k also has a WSOP bracelet, winning his first piece of hardware in 1991. The long-time pro has multiple final table appearances in WSOP Circuit Events and WPT tournaments.
Don Zewin, in 6th place with $342,000 chips also has some big-time final table experience, placing 4th at the WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship in 2005.
The final table looks like this:
1.) Brandon Cantu $753k
2.) Lee Padilla $753k
3.) Drew Rubin $573k
4.) Mark Ly $516k
5.) Mark Swatz $359
6.) Don Zewin $342k
7.) Carlos Motensen $337k
8.) Ron Stanley $283k
9.) Brent Roberts $260k
WSOP Event # 3, a $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'Em affair, is also scheduled to start today at 2 p.m. PST with 71 players to battle all day until only nine player remain for tomorrow's final table.
John Juanda and Victor Ramdin sit near the top of the leader board in 3rd and 6th place respectively. Juanda is the owner of three WSOP bracelets and is currently one of the top ranked players in the world on most media outlet polls.
Ramdin is having a life-changing year, winning $1.3 million at the 2006 WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic and finishing 11th this spring at the Bellagio in the WPT World Championship.
The final major tournament of the day is Event # 4, a $1500 Limit Hold'Em Tournament. Play began today at noon and will continue until there are less than 100 players. It will conclude sometime this evening. The tournament is a three-day event.
WSOP NOTES:Tuesday's Event # 2 No Limit Hold'Em tournament was the second largest live poker tournament in history. With 2,776 participants, only the 2005 WSOP Main Event, which had 5,619 players was bigger, according to WSOP Official Nolan Dalla. Still no word on Phil Hellmuth's "Most Cashes at WSOP Events" record. As reported yesterday, WSOP officials are still checking the books to see if Hellmuth is at 49 or 50 cashes. With 49 cashes, Hellmuth would be tied with Men "The Master" Nguyen for the most ever. At 50, Hellmuth would stand alone, just the way he likes it. As soon as the WSOP confirms the record, Casino City will report the news.
Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. He is currently covering events at the World Series of Poker. Email your comments and questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .