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Daniels finishes on top after Day 2ab of WSOP Main Event

6 Jul 2018

(LAS VEGAS) -- Another busy day inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino has come to an end with Day 2ab of Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event - World Championship wrapping up just before midnight. A total of 2,460 players walked through the door at the beginning of the day, but only 1,131 will be moving on to Day 3. Leading the way after today is Shawn Daniels, who bagged up a whopping 532,500 chips.

Daniels came through flight 1a and spent his entire day in the Amazon Room. It was a late rally by Daniels that saw him move into the unofficial chip lead by a mere 1,500 chips. Daniels is looking to better his performance from the 2017 Main Event campaign, which saw him finish in 72nd place for $101,444. That turned out to be the largest cash of his career, making up around a quarter of his total earnings.

Not far in the distance is Eric Liebeler (531,000) and Samuel Bernabeu (524,000) who finished in the top three chip counts. Michael Dyer (502,400) and Casey McCarrel (501,800) were the only other players to bag over half a million chips. Day 1b chip leader, Smain Mamouni, kept his momentum going steadily throughout the day, finishing with 481,500 chips.

The day got underway at 11 a.m., 5 July, with another five two-hour-long levels on the schedule. The Day 1a and Day 1b survivors were split up into separate rooms with 659 players returning from Day 1a and 1,801 players from Day 1b. When all was said and done, the two fields were narrowed down to an unofficial total of 1,235 players who will play together starting on Day 3. They will be joined by those that make it through from Day 1c to make up the first day where the entire field is playing together.

The field was jam-packed with notable faces to begin the day, but some were sent to the rail early on. Two-time 'November Niner' Antoine Saout saw his Main Event run come to an end just one hour into the day. Former WSOP Main Event champions Joe Hachem and Ryan Riess were also eliminated during the day, along with Erik Seidel, Tony Dunst, Gaelle Baumann and Jeremy Ausmus.

One of the main attractions throughout the first couple of days was last year's fourth-place finisher, John Hesp. Along with his flashy outfits and unique play-style, Hesp was like a magnet to many fans hanging on to the rail nearest his table. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to repeat his magical run when his top pair ran into a set of aces from Jim Schweitzer. Hesp's tablemates and the rail gave him a round of applause as he stood up from the table. "[The reception] has been incredible," said Hesp. "Everything has just been so lovely and fun. I'm just so so grateful that these people are enjoying my style of play and everything else in that regard."

There were a lot of big names that had a solid second day and managed to run up healthy stacks through the five levels played including poker couple Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell. Foxen put 238,900 in the bag while Bicknell was just behind with 202,800, and they got there in different ways. Foxen built up one of the biggest stacks early in the day, while Bicknell rallied late making a hero call with just ace-high.

Both gave credit to their table draws throughout the day. "I picked up a few hands but for the most part, my table didn't really want to play back at me," Foxen said. "I had nearly 400,000 chips but then lost a flip with queens in the last level."

As for Bicknell, she also enjoyed her table but was forced to battle in the early going. "I went from 15,000 to 200,000, so it was a pretty good day. I had to battle with around 20 to 30 big blinds for the first few levels and then made a good call with ace-high," said Bicknell.

When asked about heading to Day 3, both said they don't want to look too far ahead, but would rather just stay in the moment and deal with what they are given.

"I had a bad attitude after Day 1, but I realized twenty big blinds is a lot in this tournament so I'm just going to keep battling," Bicknell commented.

Some other well-known names to make it through to Day 3 with some hefty stacks include Brian Altman (476,500), Kelly Minkin (380,800), Christopher Kruk (370,500), Ben Yu (311,000), and Chris Hunichen (307,100). One name that doesn't come to mind for most people is Eric Hicks, who is making his own story through the first couple of days.

Hicks earned his seat into the 2018 WSOP Main event through a $200 Scramble on with guaranteed seats available. Part way through the tournament, Hicks could be found riding around the Rio on his scooter enjoying some drinks with his friends. All the while, holding the chip lead and playing on his tablet. Hicks was the early chip leader, being the first to cross the 500,000 mark but tailed off later in the day, winding up with 300,000.

There are four previous Main Event champions moving on to Day 3 thus far, looking to make history as repeat champions. Chris Ferguson (160,000), Johnny Chan (107,200), Scotty Nguyen (74,300), and Greg Merson (68,300) all punched their ticket to Day 3.

Everyone will be returning on Saturday, 7 July at 11am along with those that are fortunate enough on Day 2c which resumes on Friday, 6 July, at 11am. The PokerNews live reporting team will be back with you tomorrow to wrap up all of the Day 2 coverage, so don't miss out on the action.

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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