Phil Ivey takes over chip lead at WSOP Main Event

10 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Phil Ivey continues to be the dominant story at the World Series of Poker Main Event. The 38-year-old superstar was among the chip leaders when Day 2C play began Wednesday. And he was among the chip leaders when Day 2C ended thanks to a miracle river card midway through Wednesday's action.

On a board reading 10h-9d-6s, Ivey bet 14,000. Lazaro Hernandez called Ivey's bet and Fabian Scherle went all in for 44,000. Ivey, who had both players covered, pushed all in and Hernandez called with his remaining 130,000.

Ivey turned over 6d-6c for three sixes. Hernandez turned over 8h-7h for a straight. Scherle showed Kh-Ks for pocket kings.

After seeing the cards, Hernandez told the table, "I guess I'm going home," according to PokerNews.com.

"Why did you say you were going home?" asked Ivey.

"Because you're Phil Ivey," responded Hernandez.

Hernandez was right. After a five of hearts on the turn gave Hernandez a flush draw, Ivey spiked a 10 on the river to make a full house and eliminate Hernandez and Scherle.

Ivey had nearly 400,000 chips after that hand, and he finished the night as the chip leader with 505,000 in chips. This is the first time Ivey has been in contention for a Main Event title since he finished seventh in 2009. Ivey failed to cash in 2010, 2012 and 2013. And he skipped the 2011 Main Event in the aftermath of the Black Friday indictments against Full Tilt Poker.

Phil Ivey turned a bit of luck into a monster chip stack Wednesday.

Phil Ivey turned a bit of luck into a monster chip stack Wednesday. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

There are few things in poker scarier than Ivey with a big chip stack. And the players at his table understood the threat. One player jokingly asked the dealer for a one-orbit penalty so he didn't have to play against Ivey. Then he half-jokingly suggested he was going to leave for dinner with almost an hour left in the level.

Ivey looked like he was enjoying the banter at the table, responding with smiles at the jokes and occasionally offering a quip of his own. And he looked relaxed throughout the day. During the first level of the day, he was drinking Starbucks at his table in the Pavilion and chatting amiably with players at his table. And that continued in the Amazon Room. Of course, having Bryan Micon to his right in the Amazon Room might have something to do with that.

While Ivey was chipping up, Phil Hellmuth was grinding away a few tables over in the Amazon Room. But like Ivey, Hellmuth was getting along well with his tablemates. In the level before the dinner break, the conversation at Hellmuth's table turned to the money bubble. Players were wondering when it would happen and what the average chip stack would be.

The table quickly established its consensus pick for the money bubble bursting on Friday. But average chip stack was a different matter. And the table turned to Hellmuth for guidance.

"It's tough," Hellmuth said. "There could be a bunch of million-chip stacks, so the average could be 300,000 but the effective average could be 230,00. The mean and the median could be different, too."

"There are lots of times I've cashed with just a half stack," Hellmuth added. This will not be one of those years for Hellmuth, however. Hellmuth lost almost 57,000 chips in two hands late in fourth level of the day to bust out of the Main Event. After taking some time to let the emotion of the moment passed, Hellmuth returned to the Amazon Room, just as the fifth and final level of the day began. With a genuine smile on his face, he graciously posed for pictures with players and fans alike before exiting the Rio for the last time this summer.

Half a room away, former Celtics star and current basketball free agent Paul Pierce was trying put himself in position to cash for the first time in a WSOP event. With oversized headphones on, Pierce listened to music for the most of the day, and occasionally started singing along with the music. Unfortunately for Pierce, he can't carry a tune. But he is proving to be pretty good at poker, and finished the day with 48,600 in chips.

Main Event play resumes Thursday morning when the nearly 1,900 survivors from the tournament's three flights are combined into one field for the first time. Players don't reach the money until there are 693 players remaining. The prize money for 693rd is $18,406. The Main Event champion will win $10 million.

NOTABLE CHIP STACKS
Phil Ivey 505,000
Raul Mestre 477,900
Morgan Popham 407,600
Peter Neff 389,200
Brian Townsend 361,700
John Hennigan 342,700
Daniel Alaei 228,300
Ronnie Bardah 215,800
Tom Marchese 197,200

NOTABLE ELIMINATIONS
Phil Hellmuth
David Tuchman
Dutch Boyd
Berry Johnston
Vanessa Rousso
Dee Dozier
Jennifer Harman
Matt Gianetti
Joe Cada
Gus Hansen
Leo Margets
Allan Kessler

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